If you've only listened to Heifetz's crude interpretation of Sibelius's tempestuous and capricious concerto in the past, you might be incredulous after listening to this CD. "What? This is the Sibelius Concerto? It's a far cry from the one in my memory." After listening to it twice, however, tears should prick your eyes–the result of two gusts of contrasting emotions in one stroke: anguish over all the beauty, passion and subtlety you've missed in the past from this fabulous concerto, and jubilation at your new discovery of this supreme recording and the privilege to relish every bar of the music.
Jean Sibelius (8 December 1865 – 20 September 1957), was a Finnish composer and violinist of the late Romantic and early-modern periods. He is widely recognized as his country's greatest composer and, through his music, is often credited with having helped Finland to develop a national identity during its struggle for independence from Russia.
For most listeners, the great thing here will be the 1952 recording of Sibelius' Violin Concerto with soloist Camilla Wicks accompanied by Sixten Ehrling leading the Stockholm Radio Symphony. An American born in Long Beach, CA, of Norwegian stock, the young Wicks was so deeply, passionately, and completely under the skin of the concerto that a more sympathetic and exciting performance of the work is hard to imagine.
The mutual admiration society that was Glenn Gould and Herbert von Karajan gave six concerts between May 1957 and September 1959 featuring Beethoven’s C minor Concerto (Berlin 1957) and Bach’s D minor (Berlin 1958, Lucerne 1959). Though neither of the Bach performances has appeared on disc, the Beethoven has had several CD outings. This handsomely packaged “official” transfer by Sony is the best we have had technically.
In 2007, the 50th anniversary of Sibelius’s death, BIS begins the release of a 13-volume edition of all the music that the great master ever created – from the symphonies and tone poems to chamber works and songs. As well as the published works, the edition includes rare original versions and world première recordings of works from his youth – material which to a large extent is unique to BIS. The edition – a grand total of some 65 discs – contains previously released as well as new material, in volumes of 4-6 discs sorted by genre.