Tag Archives: Jean Sibelius

HD-Vinyls 24/96 (DGG) Jean Sibelius – Symphony No. 6 & 7 (Karajan)


Many thanks to Jean-Luc for these Sibelius pearls
These are wonderful performances which have always been highly regarded. Karajan captures the immense gloom and introspection of the crystal, northern beauty of the 6th. Tapiola is intensely dramatic and breathtaking in its sweep. The 7th performance given here is one of the most awe inspired interpretations ever put to record. No conductor can convey the emotion which Herbert von Karajan can in this piece…
…listen to the trombone solo at the end and your hair will rise on the back of the neck…truly wonderful. The strings in the opening are beutiful…an awe inspired 7th with a tremendous 6. Strange that Sibelius never wrote another note after this for over a 30 year period…
Thanks Herbie..

Composer: Jean Sibelius
Orchestra: Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra
Conductor: Herbert von Karajan
Vinyl 1968

Number of Discs: 1
Format: FLAC
Label: DGG
DR-Analysis: DR 15
Size: 1.94 GB
Scan: yes
Server: FF
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HD-Vinyls 24/96 (DGG) Jean Sibelius – Symphony No. 5 (Karajan)


Many thanks to Jean-Luc for this splendid 5th
Sibelius’s music is folkish in origin, part of that turn of the 20th century revival of national origins, hence his nature worship. At this time many European artists were eschewing the Christianism of prior centuries and investigating the pagan, heathen origins of their regions, and of the continent, but this was all only a culmination of the Romantic movement begun by Beethoven, at least in music. Beethoven of course, like all the Germans, was idealistic and cast a long glance back to the Greeks, but it was this disruption of Christianity’s universalist stranglehold on the mind that began the liberation which made possible the much later nativist spirits like Sibelius. One can see this clearly in Brahms, Grieg, Wagner, Hugo Wolf, and even traces of it in modernists like Stravinsky and Bartok. The Jew Adorno for one particularly despised Sibelius, and that makes sense given the anti-native, universal nature of Judaism. This religious abstractionism of Judaism, written large in Christianity, won out in the modernist moment, for political reasons, and Sibelius dropped out all together.

Composer: Jean Sibelius
Orchestra: Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra
Conductor: Herbert von Karajan
Vinyl 1964

Number of Discs: 1
Format: FLAC
Label: DGG
DR-Analysis: DR 13
Size: 1.89 GB
Scan: yes
Server: FF
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HD-Vinyls 24/192 (EMI/Melodyia) Jean Sibelius – Symphonies No. 5 & 6 (Rozhdestvensky)


Many thanks to Jean-Luc for this pearl
Rozhdestvensky is one of the later Soviet conductors who was still young enough to have a lengthy post Soviet career. These Sibelius recordings are from the 1970s when he was in his 40s. One has to accept that the Soviet brass sections were always a bit blaring and intrusive. It adds excitement at climaxes but also can upset the musical balance. Bearing that in mind, Rozhdestvensky brings an exceptional lyrical impulse to these works combined with a consistent rhythmic impulse which keeps the music from becoming unfocused. In the Sixth symphony Rozhdestvensky does a particularly brilliant job with the first two movements. The opening with strings and woodwind is magically handled and the movement gently evolves out of that, building momentum without seeming to. The brass provide a blazing punctuation to the movement right before the final cadence. The second movement carries the listener to the edge of a Finnish forest where little noises and rustling trees disturb the solitude in evanescent fashion. The final two movements are excellent but not quite to the level of the earlier ones.

Composer: Jean Sibelius
Orchestra: Moscow Radio Symphony Orchestra
Conductor: Gennady Rozhdestvensky
Vinyl 1975/80

Number of Discs: 1
Format: FLAC
Label: EMI/Melodyia
DR-Analysis: DR 12
Size: 2.19 GB
Scan: yes
Server: FF
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Audiophile HD-Vinyl 24/192 (BIS) Jean Sibelius – Jungfrun I Tornet (The Maiden in the Tower), Karelia Suite Op. 11 (Järvi)

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All thanks for this audiophile rarity go to Mats
Sibelius’ only opera, the one-act “The Maiden in the Tower”, is hobbled by a shallow Swedish libretto that’s basically a recounting of the Rapunzel myth. Like Kullervo and many other early works, it was well received initially by its Northern European audience, but Sibelius soon withdrew it to his desk drawer, discouraging further performances. It’s too bad that the text is so insipid, since there is some interesting music here: a passionate, even overwrought, prayer from the imprisoned Maiden to the Virgin Mary, twice soaring up to a High B. In the next scene the chorus of villagers sings the opera’s most memorable tune, a hymn to spring before they repudiate the Maiden, who they unjustly accuse of being the Bailiff’s prostitute. This scene has hints of the bass pedal points that became one of the composer’s most recognizable fingerprints. The Maiden’s sad prayer returns as an interlude before the scene with her fiancé that leads to the confrontation with the Bailiff and the all-too-neat ending in which the castle-owner’s wife observes the happenings and orders the Maiden freed and the Bailiff arrested.

Composer: Jean Sibelius
Performer: Mari-Ann Häggander,
Erland Hagegård, Tone Kruse, Jorma Hynninen, The Gothenburg Concert Hall Choir
Orchestra: The Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra
Conductor: Neeme Järvi
Vinyl 1984
Number of discs: 1
Format: Flac
Label: BIS
DR-Analysis:
DR 13
Size: 2.03 GB
Scan: yes
Server: FF

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HD-Vinyl 192/96/44 (London) Jean Sibelius – Symphony No. 4/Luonnotar/Finlandia (Söderström/Ashkenazy)

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Another great THANK YOU to Jean-Luc for this gem
If sonic splendour were the sole criterion, Vladimir Ashkenazy’s Sibelius symphony cycle with the Philharmonia would win every prize going. Only the spectacularly natural results obtained by the BIS technicians for Osmo Vänskä and the Lahti SO come close to matching the lustrous realism of these truthfully balanced Decca productions (all except the First and Sixth benefit from the glowing acoustic of London’s much-missed Kingsway Hall). Vladimir Ashkenazy and the Philharmonia Orchestra recorded Sibelius’s symphonies and tone poem works in the 1970’s and 1980’s, and they are all excellent performances and highly regarded. I’ve had this particular disc for many years, and have enjoyed it greatly. Penguin continues to include these performances as one of their ‘recommended’ recordings, saying that ‘Ashkenazy by temperament brings out the expressive warmth, colour and drama of the composer rather than his Scandinavian chill, reflecting perhaps his Slavonic background”, going on to say that the recordings “are full and rich as well as brilliant, most of them still of demonstration quality. A rich and strong, consistently enjoyable cycle”. Penguin concludes that they are their top alternative recommendation, following the cycle from Colin Davis (Sir Colin Davis conducts Sibelius)

Composer: Jean Sibelius
Performer: Elisabeth Söderström
Orchestra: Philharmonia Orchestra
Conductor: Vladimir Ashkenazy
Vinyl 1981
Number of discs: 1
Format: Flac
Label: London
DR-Analysis:
DR 15
Size: 1.85 GB/950 MB/211 MB
Scan: yes
Server: FF

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HD-Vinyl 24/192 (BIS) Jean Sibelius – Symphony No. 2 (Järvi)

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All thanks for this masterwork go to Mats
Here’s a performance of the Sibelius Symphony No. 2 in the same vein as Berglund’s Helsinki recording, also from the mid-’80s — mostly direct and straightforward, and based on my now extensive listening experience, often seemingly bordering on the impetuous. The allegretto first movement flies by with nary a ponderous moment, but with a great deal of sparkle, vim and vigor. The alacrity makes for a most effective transition to the dramatically downshifted andante second movement; here’s where Järvi and company…

Composer: Jean Sibelius
Orchestra: Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra
Conductor: Neeme Järvi
Vinyl 1984
Number of discs: 1
Format: Flac
Label: BIS
DR-Analysis:
DR 14
Size: 1.8 GB
Scan: yes
Server: FF

 

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HD-Vinyl 24/96 (EMI/Melodya) Jean Sibelius – Symphony No. 4 (Rozhdestvensky)

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All thanks for this gem go to Jean-Luc
Gennady Rozhdestvensky and the Moscow Radio Symphony Orchestra recorded the complete symphonies of Jean Sibelius between 1969 and 1974, in remarkably fresh analog sound that’s simply outstanding. Thanks to Melodiya’s original high recording standards, the performances have wide open dimensions, credible physical presence, vibrant timbres, and crisp details that are almost finely preserved. Rozhdestvensky was widely respected for his sympathetic interpretations of Sibelius’ music, and rather than treat the symphonies as cerebral or idiosyncratic essays, he gave them intensely focused and connected readings that always feel as organic and substantial as Sibelius intended them. The Moscow musicians play with alert rhythms (essential in the changing tempos of the later symphonies) and pungent sonorities that give the music a wonderful sense of being performed for the first time, though intonation is an occasional problem in the woodwinds, and the brass are decidedly assertive. In terms of its musical merits, this set has serious competition from the excellent recordings that Colin Davis made with the Boston Symphony Orchestra and Lorin Maazel recorded with the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra, around the same period. As insightful and valuable documents of Sibelius’ symphonies, all three deserve consideration and have fans, but purely in terms of sound, the Rozhdestvensky is a clear winner.

Composer: Jean Sibelius
Orchestra: Moscow Radio Symphony Orchestra, Leningrad Philarmonic Orchestra
Conductor: Gennady Rozhdestvensky
Vinyl 1960-1975
Number of discs: 1
Format: Flac
Label: EMI/Melodya
DR-Analysis:
DR 13
Size: 1.04 GB
Scan: yes
Server: FF

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HD-Vinyl 24/96 (EMI/Melodya) Jean Sibelius – Symphonies 3 & 7 (Rozhdestvensky)

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All thanks for this gem go to Jean-Luc
Rozhdestvensky is one of the later Soviet conductors who was still young enough to have a lengthy post Soviet career. These Sibelius recordings however date from the 1960s and 70s when he was in his 30s and 40s. They have an original conception even though there can inconsistent orchestral execution. One also has to accept that the Soviet brass sections were always a bit blaring and intrusive. It adds excitement at climaxes but also can upset the musical balance. Bearing that in mind, the interpretations, especially the Symphony 7, deserve to be in the collection of Sibelians. Rozhdestvensky brings an exceptional lyrical impulse to these works…

Composer: Jean Sibelius
Orchestra: Moscow Radio Symphony Orchestra
Conductor: Gennady Rozhdestvensky
Vinyl 1975
Number of discs: 1
Format: Flac
Label: EMI/Melodya
DR-Analysis:
DR 12
Size: 960 MB
Scan: yes
Server: FF

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Audiophile HD-Vinyl 24/192 (BIS) Jean Sibelius – The Lemminkäinen Suite (Järvi)

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Neeme Järvi’s recording of Sibelius’s Lemminkäinen Suite on BIS is one of the more satisfying accounts of this masterpiece in the catalogue. It comes across as structurally tighter than most, and does deliver a sense of inevitability to the music – no meandering here, and every note is taken to be an indispensable contribution to the whole. The end result is sometimes thrilling.
Audiophile factor: High!

Composer: Jean Sibelius
Orchestra: Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra
Conductor: Neeme Järvi
Vinyl (1985)
Number of discs: 1
Format: Flac
Label: BIS
DR-Analysis:
DR 14
Size: 1.87 GB
Scan: yes
Server: FF

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Audiophile HD-Vinyls 24/192 (BIS) Jean Sibelius – Symphony Nr. 7 / Kuolema (Incidental Music) (Neeme Järvi)

front-small-boxsetMany many thanks to Mats for another rare gem of the swedish audiophile label BIS
Neeme Jarvi’s partnership with the Gothenburg orchestra is “a living legend in Nordic music” – Daily Telegraph (London). All the Sibelius masterpieces from a superb orchestra that he himself conducted. He has the measure of Sibelius’s northern sensibilities, but doesn’t overdo the bleakness; on the other hand, there is a forthrightness, even a toughness to his interpretations that well suit a composer who fairly early in his career turned rather decisively from lush romanticism to a more restrained neo-classicism.
Audiophile factor: VERY HIGH!

Composer: Jean Sibelius
Orchestra: Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra
Conductor: Neeme Järvi

Vinyl (1986)
Number of Discs: 1
Format: Flac
Label: BIS
DR-Analysis: DR 14
Size: 2.23 GB
Scan: yes
Server: FileFactory

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