Mikaela Palmu, Leif Segerstam - Sibelius: Jedermann; Two Serious Melodies; In Memoriam (2015)
Classical | MP3 320kbps CBR | 1 CD | 166 MB
Label: Naxos | Catalog Number: 8573340 | Rls.date: 28th Aug 2015
Rarely performed but recognized as a hidden masterpiece, Sibelius's score for Jedermann is unusual in that the music closely follows the words and action of this morality play, intensifying Everyman's hubris, penance, escape from the Devil's clutches and ultimate salvation.
The Two Serious Melodies reflect Sibelius' dark mood during the difficult years of World War I, while In memoriam resonates with his preoccupation with death in 1909 following a life-saving throat operation, and was performed at his own funeral in 1957.
This is the fourth of a six volume set that explores Jean Sibelius's orchestral works beyond the higher profile symphonies, violin concerto and tone poems.
Finnish conductor Leif Segerstam is an acclaimed Sibelius interpreter, having been awarded the annual Finnish State Prize for Music in 2004, and in 2005 the highly esteemed Sibelius Medal. In this fourth volume, platinum record-making and award winning orchestra, the Turku Philharmonic, accompanies a world class team of vocal soloists in Pia Pajala, Nicholas Söderlund and Tuomas Katajala, as well as the Cathedralis Aboensis Choir, which has a close association with the Turku Philharmonic Orchestra.
Composer: Jean Sibelius
Performer: Mikaela Palmu
Conductor: Leif Segerstam
Orchestra/Ensemble: Turku Philharmonic Orchestra
Sibelius never made a suite out of his incidental music to Hofmannsthal's Jedermann (Everyman), and for good reason. There's nothing here that works independently of the play. The individual tracks range in timing from eleven seconds to thirteen minutes. There are four tiny initial movements, a series of songs requiring three soloists (soprano, tenor, and bass), a brief Allegro molto, and then a whopping sequence nearly half an hour long containing a Largo, two movements marked Adagio di molto, a Largo e mesto marked additionally-in case you didn't get the point-"Doloroso" and "Con grande dolore," a Lento, and a final Gloria with bells, organ, and choir. It makes Shostakovich's last string quartet sound positively peppy in comparison. />
Much of the music is athematic (check out that second Adagio di molto: four minutes of utter nothingness), and aside from being exceptionally slow it's also exceptionally repetitious. You could make the case that Sibelius is anticipating much contemporary music-Arvo Pärt at his droopiest has nothing on this-but what would be the point? And it has to be said that Segerstam and his Turku players make a meal of it. The performance is gorgeous, unflinchingly dark and anguished, and if you're going to do it at all you might as well revel to the max in the music's wrist-slitting despondency.
The couplings are particularly well chosen. The Two Serious Melodies, Op. 77, for violin and orchestra, are lovely, virtually unknown, and positively riotous after Jedermann. In memoriam is a funeral march inspired by the more lugubrious music of Liszt, and it too sounds almost uplifting here despite Segerstam's measured tempo. It was smart of Naxos and Segerstam to find all of Sibelius' most miserable music and stick it on one convenient CD, with wonderfully apt cover art so that you know exactly what you're in for. If you feel depressed, your life is a mess, and you're sunk in an abyss of despair, by all means try this disc. It will convince you that you have a long way to go before you hit bottom.
1. 1. Largo
2. 2. Largo
3. 3. Allegro -
4. Allegro Comodo
5. 4. Tanssilaulu (Dance Song): Me Kutsun Saimme: Tempo Comodo
6. 5. Onriemussa Hetket Mennehet Taas: Tempo Andante
7. 6. Kun Vettä Sataa, Niin Kastutaan: Un Poco Con Moto
8. 7. Maat Ja Metsät Viheriöivät: Tempo Moderato
9. 8. Oi, Lempi, Armas Lempi: Allegretto
10. 9. Maat Ja Metsät Viheriöivät: Tempo Moderato
11. 10. Allegro Molto
12. 11. Largo, Sempre Misterioso
13. 12. Adagio Di Molto
14. 13. Adagio Di Molto
15. 14. Largo E Mesto - Doloroso - Con Grande Dolore
16. 15. Lento
17. 16. Gloria In Excelsis Deo - Sempre Dolce Sin A Fin
18. Nr. 1 Cantique (Laetare Anima Mea)
19. Nr. 2 Devotion (Ab Imo Pectore)
20. In Memoriam Op. 59 (Trauermarsch)