Notes and Editorial Reviews
Those expecting the grandeur of Sibelius's great symphonies or his sweeping tone poems will be disappointed by this collection of modest, sometimes understated works for solo piano. The violin, not the piano, was Sibelius's instrument of choice and these works do lack the languid moodiness found in his more well-known works, and which can only be provided by the fullness of strings (and the underscoring of the woodwinds). Indeed, Sibelius went out of his way to keep these five works out of circulation during his lifetime for fear they might diminish the impact of his greater works. Though clearly Romantic in temperament, these piano pieces have echoes mostly of Germanic influences, principally the staid even-temperedness of Brahms. Also
present here are Chopinesque maneuvers, mostly the way that the writing for the left hand and writing for the right hand neatly balance out one another (as opposed to his symphonies and tone poems which doggedly explore the lower registers). This, however, may be more a performance preference of Kyoko Tabe. Her touch is delicate and considered, more than adequate to the modest task at hand, and my suspicion is that the lack of Sibelius' distinct romanticism in these works comes from the music and not Ms. Tabe's take on it. As usual, the Chandos sound is on the mark, leaning more toward warmth than sharpness.
--Paul Cook, ClassicsToday.com Read less
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