I am rapidly buying up everything that Osmo Vänskä and the Lahti Symphony have recorded of Sibelius's vast orchestral repertoire. Their performance on this CD is more proof that they rank the highest, surpassing many of the greatest orchestras and conductors in their brilliant interpretation. As always, the brass are incisive and powerful, the strings precise, and the woodwinds colorful. The difficulties normally associated with Sibelius's ambiguous rhythms and complicated phrasing are handled with tremendous dexterity and acumen.
Unfortunately, and for some unknown reason (as this piece was recorded in one of the same places by the same technical crew as all the others), the strings and French Horns are muted throughout. The normally crisp and clear technical aspects of other Vänskä/Lahti recordings are absent, leaving the listener to believe that this is some out-of-date, inferior recording.
I am sincerely hoping that they give this suite another go. And soon. For now, I recommend Eugene Ormandy's interpretation with the Philadelphia Orchestra.