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Sibelius: Symphonies Nos. 1, 4-6

Jean Sibelius Audio CD
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
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Product details

  • Orchestra: Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra
  • Conductor: Herbert von Karajan
  • Composer: Jean Sibelius
  • Audio CD (5 Nov 2001)
  • Number of Discs: 2
  • Label: Double Forte
  • ASIN: B00005QHW9
  • Other Editions: MP3 Download
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 223,984 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Listen to Samples and Buy MP3s

Songs from this album are available to purchase as MP3s. Click on "Buy MP3" or view the MP3 Album.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                         


Disc 1:

Samples
Song TitleArtist Time Price
Listen  1. Symphony No. 1 in E minor Op. 39 (2001 Digital Remaster): I. Andante, ma non troppo - Allegro energicoBerliner Philharmoniker/Herbert von Karajan10:34Album Only
Listen  2. Symphony No. 1 in E minor Op. 39 (2001 Digital Remaster): II. Andante (ma non troppo lento)Berliner Philharmoniker/Herbert von Karajan10:22Album Only
Listen  3. Symphony No. 1 in E minor Op. 39 (2001 Digital Remaster): III. Scherzo (Allegro - Lento (ma non troppo) - Tempo I)Berliner Philharmoniker/Herbert von Karajan 5:390.99  Buy MP3 
Listen  4. Symphony No. 1 in E minor Op. 39 (2001 Digital Remaster): IV. Finale: Quasi una fantasia (Andante - Allegro molto)Berliner Philharmoniker/Herbert von Karajan12:18Album Only
Listen  5. Symphony No. 4 in A Minor, Op.63 (2001 - Remaster): I. Tempo molto moderato, quasi adagioHerbert von Karajan/Berliner Philharmoniker10:38Album Only
Listen  6. Symphony No. 4 in A Minor, Op.63 (2001 - Remaster): II. Allegro molto vivaceHerbert von Karajan/Berliner Philharmoniker 5:270.99  Buy MP3 
Listen  7. Symphony No. 4 in A Minor, Op.63 (2001 - Remaster): III. Il tempo largoHerbert von Karajan/Berliner Philharmoniker12:49Album Only
Listen  8. Symphony No. 4 in A Minor, Op.63 (2001 - Remaster): IV. AllegroHerbert von Karajan/Berliner Philharmoniker10:020.99  Buy MP3 


Disc 2:

Samples
Song TitleArtist Time Price
Listen  1. Karelia Suite Op. 11 (2001 Digital Remaster): I. IntermezzoBerliner Philharmoniker/Herbert von Karajan 4:030.99  Buy MP3 
Listen  2. Karelia Suite Op. 11 (2001 Digital Remaster): II. BalladeBerliner Philharmoniker/Herbert von Karajan 7:300.99  Buy MP3 
Listen  3. Karelia Suite Op. 11 (2001 Digital Remaster): III. Alla marciaBerliner Philharmoniker/Herbert von Karajan 5:020.99  Buy MP3 
Listen  4. Symphony No. 5 in E Flat Major, Op.82 (2001 - Remaster): I. Tempo molto moderato - Allegro moderato - PrestoHerbert von Karajan/Berliner Philharmoniker14:16Album Only
Listen  5. Symphony No. 5 in E Flat Major, Op.82 (2001 - Remaster): II. Andante mosso, quasi allegrettoHerbert von Karajan/Berliner Philharmoniker 9:010.99  Buy MP3 
Listen  6. Symphony No. 5 in E Flat Major, Op.82 (2001 - Remaster): III. Allegro molto - Un pochettino largamenteHerbert von Karajan/Berliner Philharmoniker 9:210.99  Buy MP3 
Listen  7. Symphony No. 6 in D minor Op. 104 (2001 Digital Remaster): I. Allegro molto moderatoBerliner Philharmoniker/Herbert von Karajan 8:340.99  Buy MP3 
Listen  8. Symphony No. 6 in D Minor, Op.104 (2001 - Remaster): II. Allegretto moderatoBerliner Philharmoniker/Herbert von Karajan 6:050.99  Buy MP3 
Listen  9. Symphony No. 6 in D Minor, Op.104 (2001 - Remaster): III. Poco vivaceBerliner Philharmoniker/Herbert von Karajan 3:190.99  Buy MP3 
Listen10. Symphony No. 6 in D Minor, Op.104 (2001 - Remaster): IV. Allegro moltoBerliner Philharmoniker/Herbert von Karajan 9:180.99  Buy MP3 


Product Description

EMI 574858; EMI ITALIANA - Italia; Classica Orchestrale

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Better than the DG Alternatives 3 April 2012
Format:Audio CD
I am one of the few who, on the whole, prefer the later EMI recordings to the earlier DG alternatives. Why so? Well for starters the Berlin Phil was a different beast in the 1970s than a decade earlier. Has there ever been an orchestra that - at a given point in time - was so incontestably great in core repertoire? While their swagger might border on arrogance, we are the beneficiaries.

And above all, these are expositions ON Immensity.

The version of the First may not be the last word in recording excellence but it still registers astutely enough (and the animal excitement of the orchestra is astounding). The finale has more 'majestic savagery' to its name than the lion-hunts of Ashurbanipal, 'King of the World, King in Assyria'. It is a measure of the excellence of remastering that one is now acutely conscious of the double-basses as they weave their incantations in the lower depths.

In Karajan's hands, the chordal progressions that end the Fifth are like pylons being driven into the seabed with stupendous power.

The Sixth, as played here, is a Sibelian Winterreise. It is a twilight journey through the birch-forests of Finland whose deities are utterly indifferent to all human aspirations. It ends in such stillness too.

My highest praise is reserved for the Fourth and in particular the slow movement. What is it that stirs from slumber? Only a genius of a conductor, working with an equally gifted orchestra, could conjure up the last three or four minutes of this movement with its wordless melismas. All in all, this collection is beyond analysis but not beyond your budget.

Go the 'Red' rather than the 'Yellow' label in this instance.
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5.0 out of 5 stars a remarquable performance 20 Jan 2013
Format:Audio CD|Verified Purchase
Karajan is absolutely great. The best interpretation of Sibelius' symphonies. Beautiful sound for it was remastered at Abbey Rooad. I recommand it
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars 5 Stars for symphonies 4 & 6 30 July 2012
By Cranky
Format:Audio CD
In my opinion, Karajan's best recordings of Symphonies 4 & 6. They both benefit from the spacious DDD sound which brings atmosphere and ice, plus the wonderful playing of the Berlin Phil. It's worth owning the recordings for those two works. The 6th is free of the portamento schmaltz that ruined Karajan's 60s DG recording.

Karelia Suite isn't so gripping here - I find it on the slow and stodgy side. No. 5 requires more warmth than this recorded sound offers. Karajan's early recording with the Philharmonia is his best recording of 5. I've heard better versions of the youthful No.1 elsewhere, this one doesn't convince me of it's merits.

If like me, you're a fan of the 4th and 6th symphonies, then I rate these EMI recordings with Karajan very highly indeed hence the 5 stars. Sibelius would have approved had he been alive. EMI should ditch the 1, 5 & Karelia Suite and put the other two on one disc if they haven't already done so.
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Amazon.com: 4.3 out of 5 stars  9 reviews
24 of 25 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars World-class Sibelius from Karajan/Berlin 19 Sep 2005
By Mark E. Stenroos - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD|Verified Purchase
These recordings make a welcome reappearance on EMI, recompiled in EMIs Double forte series, and in new remasterings. Missing is Karajan's contemporaneous digital remake of Sym 2 - which is a bit strange as Sym 2 is the work best known to the public, at least on this side of the pond.

Karajan's Sibelius is often criticized for being too Germanic, too lush and too smoothed over. Those criticisms are given the lie in these remarkably forceful recordings. Yes - Karajan does not bring to the fore the many string ostinato patterns that provide the motor energy in these works, but if you listen for such passage work, you will hear it. That Karajan chooses not to emphasize the trees for the forest is an interpretive decision, nothing more, nothing less. Listen closely and one will hear why Sibelius himself was such a fan of Karajan's earlier recordings with The Philharmonia. There's a perfect balance between all choirs of the orchestra. Listen also for those points where Karajan (and Sibelius) "turn over" a theme or melody from one section of the orchestra to another. Here, Karajan is unmatched in the seamless transition in "instrumental counterpoint" (as we used to say at music school).

Compared to Karajan's much-lauded DG recordings for Syms 4-7, I find these later EMI recordings more compelling, at least as far as 4 & 5 go. The EMI recordings provide more warmth than their DG counterparts and prove once again that the guys at EMI knew how to record an orchestra (whereas the guys at DG generally failed to keep any consistency in portraying the Berlin Phil under Karajan in a realistic light). Having experienced the Berlin Phil under Karajan at Carnegie Hall, I can safely say that EMI more faithfully captured the sound that I heard in live performance than did DG. The only "problem" with these EMI recordings is that 1) Karajan didn't bother to redo Sym 7, and 2) he never performed or recorded Sym 3. Considering that Karajan eventually filled in the blanks on complete cycles of the symphonies of Schubert, Bruckner and Tchaikovsky (sans Manfred), it's a shame that he never did the same with Sibelius. Oh well.

I can recommend these recordings wholeheartedly to diehard fans of Sibelius and newcomers as well. There is a virulent anti-Karajan lobby out there that has accomplished nothing much - except to keep a few listeners here and there away from some pretty great recordings. Forget the naysayers and give a listen for yourself. I think you'll be favorably impressed with both the music making and the recorded sound on these valuable reissues.
14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Karajan and Sibelius at their best 3 Mar 2003
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD
Von Karajan's recordings of Sibelius's symphonies are superb and wonderful, and it is great to see that EMI rereleased these performances. While all of the works on this two CD bargain are beautifully performed, the high points must be the 4th and 5th symphonies. The performance of the 4th perfectly captures its cold, brooding character. It's opening is subtle and mysterious, in contrast to the loud and portentious opening of Maazel's recording with the Vienna Philharmonic. The 5th is the jewel of the set though, and is perhaps the best account of the piece put to disk. Karajan plays the Berlin Philharmonic like an organ, with precision and plenty of thunder and sweetness, although Karajan's pacing is measured so well that it is not until the final crashing chords of the last movement that the tension of the work is finally released and its power fully realised. The 1st and 6th Symphonies are also well done, and the simple, enjoyable Karelia suite could not be done with more charm or vigor.
11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Karajan's legendary Sibelius - unsurpassable. 16 Mar 2004
By Janos Gardonyi - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD
It is good to hear Karajan's legendary performances on this EMI 2-Cd set at mid price. They date from 1981 or thereabouts and are maybe even better than the equally famous DG versions.
Karajan's personality is perfectly suited to the nordic, mysterious complexity and architectural strength of this music. The First Symphony, unfairly disregarded often as a weaker,
somewhat "derivative" work (e.g. Tchaikovsky or Borodin) here receives an unforgettable reading,proving all its detractors wrong and already displaying a mature composer. Karajan propels the first movement with breathless conviction to its accelerando ending . Note the Berlin timpanist's ff hammer blows- these will drive you off your seat! The third movement is like a dance of the cave men ,elemental and relentlessly rhytmical. .At the beginning of the last movement,listen to the strings opening out the initially quiet clarinet theme into a passionate, transformed melody. One can almost visualise Karajan's extended arms and swaying upper body, muscles tensed, physically compelling the players to do their utmost. There is a sense of inevitability throughout and Karajan's control and concentration is beyond belief.
As for the desolate and brooding Fourth symphony : This was a celebrated performance when it was first recorded, but somewhat poo-pooh-ed
by English music critics as being a "too comfortable, plush view of Sibelius' desolate world" or such like phrases.. Reading the reviews today, however, they are
backtracking by saying that Karajan's reading is probably the most insightful of all available versions.
In addition to the four symphony performances we are given a bonus, the lighthearted Karelia Suite, performed here with panache, giving the Berlin brass a great opportunity to shine. And shine they do,(especially in the "Alla Marcia" movement). Although in the "Intermezzo" Barbirolli with his lilting rhythms still remains my favourite, this is also a very fine performance indeed.
There are of course other great interpreters of Sibelius such as Beecham, Barbirolli, Colin Davis, Kajanus etc. but Karajan,in addition to his great gifts, enormous talents and energy, had the great luck of working
with the Berlin Philharmonic, an Orchestra he moulded into a formidable "instrument" of his own.(Being born into the digital stereo era did no harm to his tremendous career either).
At mid-price this set is a bargain and you won't get better performances than these. A lot for your money! Most recommendable!
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Better than the DG alternatives 14 Jan 2011
By Bernard Michael O'Hanlon - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD
I am one of the few who, on the whole, prefer the later EMI recordings to the earlier DG alternatives. Why so? Well for starters the Berlin Phil was a different beast in the 1970s than a decade earlier. Has there ever been an orchestra that - at a given point in time - was so incontestably great in core repertoire? While their swagger might border on arrogance, we are the beneficiaries.

And above all, these are expositions ON Immensity.

The version of the First may not be the last word in recording excellence but it still registers astutely enough (and the animal excitement of the orchestra is astounding). The finale has more 'majestic savagery' to its name than the lion-hunts of Ashurbanipal, 'King of the World, King in Assyria'. It is a measure of the excellence of remastering that one is now acutely conscious of the double-basses as they weave their incantations in the lower depths.

In Karajan's hands, the chordal progressions that end the Fifth are like pylons being driven into the seabed with stupendous power.

The Sixth, as played here, is a Sibelian Winterreise. It is a twilight journey through the birch-forests of Finland whose deities are utterly indifferent to all human aspirations. It ends in such stillness too.

My highest praise is reserved for the Fourth and in particular the slow movement. What is it that stirs from slumber? Only a genius of a conductor, working with an equally gifted orchestra, could conjure up the last three or four minutes of this movement with its wordless melismas. All in all, this collection is beyond analysis but not beyond your budget.

Go the 'Red' rather than the 'Yellow' label in this instance.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Surprisingly Superb! 14 Mar 2011
By Skaynan - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD
I'm hardly a Karajan fan. I really don't like most of his output with the BPO. I don't like any of his Beethoven cycles, nor his Bruckner or Brahms (and I think his Dvorak is a total abomination). But I know he can surprise me on occasion: Although I don't like the rest of his Mahler, I find his Mahler's 6th and 9th to be the best out there. How come? I have no idea really. So I didn't know what to expect from these Sibelius recordings. Being a huge Sibelius fan, odds were I wouldn't like K's readings. I was wrong.
These are absolutely superb readings of the 1st, 4th and 5th. The 1st is just as good as Segerstam's (although very different). The 4th 5th and 6th are the best I've ever heard. Better then Davis, Vanska, Segerstam, Ashkenazy, Maazel... You name it. If you like Sibelius you owe it to yourself to listen to these.
The Karellia, however, is not that great. Here it's my 'typical' Karajan once again. Not that great. Also, it doesn't really belong here programming-wise. A tone poem such as Tapiola or Pohjolas daughter would have been more appropriate.

highly recommended!
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