Yannick attacks Sibelius

Yannick attacks Sibelius


norman lebrecht

June 11, 2019

Yannick Nézet-Séguin and the Orchestre Métropolitain de Montréal have begun recording the symphonies of Jean Sibelius.

You don’t often see him in a winter jacket.


  • Pat says:

    I thought Yannick was exclusive to DG?

    • Emil says:

      Not with the Orchestre Métropolitain. Not sure what exactly the deal is, but he’s consistently recorded on Atma (including a Bruckner complete symphonies cycle).

      As for this CD, it came out about 3 months ago…

    • MusicBear88 says:

      I thought so too, but if you download the booklet to this CD you can see that he’s done a complete Bruckner cycle and seven other recordings with Orchestre Métropolitain on ATMA. Maybe it’s a deal with the orchestra.

  • Baton Samurai says:

    I hope he kicks the shit out of Sibelius.

  • Karl says:

    The Metropolitan Orchestra website says: “Yannick Nézet-Séguin records exclusively for the famous yellow Deutsche Grammophon label while also maintaining a collaborative partnership between ATMA Classique and the Orchestre Métropolitain.” Clear as mud!

    He has made many recordings for ATMA including all of the Bruckner Symphonies. EuroArts is about to release a video of him conducting the Rotterdam Philharmonic playing Shostokovich’s 4th Symphony.

    • Barry Guerrero says:

      That Shostakovich 4th is in the 6 disc DG box set with N.-S./Rotterdam Phil. It’s outstanding. So too is the Mahler 10 (Cooke) and there’s a very, very good Bruckner 8 as well. Everything in that box set is good. I highly recommend it. I own many recordings of the Shosty 4th, and this one is as good as any of the other ones (Rostroprovich/NSO, Kondrashin, Previn/CSO, Jansons/BRSO, etc.)


  • fflambeau says:

    It makes sense because not long ago Sibelius was considered the most popular of all composers. (But not by the people who spin records for public, classical stations who generally disdain the public).

    I think his 5th symphony is better than the one by the
    B guy; and also better than Mahler’s 5th. I also think Bernstein’s VPO recording of the 5th is hard to beat.

    • Robert Roy says:

      There’s room in the world for all music. Just choose what you like and leave the rest alone for others to enjoy.

    • Bruce says:

      Fine, whatever. Sibelius 5 is a wonder (but I’ll submit that so is Beethoven 5).

      But your comment brings to mind a 1940’s murder mystery (pretty sure it’s “Laura”), where the detective blows a hole in somebody’s alibi using Sibelius. It goes something like:

      Q: Where were you the night of the murder?
      A: I told you already, I was at the Philharmonic concert.
      Q: And what did they play that night?
      A: I told you that, too. Mozart and Beethoven [or whatever]. (Produces program for detective to peruse)
      Q: Ha! You’re lying! In fact, they scrapped this program at the last minute and played all Sibelius!

      I don’t think this gives away who the killer was — as I recall, there were several people with fake alibis. Pretty good movie though, if you like 1940’s film noir.

      • Sue Sonata Form says:

        It IS a good film, except that the idea of Clifton Webb as the lover of Gene Tierney was pretty hilarious. And Vincent Price, for that matter!! They really had zero idea about casting, it seems.

        • Greg Bottini says:

          Hi Sue,
          I agree with you about Webb.
          But Vincent Price: classic! He often said that Laura was his favorite film (to appear in).

  • Cubs Fan says:

    Just what we need! Another Sibelius cycle…ho hum.

  • mathias broucek says:

    Which idiot designer did the front cover?

    What does “1” mean? Volume 1? Symphony 1 (short measure, if so)? Sibelius’s dad?

  • JohnG says:

    Most worrying is surely the (apparent) lack of coupling. It was a bit rich of DG to issue Bernstein’s VPO version in 1990 without a coupling – and that was nearly 30 years ago… Unless this version gets rave reviews I’m unlikely to acquire it.

    • Mathias Broucek says:

      That late Bernstein Sibelius 1 is pretty amazing (2, 5 & 7 less so)

      • JohnG says:

        Mathias, I agree, so as it happens that justified the cost of the disc – that plus the obviating circumstances that LB wasn’t in a position to have recorded any coupling.

  • Jack says:


    • Rajesh Bansal says:

      Seriously – how does it feel remotely okay to the author to use a word like that

      • V.Lind says:

        For some reason, Y N-S appears to have joined the NL/SD hit list. This superb musician has consistently been condescended to, at the very least around here; at the very least he seems to be getting lumped in with Dudamel, another target, also rather unfairly. I think Yannick is the superior musician, but do not hear enough of Dudamel to really comment these days — when I saw him he was very young and still a “potential” (which may or may not have been realised, though good orchestras continue to engage him and good artists to perform with him.

        Anyway, when an artist hits the SD skids, language is carefully used to undermine his reputation. Judging by some of the comments above, it may not be quite so enthusiastically embraced by the readership this time.

    • Bruce says:

      Maybe he means it like a mountain climber “attacking” Mt. Everest?

  • Mark says:

    If this new recording is anything like his dreadful Schumann or Bruckner, you might say “butchers” instead of “attacks”.

  • sorin braun says:

    what a bore.only no 2 & 5 are of any worth.and they’ve been recorded endless times.who cares about another.

    • Ned Keene says:

      Maybe you should give No 4 another listen? An exceptionally fine work that eschews merely pretty sounds.

  • Greg Bottini says:

    “Attacks Sibelius”? Aren’t there some sort of NATO treaties to prevent this from happening?

  • Sue Sonata Form says:

    Looking forward to it!!

  • sonata says:

    Brave orchestra, but no charm, last note of the recording bit odd….. This cycle probably not a first choice nor a second…just like the Bruckner….One probably has a good time with his live concerts, but the recordings are so unnecessary, never wanted to hear them twice……