CD Reviews

Mar 9, 2018

Brahms: Symphony No. 4

Profil – PH17085
“Jukka-Pekka Saraste’s series of Brahms symphonies with his WDR Symphony Orchestra is particularly exciting as a surprising approach is taken for each single work, according to its individual character. Saraste and his orchestra savour the Phrygian key of the slow movement’s main motif to the full, with perfect beauty of sound. The Allegro giocoso sounds powerful and exuberant, and the finale determined.”

klassik erleben, March 2018

Nov 24, 2017

Brahms: Symphony No. 2

Profil – PH17057
“Saraste lays Brahms’s cards on the table rather than his own…the Adagio’s opening paragraphs have an earnestness about them as well as a sense of intimacy that runs parallel through the best of Brahms’s chamber music. The unfolding modulations…and the exquisite way they’re orchestrated is tellingly interpreted…

Symphonies Nos 1 and 3 in this series are similarly compelling…so if No. 4 proves to be as good this should become a Brahms cycle to reckon with.”

Gramophone Magazin, Rob Cowen, December 2017

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Sep 19, 2017

Stravinsky: Le Rossignol

Orfeo – C919171A

“It is indeed a gem, beautifully polished up in this new recording. Jukka-Pekka Saraste brings out a remarkable amount of detail in the score, with each line precisely etched and vividly conveyed. The playing is superb – the twittering singsong of many solo lines strikingly alive – and the engineering is natural and detailed.”

Gramophone Magazine, Hugo Shirley, September 2017

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Oct 26, 2016


“Saraste leads the WDR Sinfonieorchester Köln in this performance for radio broadcast, and he states that it is a privilege to conduct this orchestra, which made many great Bruckner recordings under Günter Wand. If there is a little of Wand’s style in Saraste’s expansive phrasing and warm orchestral blend, it may be because he grew up listening to Wand’s recordings, so it’s fair to say that he is keeping a great tradition alive. The performance rates high marks for Saraste’s scrupulous interpretation and the orchestra’s committed playing”

AllMusic, Blair Sanderson, October 2016

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Jan 31, 2015

Mahler: Symphony No. 5

Profil Medien – PH14045

“Instinctive Mahlerians take their time, they breathe in the atmosphere and feel the subtext. In the midst of the second movement’s impassioned onslaught…Saraste finds within it something so personal and so inward-looking that it is as if he is placing all his Mahlerian credentials on the line in that one passage.

But there is better to come…Saraste’s reading dances through the finale, which feels, as it should, thoroughly liberating. The playing of the WDR SO, always top-class, has acquired an irresistible sweep along the way and the glorious release of the coda (given an expansive embrace by Saraste) is as good as it gets.

..Saraste has the insight and individuality…Mahler collectors would be well-advised to give him a spin.”

Gramophone Magazine, Edward Seckerson, January 2015

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May 27, 2013

Brahms: Symphonies Nos. 1 & 3

Profil Medien – PH13028

“Saraste’s WDR Sinfonieorchester Köln is on magnificent form in performances that feel bold, urgent and highly charged…this is an excellent release that I will reach for often.”

MusicWeb International, 27th May 2013

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Feb 15, 2013

Daniel Müller-Schott plays Britten & Prokofiev

Orfeo – C847121A

“[Müller-Schott and Saraste are] inclined to approach the work as a standard romantic concerto. The tone is rich and warm, the orchestral sound founded on the strings, with wind and brass more distant. Müller-Schott makes the music sing…Saraste backs him up wholeheratedly, though the WDR Symphony Orchestra’s very decent playing is short on rhythmic cut-and-thrust.”

Gramophone Magazine, February 2013

Feb 15, 2012

Jukka-Pekka Saraste conducts Sibelius & Lutosławski

LPO – LPO0057

“This has to be one of the best recordings around of Sibelius’s Fifth. And Lutoslawki’s Concerto can never have been more brilliantly played.”

Classic FM Magazine, December 2011 ****

“Pohjola’s Daughter is very well served here. Jukka-Pekka Saraste’s 2008 RFH performance is electric – fast and exciting where it needs to be, with the darkest, most sinister of openings…Lutosławski’s Concerto for Orchestra makes an unusual coupling. Saraste’s reading is sleazier, grimier than I’ve heard it, moving with a menacing swagger.”

The Arts Desk, 19th November 2011

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Jan 21, 2012

Stravinsky: The Firebird & Scherzo fantastique

Profil Medien – PH11041

“Saraste directs a brilliant performance of both works, skilfully recorded so as to do justice to the suitably fantastic orchestration of this fantastic tale…The ‘Khorovod of the Princesses’ may sound more ‘Western’ than it does in Russian performances but it is gracefully and well done, and Saraste is excellent at keeping the sense of drama driving forward throughout the ballet’s length.”

Gramophone Magazine, January 2012

“Jukka-Pekka Saraste coaxes silvery, shimmering colours, glittering strings and wind and a lively, effervescent pace from the orchestra’s highly precise playing … Jukka-Pekka Saraste combines orchestral precision in the blending of the sounds and moods with a technically impeccable shading of the instruments and tone.”

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