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Sibelius: Tone Poems / Gibson, Scottish National Orchestra


Release Date: 01/25/2005 
Label:  Chandos   Catalog #: 24119   Spars Code: ADD 
Composer:  Jean Sibelius
Performer:  Phyllis Bryn-Julson
Conductor:  Sir Alexander Gibson
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Royal Scottish National Orchestra
Number of Discs: 2 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Length: 1 Hours 50 Mins. 

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Notes and Editorial Reviews


Alexander Gibson's Sibelius recordings for Chandos represent the high point of his career on disc, and none is finer than this set of tone poems, an excellent value as reissued at a twofer price. Several of the performances here never have been bettered. Luonnotar features the sensational Phyllis Bryn-Julson, whose accuracy of pitch and evenness across registers delivers thrilling results, culminating in a mystical, luminous conclusion quite unlike any other. Here, and also in Oceanides, Gibson paces the music ideally, with perfectly timed climaxes, giving both works the effortless feeling of movement and organic unfolding that remains the hallmark of Sibelius' symphonic writing.

Read more /> Gibson's swift and gripping Tapiola (why is it often played so much more slowly today?) also stands among the best, as does this primal and atmospheric account of En Saga, again featuring extremely exciting climaxes and a commanding control of musical architecture. Pohjola's Daughter may not rise to the level of the recent Segerstam (Ondine) in sheer orchestral splendor, but it yields to no one in narrative point, and Gibson pulls off the all-but-impossible Night Ride and Sunrise as well as anyone ever has. All of the shorter items display similar qualities, with The Bard particularly poetic.


At this stage in its career (the mid-1970s), the Scottish National Orchestra was not quite the ensemble that strutted its stuff to such spectacular effect in Neeme Järvi's set of Strauss tone poems, but these players clearly understand this music as well as Gibson does, and if the strings turn a touch scruffy now and then, the winds and brass deliver the goods, playing with unaffected musicality and just the right timbre. Helping things along considerably is some of the best engineering that Chandos ever achieved with this orchestra, better even than Gibson's later digital Sibelius symphony cycle. Textures are crystal clear and balances are always natural, faithfully reflecting the excellence of the interpretations. If you are looking for an economical way to get all of the major tone poems (save the Four Legends) in a convenient package, then this is it. [5/19/2005]
--David Hurwitz, ClassicsToday.com Read less

Works on This Recording

1.
En saga, Op. 9 by Jean Sibelius
Conductor:  Sir Alexander Gibson
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Royal Scottish National Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1892/1902; Finland 
Date of Recording: 08/1977 
Venue:  City Hall, Glasgow, Scotland 
Length: 18 Minutes 12 Secs. 
Notes: Version: 1902 
2.
Luonnotar, Op. 70 by Jean Sibelius
Performer:  Phyllis Bryn-Julson (Soprano)
Conductor:  Sir Alexander Gibson
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Royal Scottish National Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: ?1910; Finland 
Date of Recording: 08/1977 
Venue:  City Hall, Glasgow, Scotland 
Length: 9 Minutes 13 Secs. 
Language: Finnish 
3.
Finlandia, Op. 26 by Jean Sibelius
Conductor:  Sir Alexander Gibson
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Royal Scottish National Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: Finland 
Date of Recording: 08/1977 
Venue:  City Hall, Glasgow, Scotland 
Length: 7 Minutes 25 Secs. 
Notes: Composition written: Finland (1899 - 1900). 
4.
Spring Song, Op. 16 by Jean Sibelius
Conductor:  Sir Alexander Gibson
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Royal Scottish National Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: Finland 
Date of Recording: 08/1977 
Venue:  City Hall, Glasgow, Scotland 
Length: 7 Minutes 12 Secs. 
Notes: Composition written: Finland (1894).
Composition revised: 1895.
Composition revised: 1902. 
5.
The Bard, Op. 64 by Jean Sibelius
Conductor:  Sir Alexander Gibson
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Royal Scottish National Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1913/1914; Finland 
Date of Recording: 08/1977 
Venue:  City Hall, Glasgow, Scotland 
Length: 7 Minutes 47 Secs. 
6.
Dryad, Op. 45 no 1 by Jean Sibelius
Conductor:  Sir Alexander Gibson
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Royal Scottish National Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1910; Finland 
Date of Recording: 08/1977 
Venue:  City Hall, Glasgow, Scotland 
Length: 5 Minutes 44 Secs. 
7.
Pohjola's daughter, Op. 49 by Jean Sibelius
Conductor:  Sir Alexander Gibson
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Royal Scottish National Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1906; Finland 
Date of Recording: 08/1977 
Venue:  City Hall, Glasgow, Scotland 
Length: 12 Minutes 35 Secs. 
8.
Nightride and sunrise, Op. 55 by Jean Sibelius
Conductor:  Sir Alexander Gibson
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Royal Scottish National Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1907; Finland 
Date of Recording: 08/1977 
Venue:  City Hall, Glasgow, Scotland 
Length: 15 Minutes 2 Secs. 
9.
Oceanides, Op. 73 by Jean Sibelius
Conductor:  Sir Alexander Gibson
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Royal Scottish National Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1914; Finland 
Date of Recording: 08/1977 
Venue:  City Hall, Glasgow, Scotland 
Length: 10 Minutes 43 Secs. 
10.
Tapiola, Op. 112 by Jean Sibelius
Conductor:  Sir Alexander Gibson
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Royal Scottish National Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1926; Finland 
Date of Recording: 08/1977 
Venue:  City Hall, Glasgow, Scotland 
Length: 15 Minutes 39 Secs. 

Sound Samples

En saga, Op. 9
Luonnotar, Op. 70
Finlandia, Op. 26
Spring Song, Op. 16: Varsang (Spring Song), Op. 16
Barden (The Bard), Op. 64
The Dryad, Op. 45, No. 1: Dryaden (The Dryad), Op. 45, No. 1
Pohjola's Daughter, Op. 49: Pohjolan tytar (Pohjola's Daughter), Op. 49
Night Ride and Sunrise, Op. 55: Oinen ratsastus ja auringonnousu (Night Ride and Sunrise), Op. 55
The Oceanides, Op. 73: Aallottaret (The Oceanides), Op. 73
Tapiola, Op. 112

Customer Reviews

Average Customer Review:  1 Customer Review )
 A GORGEOUS COLLECTION September 7, 2014 By Zita Carno (Tampa, FL) See All My Reviews "Ahhh...all the tone poems on one disc. Saturday's "Sibelius of the day" was "The Oceanides", as enchanting as any song of the sea could be, and I heard it on my TV, the classical music station. I also got the disc in the mail. Sir Alexander both times, and I don't care whether Sibelius was referring to the Hellenic or the Nordic coast---he could have also been thinking about the Oahu or Malibu shores where the surf runs high; it was absolutely beautiful. I'm going to have a blast just going through all, vicariously of course because I never learned how to swim. A gorgeous collection indeed, to add to my growing library of Sibeliana. Thanks again!!!.....And now, one specific track: Tapiola. For the life of me, I will never understand why so many conductors take this at what I call Adagio con schleppo. I heard this one just minutes ago on my Classical Masterpieces channel on TV, and as I listened I suddenly got a real sense of place, of the northland forests. Gibson's swift pace actually propelled this listener into this territory, all sunshine and shadow and thick forests and clearings here and there, sudden blasts of wind and eerie silences. I had never visited this part of Finland, having only seen Helsinki with the Los Angeles Philharmonic and performed a concert there, but let me tell you, I was there, a visitor in unknown territory---a real sense of place and the people who might have inhabited it. This track is worth the entire price of the disc. Again, thank you...Another one from Gibson and the Scots---Sibelius at midnight, and for your perusal, Pohjola's Daughter. As you know, Pohjola is a place name, and the daughter in question is one of the raving beauties of that island: beautiful, desirable, and if you must know, a real pill. Never satisfied. The first one to try and fail with her was someone named Vainamoinen, and I felt sorry for him, because she set him all sorts of impossible tasks and he always came up short. The music was fast-paced and exciting---Gibson does have a way with Sibelius, doesn't he?...And now, another one---at about 5:45 AM today (Friday), a gripping performance of "Nightride and Sunrise", which I have chosen to subtitle Out of the darkness and into the light. While listening to it I was struck by the references to other works by Sibelius: the last movement of Symphony #2...Pohjola's bratty daughter (oh, was she a pill!)...other, shorter works coming during that period and looking forward to things like the Oceanides and Symphony #5...I know, at 6 AM it's still dark outside, because the days are getting shorter and shorter, but I was visualizing the sunrise as it slowly rose over the horizon to flood the scene with daylight. A picturesque scene indeed, and I don't understand why some folks don't understand its significance. Out of the darkness (nightride) and into the light (sunrise). It means many things to many people. I for one enjoyed it tremendously---I heard another recording of it, with Simon Rattle at the helm, but I'm sticking with Gibson. He has all the tone poems except the Lemminkainen legends, which I have with Esa-Pekka salonen conducting, and brilliantly too." Report Abuse
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