Year 2015 marks the 150th Anniversary of the birth of Jean Sibelius (1865–1957), often entitled 'Finland’s national composer'. The fourth album on Ondine by the Estonian Philharmonic Chamber Choir is dedicated to the complete works for mixed choir by Jean Sibelius. The award-winning choir, one of the finest of its kind internationally, is conducted here by one of the leading Finnish choir directors, Heikki Seppänen, who has conducted a large number of professional choirs in Finland and abroad. The Estonian Philharmonic Chamber Choir’s releases on Ondine have been a critical success: the first release was given an ‘Editor’s Choice’ by the Gramophone Magazine and ‘Disc of the Year’ by the renowned German weekly Die Zeit.
Rarely performed but recognized as a hidden masterpiece, Sibelius's score for Jedermann is unusual in that the music closely follows the words and action of this morality play, intensifying Everyman's hubris, penance, escape from the Devil's clutches and ultimate salvation.The Two Serious Melodies reflect Sibelius' dark mood during the difficult years of World War I, while In memoriam resonates with his preoccupation with death in 1909 following a life-saving throat operation, and was performed at his own funeral in 1957. This is the fourth of a six volume set that explores Jean Sibelius's orchestral works beyond the higher profile symphonies, violin concerto and tone poems.Finnish conductor Leif Segerstam is an acclaimed Sibelius interpreter, having been awarded the annual Finnish State Prize for Music in 2004; and in 2005 the highly esteemed Sibelius Medal.
There are several reasons to own this Vox Box 2CD set. For the first, it includes five great violin concertos in some of the very best performances in their discography. For the second, Ivry Gitlis (born 1922) is a great living violinist and these recordings made in early 1950s show his art in the best way, when Ivry's violin sounded powerful and brilliant.