Review By Richard A. Kaplan,Fanfare,July 2009
This is Inkinen’s second Sibelius collection for Naxos; I praised the first in Fanfare, and if anything, like the present one even better.
Review By Paul Turok,Turok’s Choice,June 2009
The New Zealand [Symphony Orchestra], led by Antoni Wit, is proficient in Weber overtures (8.570296) and very impressive in Sibelius’s Night Ride and Sunrise and other pieces led by Pietari Inkinen (8.570763). Led by Peter Breiner, it plays suites from Janáček operas [Vol. 1 (arr. P. Breiner) – Jenůfa / The Excursions of Mr Brouček 8.570555, Vol. 2 (arr. P. Breiner) – Kat’a Kabanova / The Makropulos Affair 8.570556,
Vol. 3 (arr. P. Breiner) –
Review By Leslie Wright,MusicWeb International,April 2009
This is one terrific disc! On the basis of this alone—and I gather from the reviews I’ve read of the first installment in his Sibelius series—Pietari Inkinen is a Sibelian of the first order. The young conductor, born in 1980, has the New Zealand Symphony playing its collective hearts out for him and the recorded sound is superb. Not only a “bargain of the month,” but a “disc of the month” at any price! For the most part, this is a collection of lesser-known works of the composer that truly deserve this kind of exposure. The one “chestnut,” Valse Triste from Kuolema, receives a sensitive performance that makes the piece sound fresh minted.
Review By James Manishen,Winnipeg Free Press,February 2009
Take this along with Inkinen's previous Naxos Sibelius release (Scènes historiques; King Christian II 8.570068) for some rarely heard Sibelius, very sympathetically played in finely detailed recordings and at budget price.
Inkinen makes the elusive Night Ride and Sunrise cohere, while the engineers do their part to ensure everything sounds at a ll levels (double basses, for example, barely audible as required, but absolutely felt).
Review By Pizzicato,February 2009
Review By Bob Briggs,MusicWeb International,February 2009
I was very impressed with this orchestra’s last Sibelius offering (Scenes historiques I and II / King Christian II Suite 8.570068) and on this new disk there is even more to admire and enjoy.
Review By Robert R. Reilly,InsideCatholic.com,January 2009
Naxos has a new Sibelius treat from the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra, under Pietari Inkinen. They offer stirring, crystal-clear performances of a variety of tone poems, including Night Ride and Sunrise, Kuolema, Pan and Echo, and Suite from Belshazzar's Feast in superb sound.
Review By Andrew Achenbach,Gramophone,February 2009
Inkinen enhances his growing reputation with more Sibelius
Inkinen’s luminous account of the suite from Belshazzar’s Feast will have you questioning why such an appealing and highly evocative score is so seldom performed (both middle movements possess a truly spine-tingling hush).
Inkinen even manages to breathe new life into the Op 44 diptych from the 1903 incidental music for Kuolema (the ubiquitous “Valse triste” and bleakly beautiful “Scene with Cranes”), and his alchemy extends to the two altogether more mundane numbers that Sibelius added for a 1911 revival of the play (the feeble “Valse romantique” sounds more beguiling than I would have ever thought possible).
Review By Rob Barnett,MusicWeb International,January 2009
This is in general the lesser known Sibelius. It is done with atmosphere and hushed tension. Night Ride is a favourite of mine. It displays so many hallmarks: that relentless yet moulded ostinato, bird song, the romantic expression of the Second Symphony and the ascetic joys of the Sixth’s string textures. It’s such a contrast with the fleet-footed Paavo Järvi on Virgin but a delight to hear every detail limned with such sturdy enchantment…The Belshazzar's Feast Suite’s Oriental Procession in a similar idiom to Nielsen’s Aladdin music and Delius’s Hassan without the latter’s morbidezza. Solitude ticks trippingly along and melts entrancingly into the tenderness of Nocturne. The
A nice collection which looks to me as if it might—with a previous Inkinen NZSO disc—form part of a complete cycle of the non-symphonic Sibelius. If so it will complement Naxos’s Iceland Symphony intégrale.more....
Review By David Denton, Naxos,December 2008
Having given an ecstatic review to Pietari Inkinen and the New Zealand Symphony in their previous Sibelius disc—a view echoed by critics around the world—I would equally commend this new release to you. No other version on disc takes such infinite care to recreate the composer’s dynamics in the Night Ride and Sunrise, the grading of the slow crescendos is magical, with the subtle orchestral colours bringing a whole new dimension to the score. But if you want to know more about Inkinen, go to the popular Valse Triste as the opening to Kuolema, and you will fully appreciate his elegant and thoughtful musicianship, the moments of silence elongated so as to make you wait that precious moment for the piece to continue. Here and more....