Sibelius Symphony No.2, The Oceanides & Pohjola's Daughter
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.
'For Sibelius at his most heroic, complete with pulsating melodies a la Tchaikovsky, the Second Symphony is a must-hear of late Romantic opulence, especially in the hands of Sir Mark Elder, BBC Music Magazine, August 2013
'This disc should serve as a welcome calling-card for the Halle's Sibelius.' Mark Pullinger, Gramophone, August 2013
'Sir Mark’s impassioned performance is totally gripping, generating real excitement. Splendidly controlled and executed with palpable shape and momentum this is world class playing. I love the way all the melodic blocks are brought together to make a compelling outpouring of Finnish nationalistic fervour... Noticeable throughout is how the homogeneous Hallé strings have developed significant body. They also possess an appealing silvery timbre that is a match for the finest orchestras around.
Sir Mark Elder is an inspirational conductor and there aren’t too many of those around today. Playing with dramatic bite the Hallé is certainly on its finest form with this all-Sibelius disc. Excellent sound quality adds to the desirability of this release.' Michael Cookson, Musicweb-international, July 2013
'This is great Sibelius from a conductor and orchestra at their peak. The live recording made in 2012 at Manchester’s Bridgwater Hall is first rate, with the lower frequencies particularly well caught. The tremendous applause at the end of the symphony is kept in – as indeed it deserves to be.' theclassicalreviewer
'This is another excellent addition to the Elder/Hallé discography. I hope that the remaining Sibelius symphonies will follow and I must catch up with the previous instalment.' John Quinn, musicweb-international.com