Author Topic: Sibelius's 'Tapiola' favourite recording.  (Read 14268 times)

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Offline Tapio Dimitriyevich Shostakovich

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Re: Sibelius's 'Tapiola' favourite recording.
« Reply #20 on: February 02, 2009, 07:35:09 AM »
The dark side of the BBC Sibelius lectures in "Discovering music" (there are severyl more works): Realaudio. Truncated at 43:00. I really tried to get the whole stream with mplayer.exe (edited the .ram file), but not working. Sucks sucks sucks.

Offline J.Z. Herrenberg

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Re: Sibelius's 'Tapiola' favourite recording.
« Reply #21 on: February 02, 2009, 10:04:09 AM »
Tapiola is -by far- my overall all time favourite symphonic work. Period. In this case, Sibelius is my soulmate. In this piece, I feel at home. It says all for me. About me. No force on earth can split the love between me and Tapiola! :D Never! I'm going absolutely crazy about this piece. This piece deserves an own thread, this thread. Finally.

The Tapiola part of the Nupen DVD is on Youtube. It's Ashkenazy on this one. The ending of the storm scene with the 5 Timpani hits, is done exactly how I think it's appropriate, a bit better than even Blomstedt.

Tapiola is my favourite symphonic work by Sibelius. I find it frightening, awe-inspiring and imbued with a sadness beyond words. So I can imagine your undying love and fascination! Thanks for the YouTube clip - if the storm is played well, as it is here, it's goosebumps with me. The violin passage easily surpasses Herrmann's Psycho music for sheer scariness.

Karajan's is the only performance I know well (on a two-fer with symphonies 4-7). I have Järvi's, too, but it failed to impress me.

Music gives a soul to the universe, wings to the mind, flight to the imagination and life to everything. -- Plato

Offline Tapio Dimitriyevich Shostakovich

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Re: Sibelius's 'Tapiola' favourite recording.
« Reply #22 on: February 02, 2009, 12:09:08 PM »
if the storm is played well, as it is here
It's people hear a storm scene here. To me it always has been something like excitement, chaos and trouble amongst the wood sprites, with Tapio exercising his authority in the end.

Offline J.Z. Herrenberg

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Re: Sibelius's 'Tapiola' favourite recording.
« Reply #23 on: February 02, 2009, 01:19:45 PM »
It's people hear a storm scene here. To me it always has been something like excitement, chaos and trouble amongst the wood sprites, with Tapio exercising his authority in the end.

You could be (mythologically) right. I haven't read the Kalevala, though, only the first few pages in a German translation (Reclam Verlag), so I don't know a lot about Tapio...
Music gives a soul to the universe, wings to the mind, flight to the imagination and life to everything. -- Plato

karlhenning

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Re: Sibelius's 'Tapiola' favourite recording.
« Reply #24 on: February 02, 2009, 03:22:21 PM »
Tapiola is -by far- my overall all time favourite symphonic work. Period. In this case, Sibelius is my soulmate. In this piece, I feel at home. It says all for me. About me. No force on earth can split the love between me and Tapiola! :D Never! I'm going absolutely crazy about this piece. This piece deserves an own thread, this thread. Finally.

I've heard many Tapiolas. To me, there's only Blomstedt SFSO. Blomstedt. Blomstedt. The one which is on the Blomstedt Sibelius Symphony cycle.

[ image deleted ]

Appropriate Tempo. To quote mahler10th: "He has a magic with the tempo and an unerring ability to make the sprites in the forest come alive" :D

Honestly, I own a lot Vänskä/Sibelius stuff, but Tapiola, no. The desaster starts with the opening: way too fast. The Blomstedt one is 19:35, I'd say rather a slower one.

Additionally, the Blomstedt has very good sound quality. I'll embed beginning of the piece and storm section tomorrow into this posting.

Could well be my favorite, too.

Offline Benji

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Re: Sibelius's 'Tapiola' favourite recording.
« Reply #25 on: February 02, 2009, 03:42:56 PM »
Could well be my favorite, too.

As much love as I have for Blomstedt's accounts of Sibelius's symphonies, which opened up many of the works to me, when it comes to his Tapiola I found that there's something about it that grates on me. I'll have to listen again, it's been a long time since that impression was formed.

At any rate, I don't think i've seen a vote yet for Segerstam's account with the Helinski Phil. Probably controversial but I like it simply because it has some cold fire in it! I'm equally fond of Vanska's interpretation, which is pretty much opposite to Segerstam (I find that a lot when comparing their respective interpretations of the same work, for example Rautavaara's 8th). I'll concede that Vanska is much closer to overall mood of the work, being a superbly chilly affair, but Segerstam plays up the drama in the music so it becomes genuinly terrifying in the climax. I want to be bloody well scared of a Forest God!

Offline Coopmv

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Re: Sibelius's 'Tapiola' favourite recording.
« Reply #26 on: February 02, 2009, 08:06:08 PM »
When it comes to Sibelius' symphonies, HvK and Colin Davis are the two conductors I listen to ...  I also have the SACD set by Neemi Jarvi with the Gothenburg Symphony.

karlhenning

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Re: Sibelius's 'Tapiola' favourite recording.
« Reply #27 on: February 03, 2009, 09:05:10 AM »
Quote
Could well be my favorite, too.

I mean, the Blomstedt/SFSO could well be my favorite recording of Tapiola, too.

Offline vandermolen

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Re: Sibelius's 'Tapiola' favourite recording.
« Reply #28 on: February 03, 2009, 09:11:34 AM »
I also like Segerstam's performance, coupled with the Four Legends for Orchestra. A great disc.
"Courage is going from failure to failure without losing enthusiasm" (Churchill).

Offline DavidRoss

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Re: Sibelius's 'Tapiola' favourite recording.
« Reply #29 on: February 04, 2009, 07:50:06 AM »
Others have already mentioned all of those I'm most likely to reach for when I want to hear this piece:  Vänskä/Lahti, Blomstedt/SFS, Segerstam/HPO, Maazel/WP, Berglund/HPO (wish he'd done this with the COE!).  One I've not seen mentioned is Sakari/Iceland SO's lean but tonally rich (and in the strings as well as the predominant winds), brisk but rubato-laden rendering.  I believe their disc of tone poems is still in the catalog--quite representative of their approach to the symphonies in their very good but little-known cycle.

I also have 3 Karajan recordings (one analog, 10 digital).  This thread reminds me that it's been a long time since hearing any.  IIRC, the DGG recording coupled with his surprisingly good late symphony recordings with the BP is pretty damned good and deserves a hearing very soon. 

One thing I love very much about JS's music, and which helps keep it fresh for me, is that it responds favorably to a variety of interpretive approaches, none of which is definitively "right"--though in general I prefer less overtly dramatic readings that reveal the music through unfolding mystery rather than shoving it in my face.
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Offline Benji

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Re: Sibelius's 'Tapiola' favourite recording.
« Reply #30 on: February 04, 2009, 09:47:49 AM »
I also have 3 Karajan recordings (one analog, 10 digital). 

Of course, there are only 10 types of people; those who understand binary jokes and those who don't.  ;)

Offline DavidRoss

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Re: Sibelius's 'Tapiola' favourite recording.
« Reply #31 on: February 04, 2009, 10:11:34 AM »
Of course, there are only 10 types of people; those who understand binary jokes and those who don't.  ;)
;D  Good to have you back, Benji.  Now if only Nigel would return!

Re. Tapiola: Having just listened to 2 1/2 recordings of the piece, I offer the following description of Herbie the K's DGG recording with the BP:

This is thick, homogenous, leaden, string-heavy, stupor-inducing, legato mush, bereft of spontaneity and liveliness.  The same forces’ late ‘70s recording for EMI is only marginally better; it suffers from the same faults, which his detracters find in all too many of HvK’s recordings.

To cleanse my aural palate, I played the bracing Sakari/Iceland recording recommended above.  Now that’s dandy music-making and much better represents the Sibelius we know and love!




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Offline Benji

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Re: Sibelius's 'Tapiola' favourite recording.
« Reply #32 on: February 04, 2009, 10:45:30 AM »
;D  Good to have you back, Benji.  Now if only Nigel would return!

Re. Tapiola: Having just listened to 2 1/2 recordings of the piece, I offer the following description of Herbie the K's DGG recording with the BP:

This is thick, homogenous, leaden, string-heavy, stupor-inducing, legato mush, bereft of spontaneity and liveliness.  The same forces’ late ‘70s recording for EMI is only marginally better; it suffers from the same faults, which his detracters find in all too many of HvK’s recordings.

To cleanse my aural palate, I played the bracing Sakari/Iceland recording recommended above.  Now that’s dandy music-making and much better represents the Sibelius we know and love!


Sounds about right! I can take Karajan in Beethoven, but his Sibelius, well I just don't think the glove fits.

I really enjoyed Sakari's 2nd Tempest Suite but that's all I can remember hearing from his Sibelius. I looked for his Tapiola on Napster but with no luck, but what I have found is very interesting: Kajanus conducting the London premiere of Tapiola with the LSO back in 1932. The sound really isn't half bad considering the vintage. I'll report back on the performance in about... 17 minutes!  :)

Offline Benji

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Re: Sibelius's 'Tapiola' favourite recording.
« Reply #33 on: February 04, 2009, 11:30:31 AM »
Ok, so impressions of Robert Kajanus's account of Tapiola with the London Symphony Orchestra, dating from 1932.

In a word: epic. It took a few minutes for my ears to adjust to the historic sound, which only really suffers in that the dynamic range is noticeably much lower than these days. This hiss isn't so noticeable from speakers, but will be more intrusive on headphones but from someone who doesn't listen to an awful lot of historic performances I didn't find it at all grating. For the majority of the piece, i.e. the quieter string-led passages the sound is great; it's only really during the big tutti that you notice the dynamic range sort of top out.

Back to the performance! The way it unfolds is really something magical. Kajanus really knew how to pace the piece to achieve a really palpable sense of tension and I don't think i've ever heard the storm section so well-realised. Certainly no recording has ever prompted so much spine-tingling! With regard to the orchestra, I can't even pick any section out to highlight as it's such great ensemble work. Really amazing work from the spritely 28 year old LSO!! All in all, I can't recommend highly enough that everyone try to find a copy of this to listen to. Kajanus, obviously informed by the Great Man himself, was clearly every bit the master interpreter and I almost wish I was around at that time to have heard it live!

[Edited to correct to the past tense. Damn it that Kajanus isn't around anymore...]

« Last Edit: February 04, 2009, 11:32:17 AM by Episode VI: Return of the Mog »

Offline rubio

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Re: Sibelius's 'Tapiola' favourite recording.
« Reply #34 on: February 04, 2009, 12:26:12 PM »
Which transfer is the Kajanus Tapiola? Koch/Finlandia? I've read that the readily available Divine Art remastering should be overfiltered.
“One good thing about music, when it hits- you feel no pain” Bob Marley

Offline Benji

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Re: Sibelius's 'Tapiola' favourite recording.
« Reply #35 on: February 04, 2009, 12:29:45 PM »
Which transfer is the Kajanus Tapiola? Koch/Finlandia? I've read that the readily available Divine Art remastering should be overfiltered.

It is the Divine Art one it seems. I'm not sure what you mean by overfiltered (i'm not up on historic recording jargon!)

Offline rubio

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Re: Sibelius's 'Tapiola' favourite recording.
« Reply #36 on: February 04, 2009, 01:20:57 PM »
It is the Divine Art one it seems. I'm not sure what you mean by overfiltered (i'm not up on historic recording jargon!)

I just read one comment about the transfer here.

http://www.amazon.com/Sibelius-Tapiola-Symphonies-Nos-6/dp/B0009A414W/ref=sr_1_3?ie=UTF8&s=music&qid=1233782400&sr=1-3
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Offline Benji

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Re: Sibelius's 'Tapiola' favourite recording.
« Reply #37 on: February 04, 2009, 02:47:45 PM »
I just read one comment about the transfer here.

http://www.amazon.com/Sibelius-Tapiola-Symphonies-Nos-6/dp/B0009A414W/ref=sr_1_3?ie=UTF8&s=music&qid=1233782400&sr=1-3

I see! So, the reduction in background noise was bought at the cost of "truncating" the sound, by which I suppose he means the limited dynamic range I alluded to. That makes sense I guess; like I say i'm no expert on historic recordings or the process of transferring them to CD, but it makes sense that there would have to be a significant comprimise in order to 'clean up' the sound to a listenable level.

Those Koch transfers are pretty pricy!!!  :o

Offline vandermolen

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Re: Sibelius's 'Tapiola' favourite recording.
« Reply #38 on: February 06, 2009, 08:45:46 AM »
The Kajanus is also a great performance and I liked the Sakari/Icelandic recording on Naxos too.
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Offline vandermolen

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Re: Sibelius's 'Tapiola' favourite recording.
« Reply #39 on: April 12, 2013, 05:03:31 AM »
This CD contains IMHO a great atmospheric performance of Tapiola with Eduard van Beinum conducting the Concertgebouw of Amsterdam, recorded in 1953 - a wonderfully brooding performance. In fact this is a great double CD set from the Australian Eloquence label as it also restores my favourite recorded performance of the Four Legends with Thomas Jensen conducting the DanishRSO.
I'd strongly recommend this to admirers of Sibelius notwithstanding the bizarre cover photo of Eduard van Beinum which looks like he has a hot potato in his mouth. I could not find the CD on UK Amazon but it is on the American Amazon site.

I can't get the photo to load up but here is the link:

http://www.amazon.com/Sibelius-Violin-Concerto-Orchestral-Works/dp/B000VT6P7M/ref=sr_1_4?ie=UTF8&qid=1365775593&sr=8-4&keywords=sibelius+van+beinum

I read an account of Arnold Bax listening to a performance of 'Tapiola' with tears streaming down his face. It remains my favourite work by Sibelius.
« Last Edit: April 12, 2013, 05:11:11 AM by vandermolen »
"Courage is going from failure to failure without losing enthusiasm" (Churchill).