Robert Spano / Atlanta Symphony Orchestra

Sibelius: Symphonies Nos. 6 & 7; Tapiola

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For this 2013 release, Robert Spano and the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra present exquisite readings of three of Jean Sibelius' mature works from the 1920s, the Symphony No. 6 in D minor, the Symphony No. 7 in C major, and the tone poem, Tapiola. While there have been many important recordings of these pieces that offer compelling interpretations and convincing execution, hardly any are as transparent and meticulously rendered as these performances, which make every note perfectly audible and still communicate the power and passion of Sibelius' rigorously organic scores. One may even double-check the packaging to make sure that this is really just a CD -- it is -- because the detailed precision of the playing and the depth of the DSD sound approach super audio quality. The pacing may seem a little slower than usual, but Spano is careful to let every part emerge with full presence, so the considered tempos are appropriate, though never too slow to be tedious. This release is Spano's first Sibelius recording on the ASO Media label, and his first since the recording of Kullervo in 2006 for Telarc, so one may hope that this is a positive sign of a future symphonic cycle; indeed, any discs with the exceptional expressive and technical values found here will be most welcome. Highly recommended.

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