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Sibelius: Symphonies Nos 2 & 3

4.0 out of 5 stars 3 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Orchestra: City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra
  • Conductor: Sir Simon Rattle
  • Composer: Jean Sibelius
  • Audio CD (23 Sept. 1991)
  • SPARS Code: DDD
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: EMI
  • ASIN: B00000DO9U
  • Other Editions: MP3 Download
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 193,338 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)
  • Sample this album Artist (Sample)
1
30
9:50
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2
30
14:22
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3
30
6:31
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4
30
14:24
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5
30
10:33
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6
30
9:43
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7
30
8:18
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RATTLE SIMON

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Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
It occurred to me recently how much like Bruckner's Sixth Symphony is the Third of Jean Sibelius. Obviously they work to very different scales: the Austrian's twice as long, in four movements, large orchestra; the Finn's in three, marking a new phase in his development. But both are 'bogey' symphonies for many conductors: flies in the ointment. They are so self-contained, standing apart from their neighbours, but each a repository of emotions, depths of feeling, not to be passed over or treated lightly. And yet, they have to skip along too, jauntily. Many are called but few come to fruition.

Transitions need careful phrasing in the Third. Trouble-spots include the first brass-laden climax leading on to passage for strings like a bleak pool in a forest clearing, a sad history recollected before the witness turns away. What about those power chords with timps ar the end of the first movement - so easy for the music to just stop abruptly and sound clumsy. The slow movement, again a bit like the Bruckner, is contemplative and heavy-hearted, but it is also an andantino, the music of time plays on however we might brood in the moment. Then there's the finale where the sun comes through and the pace accelerates so that spirits quicken. Texturally, there are problems of balance, repetition and tempo to be negotiated. The conductor who masters this has special skills.

For all that, after much comparative sampling, I'm not sure any conductor has absolutely nailed the Third, but of those who come closest, Sir Simon Rattle, and I'd say Mariss Jansons, come top of the list. On this CD you will also have an analytical and somewhat anti-romantic version of No.2. Absolutely no danger of anyone mentioning the name of Pyotr Ilych after hearing this one. That's all to the good.
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A very good disc, much better than some of the reviews would have you believe.The 2nd symphony can certainly be played to the hilt. However, this interpreation grows quielty but certainly deveivers. Its as valid an approach as others - it'll be on my player again before too long. The third is fab.
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Format: Audio CD
No great lamentation has greeted the news that Sir Simon Rattle is leaving Berlin in 2018. In itself, this is telling. I wonder whether he will go down in history as the Tony Blair of his profession, all bubble-and-pop, with no feel for the great Austro-German repertoire. A few days ago, I wrote caustically of Abbado's Magic Flute; if you want to be the Mayor of Hiroshima for a few hours, purchase a ticket from the Digital Concert Hall and watch Sir Simon's K 620: it's ground-zero with a vengeance. And then there's his Wagner . . . . . what a pity that Sir Simon was not afforded an opportunity to record Gotterdámmerung as it would have imparted new meaning to the title.

Szymanowski will only get you so far in the scheme of things.

Critics usually make allowance for his Mahler and Sibelius. In fairness, let's revert to an earlier recording: his Sibelius Second and Third with the CBSO. Vulgarity is avoided in the former which is no bad thing. Both performances are competent enough and hold one's attention even if the slow movement of the Third does not resonate with other-worldliness. Indeed, much the same could be said of its counterpart in the Second Symphony where the Christ Theme is as prosaic as they come. Even if the fast-ish tempos do not appeal to me, Rattle is not episodic. In summary, these are good performances played with dedication by a solid orchestra and recorded in respectable sound where transparency of texture is more apparent than gnosis. The Word they ain't. For that, try Sibelius: Symphony No. 2 / En Saga ~ Karajan or Symphonies 1 & 3.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: HASH(0x9611cdbc) out of 5 stars 1 review
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x96120f0c) out of 5 stars A Boy-Emperor in his Youth 20 Feb. 2015
By Bernard Michael O'Hanlon - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
No great lamentation has greeted the news that Sir Simon Rattle is leaving Berlin in 2018. In itself, this is telling. I wonder whether he will go down in history as the Tony Blair of his profession, all bubble-and-pop, with no feel for the great Austro-German repertoire. A few days ago, I wrote caustically of Abbado's Magic Flute; if you want to be the Mayor of Hiroshima for a few hours, purchase a ticket from the Digital Concert Hall and watch Sir Simon's K 620: it's ground-zero with a vengeance. And then there's his Wagner . . . . . what a pity that Sir Simon was not afforded an opportunity to record Gotterdámmerung as it would have imparted new meaning to the title.

Szymanowski will only get you so far in the scheme of things.

Critics usually make allowance for his Mahler and Sibelius. In fairness, let's revert to an earlier recording: his Sibelius Second and Third with the CBSO. Vulgarity is avoided in the former which is no bad thing. Both performances are competent enough and hold one's attention even if the slow movement of the Third does not resonate with other-worldliness. Indeed, much the same could be said of its counterpart in the Second Symphony where the Christ Theme is as prosaic as they come. Even if the fast-ish tempos do not appeal to me, Rattle is not episodic. In summary, these are good performances played with dedication by a solid orchestra and recorded in respectable sound where transparency of texture is more apparent than gnosis. The Word they ain't. For that, try Sibelius: Symphony No. 2 / En Saga ~ Karajan or Symphonies 1 & 3.

Nicholas Kenyon - a panegyrist of Rattle - penned Simon Rattle: From Birmingham to Berlin where his hero is likened to a force of nature - and Tony Blair. All things converge. Verily, "The cat will mew and dog will have his day."
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