Sir Colin Davis is renowned for his interpretations of Sibelius. There are powerful performances here in which to revel, but we are not many minutes into this live performance before we hear more than the music. For barely two minutes from the beginning of the fifth we can hear Sir Colin on the podium - it's worse on headphones - but this is, I suppose, par for the course, as anyone who has purchased other LSO Live CDs featuring Sir Colin will know. What is quite unforgivable is that we can hear him even in the first movement's bassoon solo. Overall, though, this is a taut performance of a five-star symphony: the final three minutes still moves me terribly - such sound!
The playing on the sixth symphony is not perfect but is riveting nonetheless: the third movement is very much a forced march, and there is a brisk and forthright approach through the whole work. It is one of those rare symphonies where the woodwind are often to the fore.
This is not the best Sibelius 5 & 6 offering on the market, but it has its strengths. If only Colin would shut up on the podium!