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Sibelius - Piano Quintets and Melodramas

Composer Jean Sibelius
Performer Anna Kreetta Gribajcevic
Monica Groop
Folke Gräsbeck
Jaakko Kuusisto
Joel Laakso
Lasse Pöysti
Laura Vikman
Period Romantic
Catalogue Number BIS-1412 CD
EAN 7318590014127
Format CD
Release date Mar 2007
Total time 78'56

Apart from Voces intimae, his final string quartet, the chamber music of Jean Sibelius has been rather over-shadowed by the orchestral masterpieces. Recently, however, research into the composer’s manuscripts and, not least, a number of recordings on BIS have brought this music to a wider audience. On the present disc, three works for piano quintet are combined with four pieces that combine voice (in the shape of recitation as well as song) and instruments. The largest single work is the Quintet in G minor, which with its duration of 38 minutes is ‘undeniably one of the most impressive of all his chamber works, and one in which Sibelius strove for a new ruggedness and severity of mood’, according to the informed liner notes by Andrew Barnett, whose biography of Sibelius is soon to be published by Yale University Press. As the fourth of the Quintet’s five movements Sibelius wrote a Vivace, which was later replaced. This can also be found on the present disc, as well as the slightly earlier ‘Andante – Allegro’ for the same forces. Among the remaining works, The Watersprite was one of Sibelius’ first publicly performed pieces, composed in the same year as the setting of his childhood friend Ellen Hackzell’s short poem Oh, If You Had Seen. Equally brief, but written almost 40 years later, is A Lonely Ski-Trail, with the more substantial ‘Melodrama’ from Nights of Jealousy, another early piece, rounding off the programme.

Among the performers are Folke Gräsbeck and Jaakko Kuusisto, whose performances of the music for violin and piano (BIS-CD-1022 and BIS-CD-1023), as well as the piano trios & quartets (BIS-CD-1182, BIS-CD-1292 and BIS-CD-1282) have been highly regarded by the reviewers: ‘Enchantingly drawn accounts... Chamber music making as it should be done’ was the verdict on BIS-CD-1292 (Gramophone). The disc also features acclaimed Finnish mezzo-soprano Monica Groop and Lasse Pöysti, doyen among Finnish actors.
Choose format
  Jean Sibelius
  Piano Quintet in G minor, JS159 38'32
01 I. Grave - Allegro 10'53
02 II. Intermezzo. Moderato 5'19
03 III. Andante 9'20
04 IV. Scherzo. Vivacissimo 3'20
05 V. Moderato - Vivace 9'40
06 Vivace for piano quintet, JS31 4'18
  Jean Sibelius
07 Andante – Allegro for piano quintet, JS31 8'49
08 Song from Näcken (The Watersprite), JS138 for soprano, recitation, violin, cello and piano 3'19
09 O, om du sett (Oh, If You Had Seen), JS141 for recitation and piano 4'27
10 Ett ensamt skidspår (A Lonely Ski-Trail), JS77a for recitation and piano 2'49
11 Melodrama from Svartsjukans nätter (Nights of Jealousy), JS125 for recitation, soprano, violin, cello and piano 14'51
  Album total 78'56
ViolaGribajcevic, Anna Kreetta
PianoGrasbeck (Gräsbeck), Folke
ViolinKuusisto, Jaakko
Vikman, Laura
ComposerSibelius, Jean
CelloLaakso, Joel
Mezzo-sopranoGroop, Monica
RecitationPöysti, Lasse

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