I recently had the opportunity to audition Vänskä's new 1st & 4th with Minnesota. Way different from his previous outing with Lahti! Whereas those recordings were restrained and relatively austere -- cool -- these are romantically interventionist, not just warm but hot -- much like the 2nd in V/M's previous Sibelius pairing. In both cases the vision presented is sufficiently strange that it may take a few hearings for me to come to grips with it.
The 1st is fast instead of mysterious and the 4th is blythe instead of bleak. It uses the dreaded glockenspiel instead of glocken, which is one of my biggest peeves with Sibelius performances. He wrote glocken in the score, he conducted the premiere performance with glocken, and I'm utterly baffled how anyone with any sensitivity to this music could possibly think that a tinkly little glockenspiel's character is appropriate. And the ending sounds almost blythe and inconsequential instead of tapering off into bleak, unresolved mystery.
Yet the orchestra sounds great and the recording seems up to BIS's usual high quality, and my respect for Vänskä's Sibelius credentials commands open-minded attentiveness ... and though both performances seem a bit weird at first, they are consistent with his "new" vision and not at all wayward or willful, and I suspect I might end up liking them very much.