Sibelius: In the Stream of Life – Orchestral Songs (orch Rautavaara); Pohjola's Daughter, Op 49; Romance in C major, Op 42; The Oceanides, Op 73

Reviewed on Thu 16 Feb, 2017

Gerald Finley, a close friend of Rautavaara, makes an ideal case for the new settings, and his approach to the Swedish language of the texts is flowing and lyrical.

This disc presents the premiere recording of In the Stream of Life, a collection of Sibelius songs orchestrated by Einojuhani Rautavaara in 2013-14. Rautavaara employs sonorities as bleakly Nordic as those of Sibelius, often even more monolithic and austere. But these new versions perfectly capture and amplify the spirit of Sibelius’s songs. Gerald Finley, a close friend of Rautavaara, makes an ideal case for the new settings, and his approach to the Swedish language of the texts is flowing and lyrical. Also on the programme are several other songs and cycles, arranged by others, including Sibelius himself, and all are presented with equal care and passion. Edward Gardner and his Bergen Philharmonic complete the well-filled programme with the orchestral works Pohjola’s Daughter and The Oceanides. The performances are beautifully detailed but suitably atmospheric. The SACD audio is excellent throughout, with plenty of bass presence in the orchestra and ideal balance between voice and ensemble in the songs.
–Gavin Dixon