Thomas Sondergard - Sibelius: Finlandia - BBC Radio 3 'Record Review'

And when Danish conductor Thomas Søndergård took over the reins at the BBC National Orchestra of Wales, one of the first things he said was, “I can’t wait to discover Sibelius all over again with my new orchestra”, which he has, as you’ll know if you’ve followed their cycle of Sibelius symphonies on record, 4 down, 3 to go. Now there’s a sidebar, if you like: tone poems and Sibelius’s theatre music. So alongside something as familiar as Finlandia there’s the incidental music for the play King Christian II. Danes versus Swedes in the sixteenth century. The Suite made it to the Proms in London in 1901, and it begins with a rather lovely nocturne.

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The nocturne that opens the suite from Sibelius’s incidental music for the play King Christian II, that was the new recording from the BBC National Orchestra of Wales conducted by Thomas Søndergård. It’s of a piece with their with their Sibelius symphonies so far, direct, well-paced, nowhere for the players to hide in the upfront detailed recording. No shocks or major surprises in the tone poems, from En Saga and Finlandia to a Valse Triste that steers the right side of overt sentimentality for me. Sibelius, from Thomas Søndergård and Cardiff – new this week on Linn Records.

BBC Radio 3 'Record Review'
30 June 2018