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Sibelius Theatre Music - Audiophile Audition

06 June 2005
Audiophile Audition
John Sunier
4 Stars

The theater music of Sibelius is the theme of this collection. The Finnish master created works for the stage throughout his life and they constitute some of his best music. His incidental music doesn't usually try to accompany dramatic stage action but instead sets the scenes, providing atmosphere and mood for the plays. One of his early scores was about 20 minutes of music for a play titled Kuolema (Death). In it was the stark and affecting Valse Triste, which became an instant hit and the composer's most famous work. Unfortunately he had signed away rights to a publisher and never got a cent for it. The four-movement Belshazzar's Feast music comes from ten selections created for a play. The suite is embued with a strongly exotic and colorful cast - similar to the Arabian Dance of Grieg in his Peer Gynt music. The suite for Shakespeare's The Tempest has eight movements and was drawn from his major score of over an hour for the Royal Danish Theatre's production of the play. The Second Suite is devoted to some of the intimate portraits and episodes in the play. This is just one of many recordings from the Scottish Chamber Orchestra, for Linn and other labels. Their exceptional SACD of the Mozart Requiem was one recent one.
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Scottish Chamber OrchestraScottish Chamber Orchestra
Sibelius: Theatre MusicSibelius: Theatre Music