Paavo Berglund began recording the complete Sibelius symphonies for EMI in 1984, during Okko Kamu’s term as conductor. He had previously recorded the cycle with the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra. It came as a surprise to some members of the HPO to discover just how precise the playing had to be in an international project such as this, and making the first recording was not easy. Recordings were made throughout the 1980s.
Berglund personally considered the records of the second and fifth symphonies the best in the cycle. His renderings were dynamic, and sometimes deviated from the scores. This did not meet with universal approval, and Jorma Panula, for example, felt there was no need to “tinker” with Sibelius as much as Berglund did.
Source: Vesa Sirén - Suomalaiset kapellimestarit
Picture: HPO's archive