A new Sibelius recording, conducted by Sakari Oramo and performed by the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra, gets a rave review in the regional newspaper Aamulehti (27 May 2001). Harri Hautala, the paper's music critic, describes Oramo as "a real Sibelian".
"This record includes so many elements of enjoyment that one would need several columns to list all the delicious details.
"To put it succintly: Seldom does one come across such mature interpretations and refined orchestra music. The performance of Sibelius's Second and Fourth Symphonies by Sakari Oramo and the Birmingham Symphony Orchestra are perfect in all ways. Without any question, the listener can let herself be carried by the music and allow it to caress all senses."
According to Hautala, this CD brings the co-operation between the conductor and the orchestra onto a completely new level. Oramo enters the vanguard of conductors also in the recording business, he adds.
Hautala compares the interpretations of Oramo and CBSO to some other highly praised recent Sibelius recordings. He says that many of them have been characterised by something "new" or "different".
"Osmo Vänskä and the Lahti Orchestra have in some places departed radically from traditional interpretations, for instance with tempi and shades of sound.
"On the other hand, the recordings by Paavo Berglund and the European Chamber Orchestra surprised by their asceticism and the transparency of the sound of a small orchestra.
"On the surface of it, Oramo doesn't seem to be doing anything amazing or unusual. He trusts the full and beautiful sound of a full-size symphony orchestra and traditional choices of tempi.
"What is significant, is the force and determination which Oramo uses to navigate the works forward. He bases his interpretations on the highest possible exactitude in reading the score but does not let the careful attitude stifle himself or the orchestra.
"Knowledge, knowhow and careful preparation are reflected in the liberated and relaxed spirit of the performances."
The CD is published by Erato.
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