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Sibelius: Symphony No. 5; Nielsen: Symphony No. 4 'Inextinguishable' [CD]

Philharmonia Orchestra Audio CD
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
Price: 13.77 & FREE Delivery in the UK. Details
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Product details

  • Conductor: Sir Simon Rattle
  • Audio CD (24 Sep 2007)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Format: CD
  • Label: EMI
  • Other Editions: MP3 Download
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 151,818 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.

Song TitleArtist Time Price
Listen  1. Symphony No. 5 in E Flat, Op.82: I. Tempo molto moderato - Allegro moderato - PrestoPhilharmonia Orchestra/Sir Simon Rattle13:45Album Only
Listen  2. Symphony No. 5 in E Flat, Op.82: II. Andante mosso, quasi allegrettoPhilharmonia Orchestra/Sir Simon Rattle 8:290.99  Buy MP3 
Listen  3. Symphony No. 5 in E Flat, Op.82: III. Allegro molto - Un pochettino largamentePhilharmonia Orchestra/Sir Simon Rattle 9:280.99  Buy MP3 
Listen  4. Pan and Syrinx - Pastorale, Op.49City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra/Sir Simon Rattle 8:340.99  Buy MP3 
Listen  5. Symphony No. 4, Op.29 'The Inextinguishable': AllegroCity of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra/Sir Simon Rattle11:47Album Only
Listen  6. Symphony No. 4, Op.29 'The Inextinguishable': Poco allegrettoCity of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra/Sir Simon Rattle 5:180.99  Buy MP3 
Listen  7. Symphony No. 4, Op.29 'The Inextinguishable': Poco adagio quasi andanteCity of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra/Sir Simon Rattle10:47Album Only
Listen  8. Symphony No. 4, Op.29 'The Inextinguishable': AllegroCity of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra/Sir Simon Rattle 8:470.99  Buy MP3 

Product Description

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Customer Reviews

4.0 out of 5 stars
4.0 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
By Colin Fortune VINE VOICE
Format:Audio CD
The Sibelius 5th on this disc is more richly recorded and visionary than Rattle's later remake with the CBSO, now available in a complete set and still good value nonetheless Symphonies 1 - 7 (Rattle) or coupled with Nigel Kennedy's performance of the Violin Concerto Sibelius: Symphony No.5/Violin Concerto. There is, for me, a sense of delighted discovery in the traversal of the symphony with the Philharmonia that is not quite matched in the later recording.

Nielsen's 4th is a splendid performance all round, energeticially conducted and beautifully played and recorded. The "Inextinguishable" was one of Rattle's specialities at the beginning of his 18 years in Birmingham and here you can hear it in all its glory. This has claims to be one of the best stand-alone Nielsen 4ths in the catalogue. And at this price it is very worth while trying.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Format:Audio CD|Verified Purchase
Sibelius' fifth symphony, as with his second, represents Sibelius at his best: periods of music depicting desolation, with a fragile, haunting melancholy interspersed with brassy climaxes and interesting percussion effects. I agree with Colin Fortune here, this is one of the best versions around.

However I was bitterly disappointed with Nielsen's 4th., my favourite large-scale work. I purchased in high hopes, knowing Sir Simon Rattle and the City of Birmingham Philharmonic usually to be a fine combination. The opening lacks the unbridled energy of the finest versions and the pace is slow; the all-important clarinet theme, about 1 minute 35 seconds into the 1st movement, a rallying point for the E major forces, slips in almost unnoticed. Conversely the finale is delivered at too faster pace so that some of the tension is lost as it appears to be rushing towards the climaxes. The vigorous duel between the two sets of timpani is handled and recorded wonderfully well but the final, life-affirming climax is, for me, spoiled by the percussion dominating the brass - sounds more like Rattle's variations on a theme of Nielsen's.

There is the bonus of Nielsen's Tone Poem: Pan and Syrinx, which has many of the haunting or threatening woodwind sounds reminiscent of his fifth symphony, but this is only likely to appeal to dedicated Nielsen fans.

I purchased this CD because I was setting up a Music Library for an organisation where it was useful to introduce members to the works of two great Scandinavian composers. For most dedicated enthusiasts it might be more useful to purchase Sibelius' fifth with his second and Nielsen's 4th. with his 5th (see my comments on Adrian Leaper's outstanding version) or with his wonderful violin concerto, one of the best in the repertoire.

Excellent recording but Jekyll & Hyde performances.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars sibelius 2nd 16 Dec 2010
Format:Audio CD
Overall this is a magnificent recording of Sibelius 5.
However, it is ruined for me by the lack of prominence given to the trumpets during the climax to the 1st movement.I refer specifically to 13.04 onwards.To me this section really is the "top of the pyramid" but because of the above imbalance it simply doesn't work.
I am so disappointed and will not be able to listen to this recording again.
Any recommendations out there?
(Personally I find the Rattle/CBSO 1984 version,originally coupled with the Violin Concerto, much better although the audible grunting and stomping of Nigel Kennedy is distracting)
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 5.0 out of 5 stars  1 review
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars There's Too Much To Appreciate Here For Anything Less Than Five Stars 17 Mar 2010
By Moldyoldie - Published on
Format:Audio CD
The young Simon Rattle of pre-knighthood was seemingly the cat's meow among British music critics throughout the '80s, a sensitive and often dynamic conductor whose recordings endeavored toward new benchmarks in much of the basic early modern repertoire. Here from 1982 is Rattle's initial foray into recording Sibelius, the popular Symphony No. 5, and it became the most talked about recording of the work since Karajan's in the '60s. Here ends the requisite dispensable history lesson.

Rattle and the Philharmonia deliver a well-prepared and wonderfully understated interpretation that forces one to re-think this popular symphony in terms which are mostly extra-musical; i.e., cerebrally, as if inside the head of a dual-faced Janus consisting of the young conductor and the dourly disposed composer himself, only looking at each other instead of oppositely! Unlike Esa-Pekka Salonen's outright depressing recording with the same orchestra from a few years later, Rattle brings his own youthful intellect and optimism to bear on this fine music while effectively harnessing its more overtly dynamic attributes -- it's this latter consideration which may dissuade the novice listener and rebuff the seasoned one. A few listens, however, have brought me around. I've become particularly taken by the wonderful play (and interplay) of the woodwinds heard throughout, as well as the purposely blatty brass which evoke the large fowl flying overhead in the Sibelian realm. The big build in the coda to the first movement, one of the most thrilling moments in the entire repertoire for this listener, is rendered in a controlled manner and culminates not with a bang, not with a whimper, but merely as the end of the first part of a lengthier musical journey. The pianissimo strings in the finale are on the very threshold of audibility (even through headphones!), in itself an ear-catching technical feat, but it still remains temporally and emotionally consistent with this well-played, well-articulated, and sensitive performance.

In my opinion, Bernstein and Karajan are the most effective in pulling out all the stops in all the right places in Sibelius No. 5 -- Rattle/Philharmonia is the antithesis, one I can now readily advocate as a fine alternative. I've read where Rattle's subsequent Sibelius No. 5 recording, part of his complete cycle with the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra, is appreciably different -- I've yet to hear it.

The Nielsen recordings here date from '85 during Rattle's prodigious stint with the Birmingham orchestra. Pan and Syrinx is a brief buffer between the main attractions --it's both evocative and powerful, especially the brooding cello and marvelous brass crescendo in the middle. In my limited experience with it, this is the most effective and entertaining performance I've heard.

Rattle's rendition of the Symphony No. 4 "The Inextinguishable" invites a special scrutiny among those who love this work. I've read one critic describe the performance as "fussy", I suppose in reference to Rattle's tendency to deliberately fawn over certain details in sacrifice of momentum. As evidenced here, however, there's certainly much to love and fawn over. It's true that Rattle takes the middle two movements of this seamless symphony at a pace that elicits a great deal of both loving detail and charm. Where charm exists and flourishes, however, there's always a most effective countervailing aggression that follows -- this performance never wallows in sweetness and light. The culminating, all-consuming tympani battle in the final movement is brought to bear with resolute meaning and results in an equally powerful victory, putatively of Man's capacity for creative good over those forces which would usurp it. To my ears, Rattle's judgments and the orchestra's responses are much more effective than the likes of Karajan and Barbirolli in their likewise expansive and deliberative readings. Instead of "rattling" on, I'll conclude by saying that this lucid performance, as manifested by the young conductor's understanding of Nielsen's multi-fold wartime expression, is worth the "fuss"!
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