WGBH Radio WGBH Radio theclassicalstation.org

Sibelius: Piano Transcriptions / Henri Sigfridsson


Release Date: 10/09/2007 
Label:  Hänssler Classic   Catalog #: 98261   Spars Code: DDD 
Composer:  Jean Sibelius
Performer:  Henri Sigfridsson
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Length: 1 Hours 16 Mins. 

In Stock: Usually ships in 24 hours.  

Notes and Editorial Reviews

Sibelius' piano music is little-known and undervalued, partly because some of it admittedly isn't very interesting, but more because his personal style is so inextricably bound up with his inimitable use of the orchestra. Hearing these piano transcriptions of orchestral works, most made by Sibelius himself, we can banish at once the question of musical quality. These are all highly regarded, popular pieces, and in their new guise it's particularly easy to tell what works well for the keyboard and what does not, a process that fans of the composer surely will find engaging and enjoyable all by itself. Let it be understood up front that all of this music is, for the most part, excellently played by Henri Sigfridsson, and very well recorded Read more too.

Indeed, perhaps most fascinating are those pieces that fare worst in pianistic dress, because they highlight just how innately orchestral Sibelius' thinking was. Here are a few examples: The big brass and timpani crescendos at the opening of Finlandia obviously fare poorly as a piano solo, and the relentlessly chordal writing that follows really needs the timbral variety supplied by the full orchestra; Mélisande at the Spinning Wheel, so sinister in its original version with whirling strings and whining oboe, loses much of its atmosphere when its various distinctive elements turn monochrome; the Karelia Suite's Intermezzo sacrifices most of its charm and all of its Romantic evocativeness, and Sigfridsson's hasty tempo, while understandable considering what he is dealing with, does nothing to help.

On the plus side, the Entr'acte from Pelléas sparkles delightfully in Sigfridsson's hands, as does the Musette from King Kristian II (the original short suite, heard here without the Nocturne and Ballade). Khadra's Dance from Belshazzar's Feast also works quite well. In general, anything of an obviously dance or march-like character transcribes effectively, as you might expect, and Sigfridsson's light touch in the various waltzes, "Triste" and otherwise, serves the music beautifully. The three major song transcriptions (The Three Blind Sisters from Pelléas, the Ballade from the Karelia Suite, and the Song of the Spider from King Kristian II) also make attractive piano solos, consisting as they do of characterful melodies with simple accompaniments.

This, then, is an extremely appealing disc to enjoy on its own terms, but if you are a Sibelius collector and know the originals well, it will sound all the more intriguing, and its acquisition accordingly becomes all the more urgent.

--David Hurwitz, ClassicsToday.com
Read less

Works on This Recording

1.
Pelléas et Mélisande, Op. 46 by Jean Sibelius
Performer:  Henri Sigfridsson (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1905; Finland 
Venue:  Hans Rosbaud Studio, Baden-Baden, German 
Length: 25 Minutes 21 Secs. 
Notes: Arranger: Jean Sibelius.
Hans Rosbaud Studio, Baden-Baden, Germany (05/2006 - 01/2007) 
2.
King Christian II, Op. 27 by Jean Sibelius
Performer:  Henri Sigfridsson (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1898; Finland 
Venue:  Hans Rosbaud Studio, Baden-Baden, German 
Length: 11 Minutes 9 Secs. 
Notes: Arranger: Jean Sibelius.
Hans Rosbaud Studio, Baden-Baden, Germany (05/2006 - 01/2007) 
3.
Belshazzar's Feast, Op. 51 by Jean Sibelius
Performer:  Henri Sigfridsson (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1906; Finland 
Venue:  Hans Rosbaud Studio, Baden-Baden, German 
Length: 13 Minutes 20 Secs. 
Notes: Arranger: Jean Sibelius.
Hans Rosbaud Studio, Baden-Baden, Germany (05/2006 - 01/2007) 
4.
Kuolema: Valse triste, Op. 44 no 1 by Jean Sibelius
Performer:  Henri Sigfridsson (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1903-1904; Finland 
Venue:  Hans Rosbaud Studio, Baden-Baden, German 
Length: 5 Minutes 24 Secs. 
Notes: Arranger: Jean Sibelius.
Hans Rosbaud Studio, Baden-Baden, Germany (05/2006 - 01/2007) 
5.
Karelia Suite, Op. 11 by Jean Sibelius
Performer:  Henri Sigfridsson (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1893; Finland 
Venue:  Hans Rosbaud Studio, Baden-Baden, German 
Length: 15 Minutes 48 Secs. 
Notes: Arranger: Jean Sibelius.
Hans Rosbaud Studio, Baden-Baden, Germany (05/2006 - 01/2007) 
6.
Finlandia, Op. 26 by Jean Sibelius
Performer:  Henri Sigfridsson (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: Finland 
Venue:  Hans Rosbaud Studio, Baden-Baden, German 
Length: 7 Minutes 47 Secs. 
Notes: Arranger: Jean Sibelius.
Hans Rosbaud Studio, Baden-Baden, Germany (05/2006 - 01/2007)
Composition written: Finland (1899 - 1900). 

Sound Samples

Pelleas och Melisande (Pelleas and Melisande), Op. 46 (arr. for piano): No. 1. Prelude to Act I Scene 1, "At the Castle-gate"
Pelleas och Melisande (Pelleas and Melisande), Op. 46 (arr. for piano): No. 2. Prelude to Act I Scene 2, "Melisande"
Pelleas och Melisande (Pelleas and Melisande), Op. 46 (arr. for piano): No. 3. Prelude to Act II Scene 1, "A Spring in the Park"
Pelleas och Melisande (Pelleas and Melisande), Op. 46 (arr. for piano): No. 4. Song in Act III Scene 2, De trenne blinda systrar (The 3 Blind Sisters)
Pelleas och Melisande (Pelleas and Melisande), Op. 46 (arr. for piano): No. 5. Melodrama in Act III Scene 4, "Pastorale"
Pelleas och Melisande (Pelleas and Melisande), Op. 46 (arr. for piano): No. 6. Prelude to Act III Scene 1, "Melisande at the Spinning Wheel"
Pelleas och Melisande (Pelleas and Melisande), Op. 46 (arr. for piano): No. 7. Prelude to Act IV Scene 1, "Entr'acte"
Pelleas och Melisande (Pelleas and Melisande), Op. 46 (arr. for piano): No. 8. Prelude to Act V Scene 2, "The Death of Melisande"
King Kristian II, Op. 27 (arr. for piano): I. Elegy
King Kristian II, Op. 27 (arr. for piano): II. Minuet
King Kristian II, Op. 27 (arr. for piano): III. Musette
King Kristian II, Op. 27 (arr. for piano): IV. Sangen om korsspindeln (Fool's Song of the Spider)
Belshazzar's Feast, Op. 51 (arr. for piano): I. Oriental procession
Belshazzar's Feast, Op. 51 (arr. for piano): II. Solitude
Belshazzar's Feast, Op. 51 (arr. for piano): III. Nocturne
Belshazzar's Feast, Op. 51 (arr. for piano): IV. Khadra's Dance
Valse triste, Op. 44, No. 1 (version for piano): Valse triste, Op. 44 (arr. for piano)
Karelia Suite, Op. 11 (arr. for piano): I. Intermezzo
Karelia Suite, Op. 11 (arr. for piano): II. Ballade
Karelia Suite, Op. 11 (arr. for piano): III. Alla marcia (arr. O. Taubmann)
Finlandia, Op. 26 (version for piano): Finlandia, Op. 26 (arr. for piano)

Customer Reviews

Be the first to review this title
Review This Title
Review This Title Share on Facebook




YOU MUST BE A SUBSCRIBER TO LISTEN - TRY IT FREE!
Listen to all your favorite classical music for only $20/month.
Sign up for your monthly subscription service and get unlimited access to the most comprehensive digital catalog of classical music in the world - new releases. bestsellers, advanced releases and more.
Aleady a subscriber? Sign In