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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

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

Gary Lemco
Audiophile Audition, January 2016

Consistently, the Turku horn and woodwind effects prove most transparent and resonant, compliments of engineer Sean Lewis. © 2015 Audiophile Audition Read complete review

Robert Cummings
Classical Net, December 2015

Leif Segerstam, himself a prolific composer, and the Turku Philharmonic Orchestra have received much acclaim for their recordings in this series of rarely performed Sibelius works. They deliver the music here with feeling and total commitment, making the best possible case for music that may not have been meant for the concert hall. Naxos provides excellent sound reproduction and the notes by Dominic Wells are informative. © 2015 Classical Net Read complete review

Ralph Graves
WTJU, December 2015

…the recording and performance standards remain as high for this volume as they have for the previous four releases. © 2015 WTJU Read complete review

Charles T. Downey
Ionarts, December 2015

This delightful set of movements is for chamber orchestra, mostly woodwinds and strings, joined by four horns and piano, but Sibelius creates a wonderful tapestry of sound with these limited forces. © 2015 Ionarts Read complete review

Remy Franck
Pizzicato, December 2015

Atmospheric performances of two lesser-known pieces of incidental music by Jean Sibelius take profit from Leif Segerstam’s inspired conducting and the Turku Philharmonic’s gorgeous playing. © 2015 Pizzicato

Grego Applegate Edwards
Gapplegate Classical-Modern Music Review, November 2015

The performances are quite good, sensitive to the sweep of Sibelius's grand natural gestures.

Recommended. © 2015 Gapplegate Classical-Modern Music Review

Paul Corfield Godfrey
MusicWeb International, November 2015

Once again Segerstam demonstrates that he is not afraid to allow the music to make its impact in its own time… Both orchestral playing and recording are superlative. Naxos’s presentation is as excellent as in the previous issues in this series, with complete texts and translations for the two brief melodramas. © 2015 MusicWeb International Read complete review

James Manheim, November 2015

… these are obscure Sibelius pieces for which Segerstam has made an excellent case for revival. © 2015 Read complete review

Andrew Achenbach
Gramophone, November 2015

…Leif Segerstam directs all this material with unhurried authority, abundant perception and heaps of character. Likewise, his willing Turku colleagues are with him every step of the way. Admirable production values and useful notes, too. A job well done. © 2015 Gramophone Read complete review on Gramophone

Michael Scott Rohan
BBC Music Magazine, November 2015

Segerstam conducts with the measured, grave pace and detail that characterises the rest of this series, enhanced by the Turku players. © 2015 BBC Music Magazine

David Hurwitz, October 2015

…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.

…Riho Eklundh has a very pleasant, mellow voice… © 2015 Read complete review

David Denton
David's Review Corner, October 2015

This series of incidental music composed by Sibelius is one of major importance, and the only one available that has conveniently gathered these works together. The headline work on this fifth disc, Svenevit (Swanwhite), came in response to August Strindberg’s fairy-tale play, which, in turn, owed much to the deep impression Maeterlinck’s play, Pelléas and Mélisande, had made upon him.The play called upon Sibelius to provide an opening horn call and thirteen musical episodes scored for a chamber orchestra of thirteen instruments, and it lasts for around thirty minutes. Though they were to create moods as a backdrop, they drew from the composer gorgeous music sensitively scored. The story is of the Princess (Swanwhite) who falls in love with a Prince, who has come to teach her regal etiquette, prior to her marriage to the Young King. After trials and tribulations the story ends happily. Here we have the complete score, though a concert suite was made shortly after its premiere in 1908, and you will hear familiar snippets that he was to use in his later orchestral works, particularly the Fifth Symphony. Odlan (The Lizard), was completed the following year, and was for the play’s two scenes, the first quite short and strongly influenced by Grieg, while the second lasts some twenty minutes and is replete with dramatic gestures. Again written for a small ensemble, but this time only employing strings, there is the bleakness and the growling basses we find in his symphonies. The disc ends with two short pieces for narrator and orchestra, Ett ensamt skidspar (The Lonely Ski Trail) and Gravinnans konterfej (The Countess’ Portrait). Leif Segerstam and his Turku orchestra are our impeccable guides to these rarities in excellent sound. © 2015 David’s Review Corner

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