Responding to previous reviewer - not detected problematic audio issues or added production effects on my copies. Possibly they have been remastered. (Have noticed this with another SACD I bought - Magnificat singing Tallis - I got a copy which, far from sounding full-frequency, seemed compressed, but no one else appears to have had the problem). Am particularly pleased to find myself enjoying the earlier Sibelius too, in these renditions, as I have not previously. Yes, later is greater, but Kullervo is curious and strongly atmospheric - a bit as Mahler's 'Das Klagende Lied' is in his oevure, or, though not in quite the same league, Schoenberg's 'Gurrelieder'. Not quite as bowled over by 'The Oceanides' as I hoped, but it's attractive enough. No. 4 is very impressive, and on this hearing, would rate as one of the greats in the set.
Already had the CDs but thought it worth the cost to get the blueray, which is a clear improvement on the CDs. Haven't really bothered with the SACD layer yet. The greater presence and reality of the blueray actually makes the slightly weaker performances more appealing and the great climaxes in the best performances come across stunningly.
The point of SACD is that the extended frequency range gives the opportunity for analogue-like sound - so what is the point in adding the syrupy gloopiness which the engineers have on these recordings. The single Faulkner engineered symphony shows that a fairly decent sound can be got from the venue (not superb - but that's the venue sound) but even there the CD layer has more air than the SACD which shows a heavy post-production hand by the company that did the post-work and everything else. Great performances as you'd expect, so worth the reasonable ticket, but don't buy for the alleged better sound quality.
Oh my goodness, this is simply wonderful Sibelius set! I don't know what the re-mastering engineers have done with the original digital tapes but there is fine concert hall presence with pleasant ambience from the rear speakers (more than usual). Forget the dry acoustic of Barbican: you're surrounded by natural three-dimensional surround sound and if your subwoofer is switched on it will produce a much-needed weight to the sound, even when a recording has described as 5.0 multi-channel. Compared to SACD discs the multi-channel sound on Pure Blu-ray Audio (in 96kHz/24bit) is somewhat subdued. But if you love the music of Sibelius and if these performances are meaningful for you, you just cannot miss out this glorious re-release! Highly recommended, absolutely.
If I could just cry onto the page and you could feel the emotion that created those tears... then maybe I could express to you how much I love this music. It quite simply affects me more powerfully than anything else in life. I have heard others and these recordings seem perfect to me. I do not understand this music intellectually, I doubt I ever could... but it does not matter in the least. My mind understands it somehow and that is enough to let me feel what Sibelius intended... to feel things which I never dreamed possible. Pain and joy fused into an unimaginably beautiful universe of sound. For me, this is the greatest music ever written and this recording somehow, incredibly, gives it life as such.