Thomas Sondergard, BBC National Orchestra of Wales – Sibelius: Symphonies 2 & 7 (2015) [FLAC 24bit/96kHz]

Thomas Søndergård, BBC National Orchestra of Wales – Sibelius: Symphonies 2 & 7 (2015)
FLAC (tracks) 24-bit/96 kHz | Time – 62:32 minutes | 1,07 GB | Genre: Classical
Studio Master, Official Digital Download  | Digital Booklet  | © Linn Records

Thomas Søndergård’s opening concert with the BBC National Orchestra of Wales, at which Sibelius was the highlight, was hailed a triumph by audiences and press alike and marked a new era for the orchestra.Building on this triumphant debut the 2013 BBC Proms saw Søndergård and a reinvigorated BBC NOW win over the critics with their charismatic performance and formidable interpretations of 20th century repertoire.

Stating his intentions the new Principal Conductor was clear: I can’t wait to discover Sibelius all over again with my new orchestra.With their nationalist themes Symphonies 2 & 7 are perfect repertoire for Søndergård and his orchestra to make their symphonic recording debut.The Second Symphony marked a major step in Sibelius development as a composer, and remains one of his most popular works.Symphony No.7 is notable for being a one-movement symphony and is completely original in form, subtle in its handling of tempi,individual in its treatment of key and wholly organic in growth and is considered Sibelius most remarkable compositional achievement.

Danish conductor Thomas Søndergård is Principal Conductor of BBC NOW and Principal Guest Conductor of Royal Scottish National Orchestra; a rare honour to hold titled positions with two major British orchestras.His 13/14 season includes the Vale of Glamorgan Festival, Gregynog Festival, Cheltenham Festival, plus several dates at the BBC Proms including a performance of Sibelius Symphony No.5.His 2013 appearances at the BBC Proms (including Strauss An Alpine Symphony and Shostakovich Symphony No.11) received wide praise from both audience and critics.

The BBC NOW presents an annual season at St David’s Hall,Cardiff, where it is Orchestra-in-Residence, as well as concerts in venues across Wales and beyond; including annual performances at the BBC Proms and biannually at BBC Cardiff Singer of the World.

Excuse the cliched introduction, but I am overwhelmed by what I’ve been listening to this past week.I can only welcome, with fast-beating heart, one of the great new Sibelian teams into the record business with the debut recording on Linn Records of Sibelius’s Second and Seventh Symphonies by Thomas Sondergard and his BBC National Orchestra of Wales. Here is an important new series that neither rivals nor displaces any of the greats – Segerstam, Vanska, Barbirolli or whoever – but joins them in that premier league of conductors who really understand what makes this music tick. Sondergard’s Sibelius Two is breathtaking in its speedy pacing, lightness of foot, and command of the internal fluctuations of pace, mood and momentum that make this most organic masterpiece so natural in its growth. The playing of BBC NOW, in line with its conductor’s evident vision, is astonishing in its sophistication. Their flawless performance of the Seventh Symphony, if you love this music, will break your heart. Michael Tumelty -The Herald

The Danish conductor Thomas Søndergård has already recorded music by Nielsen and Poul Ruders for the Da Capo label, but this coupling of Sibelius s Second and Seventh Symphonies is his first disc with the BBC National Orchestra of Wales, of which he became principal conductor in 2012. It is the opening gambit of a projected series (a release of the First and Sixth Symphonies is scheduled for later this year), and it is an auspicious start. While there are no great surprises in his approach to the shaping and interpretation of these well-known and oft-recorded works, the quality that comes across is his thorough appreciation of the scale and substance of the symphonic arguments that Sibelius is putting forward. The BBC NOW, recorded in the warm, clear acoustics of the Hoddinott Hall in Cardiff, responds keenly to the way that Søndergård subtly controls aspects of tempo, instrumental balance and the shifting of mood to create a genuine sense of the music s organically conceived nature. The pairing of the Second and Seventh Symphonies is a familiar one, the reason being that it works so well, as this new recording amply demonstrates. -The Telegraph

For many, Sibelius’s symphonies define early-20th Century symphonic thought, reaffirming and reinventing the old forms, in a language entirely distinctive. In their different ways, they are monumental, inspiring, but also fluid and remarkably condensed. The BBC National Orchestra of Wales here shows itself to be in fine fettle, offering cogent, clear textured performances. -The Sunday Times


Jean Sibelius (1865-1957)

Symphony No. 2 in D Major, Op. 43
1. I. Allegretto 09:29
2. II. Tempo Andante, ma rubato 13:51
3. III. Vivacissimo 05:55
4. IV. Finale: Allegro moderato 12:38

Symphony No. 7 in C major, Op.105
5. Adagio – Vivacissimo – Allegro moderato 20:33



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