Friday, August 25, 2017

Jean Sibelius - Swanwhite; Belshazzar's Feast (Neeme Järvi)


Composer: Jean Sibelius
  • (01-07) Swanwhite, suite from incidental music, Op. 54
  • (08-11) Belshazzar's Feast, suite from incidental music, Op. 51
  • (12) The Dryad, Op. 45 No. 1
  • (13) Dance Intermezzo, Op. 45 No. 2
  • (14) Pan and Echo, Op. 53a

Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra
Neeme Järvi, conductor

Date: 1987
Label: BIS



Although he wrote only a single, insignificant opera, Sibelius composed a tremendous amount of music for the theater to accompany spoken plays. This "incidental music," as it's called, performs exactly the same function that movie music does today--it sets the scene, supports the action, and accompanies some of the dialogue. The major works on this recording--the suites from Swanwhite and Belshazzar's Feast--are two of the many incidental scores that Sibelius wrote over the course of his career, and they are every bit as enjoyable as any film score by John Williams or Jerry Goldsmith. You'll find them well worth getting to know.

-- David Hurwitz, Amazon Editorial Review


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.


Neeme Järvi (born June 7, 1937 in Tallinn) is an Estonian conductor. He studied at the Leningrad Conservatory under Yevgeny Mravinsky and Nikolai Rabinovich, among others. He made over 400 recordings for labels such as BIS, Chandos and Deutsche Grammophon and best known for his interpretations of Romantic and 20th century classical music. In 1982, he became the principal conductor of the Gothenburg Symphony, and held the post for 22 years, the longest-serving principal conductor in the orchestra's history.


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