Finnish conducting prodigy Mikko Franck, just 21 years old, makes an impressive recording debut with this disc, featuring music that allows him to be compared to other top-notch conductors but that also permits him to assert his individuality and sense of fantasy. Let it be said at the outset that Franck is very, very good. In two respects at least, he proves himself an outstanding exponent of this music. First, he executes masterful transitions between sections in different tempos: for instance, from the introduction to the main allegro in En Saga, as well as from the work's quiet central interlude to its biggest climax. The same large-scale structural control is equally evident in the first of the Lemminkäinen Legends, which hasRead more never been done better. In an absolutely masterful display of podium technique, Franck imperceptibly builds the passionate love music episodes with complete naturalness from near stasis to an erotic frenzy.
Second, he's very attentive to melodic accentuation and inflection (indeed, his En Saga is almost a revelation in this respect), and this gives the music life and textural interest. He secures excellent, concentrated playing from the Swedish Radio Symphony Orchestra, and if I have any reservation, it's that Franck's preference for broad tempos mutes some of the excitement of Lemminkäinen's Return--though here again, the slower initial tempo does permit him (almost alone among conductors) to follow Sibelius' instructions exactly and make a huge accelerando, doubling the tempo leading into the coda. So there you have it: conducting that is idiomatic, intelligent, and respectful of the score, but also nicely individualized. Ondine's recorded sound is warm and very naturally balanced, lacking only the last amount of definition at the bottom end (always a problem in En Saga, with it's soloistic bass drum writing). A winner.
Lemminkäinen Suite, Op. 22by Jean Sibelius Conductor:
Swedish Radio Symphony Orchestra
Period: Romantic Written: 1893/1895; Finland Date of Recording: 12/1999 Venue: Berwald Hall, Stockholm, Sweden Length: 53 Minutes 48 Secs.
En saga, Op. 9by Jean Sibelius Performer:
Håkan Olsson (Viola),
Niklas Andersson (Clarinet)
Swedish Radio Symphony Orchestra
Period: Romantic Written: 1892/1902; Finland Date of Recording: 12/1999 Venue: Berwald Hall, Stockholm, Sweden Length: 19 Minutes 46 Secs.
En saga, Op. 9
Lemminkainen Suite, Op. 22: I. Lemminkainen and the Maidens of Saari
Lemminkainen Suite, Op. 22: II. The Swan of Tuonela
Lemminkainen Suite, Op. 22: III. Lemminkainen in Tuonela
Lemminkainen Suite, Op. 22: IV. Lemminkainen's Return
Average Customer Review: ( 1 Customer Review )
What A Revelation!March 22, 2013By James B. (Marquette, MI)See All My Reviews"Having just received this CD in the mail today, I am totally overwhelmed by the interpretation of Sibelus' music by Mikko Franck and the Swedish Radio Symphony Orchestra! En Saga, one of my all time favorites has never been interpreted and played better! Lemminkainen and the Maidens of Saari of the Legend series capitvated me totally right to the end where I found myself unashamedly weeping. Never have I been affected by this composition like this before! I have yet to complete listening to the rest of the disc but without a doubt the remaining selections will be just as exciting! Now my question is when will we have available to us the Seven Symphonies with Maestro Franck and the fantastic Swedish Radio Symphony Orchestra?! Looking forward to more!"Report Abuse
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