2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Good but restrained performances in compromised sound and short playing time
, 24 Dec. 2012
This review is from: Sibelius - Symphonies Nos 3 and 7 (LSO Davis) (Audio CD)
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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