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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the great Sibelius discs
Osmo Vanska's Lahti Orchestra Sibelius cycle is truly one of the most consistently pleasing: beautifully recorded and each symphony has new insights and each is well played. By far the best of a very fine bunch of discs is this superlative recording of Symphony 1 and Symphony 4. The First is very exciting and captures the wild romantic mood of the music extremely well...
Published on 17 April 2009 by Colin Fortune

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0 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Sibelius symphonies
Good if not outstanding. I bought this to replace an old, broken disc in the Barbirolli set. Will need to listen a few more times to get a proper comparison, having only played it twice since purchasing it.
Published 4 months ago by Paul Smith


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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the great Sibelius discs, 17 April 2009
By 
Colin Fortune (Birmingham, UK) - See all my reviews
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Osmo Vanska's Lahti Orchestra Sibelius cycle is truly one of the most consistently pleasing: beautifully recorded and each symphony has new insights and each is well played. By far the best of a very fine bunch of discs is this superlative recording of Symphony 1 and Symphony 4. The First is very exciting and captures the wild romantic mood of the music extremely well. But it is the Fourth Symphony that is truly special.

Sibelius' Fourth is difficult to listen to. It was written at a time of great depression and hardship when the cigar chain-smoking and alcoholic composer had a major operation for throat cancer. The atmosphere is stark but it rises to great nobility in the third movement's broad and tragic main theme. The Finale then ends enigmatically mezzo-forte: the only symphony that I know to end in this manner. But is it a truly remarkable work and well repays some hard effort to get to know the music. And when you do, and you hear other performances of this great music, you understand that the BIS disc here on review is truly the finest, most sensitive and best paced performance of the work! This is truly magnificent and I cannot recommend it too highly as it stands out head and shoulders from an already remarkably good symphony cycle. The recording is, of course, quite superb in the best BIS manner.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wildly exciting recording of the 1st Symphony, profoundly satisfying recording of the 4th, 12 Nov 2005
If you're looking for a wildly exciting recording of the 1st Symphony, buy this one. It bristles with excitement and electricity, you hair will stand on end and you will be jumping around the room. In 30 years of listening to this symphony, I have never heard such a thrusting, overwhelming account of it. The 4th is equally successful, a reading of rare intensity and concentration.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Outstanding even in a very competitive field, 9 Jan 2013
By 
I. Giles (Argyll, Scotland) - See all my reviews
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Prequel:
This review has been wrongly listed by Amazon under the Vanska/Minnesota coupling by Bis as well as being correctly listed under the original Vanska/Lahti coupling also on Bis. This error cannot be corrected by reviewers so please be patient and either scroll down or read the extra review for additional information. Thanks - Ian Giles

.....................................

This disc by Vanska and his Lahti orchestra received close to rave reviews from various magazines upon its release and years later, without the impact of fresh discovery, the disc still has the ability to astonish. There are those who claim that only Russians know how to play Rachmaninov and other Russian music. This disc may make some think the same way about Finnish music and its performance!

The first symphony starts with a clarinet solo of such subtlety of phrasing and tone that it is simply breathtaking. The accompanying timpani is equally sensitive and then enter the strings, correctly NOT loudly as found in too many performances but not in the score. Thus the tension is established from the start. This performance is one of extremes. The fast sections are lightening fast but with total precision and articulation maintained so there is no sense of rush or hurry. the slower sections are played with great sensitivity but without cloying emotionalism. The dynamic is equally wide ranging from barely audible hush to cutting fortissimos. The brass are not smoothly cultured as per Berlin nor as weighty and heavy as often found elsewhere. What they have is a searing cutting edge that cuts like a sharp wind rather than weighty like a storm. This is a very exciting reading.

The fourth symphony is an even more subtle performance like the composition itself. Layers of brooding introspection in the first and third movements and tense darting phrases in the second. Every detail made to tell with maximum effect even when quiet. The glockenspiel option in the last movement brings light before the whole piece closes quietly. This is one of Sibelius' finest works in terms of textural subtleties and Vanska and his orchestra are fully up to the task. There are other fine performances of this work but none finer.

The recording is wide ranging and faithful. The width of the dynamic range may be an issue with some replay situations but this is better than compromising this remarkable pair of interpretations and performances.

If the program appeals I would suggest that this disc should be seriously considered as a high priority both for 'only' purchasers and for collectors of multiple versions.
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5.0 out of 5 stars beautiful Sibelius, 1 April 2014
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This review is from: Sibelius: Symphonies No. 1 & 4 [Osmo Vänskä; Minnesota Orchestra] [BIS: BIS1996] (Audio CD)
beautifully played and recorded.and It was recommended as one of the best performances available. I hope the Minnesota Symphony Orchestra can continue in this vein in spite of their recent history.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A clear first recommendation, 21 Sep 2013
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This review is from: Sibelius: Symphonies No. 1 & 4 [Osmo Vänskä; Minnesota Orchestra] [BIS: BIS1996] (Audio CD)
The key characteristics of this cd are as follows.

- high calibre orchestral playing
- a transparant and well structured interpretation
- excellent recording
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Vanska's towering 4th, 27 Dec 2012
This is undoubtedly the greatest ever performance of the 4th symphony. The Penguin Guide reviewer obsesses over the the pianissimi in this and other Vanska Sibelius recordings, describing then almost as affections, but do not be deterred, have faith in your ears. They are ear-pricking and totally right. Also, the composer's circumstances at the time of its composition are as irrelevant as Schubert's and do not determine what they wrote. Sibelius renders the perhaps unacceptable fact that nature - the external world - is separate from us, that we are alone. It's a kind of nostalgia, though not for the past, more in the Greek sense of "nostos", the return home, which we can never consciously, or cerebally achieve with nature. Vanska expresses this with total conviction. The recorded sound is ravishing, espeically the woodwind.
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0 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Sibelius symphonies, 26 April 2014
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Good if not outstanding. I bought this to replace an old, broken disc in the Barbirolli set. Will need to listen a few more times to get a proper comparison, having only played it twice since purchasing it.
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