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Symphony No. 2 / Karelia Suite Naxos 8.572704

Composer: Jean Sibelius

Conductor: Pietari Inkinen

Orchestra: New Zealand Symphony Orchestra

The Guardian has praised Pietari Inkinen as 'a conductor of bold,
sure-footed intelligence' and the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra as 'a fine,
responsive unit'. This third volume in Naxos's new series presents the
dramatic and highly popular Symphony No. 2, which emerges from the northern
mists, cultivating a pastoral atmosphere along the way, to reach a grandiose,
heroic finale. One of Sibelius's best loved compositions, the Karelia Suite
presents a series of musical tableaux based on stirring episodes from Finnish

Symphony No. 2 / Karelia Suite Review

Chalk it up to high latitudes or the influence of the aurora if you will,
but the set of Sibelius recordings by Finnish conductor Pietari Inkinen with the
New Zealand Symphony Orchestra has many excellent moments. Recordings of the
stirring Symphony No. 2 in D major, Op. 43, by the giants of 20th century
conducting (George Szell, Herbert von Karajan) are still available, but Inkinen
stands up to this strong competition with aplomb. Each of the symphony's four
movements is taken slightly slower than average, and Inkinen somewhat plays down
the score's high-energy, nationalistic aspects in favor of its pastoral
qualities. The long D major melodies in the symphony's opening movement are
beautifully shaped and radiant. When the big fanfares so beloved by symphonic
audiences do come, they seem almost inevitable developments of the lyrical mood.

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