Osmo Vanska – Sibelius: Lemminkainen Suite, Wood Nymph (2014) [Official Digital Download – 24bit/44.1kHz]
FLAC (tracks) 24 bit/44.1 kHz | Digital Booklet | 621 MB
Genre: Classical | Official Digital Download – Source: eClassical

The source of the Lemminkäinen Suite is the Finnish national epic Kalevala, and its four movements – of which ‘The Swan of Tuonela’ is often performed separately – tell of the adventures of the young hero Lamminkäinen. In comparison, The Wood-Nymph only had its first complete performance in 1996. This was given by the performers on this disc, a team which has become synonymous with top-flight idiomatic Sibelius performances.

Composer: Jean Sibelius
Conductor: Osmo Vänskä
Orchestra/Ensemble: Lahti Symphony Orchestra


Andrew Litton, Bergen Philharmonic Orchestra – Prokofiev: Romeo And Juliet Suites (2007)
FLAC (tracks) 24 bit/44.1 kHz | Digital Booklet | 607 MB
Genre: Classical | Official Digital Download – Source: eClassical

Combined, Prokofiev’s three suites from Romeo include about half of the score. Still, most conductors who want to give us a full CD (or even a full LP) of Romeo pick their own extracts from the complete ballet instead of stringing together the suites. That’s probably at least partly because they don’t share Prokofiev’s preferences when it comes to favorite moments—but it’s also because, as written, the suites are organized for musical rather than narrative coherence, and thus provide little sense of the play’s dramatic trajectory. One way around the second of these issues, of course, is to reorder the suites: that’s, for instance, what Mitropoulos does with selections from the more popular First and Second. Here Andrew Litton pushes that idea to its limit, giving us all 20 movements of the three suites “in the order the music appears in the ballet score.”

Composer: Sergei Prokofiev
Conductor: Andrew Litton
Orchestra/Ensemble: Bergen Philharmonic Orchestra