8 of 16 people found the following review helpful
Yes, starting all over again, mannerism on recipe,
This disc is available in Germany and the US for over 2 months.
With one of BIS latest releases - Kamu conducting a Sibelius program with music already available in their own catalogue - I asked myself `do they start all over again [recording Sibelius]?' and now I think: yes, they do!
Vänskä already did a very well received all Sibelius symphonies cycle on BIS which I still really enjoy (1990s). There's a good set of symphonies by Järvi in their catalogue, also a very good one, fine played by the Gothenburg orchestra (1980s). Those readings are so fresh and well recorded, I'll stay with them for the next 40 years. Now BIS/Vänskä start again with an American orchestra. Here we have a top class orchestra and a top class conductor and a top class classical label. But sadly it isn't a top class product... I think BIS owns the public a motivation why we should throw our money to this new cycle. Is it because it's on SACD? (The older recording is as good as can be...). Are there any new insights on Sibelius as a composer? Did they discover new bars and notes that he didn't throw into the fire?
Then I think the conductor has to motivate his choices. Why does he record a new cycle? Does he have any new insights etc.? Are there changes in tempo that were never observed and do have to be presented to the public?
No motivation at all. BIS could think: the disc speaks for itself, but it doesn't. I really cannot understand why the slow movement in the 2nd symphony has to be played so deadly slow. It has no power, as if the performance runs out of energy. Bernstein did it that way in his erotic interpretation of this symphony, but Sibelius isn't about hysteria. The `older' reading is far more preferable. It flows, this one halts. Why mr. Vänskä? Motivation! After the slow movement the scherzo breaks loose, literally: it jumps out of the symphony. I don't like it that way, it's forced. I think the whole team around this release must have thought: we do have to do something different with these symphonies.... But I think: that's absolutely NOT necessary; the readings in BIS' own catalogue are perfect already! I was trying to find one word for this release and I've found it: mannered.
Oh, yeah, and mr. von Bahr: don't forget to record another version of Finlandia. We really do need that one fresh!