Review By Ian Dando,New Zealand Listener,February 2012
SIBELIUS, J.: Symphonies Nos. 1 and 3 (New Zealand Symphony, Inkinen) 8.572305
SIBELIUS, J.: Symphony No. 2 / Karelia Suite (New Zealand Symphony, Inkinen) 8.572704
SIBELIUS, J.: Symphonies Nos. 4 and 5 (New Zealand Symphony, Inkinen) 8.572227
SIBELIUS, J.: Symphonies Nos. 6 and 7 / Finlandia (New Zealand Symphony, Inkinen) 8.572705
Review By Michael Quinn ,The Classical Review,December 2011
fresh, vivacious accounts of familiar music distinguished by illuminating attention to detail and playing of real verve and feeling…a reading of the Fourth Symphony that enabled “one [to] hear the music with clean ears”, while the Fifth was marked by “dignified, unforced music making.” At the price, an essential disc. © 2011 The Classical Review See complete list
Review By Roger Hecht,American Record Guide,July 2011
I have not heard Inkinen’s earlier Naxos recording of Symphonies 1 and 3...but if this newcomer is any indication, his Sibelius is similar but more interesting than Sakari’s. The conductor’s control is total, and the performances are delineated, transparent, light in weight, evenly balanced between the instrumental choirs, and played with great concentration. I’m not sure how large an orchestra Inkinen is using, but the approach befits chamber music, though it bears little resemblance to the “small orchestra” set with Paavo Berglund leading the Chamber Orchestra of Europe (Finlandia). I don’t care for that Berglund set, which I find too razor-sharp, and I do like what Inkinen has given us.
Review By Record Geijutsu,May 2011
Review By Andrew Achenbach ,The Classical Review,March 2011
This is the fourth CD in Pietari Inkinen’s Sibelius series for Naxos (and the second in his cycle of the symphonies) and it more than maintains the superior standards set by its forebears. Not only does the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra respond with conspicuous skill and heartwarming application, its 30-year-old Finnish chief also conducts with a sure instinct, discernment and self-effacing maturity that continue to mark him out as out of the most naturally gifted young talents around.
Review By Andrew Mellor,Classic FM,March 2011
The Music Here, the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra arrives at the heart of Sibelius’s symphonic oeuvre. The ensemble opens with the chilling Fourth—spawned at the height of the composer’s battle with alcohol and debt—and the searing Fifth, inspired by his glimpsing of a flock of swans soaring upwards from the lake at Järvenpää. No two of Sibelius’s symphonic neighbours pose as striking a contrast as these do.
Review By David Gutman,Gramophone,March 2011
A cool, restrained approach to Sibelius from the latest young Finnish conductor
Review By Phil Muse,Audio Video Club of Atlanta,March 2011
In their second installment of Sibelius symphonies for Naxos, the young Finnish conductor Pietari Inkinen and the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra really do themselves proud with the composer’s Symphonies 4 and 5. If they chose this pairing for contrasts, they couldn’t have done better than program the brooding, pessimistic Fourth and the surging, optimistic Fifth on the same disc.
Review By John J. Puccio ,Classical Candor,February 2011
The Fourth Symphony (1911) of Finnish composer Jean Sibelius (1865–1957) is one of the man’s bleaker but more-characterful works. The music always reminds me of a vast, flat, icy plain, maybe in Lapland, brooding in silence. That’s the way young Finnish conductor Pietari Inkinen appears to see it, too, carving huge chunks of desolation from the music. It opens with a theme “as harsh as Fate,” as the composer described it, and Inkinen follows through.
The succeeding Allegro molto vivace, which Inkinen takes rather leisurely, brings a note of great serenity to the otherwise dark proceedings, but then it also turns slightly sinister (although never threatening).
Review By Brian Wilson - Download Roundup,MusicWeb International,February 2011
After some reservations about their recordings of Symphonies Nos. 1 and 3 (8.572305), Pietari Inkinen and his New Zealand Orchestra made me wonder why the Fourth Symphony is not usually rated more highly, achieved mostly by underplaying the bleakness which often unduly pervades performances, yet they also convinced me that the Fifth remains the jewel in the crown. The mp3 sound does justice to the performances. Unlike most classicsonline downloads of recent Naxos material, there is no booklet. Nevertheless, this restores my belief that Naxos have the makings of another fine Sibelius cycle in hand.