'Illustrious’ (Classic Melbourne) French conductor Chloé van Soeterstède shines in this performance of Sibelius’s Symphony No. 1. Opening with its famously searching clarinet solo, the symphony is a beautiful work that evokes the brooding Nordic atmosphere for which Sibelius would become renowned. Across its four movements, the composer's gifts for creative harmony, concise structure and emotional intensity are on display. After the symphony premiered in 1900 it became a symbol of Finnish independence against the Russian Empire, although the composer denied explicit political meanings in the work. It also put the young Finnish composer in the line of symphonic giants such as Beethoven and Tchaikovsky, inaugurating one of the great symphonic careers of the twentieth century.