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Sibelius: Symphonies Nos. 2 & 5
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Sibelius: Symphonies Nos. 2 & 5

7 Feb. 2012 | Format: MP3

£6.93 (VAT included if applicable)
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Product details

  • Original Release Date: 7 Feb. 2012
  • Release Date: 7 Feb. 2012
  • Label: BIS
  • Copyright: (C) 2012 BIS
  • Total Length: 1:17:56
  • Genres:
  • ASIN: B006ZT4HJ0
  • Average Customer Review: 2.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 174,420 in Albums (See Top 100 in Albums)

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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Robert Gardiner on 9 Feb. 2012
Format: MP3 Download Verified Purchase
These are sensationally well recorded performances of Sibelius, by a conductor who knows them through and through and an orchestra playing at the very peak of its powers. The sound even in ordinary stereo, I haven't access to SACD, is deep, energetic and beautifully balanced across all the instruments. The dynamic range is immense. The interplay between the various orchestral groups is wonderful. So why only 4 stars? There are moments in both symphonies that I still am unhappy with. In the 2nd symphony I find the andante at times is so heavy and slow that it is less of a countrywalk and more like treading water. Of course we all come to these works with ears attuned by previous hearings. I learnt the 2nd symphony from records by George Szell whose view is much more classical. Vänskä deconstructs and rebuilds often emphasising the fragmentary. In the 5th symphony the great swinging theme of the last movement almost seems to hang in the air at one point. But there again I was brought up with Karajan and Bernstein. These performances are very different. Undoubtedly these performances are powerful: they certainly bite and call for repeated detailed hearing. All lovers of Sibelius should buy the cd or at least the download and listen with fresh open ears. I even hope that most will be convinced, for I'm sure that Osmo Vänskä knows these works far better than me. But having done that I remain disappointingly unconvinced.

Bob Gardiner
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3 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Charles Voogd on 14 Feb. 2012
Format: Audio CD
This disc is available in Germany and the US for over 2 months.
With one of BIS latest releases - Kamu conducting a Sibelius program with music already available in their own catalogue - I asked myself `do they start all over again [recording Sibelius]?' and now I think: yes, they do!
Vänskä already did a very well received all Sibelius symphonies cycle on BIS which I still really enjoy (1990s). There's a good set of symphonies by Järvi in their catalogue, also a very good one, fine played by the Gothenburg orchestra (1980s). Those readings are so fresh and well recorded, I'll stay with them for the next 40 years. Now BIS/Vänskä start again with an American orchestra. Here we have a top class orchestra and a top class conductor and a top class classical label. But sadly it isn't a top class product... I think BIS owns the public a motivation why we should throw our money to this new cycle. Is it because it's on SACD? (The older recording is as good as can be...). Are there any new insights on Sibelius as a composer? Did they discover new bars and notes that he didn't throw into the fire?
Then I think the conductor has to motivate his choices. Why does he record a new cycle? Does he have any new insights etc.? Are there changes in tempo that were never observed and do have to be presented to the public?
No motivation at all. BIS could think: the disc speaks for itself, but it doesn't. I really cannot understand why the slow movement in the 2nd symphony has to be played so deadly slow. It has no power, as if the performance runs out of energy. Bernstein did it that way in his erotic interpretation of this symphony, but Sibelius isn't about hysteria. The `older' reading is far more preferable. It flows, this one halts. Why mr. Vänskä? Motivation!
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