John Bispala, The Finnish American Reporter, July 2008
"I've listened over and over to Saario's CD and can always come back to it for new inspiration. Her dynamic range of expression runs from the rippling sounds of a brook to the thunderous chords of a storm."
Richard Haskell, Wholenote magazine, February 2009
"As a young boy, I used to delight in leafing though my grandmother’s old sheet-music from the 1920s, and one piece I recall in particular was the Sibelius Romance Op.24 #9. I can still envision it – the heavy yellowed score with the bright orange cover, and the title in a bold black script across the front. Admittedly, I had forgotten all about the piece until I came across it on this disc of piano music by Sibelius played by Heidi Saario on the Aspasia label. A native of Finland, Saario moved to Canada six years ago in order to undertake graduate-work at the Glenn Gould School. Since completing her studies, she has made a determined effort to promote the piano music of Sibelius, a genre too often overlooked. After all, the composer is much better known for his vibrant and nationalist tone-poems and symphonies than for his small output for the piano.
In the past, certain critics have dismissed Sibelius’ piano works as nothing more than salon-music. Unfair! While perhaps not great, these miniatures nevertheless seem well-crafted, containing a charm all their own, and as such, have much to offer the listener. What is particularly striking is the wide variety of moods achieved on a relatively small scale. These range from the gentle introspection of the Berceuse Op.40 #1 to the robust virtuosity of the finale from the Piano Sonata in F major. Saarios’s playing is polished and self-assured, at all times displaying a real affinity for the music. Is it the Nordic blood? Quite possibly - for although these pieces cannot honestly take their place beside those by a Beethoven or a Chopin, her elegant and heartfelt interpretation makes them particularly endearing, and well worth investigating. Recommended."
Matt M. and the RadioIndy.com Reviewer Team, October 2009
"Heidi Saario has put together a fine group of pieces written by Finnish composer Jean Sibelius in this wonderful collection of Classical Works, "Jean Sibelius - Compositions for Piano." Her playing on this CD is very emotional and is clearly the work of an accomplished pianist. The emotion is brought into these performances in part, by the effective use of dynamics. "Two Rondinos, Op. 68: I and II" are great examples of the feeling put into these works. They have power drawn from the romantic era but the structured beauty of the Classical. Heidi Saario's "Jean Sibelius - Compositions for Piano" is full of beauty and feeling that shines through in this recording."
WHAT PEOPLE ARE SAYING
Susan Griesdale, Composer, Teacher, Clinician, President of ORMTA Central Toronto Branch
"I have been listening to your CD and it’s just wonderful! I’m sure that your CD will become the defining interpretation of Sibelius! Bravo! It will be played often at this end!"
Frank Horvat, Pianist, Composer, Teacher, www.frankhorvat.com
"Heidi has done a fantastic job with a great master's work. The orchestral Sibelius is evident through Heidi's fingers; so many beautiful tone colours!"
"It is difficult to put into words just how much I am enjoying her music. I had already loved Jean Sibelius, as the whole world does, but I have to say Heidi's mastery, interpretation and delivery is so wonderful, and the recording work is excellent."