This is the final release in our six-volume set of orchestral works by Jean Sibelius, which comprises all his compositions for the theatre and many rarely performed shorter pieces. It marks the end of a superbly realised project by conductor Leif Segerstam and the Turku Philharmonic Orchestra in which each release has been met with enthusiasm by the media and music lovers in general. This last disc in the series is certain to generate an equally generous reaction, with its release timed just one month before the 150th anniversary of the great Finnish composer's birth in December, 1865.
The eloquent power of Jean Sibelius’s symphonies and other core orchestral works has overshadowed his prolific output in other genres, including significant scores for the theatre. The commission to compose music for the tragic pantomime Scaramouche caused Sibelius much stress and frustration, but on its première the composer was able to note “great success in Copenhagen” in his diary. With the exception of his one opera, Scaramouche is Sibelius’s only continuous dramatic score, the story of the sinister hunchbacked dwarf’s bewitching musicianship and evil intent taking us from innocent charm to a nightmarish conclusion.
Listen to an extract from Scaramouche:
Act 2 Scene 5
Watch a video trailer for this release
About the Artists
Leif Segerstam is a conductor, composer, violinist and pianist with a prominent international career. He received diplomas from the Sibelius Academy in violin and conducting, and rounded off his studies at The Juilliard School in New York, where he was awarded a conducting diploma. Segerstam has conducted in most of the world’s leading opera houses, including the Metropolitan Opera, Covent Garden and La Scala. Since 2012 he has been chief conductor of the Turku Philharmonic Orchestra. In 2004 Leif Segerstam was awarded the annual Finnish State Prize for Music and in 2005 the highly esteemed Sibelius Medal.
The Turku Musical Society, which later formed the Turku Philharmonic Orchestra, was founded in 1790. As the oldest orchestra in Finland, the ensemble continues to develop and flourish under the baton of renowned conductors. Since 2012, the orchestra’s 74 musicians have been under the artistic leadership of Leif Segerstam. The orchestra’s resident composer is Mikko Heiniö. Several of the Turku Philharmonic’s recordings have won platinum and other awards.
Previous releases in the series: June-October 2015
“Segerstam directs with his customary big heart and acute sensitivity for texture and mood. Soprano Pia Pajala makes a heady thing of Elsa’s song ‘Eilaa, eilaa’, while Torikka’s lustrous timbre sent shivers down my spine in ‘Paavali’s Song’.” – Gramophone
“Segerstam has his Turku Philharmonic playing with both idiomatic, long-focused energy and poignant understatement…” – The Guardian
“A must-have release for Sibelius lovers, and an unexpected pleasure for anybody.”
“A genuinely rewarding achievement…”
“…the performances are simply as fine as they can be. The two ladies sing well [and] the whole production is sumptuously recorded… Classy.” – ClassicsToday.com
“Leif Segerstam reveals the originality of Sibelius’s beautiful Pelléas and Mélisande and shows with much electrifying tension what a masterpiece it is.” – Pizzicato ★★★★★
“Jedermann…could not receive a more dedicated or idiomatic performance than the one it receives here. Segerstam continues to impress as one of the best Sibelius conductors around and he is given a recording of depth and richness.” – MusicWeb International
“This is only the second recording of Sibelius’s Jedermann stage music. Segerstam gives an emotional and beautifully spirited account of it, well supported by committed soloists, choir singers and orchestra members.” – Pizzicato ★★★★★
“…Segerstam’s performance is gorgeous. It’s not often recalled that Segerstam was himself a violinist of considerable ability in his youth, and he pays a great deal of attention to the orchestral string sections in all of his recordings, to excellent effect.” – ClassicsToday.com