Top positive review
23 of 23 people found this helpful
A Must Buy.
on 10 June 2011
You look at the price for this download and do a double take. £ for all the 7 Symphonies, Violin Concerto, the complete Lemminkainen Suite, Karelia Suite, Finlandia, Valse Triste, En Saga, Snofrid, Tapiola and an Overture in E Major?
And then you think that there must be a catch? But, no, there isn't, and you really can get all these for just £][ and, what is more, these are the highly rated Vanska performances that have met critical acclaim as possibly the best overall SET of the Sibelius symphonies. I highlighted "SET" as many, as I, may have individual performances that they prefer, but as a set Vanska is close to the top of the tree, if not at the top.
The sound quality of the recordings is remarkably consistent from work to work and, as has already been mentioned in another review, the bitrate used by Amazon for the transfers is pretty good. The bitrates indicated in Windows Media player run from 204kbps to 337kbps, which indicates that Amazon use variable bitrate encoding using a lower rate in less demanding sections, where it won't be noticed, and increasing this to accommodate, usually, the loudest passages. And it shows in the sound here, which is clear and open with a well defined bass where necessary. The loudest passages are accommodated with ease.
All the performances are first rate, and so are the recordings, but I would draw attention to the balance of Kavakos in the Concerto, in case you are used to a soloist being projected in the foreground. He is placed within the orchestra, but from live concerts I've attended, this actually sounds more natural and, fortunately, he still comes through and is not lost within the orchestra.
All in all, a super bargain. Christmas has come early and I would recommend you download ASAP before Amazon realise their mistake!