"Petri Sakari conducts powerful, well-recorded performances of the 4th and 5th symphonies. The strange enigmatic No 4 emerges more broodingly than ever."
Performance **** Sound ****
"Earlier issues in Petri Sakari’s Sibelius cycle have made a strong impression and so does this. Had I heard either of these performances in the concert hall I would have left feeling very satisfied. Both have a lot going for them. They are straightforward and unaffected, dedicated and selfless, and free from interpretative point-making. Tempi are for the most part uncommonly well judged, and feel that Sakari really sees the works as a whole, rather than as a sequence of wonderful episodes. ... The finale is particularly imposing, well built up and with a good feel for its changing moods and powerful currents. ...the sound is truthfully balanced and well detailed."
"The excellent Naxos survey of Sibelius symphonies continues with a coupling of one of his most assertive and popular-the Fifth-with the lean austere Fourth.
The brooding power at the start of the Fourth Symphony confirms the potency of atmosphere that the Iceland Symphony Orchestra can generate in this music. When the clouds lift with the sunny oboe tune in the second movement, it goes to show just how dark, intense and introspective the interpretations of the opening movement had been. Likewise the fragile, tender beauty of the Largo offers a pool of repose before the craggy, volatile finale. Petri Sakari astutely catches the symphony’s fugitive moods in a performance marked by first-rate orchestral playing and compelling creative energy.Even a symphony as well known as the Fifth comes across here with freshness and a keen sense of Sibelius’s highly individual harmonic and orchestral colouring. Security of structure is matched by momentum and vibrant strength of character. The disc brings further distinction to a highly recommended series."