Top positive review
16 people found this helpful
Fascinating and Essential
on 31 May 2011
This CD of Osmo Vanska conducting the Lahti SO in both versions of the Sibelius concerto is endlessly fascinating and rewarding, for Sibelians and general classical enthusiasts alike. This is in fact the world premiere of the earlier version. The first thing which struck me on listening to the 'original' version of the concerto, is that even small differences here and there add up to a very different piece. The original is longer, and lacks quite the same inner momentum and logic as the final version (unsurprisingly), even (to this listener's ears) slightly losing its way between 11 and 12 minutes. The dramatic moments for soloist and orchestra are still there, but it is understandable why Sibelius took some of the material out. Anyone who knows the concerto well will find it a very strange experience....
As with the acclaimed series of Sibelius Symphonies recorded by Vanska and the Lahti SO, the playing here is rich and intense, including moving solo performances by Kavakos in both versions, all of which brings new aspects of the work to the listener's attention. The CD booklet notes are informative and well produced, and the recording extremely detailed.
I can't recommend this highly enough. For me, it surpasses my previous favourite recordings, by Ferras/Karajan and Previn/Mutter, both on DG.