Sibelius’s Pohjola’s Daughter is usually classified as a ’tone poem’– in other words, not a ’pure’ symphonic work, but one in which a literary or pictorial idea is represented in music. But Sibelius’s description was ’Symphonic Fantasy’ – which is exactly how the onemovement Seventh Symphony was entitled when it first appeared in 1924. It is quite possible to appreciate Pohjola’s Daughter simply as a colourful and highly compact one-movement symphony. All the same, unlike the Seventh Symphony, Pohjola’s Daughter does come with a story, printed in verse form in the score. It tells how V.in.m.inen – the wizard-hero of the Finnish folk-epic, the Kalevala – sees the daughter of the moon-god Pohjola sitting at her spinning wheel atop a rainbow. Instantly he falls in love with her, and begs her to join him. She agrees to come down when V.in.m.inen has conjured a boat from her spindle – in other words: ’Thanks, but no thanks’. V.in.m.inen tries heroically, but fails. Furious, humiliated, he springs onto his sleigh and vanishes.
Total time: 00:58:38
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|Release Date||March 3, 2015|
A towering interpretation of the Second Symphony … This is the LSO and Sir Colin Davis at the very peak of their powers … I don’t think it’s hyperbolic to say that it ranks amongst the orchestra’s three finest symphonic recordings for the label … This is easily one of the greatest Sibelius recordings of all time
He [Sir Colin Davis] builds the first movement to a thrilling climax without over-dramatising it. The slow movement has even more expressive power, with superb brass playing.
The latest LSO Live CD shows the orchestra (and the sound engineers) in resplendent form … This is monumental Sibelius.
BBC Music Magazine
There is so much about these performances that is ear-opening – or just plain magnificent.
This might turn out to be the finest Sibelius cycle on disc … superbly handled by these fine players under a master Sibelian.
International Record Review
This is an absolutely magnificent performance of the Second Symphony from first bar to last, reinforcing yet again the contention that live performances by great orchestras and conductors often have the edge over multi-edited studio recordings … The sense of musical atmosphere is superbly maintained throughout and is well caught in this excellent recording … [Pohjola’s Daughter] is given an equally outstanding reading. This disc is a serious challenger for orchestral record of the year by any standards.
Davis reminds us now just how great he is in Sibelius with a marvellous new recording of the Second Symphony … the strength of this performance, where a patient (and all the more involving for that) build-up leads to a shattering finale. Davis loves Sibelius, and the orchestra clearly love playing for him. Listening to a Sibelius performance of this calibre, there’s no other composer one would rather hear.
BBC Radio 3 Building a Library
It combines the electric atmosphere of a live performance with the accumulated experience of decades of performing and recording this composer. There’s a sense of synchronicity between conductor and orchestra, of elasticity and spontaneity, of organic growth from one moment and one movement to the next.
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