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Thread: Sibelius Symphonies, Tone Poems, etc.

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    Senior Member World Violist's Avatar
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    Default Sibelius Symphonies, Tone Poems, etc.

    I'm trying to buy CD's of Sibelius pieces. Any recordings that you think are great recordings of Sibelius' music?
    You get a frog in your throat, you sound hoarse.

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    I purchased Sibelius The Complete Symphonies with Sir Colin Davis and Boston Orchestra on iTunes, it was a great deal, i started with 1,2,4, and 5. The recording of 2 on this i find particularly enjoyable as compared to the other recording i have witht he Cleveland orchestra (much too fast). I'm afraid I'm not the most knowledgable on this, so i'll leave it to the other forum members, just note that as a sibelius beginner i was well rewarded with this collection.

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    Senior Member BuddhaBandit's Avatar
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    Get the "Great Performances" series disc with Eddie Grieg's Peer Gynt Suites coupled with Sibelius' Finlandia, Valse Triste, and Swan of Tuonela. They're conducted by Lenny Bernstein, who, as usual, does a great job. I can't tell you much about good recordings for the symphonies, as I don't usually listen to Sibelius symphonies.
    Take a look at the Bandit's blog, Americana Avenue.

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    Eric the Polar Bear: I have the second set of CD's of which you speak, and they are pretty good. Does anyone know anything about Lorin Maazel's way of conducting Sibelius? I've heard it's pretty good. I'm looking at his recording with the Vienna Philharmonic of the entire symphonies.
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    Senior Member some guy's Avatar
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    I like Maazel's Sibelius very much.

    I never understood all the hoopla about Davis' set. It's okay, but nothing special.

    If you want the original version of the fifth, there's only one set, the Osmo Vänskä. Fortunately, it's a pretty good set. Some people prefer it over all the others.

    I like the Berglund Kullervo very much. I haven't liked what I've heard of the Salonen or the Davis enough to buy them, too. There are a whole fistful of others, including one by Osmo Vänskä, though that's not part of the "complete" set.

    For the tone poems, I have the Gibson on Chandos, which I like a lot, though I'd prefer a more visceral Pohjola's Daughter. I haven't bothered to look into other recordings of that, though.

    Best advice, generally, is to wait for Kurkikohtaus to respond to this thread. He's as close to a Sibelius expert as any of us is likely to ever meet! As close as we're ever likely to need, for that matter.

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    get to two double disc offerings on emi with berglund/helsinki
    http://www.arkivmusic.com/classical/...1&comp_id=2777
    http://www.arkivmusic.com/classical/...1&comp_id=2785

    (#1) on both links

    or- the sanderling box

    http://www.arkivmusic.com/classical/...1&comp_id=2777

    dj

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    I just bought the Maazel set of symphonies, they sound great so far. I was about to get the Berglund double disc things, but I didn't quite have the money; I was getting something else as well. I'll go back one of these days and get the Berglund, though, I've heard really good things about his interpretations.
    You get a frog in your throat, you sound hoarse.

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    Assistant Administrator Chi_townPhilly's Avatar
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    We all know that the adult among us is eavesdropping on our bed-time whispers, right?

    O.K.: Here goes. My "7-pack" is the Philharmonia/Ashkenazy set. I'm glad I picked it up; although I must confess to some disappointment with Number 2. Fortunately, I have a Philadelphia Orchestra version of 2 which I believe to be fantastic. I've read some lashing criticism of Philharmonia's version of 5, but I thought it was good.

    Ormandy/Philadelphia Sibelius performances have come in for occasional brick-bats, as well, but among the people who expressed admiration for their way with Sibelius included... the composer himself.

    Was he just trying to be polite? I think he really meant what he said.
    Last edited by Chi_townPhilly; Jan-07-2008 at 20:28. Reason: revise punctuation
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    Senior Member Ephemerid's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BuddhaBandit View Post
    Get the "Great Performances" series disc with Eddie Grieg's Peer Gynt Suites coupled with Sibelius' Finlandia, Valse Triste, and Swan of Tuonela. They're conducted by Lenny Bernstein, who, as usual, does a great job. I can't tell you much about good recordings for the symphonies, as I don't usually listen to Sibelius symphonies.
    Oh yeah, that's a a really good one! His recording of the Swan was a real eye-- er, ear-opener when I first heard this on LP as a teenager...

    Ages ago I owned an LP record set of all of Sibelius' symphonies recorded by the Utah Symphony Orchestra that I used to play constantly...
    "There is no theory. You have only to listen. Pleasure is the law.” ~ Claude Debussy

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    Default Petr Sakari on Naxos etc

    I have recently become acquainted with the Sibelius series on Naxos with the Iceland Symphony Orchestra conducted by Petri Sakari on Naxos. They are superb. The problem with Maazel, Colin Davis et al is that that they conduct Sibelius as if he was a Central European romanic when the most striking and exhiliarating side to the composer is his clarity of utterance and feeling. His debates with Mahler as to the nature of the symphony as a form were quite uncompromising in this respect when he celebrated the sparse and the cogent in contrast to Mahler's expansive universalism.

    For the necessary bracing and fresh-aired aesthetic to fully communicate the strings must not exude the luscious sensuality of beloved of non-Scandinavian orchestras (so effective in post-Wagnerian works) but have a truly linear texture that allows the other instruments, especially the woodwind, to be heard to their maximum extent, and not be swamped by voluptuousness.

    The Icelandic orchestra achieve this to perfection: more so than actual Finnish counterparts, (who sound increasingly like their more southerly neighbours to my ears) and the utterly idiomatic authenticity of their conductor ensures a direct link to the composer's original vision.

    These comments apply as much to the discs of tone-poems as to the symphonies, Indeed, the combintaion of orchestra and conductor have recorded the Palleas and Melisande music on Chandos, which makes a perfect supplement to the Naxos series.

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    I'll look it up, thanks!
    You get a frog in your throat, you sound hoarse.

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    Default Sakari Sibelius

    If you go to the Naxos website you can hear excerpts from these recordings

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    I actually just bought the Iceland Symphony/Sakari Naxos CD with Finlandia, the Karelia Suite, and the Four Legends (Lemminkainen Suite).
    You get a frog in your throat, you sound hoarse.

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    Default Sibelius poems

    Well done. I would be interested in your comments. I think the performances are splendid.

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    They are very good. Finlandia, though, is the only one I've been able to hear other recordings of... for obvious reasons. I kind of like Ormandy's Finlandia better; there is a huge amount of drama in the opening section that isn't quite fully there, in my opinion, with the Iceland. The performances are very solid and convincing, though. Excellent stuff.

    Does anyone know who made a recording of Finlandia with the chorus? Even though Sibelius himself didn't like it, I'd like to hear it. Just for kicks.
    You get a frog in your throat, you sound hoarse.

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