Arvo Volmer / Adelaide Symphony Orchestra

Sibelius: Complete Symphonies; Violin Concerto; Finlandia; Valse Triste

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This four-CD box set by Arvo Volmer and the Adelaide Symphony Orchestra brings together the seven symphonies of Jean Sibelius, along with his popular Violin Concerto, and the extremely familiar tone poem Finlandia and Valse Triste are provided as filler. This Australian orchestra plays with a full range of expressions and sonorities, so it can handle Sibelius at his most lushly Romantic, as in the Symphony No. 2, yet can muster the chilly timbres of his darker side at its most abject in the Symphony No. 4, and find a comfortable middle ground with the piquant neo-Classical tones of the Symphony No. 6. Sibelius' music runs the gamut of moods, from bleak and despairing to grandiose and bombastic, yet Volmer and his musicians are careful not to exaggerate any of these expressions, but stay close to the scores and find a straightforward and honest approach that communicates Sibelius' complex vision without posturing or puzzling. ABC's reproduction is rich and spacious, so the orchestra always sounds terrific, and the dimensions of the sound feel realistically deep and open.

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