on 8 June 2014
This double CD contains four major symphonies by Jean Sibelius,Nos 3-5-6-7 plus the great Tapiola and En Saga.The total time is 150 mins.It is performed by Vladimir Ashkenazy with the Philharmonia and recorded between 1981 and 1985.
The playing is superb and the sound is Decca at their best.Ashkenazy's interpretation of these works is very good.His phrasing and tempo are just right.There is nothing artificial or forced about them.They sound perfectly natural and a joy to hear.
I have other versions of these works,by Colin Davies,Karajan,Rattle,Berglund and others because no one conductor or orchestra can capture this wonderfully imaginative music in one recording.
Increasingly I believe that great music eludes any attempt to capture it in one performance and this is certainly great music.No one conductor can say it all in one recording which is why I have so many versions of Sibelius's music!
This effort by Ashkenazy is as good as it gets and I would recommend this collection of works as first choice, if only one version of these works is wanted.
It is certainly a good place to start a collection!