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Customer Review

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Very good performances and recordings offer fine overall value as a compilation set, 1 Jun 2012
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This review is from: Brahms 1, Dvorak 9, Sibelius 5, Nielsen 3, Four Symphonies: Dausgaard (C Major: 710604) [Blu-ray] [2012] [Region Free] (Blu-ray)
This generously filled disc contains four important symphonic works and is designed to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the Beckett Foundation's role in the cultural life of Denmark. In particular this recording is the result of the `Symphonic Summer project' collaboration between the orchestra and the Beckett Foundation. In the bonus section of the disc the conductor, Thomas Dausgard, describes his personal responses to these four works.

The key question that potential purchasers will be asking is whether this disc contains performances that are competitive with other recent issues both musically as well as financially.

The Brahms symphony makes an interesting comparison with the recent performances by Barenboim and Bychkov. Both of those are well respected performances and are weightier in their approach. They both build to excitingly powerful conclusions. This new version is fleeter and leaner throughout and this makes the work come over as a younger man's composition. I personally liked this very much and thought it appropriate for that of a first symphony, even though Brahms was far from being young at the time of composition.

The Nielsen 3 is a very fine performance with sharply delineated lines within the orchestral texture. In my opinion, this compares very favourably with the version by Michael Schonwandt with the same orchestra and which comes as part of a fine set of all 6 symphonies and in good sound. Both are good in their own ways, but the new performance seems to have rather more character and drive - just! The Schonwandt is an unbeatable bulk buy of the complete symphonies though.

The Sibelius 5 comes into competition with the particularly fine recent performance by Oramo and the Stockholm orchestra. That disc also contains an outstanding version of the Tchaikovsky violin concerto with Joshua Bell and starts with an incisive Leonora 3 Overture. Good though this new performance is, I personally prefer the Oramo performance for its extra weight and drama and also for its outstanding couplings.

The Dvorak 9 has strong forward movement as seems typical of this conductor. The first movement exposition repeat is also observed. The whole performance generates considerable excitement and is, for me, far preferable to the altogether steadier Maazel performance with the NYPO. There is, however, a strong competitor with Abbado's fine BPO concert which comes with a fine Brahms violin concerto with Shaham on top form. Although an older HD recording, the BPO sound remains totally impressive in genuine DTS 5.1 and the performance has similar drive.

This new recording provides excellent DTS 5.0 surround sound and stereo (not 5.1 as stated on the box/sleeve). The imaging is crisp and detailed, although I personally would prefer less activity and fewer close-up views of players and instrumental details.

In summary therefore, for my taste and ignoring financial considerations, I would choose Barenboim for Brahms 1, Oramo for Sibelius 5, Dausgard for Nielsen 3 and either Abbado or Dausgard for Dvorak 9. This disc nevertheless provides very satisfying performances of all four works and on that basis alone may well be irresistible for purchasers as it is obviously financially good value.

On musical grounds alone, and in my opinion, there are preferable alternatives to consider as above and therefore 4 stars would be my personal musical assessment. Factoring in financial considerations however, a 5 star assessment may be more appropriate. This fine tuning as to value has to be each individual purchaser's decision therefore. This review is simply intended to be a guide in the complex process of weighing up mixed compilations.

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

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

Another Excellent Review, Ian!
Detailed, Interesting, Cogent, and Logical... (U.K. review)

I have not heard this. But you say, a fleetier version of a younger composer to Brahms 1st? Brahms was shaping his piano concerto 1 to be his first symphony, and composed or finished this one in his early 40s. I think he was done with his youth at that time, considering it was 19th century. Although I find all your reviws to be very helpful, including this one, it has encouraged me Not to buy this one. Thanks (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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Comments

Tracked by 2 customers

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Showing 1-10 of 13 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 1 Jun 2012 21:16:46 BDT
Another Excellent Review, Ian!
Detailed, Interesting, Cogent, and Logical...

I firmly believe that Amazon should be GIVING you Blu-Rays to Review - Ask and you might Receive! There is a precedent with Amazon.com called a Vine Voice, which is an Amateur Reviewer who is GIVEN items to Review. Of course this might, in your opinion, sully your status as A Gifted Amateur (Another Great British Tradition, comparable to Gentlemen and Players in Cricket) because people might suspect you are giving out Favourable Reviews in exchange for Free Product.

p.s. There is an old Canadian Expression: "If you don't ask, you don't get", so put aside that British Reserve (now that you live in Scotland!) and just ASK!

Best Wishes.

In reply to an earlier post on 1 Jun 2012 22:41:05 BDT
I. Giles says:
I did not know that such a facility existed! Now that Amazon are raising their prices so soon after discs are issued it seems to me that they may be getting reviews based on lower pre-release prices which is a little ingenuous to say the least! You could always canvas Amazon on my behalf - it may seem less self-serving!
Ian

In reply to an earlier post on 2 Jun 2012 21:07:12 BDT
I think it is ingenious of Amazon to try and take advantage of their ingenuous Customers in this way - Sneaky Devils indeed!

As the chap who buys tons of Blu-Rays, and is such a valued Customer that they will take back anything you aren't happy with, no questions asked, I think you should carry the Ball on this one...just tell them to read some of your recent Excellent Reviews and judge for themselves.

BEFORE doing this, please warn me and I will DELETE many of my more irrelevant, or off-subject comments, so they aren't distracted by our Correspondence. Why not ask Helen of Troy for her Opinion? I have discovered over nearly 50 Years of Marriage that Feminine Intuition is far more accurate than Male Cogitation!

In reply to an earlier post on 3 Jun 2012 12:00:15 BDT
I. Giles says:
Lots to consider here John, but I will refrain from cogitating on intuition! Ian.

In reply to an earlier post on 11 Jun 2012 20:22:52 BDT
Last edited by the author on 11 Jun 2012 20:26:50 BDT
OK, Ian I will put in my reaction to this BD as soon as it arrives into this Comments Section. I'm really quite excited about it!!

Thank you again for an Excellent Review, and your Telephone Input!

Best Wishes

In reply to an earlier post on 11 Jun 2012 22:46:33 BDT
I. Giles says:
Hope your expectations are fully realised John!
Ian

Posted on 11 Oct 2013 09:21:29 BDT
I have not heard this. But you say, a fleetier version of a younger composer to Brahms 1st? Brahms was shaping his piano concerto 1 to be his first symphony, and composed or finished this one in his early 40s. I think he was done with his youth at that time, considering it was 19th century. Although I find all your reviws to be very helpful, including this one, it has encouraged me Not to buy this one. Thanks :)

In reply to an earlier post on 11 Oct 2013 14:00:02 BDT
I. Giles says:
Hello Satish, I'm glad my review was helpful even in a negative way! I am sure that there will be more choice on DVD/Blu-ray as time goes by. Although I have enjoyed these performances, it is arguable that they may be considered a little lightweight interpretively compared to many previous CD examples. Best wishes,
Ian Giles.

In reply to an earlier post on 12 Oct 2013 18:33:05 BDT
Satish:
I own this Blu-Ray, and I'm sorry to say it is very disappointing. "Lightweight" would sum up the Performances, which is sad because Dausgaard is so sincere in his love of music, as evidenced by the Documentary. Of course, if you aren't familiar with the Nielsen Symphony you'd be in for a shock there too, as it sounds to me like Mathematics, not Music. If, however, you are consumed by curiosity, I'll send you my pristine copy for $20 Canadian plus Postage. In my opinion, you can rely absolutely on Ian Giles' opinion, so don't say I didn't warn you!
Best Wishes

Posted on 12 Oct 2013 21:54:26 BDT
Any wiews on the Dvorak Ninth With Karajan blu-ray ? (old sound but....)
compared maybe to the Abbado.
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Review Details

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Reviewer

I. Giles
(HALL OF FAME REVIEWER)    (TOP 10 REVIEWER)    (REAL NAME)   

Location: Argyll, Scotland

Top Reviewer Ranking: 6