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Sibelius: Symphonies Nos. 1 & 4

Sibelius: Symphonies Nos. 1 & 4 by Minnesota Orchestra
Released: Apr 2013
Label: Bis
Expect to see this knockout up for a Grammy in 2014. As with the orchestra's Beethoven offerings last decade, their cycle of Jean Sibelius symphonies is proving revelatory. The composer's first (Tracks 1-4) is often taken too slowly by conductors trying to goose the grandeur. But conductor Osmo Vanska lets the fast parts be fast; the "Scherzo" has real bite. Symphony No. 4 follows, and while often less loved, its tough, insular charms are uncommonly well served. Though the contract dispute between orchestra and management is a sad story, these musicians are still obviously among America's best.
Seth Colter Walls