BBC Music Magazine Orchestral Choice
Following their recording of Symphonies No 1 and 3, this release marks the second disc of Sibelius works from the award-winning Hallé under Sir Mark Elder.
The disc includes the long awaited recording of Elder’s interpretation of the ever-popular Symphony No. 2, a work closely associated with the Hallé who gave the British premiere in 1905.
It is coupled with the dramatic Pohjola’s Daughter, an orchestral show-piece with the Hallé here at the height of its powers, and the less well known and deeply evocative musical portrait of the sea, The Oceanides.
Together, the performances of these works perfectly illustrate the renaissance that has been achieved at the Hallé under Sir Mark Elder.
The 2nd Symphony was recorded live from sell out concerts in the Bridgewater Hall, of which critics said:
“The Sibelius reading was more arresting still… The whole elaborate, superbly integrated argument never lost focus for a moment.” Sunday Times
“Elder is at his best in the first movement [of the Symphony] which, like the two tone-poems, is sensitively pointed and rhythmically supple, but the Andante seems to me to be holding something back...The precision of Elder's Pohjola's Daughter, with its carefully tiered dynamics...makes a much stronger impression and so does the hauntingly atmospheric Oceanides, which rises to a powerful climax.” Gramophone
***** “under Elder, [Pohjola's Daughter is] a primal folktale rather than an urbane fantasy...[in the Symphony] Elder's elemental strength, relieved by a sense of light and space and the Halle's intense playing, help to make this highly recommendable.” BBC Music Magazine
“Elder seems fully in tune with the true essence of the [Symphony] and his orchestra plays it very well indeed...there are three admirable Sibelius performances here. The orchestral playing throughout matches the very high standards that we’ve come to expect from this team.” Music Web