Magazine article Gramophone

Sibelius: Lemminkainen Legends

Magazine article Gramophone

Sibelius: Lemminkainen Legends

Article excerpt

Sibelius

Lemminkainen Legends, Op 22.

Pohjola's Daughter, Op 49

Finnish Radio Symphony Orchestra / Hannu Lintu

Ondine [F] [SACD] ODE1262-5 (62' * DDD/DSD)

[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]

Competition is pretty intense as far as the Lemminkainen Suite is concerned, not least from Ondine's own Leif Segerstam (7/96) and Mikko Franck (8/00). The first thing to say is that Hannu Lintu obtains a satisfyingly dapper response from his Finnish Radio band. Textures are sifted with skill, chosen tempi are unfailingly judicious and Lintu shows a canny awareness of the bigger scheme. I appreciate the snap and thrust he brings to 'Lemminkainen and the Maidens on the Island' (the crisp accenting in the winds and strings throughout will make you sit up), and in 'The Swan of Tuonela' he draws some agreeably luminous and breathtakingly hushed sounds from his string choir (try from around 3TO" to hear how adepdy Lintu exploits a daringly wide range of dynamic). 'Lemminkainen in Tuonela', too, boasts impressive control and no want of menace, though a little more giddy abandon in 'Lemminkainen's Return' would not have gone amiss.

Ultimately, for all its sterling qualities, there's no getting away from an everso-slight element of reserve about Lintu's intelligent conception that will not be to all tastes; the outstandingly perceptive Segerstam, certainly, brings rather greater heart, story-telling flair and sheer temperament to bear, while Franck's recreative spark, youthful zeal and audacious sense of adventure never fail to activate the goosebumps. …

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