Thomas Sondergard - Sibelius: Symphonies 2 & 7 - The Telegraph

Thomas Søndergård's new recording appreciates the scale and substance of Sibelius' work, says Geoffrey Norris

The Danish conductor Thomas Søndergård has already recorded music by Nielsen and Poul Ruders for the Da Capo label, but this coupling of Sibelius's Second and Seventh Symphonies is his first disc with the BBC National Orchestra of Wales, of which he became principal conductor in 2012.

It is the opening gambit of a projected series (a release of the First and Sixth Symphonies is scheduled for later this year), and it is an auspicious start.

The clear acoustics of the Hoddinott Hall in Cardiff provide an ideal setting for recording Sibelius

While there are no great surprises in his approach to the shaping and interpretation of these well-known and oft-recorded works, the quality that comes across is his thorough appreciation of the scale and substance of the symphonic arguments that Sibelius is putting forward.

Projected series: the First and Sixth Symphonies are scheduled for release later this year

The BBC NOW, recorded in the warm, clear acoustics of the Hoddinott Hall in Cardiff, responds keenly to the way that Søndergård subtly controls aspects of tempo, instrumental balance and the shifting of mood to create a genuine sense of the music's organically conceived nature.

The pairing of the Second and Seventh Symphonies is a familiar one, the reason being that it works so well, as this new recording amply demonstrates.


The Telegraph
15 March 2015