1875, 1893, 1965, 1976, 2003, Music

Peer Gynt Suites; Karelia Suite; The Swan of Tuonela (1965, 1976, 2003) by Various Artists

This is a compilation of two major romantic orchestral suites – one by Jean Sibelius and one by Edvard Grieg – buttressed by an excerpt from another of Sibelius’ suites.

Edvard Grieg: Peer Gynt, Op. 23 (1875)

  • Conductor – Richard Kraus
  • Orchestra – Bamberger Symphoniker

Unfortunately this isn’t the complete Peer Gynt as this was recorded prior to the discovery of the complete score in the 1980s. But this version still contains all the “big tunes” that we are familiar with.

It’s hard for me to try to objectively judge something so famous. This music is classic, most of it has become so popular that it is etched indelibly on our minds. It’s hard to really know what else to say about pieces such as “Morning” and “In the Hall of the Mountain King.”

Jean Sibelius: Karelia Suite, Op. 11 (1893)

  • Conductor – Okko Kamu
  • Orchestra – Helsinki Radio Symphony Orchestra

Sibelius’ Karelia Suite is something I know well as I’ve heard multiple performances. I am a pretty big Sibelius fan and though I generally like his later stuff more, I like his early stuff as well. I’m not really saying much, I know.

It’s a good, interesting set of pieces that you don’t need to be familiar with its origins – instead you can tell its folk origins simply by listening to contemporary romantic music.

Jean Sibelius: “The Swan of Tuonela” from Lemminkäinen (1897)

  • Conductor – Okko Kamu
  • Orchestra – Helsinki Radio Symphony Orchestra

The only reason to excerpt “The Swan of Tuonela” from the Lemminkainen is for space reasons, something I’m always annoyed about. It’s a silly nitpick if you just like the music but, for those of us who want to listen to pieces in their entirety, it becomes a bit of a problem. (The excerpts are almost always the same ones.)

A reasonable collection I guess, if I put aside the fact that it contains music by different composers recorded by different orchestras in different decades of the 20th century…

7/10

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