The Swedish label BIS Records releases the final recording of the Minnesota Orchestra’s celebrated Sibelius symphonies series.
Conducted by Music Director Osmo Vänskä, who is known for his Sibelius interpretations, the album features the Finnish composer’s Third, Sixth and Seventh Symphonies.
The new recording will be released nationwide in the United States on September 9, but is available now through the Orchestra’s website at minnesotaorchestra.org.
Led by Mr. Vänskä, the Minnesota Orchestra’s Sibelius Symphonies cycle was launched in 2012 with the release of the Second and Fifth Symphonies on a recording that received critical praise and a Grammy Award nomination. The second recording in the cycle—featuring the First and Fourth Symphonies—won the 2014 Grammy Award for Best Orchestral Performance.
Mr. Vänskä and the Orchestra recorded the new disc of symphonies at Minneapolis’ Orchestra Hall in a series of sessions in June 2015. The BIS team, led by producer Robert Suff, recorded the album as a Super Audio CD (SACD), using surround sound recording technology to reproduce the sound of the concert hall as faithfully as possible. BIS Hybrid SACDs are playable on all standard CD players.
The Minnesota Orchestra, founded in 1903 as the Minneapolis Symphony Orchestra, issued its first recording in 1924 and has since recorded more than 450 works, with Osmo Vänskä leading a particularly rich period of recording since his tenure began in 2003. Other recordings include two albums of Beethoven piano concertos featuring Yvgeny Sudbin; a two-disc Tchaikovsky set featuring pianist Stephen Hough; and a widely-praised cycle of the complete Beethoven symphonies, of which two discs—one of the Ninth Symphony and one of the Second and Seventh—drew Grammy and Classical FM Gramophone award nominations, respectively. In February 2016, Mr. Vänskä and the Orchestra made alive-in-concert recording of Sibelius’ epic Kullervo for a forthcoming album.
Further information about the Minnesota Orchestra’s recordings on the BIS Records label can be found on the BIS website, www.bis.se.
Of Jean Sibelius’ seven symphonies, the Third may be the least known. He conducted the premiere himself on September 26, 1907, revealing a work of subtle beauty and strength of purpose. Notable for its lean textures, it culminates in a broad, majestic theme. Sixteen years later, Sibelius completed his Sixth Symphony and led its premiere in February of 1923. Annotator Robert Markow writes, “A cool, rarefied air seems to surround the Sixth in music of purity and luminescence. Textures are transparent, colors are muted [and] orchestral forces are modest.” Just a year later, Sibelius led the premiere of the work that would turn out to be his final symphony, his Seventh. Written in one seamless movement, it is the culmination of Sibelius’ lifetime of work in the direction of concision, compression and organic unity of symphonic form.
Sibelius Symphonies Nos 3, 6 and 7
Osmo Vänskä, conductor
Symphony No. 3 in C Major
Symphony No. 6 in D Minor
Symphony No. 7 in C Major
The Minnesota Orchestra gratefully acknowledges funding support for this project from Doug and Louise Leatherdale.
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