The chief conductor of the Helsinki Philharmonic Orchestra, Mälkki... brought out piquant touches, like some characterful wails of clarinet, and the tidal undercurrent of the low strings at certain moments even anticipated the grand “swan call” climax of the Sibelius. [...] She patiently, persuasively built that symphony’s fitful first movement, and the whole work had a feeling of straightforwardness, lightness and modesty; neither tempos nor emotions were milked; the performance was more lovely than intense.
“Mälkki brought the line tighter, even as the music gained richness, and the rocketing cadence at the end of the first movement brought a thrill to the audience… The final movement had the energy of running through the forest on a sunlight day, the rising and falling horn calls like the sun coming through gaps in the leaves. Mälkki’s timing on the final burst of chords, was perfect—she held the pauses longer than one has ever heard and it worked”
New York Classical Review
“Mälkki conducted with elegant, energetic gestures through the harmonic and rhythmic complexities – pulsating woodwind waves, rich syncopations – typical for Adams’ busy scores… Mälkki’s account of Sibelius’ Symphony no. 5 in E flat major allowed surprisingly many segments of warm, brass-and-timpani-driven Romanticism… Always clear and precise in her indications, maintaining well-thought tempo relations between sections – so crucial in Sibelius’ music – Mälkki paid great attention to details.”