Sibelius, Symphony No. 1 in E minor, Op. 39

Jean Sibelius was 34 years old when he undertook the composition of his
First Symphony, which was actually his second: in 1892 he had written
"Kullervo" for solo voices, male chorus and orchestra, but was dissatisfied
with it and forbade its performance during his lifetime.
In his Symphony No. 1, there are already flashes of his later style in the
impetuous rhythms, romantic outbursts and abrupt changes of tone.
The conductor led the premiere in Helsinki on 26 April 1899.
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.

Composer: Jean Sibelius
Title: Sibelius, Symphony No. 1 in E minor, Op. 39
Conductor: Leonard Bernstein
Orchestra: Wiener Philharmoniker
Video Director: Humphrey Burton
Genre: Concert
Length: 45 minutes
Cat.No.: A05501959
Gallery         DVD