Osmo Vänskä

Osmo Vänskä completes Sibelius’ Symphony Cycle recording with Minnesota Orchestra to great acclaim

15 July 2016

The long-awaited final disc in the Sibelius Cycle from Osmo Vänskä and his Minnesota Orchestra featuring Symphonies Nos. 3, 6 & 7 is released in Europe by BIS on 31 July (14 October in the US). The first recording in this three-album cycle caused Gramophone Magazine to speculate that this was potentially “a benchmark cycle for the 21st century” and they haven’t been proved wrong – the second recording of Symphonies Nos. 1 & 4 won the Grammy for Best Orchestral Performance in 2014 and the new disc has already received high praise:

Hugh Canning for The Sunday Times made it his Album of the Week (10 July):

“Vänskä sets brisk, bracing tempi in the fast movements, yet there is an inexorable sense of symphonic growth in the “classical” Third, crescendos building to awesome climaxes. And the rich sonorities he brings to the relatively neglected Sixth, and especially to the multisectional, single-movement Seventh, make this great music sound ever new, growing almost organically as we listen, before fading into the ether. With these recordings, Vänskä confirms his status as our greatest living Sibelian. Irreplaceable.”

Malcom Hayes of the BBC Music Magazine gave it 5 stars calling it “Stellar league Sibelius”

“Beautifully clear recorded sound, in a warm but not over-sumptuous acoustic space, is matched by the orchestra’s sound under Vänskä – a kind of sharp-focus richness that’s never cloying, conjuring instead a sombre inner glow that wonderfully suits the music’s idiom”

“Vänskä’s pacing of the outer movements (in the Third Symphony) is a masterclass in how to allow cumulative momentum to build while never rushing – as also in the Sixth Symphony’s finale, where the growing tension of the approach to its fortissimo climax is superbly judged.  And the Seventh Symphony’s gradual tempo-shifts, again notoriously hard to managed are handled with unerring sureness.” 

And Fiona Maddocks of The Guardian also gave it 5 stars - "From the plunging energy of the opening of the Third Symphony to the bleak, raw ending of the Seventh, this is a gripping listen.”

The disc is being released prior to a European tour taking in Edinburgh, Copenhagen, Amsterdam and Lahti in August.