Sibelius Symphony no. 2
Jean Sibelius

Sibelius Symphony no. 2

Royal Stockholm Philharmonic Orchestra

Label: Exton
Format: SACD
Barcode: 4526977002923
Catalog number: OVCL 292
Releasedate: 29-01-10
The 2nd symphony, the most popular symphony of Sibelius is featured in the third volume of the series. Together with the gems of orchestral works, "Tapiola" and "The Swan of Tuonela", the conductor and orchestra, closely and deeply connected to the composer, bring the musical world depicting the beautiful scenes of nature in the Nordic countries
  • The Second Symphony of Sibelius: the most popular symphony!
  • Vladimir Ashkenazy has built an extraordinary career as one of the most renowned and revered pianists of our times and other activities such being a inspirational conductor
  • Since 1902, The Royal Stockholm Philharmonic has earned a great national and international renommé
  • Ashkenazy was appointed Conductor Laureate in 2000 of the Royal Philharmonic 
  • Recorded (Session & Live) in 2006 & 2007 in The Stockholm Concert Hall (Stockholms Konserthus)
  • Hybrid (CD SACD 2ch/5.0ch)


Baron Axel Carpelan, who gave Sibelius' well-known tone poem Finlandia its name, wrote to the composer shortly after its successful premiere, writing, "You have been sitting at home for quite a while, Mr. Sibelius, it is high time for you to travel. You will spend the late autumn and the winter in Italy, a country where one learns cantabile, balance and harmony, plasticity and symmetry of lines, a country where everything is beautiful – even the ugly.” You remember what Italy meant for Tchaikovsky’s development and for Richard Strauss. Although Baron Carpelan was penniless, he raised sufficient funds for Sibelius to stay in a mountain villa near Rapallo, Italy. Here, Sibelius jotted down the first notes to his second symphony.

After more than a year since the first motifs were penned, the second symphony was premiered by the Helsinki Philharmonic Society on 8 March 1902, with the composer conducting. After three sold out performances, Sibelius made some revisions, and the revised version was given its first performance by Armas Järnefelt on 10 November 1903 in StockholmOskar Merikanto, who attended the premiere, exclaimed that the premiere "exceeded even the highest expectations.”

In the years since Vladimir Ashkenazy first came to prominence on the world stage in the 1955 Chopin Competition in Warsaw he has built an extraordinary career, not only as one of the most renowned and revered pianists of our times, but as an artist whose creative life encompasses a vast range of activities and continues to offer inspiration to music-lovers across the world.

Conducting has formed the largest part of his activities for the past 20 years and, following on from his period as Chief Conductor of the Czech Philharmonic from 1998 to 2003, Ashkenazy took up the position of Music Director of NHK Symphony Orchestra in Tokyo in September 2004. In Autumn 2005 he completed his second highly successful European tour with them, including a televised concert at the Vienna Musikverein which marked the orchestra’s debut in this prestigious venue. Their regular work in Tokyo has included several television broadcasts and special programmes, such as a commemoration in Spring 2006 of Toru Takemitsu, a composer whom Ashkenazy greatly admires – and in homage to whom he directed ‘Riverrun’ from the keyboard in this concert. After a short visit to Seoul in June 2006 they undertook a major tour of the United States including Disney Hall in Los Angeles, San Francisco, Philadelphia, Boston and Carnegie Hall in New York.

Alongside his position with the NHK Symphony Orchestra, Ashkenazy continues to have a warm and rewarding relationship with the Philharmonia Orchestra as their Conductor Laureate. In addition to his performances with the orchestra in London and around the UK each season, he tours with them worldwide, and has developed landmark projects such as ‘Prokofiev and Shostakovich Under Stalin’ in 2003 (a project which he also took to Cologne, New York, Vienna and Moscow) and ‘Rachmaninoff Revisited’ in 2002 at the Lincoln Center, New York.

Ashkenazy also holds the positions of Music Director of the European Union Youth Orchestra, with whom he tours each year, and Conductor Laureate of the Iceland Symphony Orchestra. He maintains strong links with a number of other major orchestras with whom he has built special relationships over the years, including the Cleveland Orchestra (of whom he is a former Principal Guest Conductor), San Francisco Symphony and Deutsches Symphonie Orchester Berlin (Chief Conductor and Music Director 1988-96), as well as making guest appearances with many other major orchestras around the world.

While conducting takes up a significant portion of his time each season, Ashkenazy continues to devote himself to the piano, directing Mozart and Beethoven concertos from the keyboard in performances in Europe and Asia, and continuing to build his extraordinarily comprehensive recording catalogue with releases such as the 1999 Grammy award-winning Shostakovich Preludes and Fugues, Rautavaara’s Piano Concerto No.3 (a work which he commissioned) and Rachmaninov Transcriptions. Most recently released is his recording of that most challenging and enriching of works, Bach's Wohltemperierte Klavier.

Continuing a tradition since 1902, the Royal Stockholm Philharmonic Orchestra has earned a great national and international renommé.

For decades the Royal Stockholm Philharmonic Orchestra (RSPO) has strived actively to renew and broaden the classical repertoire. This is shown for example in the annual and week-long Composer's Festival where an internationally renowned living composer is presented in depth.

Among the featured composers in this firmly established festival we find Schnittke, Börtz, Pärt, Penderecki, Lutoslawski, Hillborg, Lindberg, Saariaho, Gubaidulina, Salonen, John Adams, Henze and Tan Dun. In 2006 yet another festival was founded: a spring festival called Composer’s Weekend features each year a Swedish up-and-coming composer. In addition, the orchestra regularly plays contemporary music and commissions new works.

Lately the RSPO has also presented much-appreciated and talked about concerts featuring video game music arranged for symphony orchestra.

The RSPO works with conductors such as Esa-Pekka Salonen, Kurt Masur, Andris Nelsons and Yannick Nézet-Seguin and soloists like Evgeny Kissin, Anne Sofie von Otter, Martin Fröst, Håkan Hardenberger and Leonidas Kavakos. Furthermore, the orchestra has a close collaboration with the illustrious Eric Ericson Chamber Choir.

The RSPO entered the 21st century under the American conductor Alan Gilbert as both its Chief Conductor and Artistic Adviser. he worked with the orchestra until 2008. At this moment the new Chief Conductor and Artistic Adviser is Sakari Oramo.