Magazine article Gramophone

Sibelius: Symphony No 2

Magazine article Gramophone

Sibelius: Symphony No 2

Article excerpt

Sibelius

Symphony No 2, Op 43 (a).

Finlandia, Op 26b. Karelia Suite, Op 11 (b)

Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra/Mariss Jansons

BR-Klassik (F) 900144 (70' * DDD)

Recorded live at the Herkulessaal der Residenz, Munich, (b) October 15 & 16, (a) November 12 & 13, 2015

Virtuoso conducting and immaculate orchestral playing, for sure, but there are drawbacks. Finlandia distils plenty of truculent defiance but there's also a whiff of flashiness, as well as some over-succulent retouching of scoring that fails to convince (try from 6'42"). The Karelia Suite, too, is not free of fussy mannerism: the swaggering central processional of the Intermezzo acquires a baffling, almost comic rigidity; the Ballade is hampered by some exaggerated dynamics; and a comparable slickness blights the concluding 'Alla marcia', which should surely twinkle with a little more fun than it does here (and the extra cymbal clash at the very end really jars).

If anything, the performance of the Second Symphony (captured four weeks later in the Herkulessaal) is even more problematic. …

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