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Gemini - Sibelius: Lemminkäinen Legends, Etc / Groves


Release Date: 06/01/2004 
Label:  Emi Classics   Catalog #: 85532   Spars Code: ADD 
Composer:  Jean Sibelius
Conductor:  Sir Charles Groves
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra
Number of Discs: 2 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Length: 2 Hours 34 Mins. 

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Notes and Editorial Reviews

Charles Groves recorded almost exclusively British music. Even when he played Haydn, he had to do the “Oxford” and “London” Symphonies. Mozart’s “Paris” Symphony was, for him, an exotic excursion. This set of Sibelius suites, tone poems, and short pieces was, then, something of a novelty, even though for its time (the mid 70s) much of this music was still rare repertoire on disc. In the event, Groves brings the same authority, color, and musicianship to it that grace his performances of British music.

The two big items comprise the Four Lemminkäinen Legends and the Prelude and two suites from The Tempest. In the legends, Groves offers a slower than usual Lemminkäinen and the Maidens of the Island, but it never
Read more sounds slow, and the love music is amazingly intense and captivatingly phrased. Lemminkäinen’s Return is also a touch measured, and here a swifter pace would have been more effective, but the playing is still gripping, with plenty of vigor and appropriately forceful accents.

Groves plays The Tempest music with abundant character and vivid contrasts between movements. One of my acid tests in this music is the sweet and sexy “Miranda,” a tiny vignette that even Beecham managed to botch. Groves gets it just right, the music’s innocence and flirtatiousness perfectly captured. Among the other short pieces in this collection, it’s particularly fine to see both halves of Op. 45 included: The Dryad and its delightful partner, the Dance Intermezzo. Why this enchanting item doesn’t get played more often remains a mystery. It’s superbly done here.

This is, in sum, a very fine Sibelius collection, one still worth hearing even if the rare items aren’t as unique as they used to be, on disc at least. If you can still find this set at a reasonable price, and you collect Sibelius, you may want to give it a shot.

-- David Hurwitz, ClassicsToday.com
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Works on This Recording

1.
Lemminkäinen Suite, Op. 22 by Jean Sibelius
Conductor:  Sir Charles Groves
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1893/1895; Finland 
2.
Spring Song, Op. 16 by Jean Sibelius
Conductor:  Sir Charles Groves
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: Finland 
Notes: Composition written: Finland (1894).
Composition revised: 1895.
Composition revised: 1902. 
3.
Romance for Strings in C major, Op. 42 by Jean Sibelius
Conductor:  Sir Charles Groves
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1903; Finland 
4.
Dryad, Op. 45 no 1 by Jean Sibelius
Conductor:  Sir Charles Groves
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1910; Finland 
5.
Dance Intermezzo for Piano, Op. 45 no 2 by Jean Sibelius
Conductor:  Sir Charles Groves
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1904; Finland 
6.
Pan and Echo, Op. 53 by Jean Sibelius
Conductor:  Sir Charles Groves
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1906; Finland 
7.
In memoriam, Op. 59 by Jean Sibelius
Conductor:  Sir Charles Groves
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: Finland 
Notes: Composition written: Finland (1909).
Composition revised: Finland (1910). 
8.
Kuolema: Canzonetta, Op. 62a by Jean Sibelius
Conductor:  Sir Charles Groves
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1920; Finland 
9.
Kuolema: Valse romantique, Op. 62b by Jean Sibelius
Conductor:  Sir Charles Groves
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1920; Finland 
10.
Suite mignonne for Flute and Strings, Op. 98 no 1 by Jean Sibelius
Conductor:  Sir Charles Groves
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1921; Finland 
11.
The Tempest, Op. 109: Prelude by Jean Sibelius
Conductor:  Sir Charles Groves
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1925; Finland 
12.
The Tempest, Op. 109: Suite no 1 by Jean Sibelius
Conductor:  Sir Charles Groves
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1925; Finland 
13.
The Tempest, Op. 109: Suite no 2 by Jean Sibelius
Conductor:  Sir Charles Groves
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1925; Finland 
14.
Andante festivo for Strings and Timpani by Jean Sibelius
Conductor:  Sir Charles Groves
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: Finland 
Notes: Composition written: Finland (1922).
Composition revised: Finland (1938). 
15.
Suite champêtre for Strings, Op. 98 no 2 by Jean Sibelius
Conductor:  Sir Charles Groves
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1921; Finland 

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