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Sibelius Theatre Music

Pelleas and Melisande
At the Castle Gate Melisande
At the Seashore A Spring in the Park
The Three Blind Sisters Pastorale
Melisande at the Spinning-Wheel
Entr'acte The Death of Melisande

Kuolema Valse Triste

Belshazzar's Feast
Oriental Procession Nocturne Solitude
Khadra's Dance

The Tempest: Suite No.2
Chorus of the Winds Intermezzo Dance of the Nymphs Prospero
Song 1 Song 2
Miranda The Naiads
Dance Episode
Andante Festivo

Scottish Chamber Orchestra/Joseph Swensen

LINN CKD 220 [66 mins]

This theatre music was composed and first played by smaller orchestras than usual nowadays, and it is an important side-line along Jean Sibelius's symphonic work. It was good to hear Valse Triste again, and it certainly retains strong impressions from former years, and is more interesting than Scene with Cranes, a novelty brought to London recently.

The suite of interludes to Pelleas and Melisande is suitably dark, and some of the pieces appropriately evoke the claustrophobic scenario better known through Debussy - it ends with a touching prelude to the last act of Maeterlinck's play.

Belshazzar's Feast (1906-07) is a rare foray into Orientalism, colourful and with a charming Nocturne.

The Tempest music used to be a Beecham favourite, late Sibelius, ambitious and treasurable.

This is a valuable collection of pieces that one would otherwise only encounter occasionally, and the performance and recording are excellent, as are the Linn notes.


© Peter Grahame Woolf