Folke Grasbeck

Folke Gräsbeck plays Sibelius on the Ainola Piano

  • AllMusic Rating
    8
  • User Ratings (0)
  • Your Rating

AllMusic Review by

Sweden's BIS label kills two birds with one stone here in its ongoing series of Sibelius recordings: it traverses some very rarely heard piano music, which even during the composer's active lifetime had fallen into obscurity, and it offers performances on Sibelius' own Steinway piano, recorded in situ at his own lakeside villa, called Ainola. The building, shown on the album cover, is a small space with wood walls, and it must have posed considerable challenges to engineers used to concert halls and churches. These challenges are surmounted wonderfully; the whole album has the mood of a recital in someone's living room. The sonic atmosphere is complemented by the playing of pianist Folke Gräsbeck, who finds the distinctive quality even in outwardly conventional little pieces. The program is something of a mixed bag, with arrangements of orchestral pieces (one might not think Finlandia, Op. 26, would work on a piano, but the transcription is Sibelius' own; try track 8) and incidental music, small character pieces, and a group of works from the last phase of Sibelius' career in the late 1920s. The final Landscape II with its circular harmonic form hints fascinatingly at the new directions Sibelius must have been pursuing in his lost Symphony No. 8, which he consigned to the flames. The program is arranged chronologically, and in Gräsbeck's hands much of it reveals ties to contemporaneous Sibelius orchestral pieces. A really nice find for Sibelius fans.

Track Listing

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time
1 1:27
2 1:01
3 4:23
Six Impromptus, Op. 5
4 1:54
5 3:36
Ten Pieces, Op. 24
6 3:22
7 3:52
8 8:47
The music to Adolf Paul's play "Kung Kristian II" ("King Christian II")), Op. 27
9 2:19
10 0:28
11 4:50
12 3:54
Rondinos (2), for piano, Op. 68
13 3:22
Pieces (5) for piano ("The Trees"), Op. 75
14 3:08
Thirteen Pieces, Op. 76
15 1:20
16 1:03
17 2:20
18 0:46
19 1:11
Five Pieces (The Flowers), Op. 85
20 1:21
21 1:45
22 3:15
23 2:16
24 2:19
Two Pieces for Oscar Parvianen
25 1:11
26 1:11
Eight Short Pieces, Op. 99
27 2:22
28 1:18
Morceaux romantiques (5) (Romantic Pieces), for piano Op. 101
29 3:41
Characteristic Impressions (5), for piano, Op. 103
30 3:37
31 3:18
blue highlight denotes track pick