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Paul Collier (Sutton, Surrey. England.)

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Sibelius: Complete Symphonies, Tapiola, Karelia suite, Finlandia, The Bard
Sibelius: Complete Symphonies, Tapiola, Karelia suite, Finlandia, The Bard
Price: £9.61

67 of 69 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Sibelius as it should be., 1 Feb 2013
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Oh god, I hope I'm not turning into one of those "things were better in my day" type of person. However, this box set has set me thinking. I find the trouble with most recordings of today (not all), Is the striving for beauty of sound above all else which can result in rather bland results. That is not a problem here. Not that the Bournemouth orchestra don't play beautifully here,they do. What matters here is structure and cohesion. Briefly:
Symphony number 1. One of the few recordings of this symphony that look forward to Sibelius's later works rather than back or sideways to the Russian romantic tradition. The scherzo in particular sounds a bit like Janacek in places with beautifully observed dynamics, which is a constant feature in this set.
Symphony number 2. Absolutely thrilling,especially in the development section of the 1st movement where tension can easily drop.
Symphony number 3. Quite simply the best version available of this symphony anywhere. You are left in no doubt that from bar 1 Berglund has his eyes on the final few bars.
Symphony number 4. Again very fine. Listen to the opening cello solo, beautifully played but with the colour drained from it. Some versions make it sound like Brahms.
Symphony number 5. Properly observed dynamic markings especially in the transition between movements 1 and 2 (trumpets only F not FF) and at the very end of the last movement make this one of the best version available.
Symphony number 6. This really elusive work, which has elluded most conductors, receives a lovely performance here.
Symphony number 7. Wonderfully layered performance. again you sense that from bar 1 Berglund has his eye on the symphony's moving conclusion.
Very rich and warm vintage EMI sound. One complaint. How about a 5th disk with Haendel's magnificent performance of the violin concerto along with Pohjola's Daughter. Oh well you can't have everything.

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