Thomas Sondergard - Sibelius: Symphonies 1 & 6 - The Observer
Recorded in the clear acoustic of BBC Hoddinott Hall, Cardiff, this pairing of Sibelius’s First and Sixth symphonies stands out well in an overcrowded market. Under the baton of principal conductor Thomas Søndergård, the BBC National Orchestra of Wales plays with punch and vitality. In Symphony No 1, solo woodwind and harp, lithe and transparent, make an impact in the grand opening movement before the climactic roar of low brass. Warm strings in the second, taut manoeuvrings in the scherzo and menace in the finale complete an agile account. In both works, Søndergård keeps the tempi flexible and brings out unexpected, elusive detail. The Sixth is fresh, clean-edged and yet, as ever with Sibelius, tender.