Lebrecht Album of the Week: It’s the one we’ve all been waiting for….

From the review:

This is one the world has been waiting for. The Minnesota Orchestra’s partnership with the Finnish conductor Osmo Vänskä is a treasure of our times, especially when they play music of the frozen north. Minnesota is sufficiently remote from the rest of musical America to maintain its own sound and Vänskä, ever the iconoclast, has his own particular way of refreshing familiar scores. The start of their Sibelius cycle hit the decks with a whoosh five years ago.

Then, disaster…

Read on here. Or here.

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  • “Their only sustenance was the loyalty of their music director, who left no-one in any doubt where his sympathies lay”

    Well they did have that, but they also had thousands & thousands of devoted fans expressing their support. That is also sustenance.

    • Norman might have intended to say that, within the callous and cruel administrative environment of the MO at that time, it was only Mr. Vanska who went out of his way for the players.

  • With all due respect, Norman, as much as I appreciate the MO/Sibelius recordings, it seems to me that BIS takes out too much and leaves a sound that, on initial hearing, is quite stunning, but on repeat hearing can seem somewhat vapid and empty. I certainly hope to be mistaken about these new recordings…

    • I agree. I’ve long found Vänskä’s Sibelius symphonies on the whole to be real snoozers, both in the current set with the Minnesota Orchestra and the earlier one with Lahti. I admit that the Minnesota First made a great initial impression, but it hasn’t worn well.

      Vänskä strikes me as one of those conductors who has a rare gift of taking an orchestra to a new level in terms of execution and ensemble. His interpretations, though, I find typically range from pedestrian to outright uninteresting and even dull.

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