SearchsearchUseruser

Sibelius: Lemminkäinen Suite & The Wood-Nymph - Osmo Vänskä

Sibelius: Lemminkäinen Suite & The Wood-Nymph - Osmo Vänskä

BIS  BIS-1745 SACD

Stereo/Multichannel Hybrid

Classical - Orchestral


Sibelius: Lemminkäinen Suite, Op. 22; Skogsrået (The Wood-Nymph), Op.15

Lahti Symphony Orchestra
Osmo Vänskä (conductor)


Jean Sibelius is best known for his seven symphonies and violin concerto – two genres usually thought of as ‘absolute music’. But in 1894, well before he composed his first symphony, Sibelius described himself in quite different terms: ‘really I am a tone painter and poet’.

It was around this time that he was working on the two works presented here, both tone poems which spring from an extra-musical inspiration. The source of the Lemminkäinen Suite is the Finnish national epic Kalevala, and its four movements – of which especially The Swan of Tuonela is often performed separately – tell of the adventures of the young hero Lemminkäinen: his amorous escapades on a paradisiacal island peopled only by women, his journey to the land of the dead (Tuonela) and how he himself dies there only to be brought back to life by his mother’s magic spells; and finally his return home after a long series of wars and battles.

The Kalevala furnished Sibelius with the subjects of many other compositions, but for The Wood-Nymph, it was a poem by the Swedish poet Viktor Rydberg that provided the inspiration – the story of a carefree young man who, lost in a forest, encounters a nymph and is seduced by her, only to realize that the incident has cost him any chance of worldly happiness.

Although Sibelius’ tone poem was warmly received at its première in 1895, it was not published in the composer’s lifetime, and soon disappeared from the concert repertoire. The first complete performance of the work in almost 100 years took place only in 1996, with the performers on this disc, a team which has become almost synonymous with top-flight idiomatic Sibelius performances.

Support this site by purchasing from these vendors:

bol.com
 
Presto Classical

 

Add to your wish list | library

 

8 of 9 recommend this, would you recommend it?  yes | no

All
show
Recording
show
hide
PCM recording
Comments (5)
show
hide

Comment by Luketsu - July 24, 2016 (1 of 5)

I reviewed this album on 20th May, 2014:

"Osmo Vänskä recorded Sibelius' Lemminkäinen Suite twenty years ago, and it received BBC Building Library's Highly Recommended award. And it was really brilliant. What Vänskä can say now?
Well, this is the first SACD release of complete Lemminkäinen Suite. The Wood-Nymph, Lemminkäinen's Return and The Swan of Tuonela are released before, BIS label's outstanding SACD of Sibelius' famous orchestral works, "The Sound of Sibelius".
By the way, Vänskä's reading is much powerful and delightful than his older version. The excellent acoustics of the Sibelius Hall is much better than older recording's distant sound. The multichannel SACD sounds outstanding: it is bright and natural. First movement's (Lemminkäinen and the maidens of Island) stormy moments and erotic melodies are performed powerfully and dramatically. Bass drum's deep tremolo sounds frightening, and Lahti Symphony Orchestra plays as they breaths this music. Second movement (The Swan of Tuonela) is very beautiful; english horn's lonely solo is loud, and other players don't cover it. Strings singing melody is also very good.
Third movement (Lemminkäinen in Tuonela) is the most interesting part of this recording. Strings freezing tremolos are very effectively and beautiful second theme (in A minor) is also impressive: it is hard to believe that Sibelius was only over twenty years old when he composed this part. First flute's touching solo and snare drum's pppp tremolo sounds very good. The movement ends in hopeful F sharp major.
Last short movement (Lemminkäinen's Return) is very attractive. Orchestra's punchy C minor accord is stunning, and orchestra's players plays their solos excellent. The end is breathtaking: music goes faster and faster until cymbals loud crash stops it. Triplets of cellos and contrabasses are very effectively: they sounds like Lemminkäinen hits his horse. When the last four E flat major chords are over, I have to say that I've never heard so effective and attractive recording of Sibelius' Lemminkäinen Suite! This is OUTSTANDING! Highly recommend, buy this right now!
The Wood Nymph is also very interesting piece. Osmo Vänskä and Lahti Symphony Orchestra recorded its world premiere in 1990s, and their performance isn't change much. Still this is very welcomed issue and very interesting release for all Osmo Vänskä recorded Sibelius' Lemminkäinen Suite twenty years ago, and it got BBC Building Library's Highly Recommended award. And it was really brilliant. What Vänskä can say now?
Well, this is first SACD release of complete Lemminkäinen Suite. The Wood-Nymph, Lemminkäinen's Return and The Swan of Tuonela are released before, BIS label's outstanding SACD of Sibelius' famous orchestral works, "The Sound of Sibelius".
By the way, Vänskä's reading is much powerful and delightful than his older version. Sibelius Hall's excellent acoustic is much better than older recording's distant sound. The multichannel SACD sounds outstanding: it is bright and natural. First movement's (Lemminkäinen and the maidens of Island) stormy moments and erotic melodies are performed powerfully and dramatically. Bass drum's deep tremolo sounds frightening, and Lahti Symphony Orchestra plays as they breaths this music. Second movement (The Swan of Tuonela) is very beautiful; english horn's lonely solo is loud, and other players don't cover it. Strings singing melody is also very good.
Third movement (Lemminkäinen in Tuonela) is this recording's most interesting part. Strings freezing tremolos are very effectively and beautiful second theme (in A minor) is also impressive: it is hard to believe that Sibelius was only over twenty years old when he composed this part. First flute's touching solo and snare drum's pppp tremolo sounds very good. The movement ends in hopeful F sharp major.
Last short movement (Lemminkäinen's Return) is very attractive. Orchestra's punchy C minor accord is stunning, and orchestra's players plays their solos excellent. The end is breathtaking: music goes faster and faster until cymbals loud crash stops it. Contrabass's and cello's triples are very effectively: it sounds like Lemminkäinen hits his horse. When the last four E flat major chords are over, I have to say that I've never heard so effective and attractive recording of Sibelius' Lemminkäinen Suite! This is OUTSTANDING! Highly recommend, buy this right now!
The Wood Nymph is also very interesting piece. Osmo Vänskä and Lahti Symphony Orchestra recorded its world premiere in 1996, and their performance isn't change much. Still this is very welcomed issue and very interesting release of all Sibelius fans. fans".
- Performance: *****
- Sonics: ****1/2 (Stereo), ***** (Multichannel)

Comment by Luketsu - August 24, 2016 (2 of 5)

The sound politics of BIS has been a mystery to me. The booklet tells the original quality of the recording, for example 48-kHz/16-bit. But at the same time the inlay includes the logo of DSD (Direct Stream Digital). Why?

Comment by Mark Novak - August 25, 2016 (3 of 5)

This is not "sound politics". In order to make an SACD disc, the original PCM master must be converted to DSD, hence the DSD logo. It's just that the master tape itself is not DSD but is PCM usually of at least 21 bit resolution if not 24 bit.

Comment by Luketsu - August 25, 2016 (4 of 5)

I see. Thanks for the clarification, Mark!

Comment by hiredfox - August 29, 2016 (5 of 5)

Hi Luukas. You need only look over on the old sa-cd.net website at the BIS thread to see how this has been debated ad nauseum over the years.

It remains my view - and that of many more SACD collectors and aficianados - that any SACD recorded in PCM should not carry the DSD logo as jt is merely a carrier for the data. No benefits are derived from the conversion of the PCM data stream to DSD for imprinting. All SACD carry the Super Audio logo anyway - also a Sony trademark - and that is where it should end. The reason that PCM recorded SACD are sold in DSD (DVD disc) format and not on a conventional CD is the sheer size of the data files when recording at higher bit rates, sampling frequencies multi-channel.

It is claimed and to some extent accepted that a few early SACD of BIS were recorded in DSD until for cost reasons they reverted back to PCM. There is always the niggling problem of what happens in editing but much more of that over on Jared Sacks' website.