Symphonies Nos.1 & 3
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Following the success of their recordings of Sibelius' Night Ride and Sunrise, Belshazzar' Feast Suite and Kuolema -'top-notch performances' -and Scenes historiques I & II and King Christian II Suite -'polished and involving...handsomely true and atm
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Because Inkinen emphasizes Sibelius's structure, the composer's growth is all the more noticeable when one contrasts the First Symphony with the Third. The latter shows us more of what we have come to think of as 'typical' Sibelius. It is less obviously nationalistic than the First and the structural daring, brought out by Inkinen, is considerably more to the fore. For instance, the key signature of the slow second movement is in G Sharp Minor, a far cry from the symphony's nominal home key, C Major.
There is little question that the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra is a very good ensemble and they certainly have Sibelius's style in their bones. In an earlier review I commented that Sibelius has been a particular favorite in New Zealand and that the best-known twentieth-century composer from New Zealand, Douglas Lilburn, wrote much music that sounds for all the world like it had come from Sibelius's pen. Inkinen of course, being a Finn, also knows his way around Sibelius. Together conductor and orchestra have given us treasurable performances. This is the first of what will be a series comprising all of Sibelius's symphonies. We will likely be the richer for it.