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SIBELIUS, J.: Pelleas and Melisande / Musik zu einer Szene / Autrefois / Valse Chevaleresque (Pajala, Nordqvist, Turku Philharmonic, Segerstam)


Naxos 8.573301

   new-classics.co.uk, November 2016
   Fanfare, March 2016
   Ballet Review, March 2016
   Ionarts, December 2015
   MusicWeb International, December 2015
   Classical Net, November 2015
   RadsReferenceReviews, September 2015
   The New York Times, September 2015
   Cinemusical, September 2015
   MusicWeb International, September 2015
   Audiophile Audition, September 2015
   AllMusic.com, September 2015
   ClassicalCDReview.com, September 2015
   MusicWeb International, August 2015
   ClassicsToday.com, August 2015
   Pizzicato, August 2015
   The Buffalo News, August 2015
   David's Review Corner, August 2015

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new-classics.co.uk, November 2016

This recording by the excellent Turku Philharmonic Orchestra, conducted by Leif Segerstam, features the full score to Sibelius’s Pelleas and Melisande as well as his Musik zu einer Szene, Valse lyrique, Autrefois (with soprano Pia Pajala and mezzo-soprano Sari Nordqvist) and Valse Chevaleresque. © 2016 new-classics.co.uk Read complete review



Richard A. Kaplan
Fanfare, March 2016

The Turku Philharmonic plays extremely well for a provincial Finnish orchestra, and Naxos’s sound is admirably lifelike. © 2016 Fanfare Read complete review



George Dorris
Ballet Review, March 2016

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
SIBELIUS, J.: Swanwhite / The Lizard / A Lonely Ski Trail / The Countess’s Portrait (Eklundh, Turku Philharmonic, Segerstam) 8.573341

Originally written for small forces, these theater scores are played here by a full orchestra, making clearer the music’s ties with the symphonies and tone poems written around the same time. …And all are very well played and recorded under the sure hand of the composer-conductor Leif Segerstam with his excellent orchestra from Turku, in the southwest of Finland, and the soprano Pia Pajala. © 2016 Ballet Review



Charles T. Downey
Ionarts, December 2015

…this is a mesmerizing score, with poignant English horn solos (the instrument representing Mélisande in the score) and unsettled orchestral effects that capture the disturbing quality of life in Allemonde, which appears normal but is anything but—a score that all film composers should study closely. …Segerstam and his musicians capture this effect with spine-tingling subtlety, and there are many others one could mention. © 2015 Ionarts Read complete review




Paul Corfield Godfrey
MusicWeb International, December 2015

One of the highlights of the year has been the series of Segerstam’s Sibelius incidental music with the Turku Philharmonic, which does the composer the service of taking his tempo markings at face value. All of the issues are valuable, this one particularly so… © 2015 MusicWeb International Read complete review



Mark Sealey
Classical Net, November 2015

This unhurried laying out of the music and its drama have a second effect: we relax and know immediately that we are in good hands from conductor and soloists as well as the accomplished and flexible Turku Philharmonic. Instrumental technique and exactness never suffer or give way to the need to convey the breadth of the pastoral, the depth of the emotional—rather than their qualities as languorous or lugubrious. Sweetness and effect are pushed aside in favor of precision and insight. © 2015 Classical Net Read complete review



Rad Bennett
RadsReferenceReviews, September 2015

Segerstam and the magnificent Turku musicians play this music as it it was their prime assignment in life. The grave overture to Pelléas sets the stage with every note given importance. This is bold, grand, passionate music making usually reserved for something like the second symphony. The music for Pellas et Melisande is highly regarded but as played by Segerstam, it emerges as a major composition. The small pieces fare well and are given the same care and attention as the main offering. The recorded sound is robust, rich, full, and very exciting. © 2015 RadsReferenceReviews Read complete review



David Allen
The New York Times, September 2015

all gorgeously played… © 2015 The New York Times Read complete review




Steven A. Kennedy
Cinemusical, September 2015

Segerstam has a wonderful way of shaping these pieces often tending to let them unfold a bit more slowly at times. It allows the listener to really hear the delicate string writing, rich harmonic ideas, and orchestral approaches of the composer. All of which are parallel explorations that will receive full flower in the large-scale symphonic pieces. The series so far has revealed a great many of Sibelian minutiae, but for those who love the composer’s music, there is still much to discover here and enjoy. © 2015 Cinemusical 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




Gary Lemco
Audiophile Audition, September 2015

Conductor Segerstam and his venerable ensemble do plastic and nostalgic justice to these scores, of which the Pelléas will command rehearings for its mysterious colors. © 2015 Audiophile Audition Read complete review




James Manheim
AllMusic.com, September 2015

…clean, idiomatic performances that cover a side of the composer substantially lighter than that shown by his weighty symphonies. Sample the very sparse and powerful Mélisande’s song, given a rich performance by soprano Pia Pajala… © 2015 Allmusic.com Read complete review



Robert Benson
ClassicalCDReview.com, September 2015

…Leif Segerstam and the Turku Philharmonic play very well indeed, and stereo sound is most realistic. © 2015 ClassicalCDReview.com Read complete review



Gwyn Parry-Jones
MusicWeb International, August 2015

The playing [of Pelléas et Mélisande] is as stylish and sympathetic as you might expect from a Finnish orchestra and conductor. Its rare beauty is well brought out… © 2015 MusicWeb International Read complete review




David Hurwitz
ClassicsToday.com, August 2015

…the performances are simply as fine as they can be. The two ladies sing well [and] the whole production is sumptuously recorded… Classy. © 2015 ClassicsToday.com Read complete review




Remy Franck
Pizzicato, August 2015

Leif Segerstam reveals the originality of Sibelius’s beautiful Pelléas and Mélisande and shows with much electrifying tension what a masterpiece it is. © 2015 Pizzicato




Jeff Simon
The Buffalo News, August 2015

Recordings of the complete score (Pelléas and Mélisande), rather than the suite, are hardly commonplace and this one, by the orchestra whose history makes it the oldest in Finland, is excellent. © 2015 The Buffalo News Read complete review



David Denton
David's Review Corner, August 2015

The third disc in a series covering the orchestral music written by Jean Sibelius for the theatre, the present release including the ten scenes for Pelléas et Mélisande. At the time of composition it was his most ambitious undertaking in the genre, and, in a slightly abbreviated form, it was to become part of the concert hall repertoire, the complete score—as here recorded—is a work lasting over half and hour. Maybe stylistically not always recognisable as his music, it does form a colourful and descriptive score, each section far more than a cameo as thematic music is developed, the slow rocking of the boat in which Mélisande had arrived is, for instance, depicted in a slow and hypnotic adagio, while the eighth piece is a vivacious little dance as the prelude that proves a foil to the sadness that is to follow, the strings playing a long elegiac andante as the music for the dying Mélisande. There is one vocal piece for soprano in the sad song of The Three Blind Sisters. The Musik zu einer Szene was originally intended for a tableau that it is pictured by conflicting emotions that are dark and stormy before happiness in the form of a dance, complete with tambourines. The remaining tracks are ‘bits and pieces’ that show Sibelius’s love of dance—as in the two Valses and the Morceau romantique sur un motif de Monsieur Jakob von Julin. They are pleasing in their own way, while the Autrefois (In Olden Times) is a pastoral song for soprano, mezzo and orchestra. As with the previous releases in the series, Leif Segerstam proves to be a great Sibelian who extracts idiomatic and outstanding playing from the Turku Philharmonic, while Pia Pajala and Sari Nordqvist are very satisfying in their small roles. Very good sound quality. © 2015 David’s Review Corner





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