Sibelius: Complete Symphonies
The project began as a nine-month exploration of the Sibelius symphonies to mark Mäkelä’s inaugural season with the Oslo Philharmonic as Chief Conductor but, with Covid cancellations, turned into a completely immersive recording project. With the orchestral season disrupted, Mäkelä and the orchestra devoted much of the Spring of 2021 to playing nothing but the music of Sibelius.
Says Mäkelä, “We played, played, played, and then recorded. Sibelius’ music, like that of any composer, is a language you have to learn, and the circumstances under which we recorded actually played to our advantage.”
The Oslo Philharmonic has been performing the music of Jean Sibelius for over 100 years, with the composer himself conducting three concerts of his music in 1921. Mäkelä taps into the orchestra’s rich tradition of interpreting Sibelius’ symphonic works in the century since. He refers to the “darkness, power, and strength” in the ensemble’s string playing, drawing a link with the Russian tradition instilled into the orchestra by former Chief Conductor Mariss Jansons.