Sibelius - Tapiola, En Saga, 8 Songs | Ondine ODE12895

Sibelius - Tapiola, En Saga, 8 Songs


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Label: Ondine

Cat No: ODE12895

Format: SACD

Number of Discs: 1

Release Date: 13th October 2017



Anne Sofie von Otter (mezzo-soprano)
Finnish Radio Symphony Orchestra


Hannu Lintu


Sibelius, Jean

En saga, op.9
Songs (8) (orch. Aulis Sallinen)
Tapiola, op.112


Anne Sofie von Otter (mezzo-soprano)
Finnish Radio Symphony Orchestra


Hannu Lintu


This new release by the Finnish Radio Symphony Orchestra conducted by Hannu Lintu is an all-Sibelius programme featuring internationally acclaimed mezzo-soprano Anne Sofie von Otter. The album includes two major tone poems by Jean Sibelius, Tapiola and En saga, combined with a set of songs orchestrated by Aulis Sallinen (b. 1935) in 2015.

Sibeliusís tone poem Tapiola, written shortly after the Seventh Symphony, may be regarded as the culmination of a period that began with the Fifth Symphony, a period where Sibelius created music that grew organically out of tiny germs into huge processes. It was completed in 1926 and remained Sibeliusís last great orchestral work. In Tapiola, Sibelius appears to equate the primacy of nature with the value of art for its own sake, the unattainable truths of which remain uneroded by time or by the shifting ideals of mankind. Sibelius stated to his private secretary: ĎMy inspiration for Tapiola came wholly from nature, or even more accurately from something inexpressible in wordsí.

The genesis of En saga, originally premiered in 1892, is also shrouded in mystery, and even later in life Sibelius was reluctant to go into any detail regarding its content. It is among Sibeliusís earliest orchestral works, and its original title in Swedish, En saga, refers to ancient Nordic tales of heroes and gods. Although En saga is among the most popular works by Sibelius today, the premiere of the work was not a success and Sibelius revised the score in 1902.

On the occasion of the 150th anniversary of Sibeliusís birth in 2015 composer Aulis Sallinen orchestrated a cycle of songs for mezzo-soprano Anne Sophie von Otter. This cycle of eight songs contains several less known songs in a cavalcade juxtaposing human emotions and innermost thoughts with the natural environment and experiences in nature.


Lintuís Tapiola does indeed settle into one of the finest performances on record, reconciling the obvious with the mysterious, casting everything in various shades of darkness until it snaps or roars outwards, and, in the culminating shift to the major, equalling Leif Segerstamís magical flooding of the soundscape with glistening, sideways forest light. ... Von Otterís voice may have lost some brightness but it has gained storytelling capabilities with age, best demonstrated in ĎUnder strandens granarí. Sallinenís orchestrations only occasionally draw attention to themselves and sometimes Sibelius lurks unobtrusively behind them (notably in Sallinenís deployment of the timpani). One of the most striking Sibelius discs for years.  Andrew Mellor
Gramophone November 2017
Gramophone Editor's Choice

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