GRAMMY winner 2014. Best Orchestral Performance
The seven Sibelius symphonies span a quarter of a century in all (1899–1924) and encompass a complete world. Were one to choose two that reveal the furthermost poles of his symphonic art, they would be the two recorded here, the First and Fourth; the one an essay in the received tradition, the other a work so original and inward-looking as to open up an entirely new world, and inconceivable from the vantage point of the 1890s.
Symphonies Nos. 1 & 4 are poles apart in their musical style and make a highly interesting pairing for this new release. Symphony No. 1 is rooted in the symphonic tradition and has a particular tunefulness reminiscent of Tchaikovsky, whereas Symphony No. 4 is highly original and introverted, often being seen as modern and ‘cubist’ by listeners in the 1890s.
The Minnesota Orchestra and its music director Osmo Vänskä were highly praised for their previous release of Symphonies Nos. 2 & 5 (BISSACD1986), being called ‘a fine start to what may be the benchmark cycle for the 21st century’ by Gramophone, and nominated for a Grammy Award for Best Orchestral Performance.
Vänskä has really enhanced the quality of the Minnesota Orchestra since he took the position of musical director in 2003. He has since had his tenure extended many times and continues to carve an international reputation for the ensemble.