Classical | MP3 320kbps CBR | 1 CD | Full Scans | 139 MB
Label: Naxos | Catalog Number: 8573301 | Rls.date: 31st July 2015
No sooner had Sibelius moved to the town of Järvenpää in 1904 than he was commissioned by the Swedish Theatre to write incidental music for Maeterlinck’s Pelléas et Mélisande. At the time it was his most ambitious undertaking in the genre of incidental music and his setting included ten scenes, only one of which was cut when he adapted the piece as a concert suite. Dating from the same year, Musik zu einer Szene was originally intended to accompany a tableau and is full of striking contrasts. The two waltzes of 1921 are transcriptions of piano pieces, and reveal the potent influence of Tchaikovsky.
Composer: Jean Sibelius
Performer: Pia [Soprano Vocal] Pajala, Sari Nordqvist
Conductor: Leif Segerstam
Orchestra/Ensemble: Turku Philharmonic Orchestra
The complete incidental music to Pelléas et Mélisande isn’t so different from the familiar suite–there’s a song for Mélisande, but otherwise it’s pretty much the same, with no annoying fragments, fillers, and bits of pantomime or stage business. Segerstam’s performance here is simply gorgeous. Granted, he’s sometimes a bit slow, appropriately so in Mélisande’s death scene, but the playing has such beauty and concentration that it works hypnotically. The opening prelude (later called “At the Castle Gate”) gains real majesty in this interpretation; and has the spinning wheel scene ever sounded quite this sinister? Don’t be fooled by the brevity of the movements: this is a major work. Segerstam knows it, and plays it like one.
The couplings range from the light and fluffy (the triptych Valse Lyrique, Autrefois, Valse chevaleresque, which Mrs. Sibelius detested) to the unusual. Try the luscious little Morceau romantique sur un motif de Monsieur Jakob von Julin: the title is almost as long as the music. It’s a delightful waltz that Sibelius wrote for a children’s hospital benefit concert, and what a great encore it would make. Musik zu einer Szene was revised as Op. 45/2, the Dance-Intermezzo. I frankly prefer this original, which at more than six minutes is over twice as long, and far more varied in mood (sound clip). If you know the revision, this will surprise you. As with Pelléas, the performances are simply as fine as they can be. The two ladies sing well, however briefly, the whole production is sumptuously recorded, and Naxos includes the sung texts with English translations. Classy.
01 Pelleas and Melisande Suite, Op. 46, JS 147: Act I Scene 1: Prelude: Grave e largamente (3:42)
02 Pelleas and Melisande Suite, Op. 46, JS 147: Act I Scene 2: Andantino con moto (4:34)
03 Pelleas and Melisande Suite, Op. 46, JS 147: Act I Scene 4: Adagio (2:26)
04 Pelleas and Melisande Suite, Op. 46, JS 147: Act II Scene 1: Prelude: Commodo (2:04)
05 Pelleas and Melisande Suite, Op. 46, JS 147: Act III Scene 1: Prelude: Con moto (ma non tanto) (2:29)
06 Pelleas and Melisande Suite, Op. 46, JS 147: Act III Scene 2: De trenne blinda systrar (The 3 Blind Sisters), "Melisande's Song": Tranquillo (2:23)
07 Pelleas and Melisande Suite, Op. 46, JS 147: Act III Scene 4: Andantino pastorale (2:07)
08 Pelleas and Melisande Suite, Op. 46, JS 147: Act IV Scene 1: Prelude: Allegretto (3:11)
09 Pelleas and Melisande Suite, Op. 46, JS 147: Act IV Scene 2 (3:17)
10 Pelleas and Melisande Suite, Op. 46, JS 147: Act V Scene 2: Prelude: Andante (7:24)
11 Musik zu einer Szene (6:20)
12 3 Pièces pour orchestre, Op.96: Valse Lyrique, Op. 96a (version for orchestra) (4:48)
13 3 Pièces pour orchestre, Op.96: Autrefois, Op. 96b (version for 2 voices and orchestra) (feat. Pia Pajala) (5:35)
14 3 Pièces pour orchestre, Op.96: Valse Chevaleresque, Op. 96c (version for orchestra) (4:49)
15 Morceau Romantique sur un Motif de Monsieur Jakob de Julin, JS 135a (2:30)