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After the resounding success of Volume 1 (Gramophone Editor’s Choice, Preis der Deutschen Schallplattenkritik, Diapason d’Or, Choc de Classica, FFFF Télérama), the project to record the complete Sibelius symphonies continues with the Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra and Santtu-Matias Rouvali, whose career as a conductor is entering top gear: he has just been appointed Principal Conductor of the Philharmonia Orchestra in London. At the turn of the twentieth century, as Finland struggled to free itself from Russian rule, Sibelius and his wife faced several domestic dramas, including the loss of one of their daughters, Kirsti, to typhoid fever. The Second Symphony, written in the brilliant key of D major, seems to be marked by the events of the composer’s private life, but many of his contemporaries nevertheless saw it as a political manifesto! In 1898, Sibelius composed the incidental music for Adolf Paul’s play King Christian II, the story of the downfall of a king of Scandinavia (Denmark, Sweden and Norway) in the sixteenth century. The suite derived from it was successfully performed in several European cities.

Choc Classica award

"What is startling about this performance, however, is its combination of sheer mastery with a dazzling textural clarity. The Gothenburg orchestra has this music in their DNA, and it’s one of Rouvali’s many strengths that he knows how to bring out the best from his players and the music while knowing when to not get in the way. At the same time, he achieves fabulous transparency through natural means, without any unnecessary spotlighting or knob-twiddling."
"The Gothenburg players’ performance, beautifully balanced and characterfully coloured, is powerfully cogen"
The Sunday Times
"It seems to me that Rouvali judges everything right in these exemplary performances. This is masterly Sibelius, alternately refined and red-blooded, and argurs promisingly for Rouvali’s tenure as principal conductor of the Philharmonia; I shall watch out for both his concerts and recordings."
MusicWeb International
"His playing is once again technically irreproachable, tasteful and mature."
"This is a highly captivating new recording of the Symphony No. 2 in D major, Op. 43 by Jean Sibelius (1865-1957"
Baker & Taylor CD Hotlist
"Rouvali’s handling of Sibelius’ Second brings out the very best in the Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra, whose brass growls, whose winds flit both pointedly and delicately about, whose strings have bite as well as warmth."
"One feature that sets this gripping performance apart from Bernstein’s and Karajan’s is the avoidance of weighty over-emphasis to create a sense of importance. "
"(…) a marvelously conceived take on the Sibelius Second Symphony, original in many ways without being ecce"