Sibelius, Symphony No. 2 in D major, Op. 43

Written not long after his celebrated tone poem "Finlandia," Sibelius's
Second Symphony is a work that is still unabashedly in the romantic vein
and soon became considered by the Finns as a battle hymn against the
Russian oppressor and the musical expression of their nationalist
aspirations. It was premiered in Helsinki on 8 March 1902.
In the mid 1980s, Unitel began recording a complete cycle of Sibelius
symphonies with Leonard Bernstein and the Vienna Philharmonic.
Bernstein's death in 1990 unfortunately cut short this project after the
release of Symphonies Nos. 1, 2, 5 and 7. They were recorded live at
Vienna's Musikvereinssaal and were the object of stellar reviews.
Bernstein, in the words of a leading Austrian daily, "painted a canvas of
late-romantic splendor with the Philharmonic's sound - the incomparable
brilliancy of the strings, the glowing intensity of the brass - in a way
that only the greatest conductors can." (Symphony No. 1) And in its review
of the Second Symphony, a major Viennese newspaper wrote: "For the sake of
Jean Sibelius, Leonard Bernstein leaps with fanatical zeal into the heaving
waves of late romantic emotions. "It is not surprising that Leonard
Bernstein felt so passionately about Sibelius's music. In many respects,
it strikingly parallels that of Gustav Mahler. In fact, Sibelius's oeuvre
is seen along with Gustav Mahler's as the most important symphonic legacy
between late romanticism and modernity. And as Mahler's glowing advocate,
Bernstein was suited like none other to disseminate the music of his great
colleague Jean Sibelius.
In early October 1986, Leonard Bernstein conducted a benefit concert for
the restoration of Vienna's Musikvereinssaal. In this program, recorded by
Unitel, he led the Vienna Philharmonic in Shostakovich's Sixth Symphony and
Sibelius's Second Symphony.

Composer: Jean Sibelius
Title: Sibelius, Symphony No. 2 in D major, Op. 43
Conductor: Leonard Bernstein
Orchestra: Wiener Philharmoniker
Video Director: Humphrey Burton
Genre: Concert
Length: 55 minutes
Cat.No.: A05501409
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