Sibelius: Symphonies; Violin concerto; Finlandia

Review by: David Hurwitz

Artistic Quality: 9

Sound Quality: 9

This is as fine a Sibelius cycle as any available, and the performances of Symphonies Nos. 1, 3, 4, 5, and 7, as well as the Violin Concerto, are uniformly top recommendations. All of the individual discs have been previously reviewed, and my only reservations (incidentally not shared by my colleague Victor Carr Jr, who covered the original release) concern Symphonies Nos. 2 and 6, particularly the latter, which strikes me as just a touch lacking in energy and directness. That doesn’t mean the playing isn’t very beautiful: indeed, it may be excessively so, and that takes some of the Sibelian edge off of the performance. Still, for the most part these are wonderful interpretations, and if you want a complete Sibelius cycle from top Finnish performers, then this set represents an obvious first choice, alongside Vänskä’s very different and equally fine Lahti series on BIS. You simply can’t go wrong either way. [12/14/2005]



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Recording Details:

Reference Recording: This One, Vänskä (BIS), Davis/LSO (Philips)

JEAN SIBELIUS - Symphonies Nos. 1-7; Violin Concerto; Finlandia


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