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Shakespeare's Tempest - Sullivan, Sibelius / Stern, Kansas City Symphony


Release Date: 07/08/2008 
Label:  Reference Recordings   Catalog #: 115   Spars Code: n/a 
Composer:  Arthur SullivanJean Sibelius
Conductor:  Michael Stern
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Kansas City Symphony Orchestra
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
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Notes and Editorial Reviews


Arthur Sullivan's music for The Tempest reveals the 19-year-old as a serious talent. Yes, the music owes something to Mendelssohn--the Prelude, particularly, takes a few major hints from the Fingal's Cave Overture. But the melodic inspiration is fresh, the orchestration vivid, the dance music aptly toe-tapping, and the brief postlude curiously moving in a way that actually anticipates the more reflective moments of the Sibelius that follows. Coupling these two works, one a barely known first orchestral essay, the other a late but still curiously neglected masterpiece, was a brilliant idea--a "concept" album that really makes good musical sense.

The playing order of the
Read more Sibelius also is very intelligent: Prelude (Storm), Suite No. 2, then Suite No. 1, which ends with a reprise of the Prelude's storm music. Happily, both here and in the Sullivan, the performances are as smart, atmospheric, and vibrant as the music itself. Caliban's Song and the storm episodes have impressive power, and they're stunningly recorded in vintage Reference Recordings fashion. The more lyrical moments, such as the Berceuse and the various song transcriptions, are all beautifully played by the Kansas orchestra. The wind soloists are uniformly fine (listen to the flute in The Oak Tree, from Suite No. 1), and the harp, so important to the music's "magic" elements, is wonderfully present without ever sounding spotlit. Only "Miranda" from Suite No. 2 sounds a touch edgy in the violins, the tempo slightly rushed. This and any other minor quibbles certainly aren't enough to prevent me from recommending this new release in the strongest possible terms. It's a winner in all respects.

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

1.
The Tempest: Suite by Arthur Sullivan
Conductor:  Michael Stern
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Kansas City Symphony Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1861; England 
Date of Recording: 2/2008 
2.
The Tempest, Op. 109: Prelude by Jean Sibelius
Conductor:  Michael Stern
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Kansas City Symphony Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1925; Finland 
Date of Recording: 2/2008 
3.
The Tempest, Op. 109: Suite no 2 - Excerpt(s) by Jean Sibelius
Conductor:  Michael Stern
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Kansas City Symphony Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1925; Finland 
Date of Recording: 2/2008 
4.
The Tempest, Op. 109: Suite no 1 - Excerpt(s) by Jean Sibelius
Conductor:  Michael Stern
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Kansas City Symphony Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1925; Finland 
Date of Recording: 2/2008 

Featured Sound Samples

The Tempest (Sullivan): Act IV Overture
The Tempest: Suite no 1 (Sibelius): Canon

Sound Samples

The Tempest, Op. 1: Suite: Introduction
The Tempest, Op. 1: Suite: Prelude to Act III
The Tempest, Op. 1: Suite: Banquet Dance
The Tempest, Op. 1: Suite: Overture to Act IV
The Tempest, Op. 1: Suite: Dance of Nymphs and Reapers
The Tempest, Op. 1: Suite: Prelude to Act V
The Tempest, Op. 1: Suite: Epilogue
The Tempest, Op. 109: Overture: The Tempest, Op. 109: Prelude
The Tempest Suite No. 2, Op. 109, No. 3: I. Chorus of the Winds
The Tempest Suite No. 2, Op. 109, No. 3: II. Intermezzo
The Tempest Suite No. 2, Op. 109, No. 3: III. Dance of the Nymphs
The Tempest Suite No. 2, Op. 109, No. 3: IV. Prospero
The Tempest Suite No. 2, Op. 109, No. 3: V. Song I
The Tempest Suite No. 2, Op. 109, No. 3: V. Song II
The Tempest Suite No. 2, Op. 109, No. 3: VI. Miranda
The Tempest Suite No. 2, Op. 109, No. 3: VII. The Naiads
The Tempest Suite No. 2, Op. 109, No. 3: VIII. Dance Episode
The Tempest Suite No. 1, Op. 109, No. 2: I. The Oak Tree
The Tempest Suite No. 1, Op. 109, No. 2: II. Humoresque
The Tempest Suite No. 1, Op. 109, No. 2: III. Caliban's Song
The Tempest Suite No. 1, Op. 109, No. 2: IV. The Harvesters
The Tempest Suite No. 1, Op. 109, No. 2: V. Canon
The Tempest Suite No. 1, Op. 109, No. 2: VI. Scene
The Tempest Suite No. 1, Op. 109, No. 2: VII. Intrada -
The Tempest Suite No. 1, Op. 109, No. 2: VII. Berceuse
The Tempest Suite No. 1, Op. 109, No. 2: VIII. Ariel's Song
The Tempest Suite No. 1, Op. 109, No. 2: IX. The Storm

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