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Thursday, August 24, 2017

Jean Sibelius - The Tempest; The Oceanides; Nightride and Sunrise (Leif Segerstam)


Composer: Jean Sibelius
  • (01) The Oceanides, Op. 73
  • (02-10) The Tempest, Suite No. 1, Op. 109 No. 2
  • (11-19) The Tempest, Suite No. 2, Op. 109 No. 3
  • (20) Nightride and Sunrise, Op. 55

Päivi Korhonen, flute (1)
Helsinki Philharmonic Orchestra
Leif Segerstam, conductor

Date: 2004
Label: Ondine



Segerstam set down the first of the two suites from The Tempest with the Danish National Radio Orchestra (as a fill-up to the Fourth Symphony) in a reading I described as the best modern recording of the piece. This disc brings both suites in generally straightforward readings, free from expressive exaggeration and with impressive playing from the Helsinki Philharmonic. Sir Thomas Beecham’s classic 1955 account is not eclipsed but this does have the advantage of state-of-the-art recording. Less successful is The Oceanides, which begins very slowly but then proceeds at a rather breathless pace – even so, Segerstam is about a minute longer than Sir Thomas (HMV, 7/62 – nla) and most other conductors. Nevertheless it has strong atmosphere. So, too, has Nightride and Sunrise, not an easy score to bring off. Jochum managed the transition from the trochaic pattern of the ride to the glowing and majestic sunrise with conspicuous artistry in his 1955 DG recording recently reissued in harness with Bruckner’s Symphony No. 4. So, for that matter, does Segerstam. Although I would not necessarily prefer this newcomer to the Rattle, it is finely paced and convincing.

-- Robert Layton, Gramophone

More reviews:


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.


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.


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