An Australian orchestra (not well known over here); an Estonian conductor (ditto); yet another recording of Sibelius- Second Symphony and Finlandia - you might wonder, what-s the big deal? In fact, this is a richly rewarding release - fresh in its approach, finely played, and doing serious justice to one of Sibelius- ultimate achievements, the Seventh Symphony. Classic FM Magazine, UK - Orchestral Disc of the Month
In a modern recording industry where studio recordings of major symphonic cycles are becoming increasingly rare, ABC Classics have recently released a landmark 4CD set of the complete symphonies of Sibelius by Estonian conductor, Arvo Volmer, and the Adelaide Symphony Orchestra.
-Initially we only intended to record the 2nd and 7th Symphonies but the international acclaim for the CD was so overwhelming that we decided to pursue the complete cycle- says Head of ABC Music, Robert Patterson, whose label has also released complete symphonic cycles by Beethoven, Mendelssohn, Schumann and Tchaikovsky.
Volmer directed the ASO in all performances, which were recorded in studio conditions over a three-year period in the magnificent acoustic of the Adelaide Town Hall. The set also contains the tone poems Finlandia and Valse triste, plus Adele Anthony-s searing performance of the Violin Concerto.
The 4CD set is available from ABC Shops, ABC Centres, selected music stores and ABC Online.
Adelaide Symphony Orchestra, Arvo Volmer
Sibelius expert Arvo Volmer says -My passion for the music of Sibelius runs very deep and I always knew I would only embark on recording any of it when I felt I had the right orchestra and the right team with me to do this music justice.-
-Conductor Arvo Volmer unfolds the Seventh Symphony-s epic single movement with a sureness that lets the music surge with wonderful, very Sibelian naturalness and power. His approach to the Second Symphony is always responsive to its switching moods of light and darkness, while keeping any risk of bombast at arm-s length- Classic FM Magazine, January 2008 *****
by Blair Sanderson
This four-CD box set by Arvo Volmer and the Adelaide Symphony Orchestra brings together the seven symphonies of Jean Sibelius, along with his popular Violin Concerto, and the extremely familiar tone poem Finlandia and Valse Triste are provided as filler. This Australian orchestra plays with a full range of expressions and sonorities, so it can handle Sibelius at his most lushly Romantic, as in the Symphony No. 2, yet can muster the chilly timbres of his darker side at its most abject in the Symphony No. 4, and find a comfortable middle ground with the piquant neo-Classical tones of the Symphony No. 6. Sibelius' music runs the gamut of moods, from bleak and despairing to grandiose and bombastic, yet Volmer and his musicians are careful not to exaggerate any of these expressions, but stay close to the scores and find a straightforward and honest approach that communicates Sibelius' complex vision without posturing or puzzling. ABC's reproduction is rich and spacious, so the orchestra always sounds terrific, and the dimensions of the sound feel realistically deep and open.Tracklisting:
Sibelius: Symphonies Nos. 1-7 (complete)
Symphony No. 1 in E minor, Op. 39
Symphony No. 2 in D major, Op. 43
Symphony No. 3 in C major, Op. 52
Symphony No. 4 in A minor, Op. 63
Symphony No. 5 in E-flat major, Op. 82
Symphony No. 6 in D minor, Op. 104
Symphony No. 7 in C major, Op. 105
Valse triste, Op. 44 No. 1
Violin Concerto in D minor, Op. 47
Adelaide Symphony Orchestra
Adele Anthony, violin
Arvo Volmer, conductor