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Thread: Your three (3) favorite complete Sibelius cycles

  1. #61
    Senior Member starthrower's Avatar
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    Too bad that remastered Bernstein Sony set disappeared rather quickly. There are virtually no affordable used copies for sale.
    “Music makes you feel feelings. Words make you think thoughts. But a song can make you feel a thought.”

    - Yip Harburg

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  3. #62
    Senior Member Knorf's Avatar
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    I think my favorite three Sibelius cycles would have to be Kamu/Lahti (not Vänskä), Berglund/COE, and Järvi/Gothenburg on BIS. Honorable mention to the Kamu/Karajan set, or the Karajan EMI incomplete cycle. Saraste/Finnish RSO on RCA is up there for me as well, as well as the easily recommendable earlier Berglund cycles.

    Bernstein/NYPO is enjoyable in its way, but way too much Bernstein at the expense of Sibelius. I'm glad I heard it, though. Davis/Boston does little for me; havent heard his LSO set, but I don't think I'm all that curious about it. Blomstedt/SFSO is quite recommendable.

    Never heard Maazel/Vienna, either, because I tend to be allergic to Maazel, but probably I should hear it someday. I'm slightly curious about Rattle's Berlin cycle. I found Vänskä's cycles (both Lahti and Minnesota) not especially compelling, but so many people rave about them, I'll probably need to give them another go.

    I'm definitely curious about Oramo! Hurwitz is an idiot and I couldn't care less about what he says.
    Last edited by Knorf; Jun-05-2021 at 07:35.

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  5. #63
    Senior Member Knorf's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MacLeod View Post
    Rattle, paraphrased: "Karajan has no sense of rhythm."
    Without listening to Rattle prattle on to see whether your paraphrase is an accurate portrayal of what Rattle said, that statement as quoted is beyond ignorant, totally ridiculous.

    I'd happily, eagerly, without thinking twice, give up every single thing Rattle's ever recorded in his lifetime, for a single minute of a single movement of a Sibelius symphony conducted by Karajan. Whatever curiosity I had about Rattle's Berlin Sibelius has evaporated.

    (How typical for Talk Classical for there to be so much smug Karajan-bashing in this thread. )

    For my money, no one gets Sibelius Symphony 4 or 6 as compellingly as Karajan, although Kamu/Lahti come pretty close. And I remember liking Blomstedt's Sibelius 6 very well (Berglund, too). But Karajan in Sibelius 4 & 6 is something very special, unmatched in my listening experience. The only Karajan Sibelius I'm not fond of his No. 2 (EMI only).

    Interestingly, the Second is my favorite from the Bernstein/NYPO cycle...and still is one of my favorite Sibelius recordings ever, even though the set as a whole is down the list for me.
    Last edited by Knorf; Jun-05-2021 at 08:05.

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  7. #64
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    I've got the following cycles on my shelves: Berlund/Bournemouth, Berlund/COE, Watanabe/JPO '62 and Barbirolli/Hallé. And then a bunch of individual recordings. I find myself listening to Barbirolli these days. Somehow I've come back to his recordings after a long hiatus. Some of his manierisms and excesses did annoy me, but I still dig the way he conveys Sibelius broad sense of phrasing. Something Watanabe nails too, even though he's let down by a sub-par orchestra imho. Human and heartfelt renditions nonetheless.

    I've listened to Vänskä. He leaves me cold everytime. I think he misses "the big canvas", which I believe it's the Sibelius thing. Must listen more to Oramo. His 7th's a stormer. The newish interpretations by Pieteri Inkinen/New Zealand SO for Naxos are compelling, though still a bit cold and too polished for my tastes.

    Regards,

    Vincula
    Last edited by vincula; Jun-05-2021 at 14:48.

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  9. #65
    Senior Member jim prideaux's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Knorf View Post
    I think my favorite three Sibelius cycles would have to be Kamu/Lahti (not Vänskä), Berglund/COE, and Järvi/Gothenburg on BIS. Honorable mention to the Kamu/Karajan set, or the Karajan EMI incomplete cycle. Saraste/Finnish RSO on RCA is up there for me as well, as well as the easily recommendable earlier Berglund cycles.

    Bernstein/NYPO is enjoyable in its way, but way too much Bernstein at the expense of Sibelius. I'm glad I heard it, though. Davis/Boston does little for me; havent heard his LSO set, but I don't think I'm all that curious about it. Blomstedt/SFSO is quite recommendable.

    Never heard Maazel/Vienna, either, because I tend to be allergic to Maazel, but probably I should hear it someday. I'm slightly curious about Rattle's Berlin cycle. I found Vänskä's cycles (both Lahti and Minnesota) not especially compelling, but so many people rave about them, I'll probably need to give them another go.

    I'm definitely curious about Oramo! Hurwitz is an idiot and I couldn't care less about what he says.
    Knorf......If I am correct in assuming you refer to Oramo's cycle with the CBSO I can also recommend highly!

    I picked it up quite cheaply second hand and had little real expectation but it has proven to be particularly impressive......it also includes other orchestral works which add to the attraction of this set.
    'so where are the strong, who are the trusted and where is the harmony, sweet harmony?'
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    Senior Member jim prideaux's Avatar
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    Had to check that Oramo had not made another series of recordings that I was unaware of...seems that the CBSO cycle is the one we are discussing......now costing a fortune second hand ( on amazonia complete) although you can get the 6/7 for 47 pence!
    'so where are the strong, who are the trusted and where is the harmony, sweet harmony?'
    (Nick Lowe)

  11. #67
    Senior Member HenryPenfold's Avatar
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    I have 23/24 complete Sibelius cycles that I've bought over the last 30 years.

    If I had to quickly grab three off the shelves, it would be ............



    Ashkenazy, Philharmonia. Decca. One of my earliest CD purchases, of anything.

    Maazel, Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra. Sony.

    Anthony Collins, London Symphony Orchestra. Eloquence.

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  13. #68
    Senior Member jim prideaux's Avatar
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    What a shame....thread i was really enjoying now appears inactive!
    'so where are the strong, who are the trusted and where is the harmony, sweet harmony?'
    (Nick Lowe)

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  15. #69
    Senior Member Merl's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jim prideaux View Post
    What a shame....thread i was really enjoying now appears inactive!
    Or is it? I'd like to review some different cycles one day but I'm too busy doing other stuff at the moment. The last (partial) cycle I actually played through was my Sakari Naxos cycle. Nice set but I do remember cranking the volume on a few discs.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Merl View Post
    ....The last (partial) cycle I actually played through was my Sakari Naxos cycle. Nice set but I do remember cranking the volume on a few discs.
    I heard #5 on this set, not bad, until the closing section of the work....the theme, balances .... hopelessly flawed - the trumpets and trombones carry the ball, passing it back and forth....that must come thru, and it just got swallowed, disappeared....Bernstein/NYPO gets it perfectly, Gibson/LSO is really good, too...most performances flub this miserably....

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  18. #71
    Senior Member Malx's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Knorf View Post
    Without listening to Rattle prattle on to see whether your paraphrase is an accurate portrayal of what Rattle said, that statement as quoted is beyond ignorant, totally ridiculous.

    I'd happily, eagerly, without thinking twice, give up every single thing Rattle's ever recorded in his lifetime, for a single minute of a single movement of a Sibelius symphony conducted by Karajan. Whatever curiosity I had about Rattle's Berlin Sibelius has evaporated.

    (How typical for Talk Classical for there to be so much smug Karajan-bashing in this thread. )

    For my money, no one gets Sibelius Symphony 4 or 6 as compellingly as Karajan, although Kamu/Lahti come pretty close. And I remember liking Blomstedt's Sibelius 6 very well (Berglund, too). But Karajan in Sibelius 4 & 6 is something very special, unmatched in my listening experience. The only Karajan Sibelius I'm not fond of his No. 2 (EMI only).

    Interestingly, the Second is my favorite from the Bernstein/NYPO cycle...and still is one of my favorite Sibelius recordings ever, even though the set as a whole is down the list for me.
    Interesting you comment on Karajan's 2nd from the EMI recordings - I played it last week for the first time in a good while and was sorely disappointed by it but can't really say why. It just seemed totally lacklustre, lacking any spirit or enthusiasm - is there any technical reason (playing wise) that it sounds so different from the rest of that EMI box.
    I thought it was me missing something, but you have reassured me that my ears still appear to be working.

    In answer to the OP I'd grab these three if pushed:

    Collins LSO.
    Berglund COE. (although I love the live LPO recordings as well).
    Oramo CBSO.

    But as is always the case, ask me next week and I'll have changed my mind.
    Last edited by Malx; Jun-10-2021 at 14:25.

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  20. #72
    Senior Member jim prideaux's Avatar
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    Malx.....nice to see we are in agreement re Oramo and the Berglund COE.

    I suspect I will have to get hold of the Collins cycle at some point!
    'so where are the strong, who are the trusted and where is the harmony, sweet harmony?'
    (Nick Lowe)

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  22. #73
    Senior Member Knorf's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Malx View Post
    Interesting you comment on Karajan's 2nd from the EMI recordings - I played it last week for the first time in a good while and was sorely disappointed by it but can't really say why. It just seemed totally lacklustre, lacking any spirit or enthusiasm - is there any technical reason (playing wise) that it sounds so different from the rest of that EMI box.
    No technical reason that I'm aware of, other than that it's well-known that Karajan for most of his career didn't feel a strong affinity for Nos. 1-3, drastically unlike his almost numinous affinity for Nos. 4-7. Having said that, the First from that EMI box is superb!

    To be fair, there are things about the Karajan Sibelius Second that I like very much, especially the second movement. But overall for me it is the weakest of the EMI Sibelius, well off the pace of the gems of Karajan's Sibelius (especially the EMI Fourth, Sixth, and En Saga, which are my favorite of all.)
    Last edited by Knorf; Jun-10-2021 at 19:45. Reason: Endless tpyos

  23. #74
    Senior Member Kiki's Avatar
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    IMO, if one's baseline is Monteux or Szell, then Karajan's No. 2 may sound lacklustre, but as do most recordings.

    I don't have any favourite cycles, but those that have cast a strong impression on me include, Ashkenazy/Philharmonia(Decca), Saraste/FinnishRSO(Finlandia), and any of the Berglund cycles.

    But then I tend to find some individual releases more persuasive than the cycles that I've heard. Apart from those of Monteux and Szell, add Kajanus, Koussevitzky, Jansons, Mravinsky and Berglund/LPO.

    Out of curiosity, I listened to the Collins No. 2 through streaming. For me, this is Sibelius' "Sea" symphony; and Collin's waves and currents and bashing on the rocks are impressive. I'm looking forward to listening to other symphonies in this cycle.

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  25. #75
    Senior Member Knorf's Avatar
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    Mravinsky's Leningrad Sibelius Seventh is something else, almost shocking. That trombone solo!

    ETA: I myself wouldn't call Karajan's Sibelius 2 lackluster, but I do think his basic tempo in the last movement is too slow and doesn't serve the music very well. He doesn't seem to find the same brooding, wild Ugric spirit that characterizes the best moments of his First and lurks behind even the sunniest moments of the Sixth.
    Last edited by Knorf; Jun-11-2021 at 02:36.

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