Sibelius: Lemminkäinen Suite, Op. 22, Belshazzar’s Feast Suite, Op. 51, Spring Song, Op. 16
BBC Symphony Orchestra, Sakari Oramo
Chandos 20136 @ £11 plus P&P
About this recording …. Chief conductor of the BBC Symphony Orchestra since 2013, Finnish conductor Sakari Oramo has a special affinity with the music of his compatriot Sibelius which this recording admirably demonstrates. Sibelius’ ever-popular ‘Lemminkäinen Suite’ is coupled here with ‘Spring Song’, and the lesser-known Suite from ‘Belshazzar’s Feast’. Sibelius composed the ‘Lemminkäinen Suite’ (also called the Four Legends, or Four Legends from the Kalevala), Op. 22, in the 1890s. Originally conceived as a mythological opera, Veneen luominen (The Building of the Boat), the suite is based on the character Lemminkäinen from the Finnish epic, the Kalevala. Sibelius’ music for ‘Belshazzar’s Feast’ was originally composed as incidental music for a play (by Hjalmar Procopé), in 1906. First performed in the Swedish Theatre in Helsinki in November of that year, conducted by the composer. The following year, Sibelius extracted four of the eight movements to form the more widely known orchestral suite we hear in this recording.