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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Totally remarkable performances offered in splendidly realistic sound, 23 Nov 2012
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I. Giles (Argyll, Scotland) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Sibelius; Nielsen: Violin Concertos (Audio CD)
This disc, very well recorded in 1987 and 1988 in two completely different venues, is remarkably consistent as a pair of recordings. The violin is well balanced in both cases without the close miking that is so destructive of reality. This allows Lin's naturally attractive timbre to be heard far more realistically.

The disc is reputedly a remastered production but there is no mention of that in the much reduced new sleeve notes. The prospect of a new mastering was the reason for my buying this reissue. By comparing sections of both this and the previous issue, there may be a hint of a more open sound but this could also be wishful thinking. This is therefore one of those cases when there seems little justification for collectors to replace an earlier mastering with this one. Either way, the sound is superb. The same cannot be said of the sleeve notes which are not as good as in the previous version which I have now scanned and retained for this newer disc.

In each case one cannot overstate the important contribution made by the conductor, Salonen, who provides support of the greatest empathy. Once more, one notices the very good recorded balance. The opening of the Sibelius sets the scene with playing and recording of delicacy later matched with interjections of considerable orchestral power. The natural balance allows the humour of Nielsen's final movement, with its constant dialogue between the soloist and orchestral members, to be really appreciated and enjoyed.

The Sibelius has been recorded numerous times by the world's best violinists, while the Nielsen is a less frequently played and recorded concerto. Nevertheless it has claims to be considered as one of the finest 20th century violin concertos and this makes a very appropriate coupling. Like many an avid collector for several decades, I have owned just about all of the most respected recordings of both of these works at some time or another and these two recordings have always given considerable pleasure as well as musical satisfaction at every playing.

Even in the face of such competition as the revered stereo recording by Heifetz, now available as a remastered SACD option for a limited time. or the award winning version by Chung, this absolutely stands out in the crowd. The two performances on this disc are on a par with each other so what we have here is, in my opinion, versions of two of the finest modern concertos for violin which can safely be ranked with the finest ever made and currently available.

Whatever other recordings are in collector's libraries, I would suggest that this recording deserves to be included too. New purchasers may buy with complete confidence but collectors with an earlier mastering have cause to doubt the advantages of purchasing this disc.
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Sibelius; Nielsen: Violin Concertos
Sibelius; Nielsen: Violin Concertos by Jean Sibelius (Audio CD - 2005)
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