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Sibelius: Kullervo
 
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Sibelius: Kullervo

Sir Colin Davis, London Symphony Orchestra
10 Jan 2006 | Format: MP3

£7.49 (VAT included if applicable)
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Song Title Artist
Time
Popularity  
30
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14:25
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14:08
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23:27
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10:21
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9:48

Product details

  • Original Release Date: 7 Feb 2006
  • Label: LSO Live
  • Copyright: 2006 London Symphony Orchestra Ltd
  • Total Length: 1:12:10
  • Genres:
  • ASIN: B001LA880W
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 139,589 in MP3 Albums (See Top 100 in MP3 Albums)

Customer Reviews

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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By maximus TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 29 Mar 2007
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
Great quality recording, with clarity and precision in conducting, and the singing is very very good. As for the piece itself - this is a cantata style symphony which is way ahead of its time, with passages earily reminiscent of Stravinsky (you keep hearing the orchestral theme from Petrushka in the 4th movement of Kullervo) and the format seems to be pointing to Prokofiev's Alexander Nevsky cantata.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By enthusiast TOP 500 REVIEWER on 9 Nov 2008
Format: Audio CD
The question is simple: this is an astonishing masterpiece from the young Sibelius (and one he unaccountably suppressed for the rest of his life) in a wonderfully committed and full-blooded performance, well played and sung! Better than Davis's studio recording of the same work and perhaps better than Vanska's recording too. Get this or the Vanska (or both).
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13 of 20 people found the following review helpful By DAVID BRYSON TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 15 May 2006
Format: Audio CD
This issue is from this very year 2006, the year in which that celebrated exponent of Sibelius Sir Colin Davis attains his 79th birthday. Sibelius himself was 26 when he wrote Kullervo, so this is an elderly man's interpretation of a young man's music. However I don't think the matter is just as simple as that. Nor is it made any simpler by the way in which the musical columns of the British press drizzle down on Davis that punctual and undiscriminating praise that descends from them like the gentle rain from heaven on whoever is deemed fashionable.

Davis's Sibelius, even at its best, has always seemed to me to rank just a point or two short of the true greatness that I associate with, say, Kajanus or Beecham. However I never yet heard a bad performance from him either, and I don't think this Kullervo is the first. It's more a matter of what we are expecting to get out of the music. It seems to me that thrills in the manner of Tchaikovsky were never Sibelius's style at any stage of his career, even in straightforward early compositions like En Saga or the Karelia suite or in a crowd-pleaser (admittedly a good one) like Lemminkainen's Return. The completely individual brooding quality of the later masterpieces can be heard sporadically in the earlier works too. I don't hear much of it in, say, the first symphony, but I seem to hear it surprisingly strongly in Kullervo written right at the outset of his career, and I wonder whether that was exactly what led him to preserve it unpublished despite the many reservations he felt about it from the start. It comes across to me in a slightly odd way - I hear in Kullervo, as the liner-note writer does, quite a strong influence of Bruckner.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 5 reviews
7 of 9 people found the following review helpful
YOUNG MAN'S DOOM 15 May 2006
By DAVID BRYSON - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
This issue is from this very year 2006, the year in which that celebrated exponent of Sibelius Sir Colin Davis attains his 79th birthday. Sibelius himself was 26 when he wrote Kullervo, so this is an elderly man's interpretation of a young man's music. However I don't think the matter is just as simple as that. Nor is it made any simpler by the way in which the musical columns of the British press drizzle down on Davis that punctual and undiscriminating praise that descends from them like the gentle rain from heaven on whoever is deemed fashionable.

Davis's Sibelius, even at its best, has always seemed to me to rank just a point or two short of the true greatness that I associate with, say, Kajanus or Beecham. However I never yet heard a bad performance from him either, and I don't think this Kullervo is the first. It's more a matter of what we are expecting to get out of the music. It seems to me that thrills in the manner of Tchaikovsky were never Sibelius's style at any stage of his career, even in straightforward early compositions like En Saga or the Karelia suite or in a crowd-pleaser (admittedly a good one) like Lemminkainen's Return. The completely individual brooding quality of the later masterpieces can be heard sporadically in the earlier works too. I don't hear much of it in, say, the first symphony, but I seem to hear it surprisingly strongly in Kullervo written right at the outset of his career, and I wonder whether that was exactly what led him to preserve it unpublished despite the many reservations he felt about it from the start. It comes across to me in a slightly odd way - I hear in Kullervo, as the liner-note writer does, quite a strong influence of Bruckner. In all of Sibelius's later music that I can think of the style of Bruckner is as much an absentee as is the style of Brahms, and here in Kullervo the passages that most recall Bruckner tend to associate themselves most with the presages of late Sibelius that took a good many years to reappear.

So my own hunch is that this is the side of Kullervo that fascinated Davis. It's certainly the aspect of it that he presents strongly to my own ears. My feeling is also that an overly dramatic reading of Kullervo brings out its rawness and lack of sophistication. The whole format of the work is outstandingly undramatic for one thing. There are two longish instrumental movements to start with, then the male chorus put in an appearance together with the two soloists, all to music of the very simplest kind without repetition of words. The orchestral element itself is my idea of `absolute' music rather being than of an illustrative or narrative variety, and I can't really see how one could make much of a drama out of it. I find the strength of this music to be in its inward and reflective aspects, inconsistent and slightly incoherent as it may be in certain ways.

That is my take on the piece as a whole and on this particular interpretation. I wasn't looking for excitement and consequently I didn't miss it. I was looking for depth and insight, and I seemed to find quite a lot of that. The chorus and the two soloists perform admirably in their untaxing roles, and the orchestra is after all the London Symphony. The recording is perfectly good, and the liner-note is adequate if hardly revelatory. The text is sung in the original Finnish with great clarity of enunciation by everyone, and the translation is in a gawky translationese that leads me to suspect it is probably pedantically accurate. The story has the real power that ancient sagas and ballads usually have for me - in this case the doom that attends violation, however accidental and unintended, of the timeless and near-universal taboo against incest. A young man's doom in the legend, but given sympathetic listening you may find that the young composer has not fared too badly at the hands of an interpreter with nearly four score years of life's lessons behind him.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
a mixed bag . . . but this is a piece worth hearing 2 Feb 2013
By Stanley Crowe - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
First, I have no points of comparison for this disc -- it's the only Kullervo I own. Keep that in mind in what follows. I'm not as down on this performance as most of the other reviewers, and it might merit another star. But I have reservations. First, the sound -- it has weight and presence but is a bit "airless," by which I mean that there isn't a sense of "space" around the sound. Partly as a result, I think, only the brass comes through with anything like its full character. This matters in the last movement especially, where I think the sounds behind and around the chorus should be creepier and more ghostlike. A pity, because I think the final movement is well-played and sung and includes the most interesting choral writing. Now, the piece itself: surely it was a misjudgment by Sibelius to put the dancelike fourth movement between the incest movement and the tragic finale. I know the fourth movement is marked "Alla Marcia" but it's more like a jig. I can't believe that this is Colin Davis's fault -- the character of the music just isn't march-like. Now, generally, the music throughout doesn't "sound like Sibelius" -- he hadn't found his voice yet. Some of the orchestral color might be there, though that could be taken as generic Slavonic. That's not to say that it isn't engaging and well played. The thematic material too isn't Sibelian. The melodic elements at times sound like folk-elements in Vaughn Williams, and that's not bad, but it isn't Sibelius. The more dance-like elements sound like Russian stuff -- again, nothing wrong with that: this is a young composer getting his feet wet. The most striking movements are the choral ones, though musically the long third outstays its welcome. The chorus and soloists sing well. I'll resist the temptation to get into my issues with the story, which is neither Sibelius's nor Davis's concern, but I'll just say that I thought Kullervo was a bit hard on himself. If I read the drama of the third movement right, the girl gives herself to Kullervo when she sees his gold. She has some responsibility here . . . no?

All that said, I'm a sucker for this stuff -- big 19th Century symphony-cantatas, like "Gurrelieder," the Mahler Second and Eighth symphonies. This isn't as interesting or as intense as "Gurrelieder," but it's still quite a show. I guess I owe a hearing to at least one other recording to see if my reservations are validly stated, but I still think this is on the whole a worthy disc, a good performance of a not-quite first-class piece.
13 of 23 people found the following review helpful
... Deceiving ... 9 May 2006
By _H.AlexCab_ - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
Unfortunately, I too cannot recommend this record : it contains a performance close to platitude, a deceiving approach to a fine early work now represented in the catalog by such [examplary] names like Berglund, Segerstam, Vanska or Saraste. Despite some superb singing efforts by distinguished soloists and also by the choruses who sometimes have their moments, the end result leaves something to be desired. I totally agree with the other review and can't figure out how some reviewers or magazines have come to overestimate this disc. Even the Panula-Naxos is preferable.
11 of 22 people found the following review helpful
Don't waste your time (and money) 31 May 2006
By Laszlo - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
Why should anyone invest their money on a Kullervo that sounds dull? Actually, why should anyone release a Kullervo that does not offer gorgeous sound and terrific conducting? Another one: why should any conductor record a piece twice if it is not going to be a significant improvement? Here you have it.
You can put forth all the fancy marketing you want: Hybrid-SACD, Multichannel... fancy cover... but if the recording venue sucks, nothing will save it. The truth is that the Barbican Hall is a horrible venue for orchestral recordings, and nothing will change that. No recording from the LSO harvest has confirmed otherwise. The Barbican Hall is just terrible: there is no bloom, no warmth, no range, no perspective. Everything is blended. Perhaps some pieces might take the punishment, but others cannot survive without those sound qualities. Kullervo is one of them. Go look for the first Berglund on EMI (analogue!), or those wonderful BIS recordings. This? AVOID!
I just wished the LSO would move to the Royal Albert Hall and record there. Meanwhile, we have all these missed opportunities, which will likely end up in Amazon selling at $0.50 or so a piece.
3 of 16 people found the following review helpful
Do not incest on that matter 16 May 2006
By makkeemonkeypreizid - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
Heard fantastic disks of the piece but not this one So alarmingly boring , triple sec soundscape can t beat that Really don 't like in this manner rushed, insensitive, kinda like confused string tone and brass it never seems to launch or leave the ground -we lose sight of the magic the primal, raw,earthly fate-faced of this earliest of finnish mythology.
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