Saturday, August 26, 2017

Jean Sibelius - Pelléas et Mélisande (Leif Segerstam)


Information

Composer: Jean Sibelius
  • (01-10) Pelléas et Mélisande, incidental music, JS 147
  • (11) Musik zu einer Szene
  • (12) Valse lyrique, Op. 96a
  • (13) Autrefois - Scène pastorale, Op. 96b
  • (14) Valse chevaleresque, Op. 96c
  • (15) Morceau romantique sur un motif de Monsieur Jakob von Julin, JS 135/a

Pia Pajala, soprano (6, 13)
Sari Nordqvist, mezzo-soprano (13)
Turku Philharmonic Orchestra
Leif Segerstam, conductor

Date: 2015
Label: Naxos
http://www.naxos.com/catalogue/item.asp?item_code=8.573301


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Review

Pride of place on the third volume in Leif Segerstam’s Turku PO series for Naxos of lesser-known Sibelius goes to the incidental music that the composer provided for a 1905 production in Helsinki’s Swedish Theatre of Maurice Maeterlinck’s symbolist drama Pelléas et Mélisande. Sibelius salvaged all but one number for the orchestral suite – go to track 9 to hear the dusky three-minute sequence containing some imaginative writing for principal cello that he left out – and of course we also get to hear Mélisande’s haunting Act 3 song ‘The Three Blind Sisters’ in its original vocal guise (soprano Pia Pajala sings it most eloquently, too). Segerstam masterminds a pungently characterised and keenly perceptive rendering. His daringly spacious treatment of the concluding Andante (entitled ‘Death of Mélisande’ in the suite) tops the seven-minute mark, but so sure is his control of line it never drags.

Next comes the unpublished and often appealing Musik zu einer Szene, dating from 1904 and originally designed to accompany a tableau. All but one of the four remaining items – namely the charming pastoral miniature Autrefois of 1919 with its fetching vocalise for two voices– are waltzes: the manuscript of the innocuous Morceau romantique (1925) was auctioned to raise money for a children’s hospital, but the less said about the feeble Valse chevaleresque (1921) the better.

-- Andrew AchenbachGramophone

More reviews:
ClassicsToday  ARTISTIC QUALITY: 10 / SOUND QUALITY: 10
BBC Music Magazine  PERFORMANCE: **** / RECORDING: ****
http://www.musicweb-international.com/classrev/2015/Jul/Sibelius_incidental_8573299.htm
http://www.musicweb-international.com/classrev/2015/Aug/Sibelius_Pelleas_8573301.htm
http://www.musicweb-international.com/classrev/2015/Sep/Sibelius_incidental_8573299.htm
http://www.classical.net/music/recs/reviews/n/nxs73301a.php
http://www.audaud.com/2015/09/sibelius-pelleas-et-melisande-complete-incidental-music-music-for-a-scene-valse-lyrique-autrefois-scene-pastorale-valse-chevaleresque-morceau-romantique-pia-pajala-sop-sari-nordqvist-m/
http://www.allmusic.com/album/sibelius-pell%C3%A9as-et-m%C3%A9lisande-mw0002856495
http://www.amazon.co.uk/Melisande-Segerstam-Nordqvist-Philharmonic-Orchestra/dp/B0101BK87C
http://www.naxos.com/reviews/reviewslist.asp?catalogueid=8.573301&languageid=EN

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Jean Sibelius (8 December 1865 – 20 September 1957) was a Finnish violinist and composer of the late Romantic and early-modern periods. His music contributed to the development of a feeling of national identity in Finland where he is now celebrated as the country's greatest composer. Sibelius is widely known for his seven symphonies, the violin concerto and the tone poems, especially Finlandia and the Karelia suite. Throughout his career, the composer found inspiration in nature and Nordic mythology. He almost completely stopped composing after 1920s and did not produce any large-scale works in his last thirty years.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jean_Sibelius

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Leif Segerstam (born 2 March 1944 in Vaasa, Ostrobothnia, Finland) is a Finnish conductor, composer, violinist, violist and pianist, especially known for his 309 symphonies, along with his other works in his extensive œuvre. Segerstam has conducted in a variety of orchestras since 1963, mostly American, Australian and European orchestras. He is widely known through his recorded discography, which includes the complete symphonies of Blomdahl, Brahms, Mahler, Nielsen, and Sibelius, as well as many works by contemporary composer.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Leif_Segerstam

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