CD Review: Sibelius – Symphony No. 3 (ATMA Classique)


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Sibelius: Symphony No. 3

Orchestre Métropolitain
Yannick Nézet-Séguin 

ATMA Classique ACD24033


Least loved of the brood of seven, Sibelius’s Third Symphony is known (to the extent that it is known at all) as a modest classical interregnum between the heroic Second and tragic Fourth. This latest instalment in the Orchestre Métropolitain cycle under Yannick Nézet-Séguin sharpens its profile with crisp strings and tangy woodwinds held in a handsome balance. There are shadows and sunbeams under Nézet-Séguin’s exacting direction, and wonders of contrapuntal and colouristic interplay. The Andantino con moto second movement is as close to chamber music as orchestral music gets. Even the soft supporting pizzicato figures in the cellos are thematically compelling. This is a true illustration of how less can be more, although I confess to wanting a stronger treatment of the stately (and repetitive) chorale into which all that scampering in the finale resolves. Still, this recording made in the Maison symphonique last June bodes well for the cycle, which started in 2019 with the First Symphony and continues in February with the Fourth.

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About Author

Arthur Kaptainis has been a classical music critic since 1986. His articles have appeared in Classical Voice North America and La Scena Musicale as well as Musical Toronto. Arthur holds an MA in musicology from the University of Toronto. From 2019-2021, Arthur was co-editor of La Scena Musicale.

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