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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Superlative Sibelius
If you love Sibelius, you cannot go wrong with this disc - I cannot stop playing it. The LSO under Colin Davis play with such white hot conviction that I hardly leave the edge of my seat. I have many interpretations of these works in my collection - Rattle, Blomstedt, Burglund and earlier Davis recordings, but none match either of these performances. Live music making of...
Published on 1 May 2004 by Mr. Colin N. Boyes

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11 of 14 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Disappointing
Davis has recorded both works before to better effect and with better sound. The performances lack power and mystery compared to his Boston cycle and the sound is unacceptable. Whilst recorded in DSD and surround it is dry and unappetising, and has a strange electronicky-rattle noise in the right rear speaker which, I see from other web sites, others have also noted...
Published on 14 Feb 2005 by P. SIMPSON


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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Superlative Sibelius, 1 May 2004
By 
Mr. Colin N. Boyes (Rochester Kent) - See all my reviews
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If you love Sibelius, you cannot go wrong with this disc - I cannot stop playing it. The LSO under Colin Davis play with such white hot conviction that I hardly leave the edge of my seat. I have many interpretations of these works in my collection - Rattle, Blomstedt, Burglund and earlier Davis recordings, but none match either of these performances. Live music making of the very best, thankfully caught on disc for everyone to enjoy. The occasional small grunt and groan from Sir Colin on the podium only seems to add to the sense of occasion.
Excuse me, I must go and play it again
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good but restrained performances in compromised sound and short playing time, 24 Dec 2012
By 
I. Giles (Argyll, Scotland) - See all my reviews
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Colin Davis is here revisiting his Sibelius recordings made earlier with the Boston SO. These new performances received generally glowing reviews as performances in the press and then when those performances later appeared in their touched up disc versions as here. There were considerable reservations made about the recordings however with the Barbican sound stage being described as dry and lacking in depth. Additionally complaints were raised about the conductors vocalisations during the performances.

What is quite noticeable is that these same performances have not been so well received in the States with much the same comments being made about the recordings and vocalisations but also, interestingly, the performances themselves have been considered unexciting at best especially when compared to the Boston set.

Having owned both sets of the Davis performances I would agree that the recorded sound in this case is cause for comment and some concern. There is definitely a case to be made about the dryness of this disc and also the vocalisations. It should be noted that it may be that my response to the dry sound is not as critical as those who own the SACD version. Mine is the alternative stereo version and this may not show the deficiencies quite so much as the SACD version. This disc is not the worst of the LSO set though and is therefore OK but not good. The vocalisations could be more of a problem once they have been identified.

As regards the performances I personally enjoyed them finding the speed relationships throughout the two works to be very convincing and that both works made a convincing pair of interpretations. These do not 'wear their hearts on their sleeves' so much as those in the Boston set but are initially more subdued but open out satisfyingly by the end. The interpretations follow a longer game plan in the LSO versions and these will be a matter of taste as to whether it works or not for individual listeners. The orchestral response is good but suffers by sounding a little undernourished. The playing time is short for a modern disc.

In conclusion I would suggest that purchasers need to be careful when considering this disc, especially in the SACD version. For those wishing to purchase it may be that the boxed set may be the better buy if more than a couple of the discs in the series are being considered. The comments about the sound, vocalisations and interpretive approach apply pretty well consistently throughout the series.

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Some dialogue from the comments section that may offer further help:

Another EXCELLENT REVIEW, Dr. Giles! (U.K. review)

I thought that you might like to know that before I buy a recording I now look through all the reviews to see if you have posted one. Your assessments and opinions are invaluable. Thank you. (US review)

I particularly like your format of review. They give the prospective purchaser an idea of the style of the playing and relevant comparisons. They are succinct. Keep up the good work! (UK review)

I'm sure there are many other serious collectors, besides myself, who wait for your synopsis and opinion before spending their hard-earned money on new releases...
Keep up the good work!
Thank you (UK review)
............................................
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11 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars LSO/Davis/Sibelius - a classic combination, 25 Jun 2004
I was at the Barbican performance of the third captured on this disc. At the time I was blown away, never had I heard Sibelius sound so good, and finally an interpretation of the 3rd where the last movement was made to fit. Memories of the concert include the plaintiff clarinet calls in the 2nd movement, the delicacy, the detail which suddenly sprang out of the texture and the vitality of the LSO. So a transfixing account of this tricky work, for my money the best on record. The 7th lacks a little in intensity, the grinding disonances and passionate ardour that Beecham for example brought to the work.
The sound is good Barbican, quite detailed, a touch dry. The LSO earn their righful place as a world class orchestra in partnership with one of the greatest interpreters of Sibelius.
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11 of 14 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Disappointing, 14 Feb 2005
By 
P. SIMPSON "nucaleena" (North Yorkshire, United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
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Davis has recorded both works before to better effect and with better sound. The performances lack power and mystery compared to his Boston cycle and the sound is unacceptable. Whilst recorded in DSD and surround it is dry and unappetising, and has a strange electronicky-rattle noise in the right rear speaker which, I see from other web sites, others have also noted.
There will be better Sibelius on SACD (we already have two quite good accounts of the Violin Cto) so hold your horses and wait and in the meantime, if you must have Davis, then keep playing any of his earlier sets (especially the Boston).
There will also be better recordings even from the notorious Barbican, - witness Chandos with the LSO.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Poignantly dark Sibelius that makes its point wonderfully, 17 Aug 2011
By 
Andrew R. Barnard (Leola, Pa United States) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Sibelius: Symphonies No. 3 & 7 (MP3 Download)
Sir Colin Davis and the LSO have consistently impressed me with their LSO Live series of the Sibelius symphonies. There is something especially Scandinavian about the way Davis looks at these symphonies. I can almost see the dark, overcast forests of Sibelius' Finland. Davis does more than just create a Finnish atmosphere, however, which is what separates it from what I heard of his RCA set, also with the LSO. He seems to constantly be involved, and his love for the music is evident. While Davis' approach may not be everyone's taste, he has arrived at a unique way of performing these symphonies that is undeniably unique and full of personality.

Starting things off on this disc we hear the Sibelius 3rd. A work that some conductors have seemed afraid to perform, it is wonderfully cheerful for Sibelius. (Karajan, as much of a Sibelius fan as he was, never included this in his sets of the symphonies.) Reviewers have complained that Davis seems to try to make this piece more sober than is necessary. This isn't a crazy complaint, as you could add more fun and "let loose" more than Davis did without losing the magic of the piece. Still, I found myself sympathetic with Davis; the beauty of the orchestral sound combined with the excitement Davis infuses into the work sends me into raves. The soberness Davis never lets leave doesn't seem to hinder the enjoyment of the piece. Davis lets his orchestra dig into the music, he just always makes sure that the end result will leave you thinking, not just excited. For me, this symphony can handle this kind of approach. I'll leave the final decision up to you.

I'll agree with John Grabowski (on the US Amazon)that the 7th symphony is almost too good to be played. Davis certainly doesn't bring this piece to its full potential. But, having said that, I'll have to say that Davis does an awfully good job. Some of the moments are brought forth so wonderfully that it is almost unreal. What's not to be questioned is the fact the Davis keeps the musical line following very persuasively, building the symphony up to its glorious conclusion without seeming either rushed or dragging. I guess what makes this performance so successful in my mind is the poignant sadness that Davis is able to pull out of the work without ever resorting to hysteria. The sheer desolation one feels after listening is indescribably touching.

I'll call this recording a success. It's certainly proved immensely satisfying to me. I would recommend the disc to anyone who wants the same experience.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Noises off!, 26 Sep 2013
By 
David Layland - See all my reviews
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I was really excited about receiving this CD having heard a very favourable appraisal on R3's Building A Library.
Unfortunately my enjoyment has been completely shattered by the occasional background noises .....which sound like glooping water or men muttering. One of your reviewers has enlightened me by pointing out that it is the conductor singing along! It's small consolation to know what these extraneous and hugely distracting sounds actually are as the disc as a whole is spoilt for me. The 3rd movement of the 3rd symphony is "free of noises" and what a great performance it is.
Am I the only one out there to be so irritated in this way? (by the way I remember similar noises from Nigel Kennedy about 20 years ago on a recording,coincidentally,of Sibelius's Violin Concerto)
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5 of 7 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not the bargain it seems perhaps, 5 May 2009
By 
I am not a fully paid up member of the Sibelius fan club, but these two Symphonies are amongst his finest works, and at the price it seems a real bargain

BUT the sound does suffer from the dry unresponsive accoustic of the Barbican, and Sir Colin's singing along really is a distraction in No 7.

Mr Fitton knows a lot more about Sibelius than I, and his list of alternative versions really puts this version out of court except for enthusiasts with half a dozen recordings. Can I also advocate the recent Halle/Elder recording of No 3, the same concept as LSO live but a better recording and no singing!
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6 of 9 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic music, patchy performances, 23 Jun 2004
By 
MR P FITTON (Oldham, Manchester UK) - See all my reviews
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Although an admirer of Sir Colin Davis - I especially love his LSO Live Bruckner recordings - I've always found his Sibelius a bit hit and miss. This new CD is a typical example: there are some very fine things here but there are also occasions when Davis is simply wide of the mark.
We start with the criminally underrated 3rd Symphony. Am I alone in thinking that the glorious first movement is one of Sibelius's very finest compositions? Davis starts and finishes the movement very well and overall it's one of the better recordings of this frequently botched piece, but around the middle there are some rather muddled passages and some melodic
lines and embellishments are renderred rather meaningless as a result. Contrast with Leaper on Naxos where every note makes perfect sense and the sensation of building excitement and tension is exhilarating. Davis also has a tendency to slow things down at key moments, thus dissipating the power of the piece slightly.
The slow movement - which I have to confess I can take or leave - is played fairly slowly but effectively, although the intended yearning, lilting quality doesn't quite come off properly somehow.
On the other hand the first "scherzo" part of the Finale is done extremely well. In fact I've never heard it sound better. Davis brings real magic to the fragmentary lines and phrases that weave around each other before finally resolving into the finale proper (which is also done very well). Superb.
Sibelius's 7th is probably my favourite piece of music of all time. Why this masterpiece has never been accorded its rightful place in history as one of the three most important orchestral works of the 20th Century - with La Mer & the Rite of Spring - is beyond me. Much has been said about the way the conventional symphonic movements are woven effortlessly into one single movement, but what is just as remarkable is the equally effortless way Sibelius manages to combine Romanticism, classicism and modernism into one unified whole and does so with such invention and artistry that these terms are transcended and become obsolete. Oh and much of it is strikingly beautiful.
So what of Davis's latest version? Well, it's ok. The opening adagio is played well, if a little slowly for my tastes; the gorgeous hymn section therein is handled with much poise and no lack of feeling. For sheer expressive beauty though it falls a fair way short of Leaper (again) on Naxos. The rest of the symphony is done well enough (although both the strings and woodwind could do with a bit more weight at times and there is some clumsiness here and there) and this is a perfectly serviceable reading. I'll certainly play it every now and then but I wouldn't rank it alongside the greatest versions - Leaper on Naxos, Maazel on Decca, Segerstam on Chandos, Karajan on DG, Berglund on EMI, Leaper on Arte Nova et al.
Overall, you can't go too far wrong here - particularly if you want both of these great works on one disc - but more distinguished versions of both symphonies are available, even at this price.
I've given 4 stars but 3 and a half would probably be more appropriate.
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3 of 5 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Usual Dismal Recording, 2 Sep 2006
By 
I have yet to hear a disc fom this source - LSO Live - was not a dismal/mediocre/gloomy recording.

Sir Colin Davis deserves better.
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0 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Sibelius symphonies 3 & 7, 3 Mar 2010
By 
A. York - See all my reviews
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If you're a fan of Sibelius you'll love this. I bought it as my orchestra is currently playing no. 7 and I just can't get enough of it. But no. 3 is great too so I enjoy listening to all of it. I'm not an expert on different recordings but I think it's a good recording and excellent value for money.
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Sibelius: Symphonies No. 3 & 7
Sibelius: Symphonies No. 3 & 7 by London Symphony Orchestra
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