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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Sir Colin's first Sibelius cycle, volume 2, 18 Nov 2009
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Mr. Mark A. Meldon (Somerset UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Sibelius: The Complete Symphonies Vol 2, nos 3, 6 & 7/Violin Concerto (Audio CD)
This second Philips Duo re-release of Sir Colin Davis' and the Boston Symphony Orchestra's mid-70s run through of the Sibelius symphonies contains the ubiquitous "Finlandia", "Swan of Tuonela", and "Tapiola", together with a recording of the violin concerto. Like the first volume Sibelius: The Complete Symphonies, Vol.1, it's well worth picking up a copy of this 2-CD set if you can find one at a reasonable price. As before, the analogue to digital remastering is fine, so there are no sound quality issues, although there is rather more low-level muttering from our conductor than on the first volume!

Sibelius 3 is one of my favourite pieces of music and Sir Colin has a way with this work like no other conductor I have heard, with the possible exception of Vanska Sibelius: Symphonies Nos. 2 & 3 or Segerstam Sibelius: Symphonies Nos. 3 & 5. The Philips/Boston performance is brilliant, but perhaps a little more cool than the later Davis/RCA recording Sibelius: The 7 Symphonies; Finlandia; Kullervo; etc. [Box Set], which also benefits from top notch sound quality. Best have both recordings!

Symphony 6 is exquisite and less well-known than it deserves to be. Whilst the Boston (and RCA) performances are very good, I do think that Sir Colin can be outdone (if that is the right expression) by Vanska Sibelius: Symphonies Nos. 6 and 7 / Tapiola, Rattle Sibelius: Symphonies Nos 1-7/Orchestral Works, and Karajan's DG version Sibelius: Symphonies Nos. 4-7.

Sir Colin has the measure of the one-movement symphony 7, and, most probably, can't be bettered elsewhere. On this Boston recording, great sensitivity is shown, and the strings sweep all competition aside. The later RCA performance is a great one, too.

The other orchestral works are excellently played and recorded, but I'm not quite so sure about the violin concerto with Accardo. Perhaps this is because the performance is very slow compared with, for example, Perlman on EMI Sibelius & Korngold: Violin Concertos; Sinding: Suite or RCA Tchaikovsky, Sibelius: Violin Concertos, or a recording on Sony by Midori Sibelius: Violin Concerto/Bruch: Scottish Fantasy, both of which are rather more engaging.

All-in-all, a near-essential purchase for Sibelians, especially for symphonies 3 and 7. Recommended
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8 of 13 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Goodness, but didn't he write some spanking tunes ..., 6 Mar 2002
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This review is from: Sibelius: The Complete Symphonies Vol 2, nos 3, 6 & 7/Violin Concerto (Audio CD)
The third symphony has one of the most emotional moments in classical music, namely the slow movement. This in itself makes the entire set worth while. The symphony as a whole is not as immediately memorable as the glories of the second or fifth, but you don't want to miss out on the experience.
The sixth and seventh are somewhat unconventional in style and structure, and therefore are rather more difficult to grasp. In particular, the abrupt ending of the seventh is somewhat bewildering. You also have to be paying attention to be able to work out where the sixth finishes and the seventh begins. Definitely ones for the less casual classical music fans, the more you hear them the more sense they make. You can see the influence on the "modern" school of symphonists, and they make an interesting document of that particular stage in musical history.
However, the rendition of the symphonies seems a bit mushy in places - there are more immediate recordings available. This is a pity because the Duo series is generally impeccable.
This CD also contains some of the composer's more popular pieces - the immortal (and ubiquitous) Finlandia being a stirring piece with a climax that will have you standing to attention saluting whatever your nationality. Tapiola and The Swan of Tuonela, however, seem to have walked into the wrong party - beautiful though these pieces are, I feel that they don't really "belong" in this collection.
However, the true bonus of this set is his intense and personal Violin Concerto. He only wrote one, which may be surprising when you consider that the violin was his first instrument. This performance is a good one.
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0 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Good service, 29 May 2013
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This review is from: Sibelius: The Complete Symphonies Vol 2, nos 3, 6 & 7/Violin Concerto (Audio CD)
review the music? nothing to add to above. Since I am doing you a favour by writing a review at all, how come you demand more words? Most people I know don't review at all, which is mean. There's just so much to be said, since supplier didn't write the music.
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