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See latest reviews of other albums..., November 2016

This recording by Leif Segerstam and the Turku Philharmonic Orchestra features wonderfully authentic performances of music that Jean Sibelius wrote for the theatre. © 2016 Read complete review

Paul Corfield Godfrey
MusicWeb International, September 2015

SIBELIUS, J.: Kuolema / King Kristian II / Overture in A Minor (Pajala, Torikka, Turku Philharmonic, Segerstam) 8.573299
SIBELIUS, J.: Belshazzar’s Feast / Overture in E Major / Scène de ballet / Cortège / Menuetto (Pajala, Turku Philharmonic, Segerstam) 8.573300
SIBELIUS, J.: Pelleas and Melisande / Musik zu einer Szene / Autrefois / Valse Chevaleresque (Pajala, Nordqvist, Turku Philharmonic, Segerstam) 8.573301

The playing of the Turku orchestra is immaculate throughout, and the recorded acoustic is superb. Even those Sibelians who have already acquired [other] versions will find something in these Naxos readings to be of interest, and those who are unfamiliar with the music in its original form will enjoy the process of exploration at budget price.

…an experience to relish. © 2015 MusicWeb International Read complete review

Robert Cummings
Classical Net, August 2015

Segerstam draws fine, idiomatic playing from the Turku players, allowing the music to speak for itself…

While this may not be top-drawer Sibelius, it is good music nonetheless and shows that this iconic Finnish composer could write light music of high quality. Recommended. © 2015 Classical Net Read complete review

Andrew Achenbach
Gramophone, August 2015

Segerstam directs with his customary big heart and acute sensitivity for texture and mood… The young Finnish baritone Waltteri Torikka gives a wonderful account of the haunting ‘Fool’s Song of the Spider’…

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’. …Segerstam offers most attentive support. The engineering is truthful throughout. © 2015 Gramophone Read complete review on Gramophone

Steven A. Kennedy
Cinemusical, July 2015

Leif Segerstam likes to let this music unfold slowly creating beautifully lyric lines in the process and giving the music the sort of loving attention that it needs to be engaging. The Turku players also provide committed performances and the singers work well here too. This is a great little disc of rarer Sibelius that will fill in the esoteric gaps of those who love Sibelius’ music. © 2015 Cinemusical Read complete review

Salvatore Pichireddu
artistxite, July 2015

The Turku Philharmonic Orchestra at Segestram’s side proves itself to be a brilliantly equipped orchestra perfectly capable of tackling Sibelius’ musical idiom. Apart from which, the production boasts two excellent solo vocalists who perform their parts with bravado: sopranist Pia Pajala is heart-breaking when she sings Elsa’s lament “Eilaa, eilaa” in “Kuolema” while baritone Waltteri Torikka’s yearning for death in “Kom nu hit, Död!” is both moving and provocative. I look forward to the rest of the series. © 2015 artistxite Read complete review

John Whitmore
MusicWeb International, July 2015

SIBELIUS, J.: Kuolema / King Kristian II / Overture in A Minor (Pajala, Torikka, Turku Philharmonic, Segerstam) 8.573299
SIBELIUS, J.: Belshazzar's Feast / Overture in E Major / Scéne de ballet / Cortège / Menuetto (Pajala, Turku Philharmonic, Segerstam) 8.573300

Naxos should be congratulated for bringing these recordings into the Sibelius discography. The Finnish conductor Leif Segerstam is a master of this repertoire and he draws some wonderful sounds from the Turku Philharmonic Orchestra. They really excel in the hushed, poignant and delicate passages and Segerstam also generates plenty of power and excitement when required. The sound quality is excellent on both discs… © 2015 MusicWeb International Read complete review

Remy Frank
Pizzicato, June 2015

Leif Segerstam may have his own and sometimes very particular views of Sibelius’s music, yet he never loses sight of what serves the atmosphere of the various pieces. So, again, we admire his gripping conducting on this valuable new production. © 2015 Pizzicato

David Hurwitz, June 2015

Segerstam’s conducting…is lovingly shaped…always attentive to the music’s colors and moods. © 2015 Read complete review, June 2015

A very well-played new Naxos CD featuring the Turku Philharmonic Orchestra under Leif Segerstam provides an excellent opportunity to become more familiar with some of Sibelius’ theater music, offering his complete music for King Christian II and Kuolema. …Sibelius was quite comfortable juxtaposing heavy and light dramatic elements without feeling obliged to weave them together—a revelation that helps explain not only his theatrical music but also some of the more puzzling elements of his symphonies. © 2015 Read complete review

David Denton
David's Review Corner, June 2015

Sibelius’s music for the theatre that seldom receives an airing nowadays, comes in affectionate performances from the great veteran conductor, Leif Segerstam. They all date from his younger years, the earliest being the incidental music for King Christian II, a play by his friend, Adolf Paul, that was premiered in 1898. It was a love story between a King and a commoner that enjoyed much success at the time, the score giving Sibelius his first taste of success in major European Concert Halls. In seven sections that create a work of equal length to most symphonies of that period, its content is quite diverse from a quiet opening Elegie; through a delicate dance for the girl in Christian’s life; a Fool’s Song; an extended Nocturne, with its impassioned climax; a march that forms part of the Serenade, and a Ballade of considerable strength to bring a dramatic close. Enjoying a life of its own as Valse Triste—a popular ‘lollypop’ in the time of Sir Thomas Beecham and Sir John Barbirolli—its subtle and quiet textures opening Kuolema (Death), a play written by Sibelius’s brother-in-law, Aino Jarnefelt. It contains two fine vocal sections, here sung by the soprano, Pia Pajala, and an outstanding young baritone, Waltteri Torikka, who also sings two songs written for Shakepease’s play Twelfth Night. Opening the release is the Overture in A minor, a work that folklore would have us believe was composed in a night spent on his travels and in a hotel bedroom. Though he never authorised publication, it would be ideal for a ceremonial occasion. Leif Segerstam, for long my favourite Sibelius interpreter, together his outstanding Turku orchestra, has here made an indispensable addition to the composer on disc, and it is most certainly my disc of the month. The sound quality is excellent. © 2015 David’s Review Corner

Erica Jeal
The Guardian, May 2015

Segerstam has his Turku Philharmonic playing with both idiomatic, long-focused energy and poignant understatement… © 2015 The Guardian Read complete review

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