Will he be ashamed of his virgin effort?

Will he be ashamed of his virgin effort?

Album Of The Week

norman lebrecht

April 29, 2022

From the Lebrecht Album of the Week:

The record industry never makes the fuss about a Sibelius cycle that it does with Beethoven and Mahler. Not sure why not. Maybe Sibelius sells less, or Finns are shy. Or, past sets by the likes of Colin Davis, Neeme Järvi and Herbert Blomstedt failed to get the suits excited.

The new set from young Finn wizz Klaus Mäkelä comes accompanied by exceptional hype from Decca, always a strong Sibelius label. The conductor’s promise is incontestable. At 26, he is chief of the Oslo Philharmonic and the Orchestre de Paris, and hotly tipped to succeed in Chicago or New York. So how’s his Sibelius?

Read on here.

And here.


  • Kyle Wiedmeyer says:

    All I’ll say is that I’ve seen a lot of people ribbing on it but I had problem with it. I definitely enjoyed the first three symphonies.

  • Sam's Hot Car Lot says:

    I find it odd that Karajan never recorded a complete Sibelius cycle with Berlin/DG.

  • Bone says:

    Give me Vanska and Lahti anyday. Mäkelä seems like he has a decent handle on the music, but any of the aforementioned conductors offer more insights.

  • Rob says:

    I think I’ll stick with Segerstam and Blomstedt, they kind of know what they’re doing.

  • music lover says:

    Yes,i found it very refreshing and full of attention to details,too.And,yes,marvellously played!!!!

  • Akutagawa says:

    You may have given it five stars, but David Hurwitz hated it over on YouTube, and based on the clips also available on YouTube on the Decca channel, I’m with him on this, not you.

    Just out of interest, do you have any experience of practical musicianship like Mr Hurwitz – playing in an orchestra, or singing in a choir? I’ve often wondered this about music critics. It would be a bit like people being paid to write about cars who don’t know how to change a flat tyre.

    • music lover says:

      Hurwitz is a pompous clown.

      • Petros Linardos says:

        For all of Hurwitz’s flaws, I have never seen him rave about recordings I find inferior. That doesn’t qualify him for a clown. Overconfident? Sure!

      • MattD says:

        Hurwitz never offers any real insight, nor does he express deep thoughts about a work. He just clicks away on his bridgework and says things are “just fabulous!” Can’t stand him.

    • Petros Linardos says:

      I particularly wonder about people who have never played in an orchestra or sung in a choir, and judge conductors primarily by looking at them.

  • Donna Pasquale says:

    I think you should seek out the Alexander Gibson cycles with the SNO

    • will says:

      Yes, exactly! I’m staying with Sir Alex and the RSNO. Wonderful interpretations that have never been ‘bettered’ or even equalled. In answer to Akutagawa’s question: I am a musician, a player who has performed over a 50+years period with all three of the Scottish orchestras.

    • Nick2 says:

      How splendid that Sir Alexander Gibson has been mentioned. He was a great Sibelius conductor with the old SNO at the start of the 1960s when other more established names were just discovering the composer. As written in one of the attached articles, his early death was a tragedy for Britain and British music.

  • Novilist says:

    ” A word about the orchestra. The Oslo Phil was raised to world rank by Mariss Jansons in the 1990s, dropped two leagues with Andre Previn, was restored by Vasily Petrenko and is now playing brighter than ever with its thin Finn.”
    Sorry, but you missed that Saraste raised it back to world class after Previn, and Petrenko’s term after Saraste was short enough to be able to drop the level too much.

    • Dave says:

      Absolutely. Saraste is a terrific orchestra trainer who has never got the credit he deserves for his work at various orchestras – and for his performances and recordings.

      I have been present – as a participant – on occasions where he has transformed an orchestra’s sound with a minimum of fuss and verbiage.


    You might like to listen to Dave Hurwitz of ClassicsToday.com: https://youtu.be/qMZgqJZclJA

    It’s definitely not his album of the week! There’s an interesting comment from a former Oslo Philharmonic timpanist who was involved with a partial cycle with Mariss Jansons.

  • Petros Linardos says:

    Between all ambivalent comments on the blog and Mr. Lebrecht’s no less ambivalent review, and David Hurwitz’s reportedly negative review, I can’t help wondering: is a promising but by no means seasoned conductor what a top US orchestra like Chicago or NY deserves? Is there such a dearth of seasoned conductors?

  • Jouko900 says:

    Mr. Hurwitz says that Mäkelä needs more practice. He should go and play piano in some obscure opera house in Germany. Maybe so. Mäkelä has conducted only 14 years to date so he probly needs more practice – I wonder if 20 years is enough for Mr, Hurwitz. Or maybe 30 years! We have always had one “Rene Leibowitzin or one “Theodor W Odorno” among us. Mr. Hurwitz is a worthy successor to them.

  • Monsoon says:

    I listened on Spotify; I was underwhelmed.

    If this was an unknown conductor and orchestra on an obscure label, it’s hard to believe anyone would be paying attention to this release.

    The 2nd was surprisingly weak. I did a quick comparison to Szell’s Concertgebouw and live Cleveland recordings; he’s simply operating on a whole other level.

  • Reginald says:


    As of time of reading, your Photo is of T Guggeis, I believe …

  • MattD says:

    I have listened to them on Qobuz. They are better than average though none really stands out as exceptional. I find the negativity of some comments confusing – these are decent readings regardless of the age of the conductor. I have heard much worse! The cover art IS terrible, though.