Oslo Philharmonic Orchestra / Klaus Mäkelä, cond.
DECCA 486 2256 (4 disks) TT: 265:13
UPC/EAN: 028948522569 


Philadelphia Orhestra / Yannick Nézet-Séguin, cond
DGG B0034879-02 TT: 71;14
UPC/EAN: 00028948620296


Southwest Baden-Baden Orchestra / Hans Rosbaud, cond.
SWR CLASSIC 18114 (4 disks) TT: 78:29 / 78:48 / 77:06 / 77:23
UPC/EAN: 747313911585

The Oslo Philharmonic has had a long association with music of Sibelius; the composer himself who often conducted his native orchestra. Now we have this splendid new set of all of the symphonies led by the exciting young Klaus Mäkelä who was born in Helsinki in 1996. He is principal guest conductor of the Swedish Radio Symphony. Since 2018 he has been music director of the Oslo Philharmonic, and also leads the Orchestra of Paris—remarkable for such a young conductor He leads the Oslo Philharmonic in all of the symphonies including Tapiola and the seldom-heard Three Late Fragments. Each of the four disks is filled to capacity; it is unfortunate a fifth disk wasn't included so we also would have the Lemminkainen Legends and En Saga; perhaps they will follow. Powerful performances all, and the recordings which were made in Oslo's Konserthaus last year and the stereo sound is rich and wide-range. Of course there are numerous recordings of all of these masterworks, and it is unfortunate they were not recorded multi-channel. This is a major addition to the Sibelius discography.

Recently this site praised a Naxos recordings of three symphonies by neglected American composer Florence Price (1887-1953), Symphonies 1, 3 and 4, played by the Fort Smith Orchestra directed by John Jeter. Program notes for this superb new recording of Symphonies 1 and 3 quote Price writing to Serge Koussevitzky, "Dear Mr. Koussevitzky, to begin with I have two handicaps - those of sex and race." Price's music was championed by some conductors including Frederick Stock. In 1933 he conducted the premiere of her first symphony. He also commissioned her to write a piano concerto which he premiered the following year with the composer as soloist However, Price's music soon was neglected and recently there has been a major revival. Conductor Yannick Nézet-Séguin is particularly fascinated by Price's music, which he describes as "featuring folklore melodies and church music." He is planning more Philadelphia recordings of her music, and thinks so highly of it that he has included Symphony No. 3 in his Philadelphia Orchestra performance September 2022 in Royal Albert Hall. The music sounds lovely indeed; hardly masterpieces but important considering the composer and when they were written, played to perfection here. Recordings made May 2021 in the Kimmel Center. Excellent stereo sound. Highy recommended!

German conductor Hans Rosbaud (1896 - 1962) was a highly respected particularly of 20th Century music. He had a long association with the Southwest Radio Orchestra of Baden-Baden and we are fortunate that many of their fine broadcasts have been made available. Now we have this new four-disk set of French music. In addition to standard repertory, we have music of Marcel Mihalovici (1998-1985). He primarily wrote chamber music, and here we have his half-hour four-movement Symphony No. 3, and it is one of his major works, Symphony No. 3, and his two-movement Toccata for Piano and Orchestra (with Monique Haas as soloist.) Rosbaud championed Mihalovici's music, and after his death the composer dedicated his Symphony No. 5 to him. Collectors surely should investigate both of the works heard here, important additions to the discography. Also welcome is Maurice Jarre's brief (3:07) Concertino for Percussion and Strings, another side of the famous writer of film music. Recordings were made 1957 - 1962, and the audio is excellent. This is a major release!

R.E.B. (August, 2022)