Coinciding with this week’s release of the complete Sibelius symphony cycle with the Oslo Philharmonic, Klaus Mäkelä features on the front cover of Gramophone Magazine. The in-depth interview is followed by an Editor’s Choice review in which Edward Seckerson writes:

“So much of the musical energy of these symphonies stems from rhythm and articulation, from a propulsive sense of inevitability, and that’s something that Mäkelä has mastered to a fault. He also has a theatrical nose for atmosphere, which is apparent from the moment that desolate solo clarinet at the start of the First Symphony surveys the landscape that will become Sibelius’s enduring musical canvas  … We all have favourite recordings and cherished performances of the Sibelius symphonies but Mäkelä’s cycle is all of a piece, accomplished, insightful and full of the beauty and intrigue that make these works so perennially exciting. An uber-auspicious debut.”

Also in the UK, the Richard Fairman writes in the Financial Times:

… The result is performances that dig deep in every sense. Mäkelä likes sturdy, forceful, full-fat Sibelius that presents the symphonies as trenchant, highly charged musical arguments. Often, the music will start out slowly, even heavy-footedly, but that marks the start of a long climb upwards, as in the finales of the Second and Fifth Symphonies, which lead to climaxes of rousing passion and power.”

And Geoff Brown writes in The Times:

“Right from the start with the lonely clarinet’s solo in Symphony No 1, you feel the music’s vivid emotions and colouring, soon complemented by singing strings and a body of brass powerful enough to be blasting out Wagner or Bruckner. By the end of this proudly nationalistic symphony, as with Makela’s readings of the Second, the more modernist Fourth, and the one-movement triumph of the Seventh, I sat back pretty much exhausted with joy.”

Both Rondo Classic Magazine (Finland) and Musica (Italy) featured Mäkelä on their front covers and chose the Sibelius recording as “CD of the Month”. And in Norway Magnus Andersson dedicates two pages to his review in Klassekampen, commenting:

“Mäkelä shows a consistent depth in his understanding of Sibelius, which is as much based on intellect as sensuality. When the orchestra responds with sonorous splendor, precision and attentive listening to each other, the result is a new reference recording of the Sibelius symphonies … and the high quality of the recording gives us every reason to hope that the love affair between Mäkelä and the Oslo Philharmonic develops into a long marriage.”