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The Music Room => Composer Discussion => Topic started by: Dancing Divertimentian on April 16, 2007, 07:39:57 PM

Title: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: Dancing Divertimentian on April 16, 2007, 07:39:57 PM
What would Sibelius be without his seven symphonies?

How about one of the greatest composers of songs?

It's true.

So good, in fact, that when orchestrated his songs take on a dimension rivaling that of his better-known symphonic works. And the quality is uniformly high.

So run, don't walk to hear what all the fuss is about!


Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: Harry on April 16, 2007, 09:44:53 PM
Well what about his neglected and underrated piano music, which I have complete on the BIS label. It was always treated as mere play by Sibelius, but I think its pretty darn good.
Than you have the tone poems, apart from his symphonies.
His violinconcerto.
His vocal output is not my cup of tea, so my rating would count for nothing..............
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: Florestan on April 16, 2007, 10:22:50 PM
Well what about his neglected and underrated piano music, which I have complete on the BIS label. It was always treated as mere play by Sibelius, but I think its pretty darn good.
Than you have the tone poems, apart from his symphonies.
His violinconcerto.
His vocal output is not my cup of tea, so my rating would count for nothing..............
How about one of his best compositions: The Tempest?

Although written at a very young age, I also enjoy a lot his piano trios and early string quartets. And the Voces intimae SQ is also a masterpiece.
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: Harry on April 16, 2007, 10:50:38 PM
How about one of his best compositions: The Tempest?

Although written at a very young age, I also enjoy a lot his piano trios and early string quartets. And the Voces intimae SQ is also a masterpiece.

All true my friend! :)
Still I could not live without the Symphonies!
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: Florestan on April 16, 2007, 10:58:32 PM
All true my friend! :)
Still I could not live without the Symphonies!
Who could?

Actually, I know someone, but I'll keep my mouth shut... :)
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: Harry on April 16, 2007, 11:14:14 PM
Who could?

Actually, I know someone, but I'll keep my mouth shut... :)

Arccchhhhhhhh...........................I know! ;D
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: vandermolen on April 17, 2007, 01:14:27 AM
Tapiola
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: karlhenning on April 18, 2007, 10:08:45 AM
Lounnotar, Opus 70

Barden, Opus 64

Öinen ratsastus & auringon nousu (Nightride & Sunrise), Opus 55
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: Brewski on April 18, 2007, 10:16:50 AM
Tapiola

One of my favorites, too -- I got to know it through Ashkenazy's Sibelius cycle with the Philharmonia.

And I just heard this live last weekend, by Sakari Oramo and the New York Philharmonic -- wonderful.  Although to my horror, the program notes mentioned that it had not been performed by the orchestra since 1934

--Bruce
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: karlhenning on April 18, 2007, 10:21:28 AM
Although to my horror, the program notes mentioned that it had not been performed by the orchestra since 1934

That's bad enough on its own, as a raw statistic, Bruce.

But wouldn't that mean that Lenny never touched it with the NY Phil?
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: Brewski on April 18, 2007, 10:24:02 AM
That's bad enough on its own, as a raw statistic, Bruce.

But wouldn't that mean that Lenny never touched it with the NY Phil?

That is (amazingly) correct.  (The conductor in 1934 was Rodzinski.)  And to put it another way: you could have attended every NY Philharmonic concert from 1935 to the present -- over 70 years -- and never have heard this piece. 

--Bruce
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: Que on April 18, 2007, 10:24:30 AM
What would Sibelius be without his seven symphonies?

How about one of the greatest composers of songs?

It's true.

So good, in fact, that when orchestrated his songs take on a dimension rivalling that of his better-known symphonic works. And the quality is uniformly high.

So run, don't walk to hear what all the fuss is about!

Donwyn, I already had my eye on these - would you recommend them?

Q

(https://secure.mdt.co.uk/public/pictures/products/standard/ODE10805.jpg)  (http://www.mdt.co.uk/public/pictures/products/standard/4761725.jpg)
                                                     SIBELIUS Complete Songs
                                                     Elisabeth Söderström, Tome Krause,
                                                     Vladimir Ashkenazy, Irwin Gage, Carlos Bonell, Decca 4cds
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: Dancing Divertimentian on April 18, 2007, 05:12:05 PM
Well what about his neglected and underrated piano music, which I have complete on the BIS label. It was always treated as mere play by Sibelius, but I think its pretty darn good.

Thank you for bringing his piano music to my attention, Harry. Up 'till now I've not given it a second thought.

Would like to remedy that.



Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: Dancing Divertimentian on April 18, 2007, 05:49:23 PM
Donwyn, I already had my eye on these - would you recommend them?

Q

Q,

That Decca set I've never seen before! :o But how I'd dearly like to get my hands on it! Unfortunately I can't seem to locate it this side of the Atlantic (Stateside). Must be one of those releases that never made it abroad.

I admit I've never heard Söderström outside of her Janacek opera recordings (w/ Mackerras). So I can only comment on the high quality of her singing there. But based on that I'd jump on this Sibelius set if I ever came across it.

As far as that Isokoski disc goes, I recommend it without reservation, Q! Her rendition of Luonnotar is worth the asking price of this disc alone.

Another good one is the Mattila disc below. There's some duplication including Luonnotar. Though duplicating Luonnotar is no bad thing!


(http://www.jpc.de/image/cover/front/0/4806165.jpg)

Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: vandermolen on April 19, 2007, 03:22:45 AM
Lounnotar, Opus 70

Barden, Opus 64

Öinen ratsastus & auringon nousu (Nightride & Sunrise), Opus 55

I agree+Tapiola (I just bought a fine Vanguard CD with Adrian Boult giving an excellent Tapiola).  By the way, if you like Tapiola, try Moeran's Symphony in G which effectively has a "Tapiola-like" moment in the last movement.  The whole symphony should appeal to admirers of Sibelius.
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: karlhenning on April 19, 2007, 03:43:25 AM
Truly, Capt, I meant Tapiola nothing remotely like a slight.
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: vandermolen on April 19, 2007, 06:30:46 AM
Truly, Capt, I meant Tapiola nothing remotely like a slight.

Of course, none taken  :)

Luonnotar is a marvellous piece (EMI Dorati)
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: karlhenning on April 19, 2007, 06:31:51 AM
Luonnotar is a marvellous piece (EMI Dorati)

Who sings?
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: vandermolen on April 19, 2007, 08:11:18 AM
Who sings?

It is Gwyneth Jones (LSO Dorati). It is a really good EMI CD (long deleted I fear) with Nielsen Symphony 5 (Danish RSO, Kubelik) and Luonnotar, Night-ride and Sunrise and The Oceanides (LSO Dorati). All are excellent performances, including a magnificent Nielsen Symphony 5 (the anarchic side-drummer gets appropriately carried away in his free cadenza!)

The number is/was CDM 5 65182 2
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: karlhenning on April 19, 2007, 08:15:57 AM
Good news is, that the Sibelius component of that has been reissued on this Gemini two-fer (http://www.amazon.com/Sibelius-Tone-Poems-Songs-Jean/dp/B0001RVRH2/ref=sr_1_1/002-7979366-0336018?ie=UTF8&s=music&qid=1177002852&sr=1-1).
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: Don on April 19, 2007, 08:17:42 AM
Thank you for bringing his piano music to my attention, Harry. Up 'till now I've not given it a second thought.

Would like to remedy that.


Then you need Olli Mustone's Ondine disc (no. 1014).  He takes good music and makes it sound wonderful.
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: karlhenning on April 19, 2007, 08:22:07 AM
Then you need Olli Mustone's Ondine disc (no. 1014).  He takes good music and makes it sound wonderful.

A query awaits you here (http://www.good-music-guide.com/community/index.php/topic,164.msg7293.html#msg7293), Don.
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: Harry on April 19, 2007, 08:28:33 AM
Then you need Olli Mustone's Ondine disc (no. 1014).  He takes good music and makes it sound wonderful.

Erik T on BIS also knows how to handle Sibelius's piano music, and he is a world wide expert in this field. :)
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: Don on April 19, 2007, 08:36:18 AM
A query awaits you here (http://www.good-music-guide.com/community/index.php/topic,164.msg7293.html#msg7293), Don.

Query was answered.
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: Don on April 19, 2007, 08:38:40 AM
Erik T on BIS also knows how to handle Sibelius's piano music, and he is a world wide expert in this field. :)


Have you heard the Mustonen disc?  What's your opinion?
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: karlhenning on April 19, 2007, 08:38:56 AM
Kiitos, Don!
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: Harry on April 19, 2007, 08:46:24 AM
Have you heard the Mustonen disc?  What's your opinion?

Of course I heard it, and its good, but I rate my Erik T recordings as high Don. :)
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: lukeottevanger on April 19, 2007, 08:48:43 AM
Luonnotar and Tapiola are both stunning masterpieces, as good as the very best parts of his very best symphonies - in other words, they are right at the top of his output, IMO. I couldn't agree more that the more recordings one has of either of these pieces the better.
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: Don on April 19, 2007, 08:59:46 AM
Of course I heard it, and its good, but I rate my Erik T recordings as high Don. :)

Fair enough.
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: Siedler on April 19, 2007, 10:45:12 AM
Luonnotar is indeed a gorgeous song. Que, I can recommend Isokoski's recording (with Segerstram and HPO), it's wonderfully sung by Isokoski. I heard even better is Taru Valjakka's interpretation (with Bournemouth Orchestra under Berglund's baton), but have not heard it.
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: vandermolen on April 19, 2007, 11:53:52 AM
Good news is, that the Sibelius component of that has been reissued on this Gemini two-fer (http://www.amazon.com/Sibelius-Tone-Poems-Songs-Jean/dp/B0001RVRH2/ref=sr_1_1/002-7979366-0336018?ie=UTF8&s=music&qid=1177002852&sr=1-1).

That is VERY good news. I've heard a few versions of Luonnotar but this one is my favourite.
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: Dancing Divertimentian on April 19, 2007, 05:05:33 PM
Then you need Olli Mustone's Ondine disc (no. 1014).  He takes good music and makes it sound wonderful.

Thanks for the recommendation, Don. Wouldn't mind at all adding another Ondine disc to my collection, worthy little label that it is.

Harry, I shall heed your recommendation, too!


Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: lukeottevanger on April 19, 2007, 11:44:01 PM
My introduction to Luonnotar was during a lecture on Sibelius by Robin Holloway. Before he played it he mentioned that for whatever reason the performance he was going to play was a particularly special one that really got to the heart of the piece more than any other. However, I couldn't hear him very well - or I wasn't paying much attention! ::) - and I missed both the reason Holloway thought this recording so special and the name of the performer; all I noticed was that it was on LP. However, as soon as the piece started I was absolutely entranced - I'd never heard anything like it. I've eagerly heard quite a few recordings since then, but I must be honest, none of them quite have the extra something that the recording Holloway played us had. Maybe I am imagining it, making more of my memory of the recording than it actually deserves; perhaps the effect was more down to the fact that this was the first time I'd heard this beautiful piece, and it was still a fresh surprise for me. Nevertheless, I'd love to know what it was I was hearing that day, and if it was possible to track down a copy for myself...
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: Scott on April 21, 2007, 12:18:44 PM
This is my review at Amazon.com at
http://www.amazon.com/Sibelius-Early-Years-Maturity-Silence/dp/B000M2EBWO/

A Riveting Two-Part Documentary about Sibelius and His Music

Christopher Nupen is one of the most creative and talented of the video documentarians of the classical music world. It all began many years ago when he made the wonderful film about du Pré, Barenboim, Perlman, Zukerman and Mehta -- the so-called 'Israeli Mafia.' That film has never gone out of style and was brought out on DVD a few years ago, made available for a new generation of viewers. This film, also originally on VHS, was made in the 1980s and is just now coming out on DVD. The transfer, I must say, is simply magnificent; I certainly would not have known it was originally on VHS if I hadn't seen it in its original form. The visuals are crisp, the sound excellent.

The subject is the life and, more important, the music of Jean Sibelius and the two sections are 'The Early Years' and 'Maturity and Silence.' Nupen, who wrote, directed and narrates the film, takes us through the important biographical details of the composer's life, including his struggle in his thirties with alcoholism on which he conquered only after he had a growth removed from his throat and was told that drinking and smoking would aggravate it and possibly hasten its return, and of the thirty year silence during which he strove to complete an Eighth Symphony but which he finally consigned to flames.

The visuals comprise many gorgeous views of the fields, forests and lakes of Sibelius's Finland, as well as a fascinating black-and-white silent film of the elderly Sibelius. There are also many views of photographs and paintings of the composer and his wife, as well as visits to Ainola, the country home where he and wife Aino lived for over fifty years.

There are some marvelously played and photographed excerpts from all but one of his symphonies -- the Sixth, for whatever reason, is mentioned but none of its music played -- all done by the Swedish Radio Symphony Orchestra with Vladimir Ashkenazy, a real Sibelian, conducting. There is also excerpts from Finlandia, Kullervo, the Karelia Suite and Tapiola by the same artists as well as a sizable excerpt from the Violin Concerto with Boris Belkin, violin. There are a couple of songs (in Swedish, as most of Sibelius's songs were) sung by Elisabeth Söderström. The first, with orchestral accompaniment, is 'Since then I have questioned no further', and the second, with Ashkenazy playing the piano accompaniment, the intensely dramatic 'Jubal.'

There is a clip of Sibelius's first composition, 'Water Drops', for two violins, written at age 11. The film begins and ends with an excerpt from a recording, made in 1939, of Sibelius conducting his 'Andante festivo.'

This is a brilliant and riveting account, aided by Nupen's beautifully written narration, of the artistic life of one of the twentieth century's great composers and one hopes that it will again be seen widely, as it was originally when shown on television.

Although Amazon doesn't indicate it, this DVD is in a format that can be played worldwide. Sound is LPCM Stereo, narration is in English, subtitles are in German, Spanish, French and Italian. Total time (which includes a couple of clips about other Nupen films) is 151 minutes; the Sibelius films run just over 100 mins.

Strongly recommended.

Scott Morrison
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: DavidW on April 28, 2007, 04:29:52 AM
Alright George, I hope you read this thread because I decided to post my thoughts here:

I currently have three recordings of Sibelius' Sixth Symphony: Bernstein, Blomstedt, and Segerstam.

I'm focusing on the finale, which is where I think these recordings really diverge, and is the heart of the symphony for me:

What I noticed is that Bernstein was uniformly faster than both conductors.  However I think that the finale has a delicate contrast of joy and despair that is lost in the Bernstein recording.  Thanks to the poor quality of the recording the dynamic range sounds squashed, and in combination with the overly zippy tempos, I feel that we never see the manic-depressive mood swings portrayed like we do in Blomstedt and Segerstam.

I think that the slow tempos are essential to really hear the emotional complexity of the Sixth, but I should say that Hurwitz doesn't think so, he think it should be played fast like Bernstein.  George, how does Ashkenazy play it?  I'm wondering if you're in Hurwitz' camp and find Blomstedt's slower tempos distasteful.

And for other forumites, how do you like the finale in the Sixth to be taken?

George, overall my favorite is Segerstam, he's just amazing.  His recording of this symphony just floors me! :)
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: PerfectWagnerite on April 28, 2007, 04:36:49 AM
Nice to have you back Dave !
What are you doing now?
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: Bogey on April 28, 2007, 04:38:14 AM
Alright George, I hope you read this thread because I decided to post my thoughts here:

I currently have three recordings of Sibelius' Sixth Symphony: Bernstein, Blomstedt, and Segerstam.

I'm focusing on the finale, which is where I think these recordings really diverge, and is the heart of the symphony for me:

What I noticed is that Bernstein was uniformly faster than both conductors.  However I think that the finale has a delicate contrast of joy and despair that is lost in the Bernstein recording.  Thanks to the poor quality of the recording the dynamic range sounds squashed, and in combination with the overly zippy tempos, I feel that we never see the manic-depressive mood swings portrayed like we do in Blomstedt and Segerstam.

I think that the slow tempos are essential to really hear the emotional complexity of the Sixth, but I should say that Hurwitz doesn't think so, he think it should be played fast like Bernstein.  George, how does Ashkenazy play it?  I'm wondering if you're in Hurwitz' camp and find Blomstedt's slower tempos distasteful.

And for other forumites, how do you like the finale in the Sixth to be taken?

George, overall my favorite is Segerstam, he's just amazing.  His recording of this symphony just floors me! :)

George,
Thanks to David Ross and MOG I have the Segerstam cycle as well and have not felt compelled to look any further in the "near" future for another set, though unlike David I have nothing to compare it to.  In short I am very satisfied with what I have. 

However, there is that Maazel/Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra set that I would not mind having after various samplings. ;D
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: DavidW on April 28, 2007, 04:56:37 AM
Nice to have you back Dave !
What are you doing now?

Thanks! :)

Well after several months of wondering what the hell I want to do with my life, I realized that I still like physics, I just hated grad school.  So I've been applying for teaching positions.  I have an interview on Tuesday, they're paying to fly me out and it should be neat.
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: edward on April 28, 2007, 05:03:07 AM
Thanks! :)

Well after several months of wondering what the hell I want to do with my life, I realized that I still like physics, I just hated grad school.  So I've been applying for teaching positions.  I have an interview on Tuesday, they're paying to fly me out and it should be neat.
Good luck.
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: DavidW on April 28, 2007, 05:07:24 AM
Good luck.

Thanks! :)
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: George on April 28, 2007, 08:27:50 AM
Alright George, I hope you read this thread because I decided to post my thoughts here:

I wasn't, but I am now. Thanks!

Quote
I currently have three recordings of Sibelius' Sixth Symphony: Bernstein, Blomstedt, and Segerstam.

I'm focusing on the finale, which is where I think these recordings really diverge, and is the heart of the symphony for me:

What I noticed is that Bernstein was uniformly faster than both conductors.  However I think that the finale has a delicate contrast of joy and despair that is lost in the Bernstein recording.  Thanks to the poor quality of the recording the dynamic range sounds squashed, and in combination with the overly zippy tempos, I feel that we never see the manic-depressive mood swings portrayed like we do in Blomstedt and Segerstam.

I think that the slow tempos are essential to really hear the emotional complexity of the Sixth, but I should say that Hurwitz doesn't think so, he think it should be played fast like Bernstein.  George, how does Ashkenazy play it?  I'm wondering if you're in Hurwitz' camp and find Blomstedt's slower tempos distasteful.

Tempos for #6

Ashkenazy's          Blomstedt's
9:23                     9:24
5:42                     6:28
3:54                     3:33
9:17                    10:23

Not sure how fast Bernstein is in the finale, but looks like there's a considerable difference between Ashy and Blom's 2nd and 4th movements.

In 2, I like Blomstedt's tempo more, though I think its a close call because I like Ashy's warmth more.

In 4, Blomstedt's intro was nice. I like his slower approach, with nothing sounding rushed, as is kinda the case with Ashkenazy in the intro to the finale. But then Ashkenazy brings MUCH more excitement as the movement picks up, so he pulled far ahead for me. Its an easy call - Ashy. Everything just sounds more alive with him at the helm, to these ears anyway.

What are Segerstam's timings?
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: JoshLilly on May 31, 2007, 06:42:12 AM
Did he really burn his 8th symphony and, if so, how far along was it? I read a detailed story about the lengthy but aborted life of the 8th symphony and it was a fascinating tale. The impression I got was that he wrote several starts at an 8th symphony and destroyed them all, in a long road spanning nearly 3 decades. Is there anything, any sketch at all, even a page? He was apparently even promising several times to send it to an orchestra by a certain date, but always backed off at the last minute. And friends remarked that he had put material onto paper for it. This assumption of total destruction by Sibelius was proven wrong once before with the original version of the 5th, right?

My apologies if this is off-topic or common knowledge, but I'd never heard about any of this until yesterday, so I did a search on this board to see if it had been discussed. But I've now read 3 accounts of Sibelius's 8th Symphony, and all 3 differ on some details. Here's one I just read today:

http://www.sibelius.fi/english/elamankaari/sib_kahdeksannen_tuhoaminen.htm

I'm looking for what I read yesterday.

Also, did he basically come to an almost complete halt of all composition for almost 30 years?! Or am I getting the wrong impression?


To tag on another question, this time about the 7th Symphony: how many recordings of it involve "tinkering" with the very end, and why do they do it? For example, I listened to the very last seconds conducted by Ormandy in 1962 and there's a loud trumpet a building crescendo to the end. A version conducted by Vänskä in 1998, the final seconds sound very, very different... No trumpet, and no crescendo. Why such drastic modifications?  This may seem minor on paper, but to listen to it, it sounds like a radical difference to me. (The no-loud-trumpet+no-crescendo sounds way better to me)
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: Mark G. Simon on May 31, 2007, 08:36:36 AM
Here's a paragraph from Robert Layton's Sibelius

Further evidence that work on the Eighth Symphony was continuing and that it was nearing completion comes in the form of a note, written in September 1933, to his regular copyist to whom he had sent the first fascicle of 23 pages of the orchestral score. From this it is possible to conclude that these pages constituted the first movement and were to be succeeded by a Largo. In all, Sibelius calculated that in its finished form the binding should allow for eight such fascicles, so that the work would be roughly of the same dimensions as the Second Symphony. Both Aino and Margareta Jalas visited the copyist to collect or deliver manuscripts during this period, so that it would seem that the symphony, if not complete, was at an advanced stage. Some years after his death, the composer Joonas Kokkonen asked Aino whether some of the material of the symphony could have been used in the Surusoitto (Funeral music) for organ, op. 111, that Sibelius had provided at very short notice for Axel Gallén-Kallela, which she thought highly plausible.
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: SimonGodders on May 31, 2007, 08:57:49 AM
Then you need Olli Mustone's Ondine disc (no. 1014).  He takes good music and makes it sound wonderful.

I got this a while ago and agree it's stunning, my first introduction to this music and pianist. Deffo' be on the hunt for more Mustonen.
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: Sergeant Rock on May 31, 2007, 10:58:03 AM
I wasn't, but I am now. Thanks!

Tempos for #6

Ashkenazy's          Blomstedt's
9:23                     9:24
5:42                     6:28
3:54                     3:33
9:17                    10:23

Not sure how fast Bernstein is in the finale...What are Segerstam's timings?

Segerstam        Bernstein
9:27                 8:03     
6:08                 5:32
3:57                 3:54
10:39                8:57

Sarge
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: karlhenning on May 31, 2007, 11:10:15 AM
Looks like Lenny made an unseemly rush of the first movement, too.
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: George on June 02, 2007, 04:57:05 AM
Segerstam        Bernstein
9:27                 8:03     
6:08                 5:32
3:57                 3:54
10:39                8:57

Sarge

Thanks Sarge.  :)
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: Kurkikohtaus on June 03, 2007, 12:29:50 PM
I join this discussion rather late, and I'm not just referring to the date when this topic was posted.

On June 1st, 2007, The Sibelius Forum (http://www.sibelius.forumup.com) celebrated its one year birthday!  That's right, for just over a year now, a small group of Sibelius fanatics have been discussing all the specific intricacies of our favourite composer on this little site.

In no way do I mean to divert traffic away from GMG, but that said, I would love for anyone who's interested to come and have a look.

Recently there have been many server crashed at forumup.com, worldwide, so please be patient if the forum doesn't load, it should be up in a few days.
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: Mark G. Simon on June 04, 2007, 09:09:01 AM
What a great board it is! Knowledgeable people with interesting things to say, and no idle chit chat.
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: karlhenning on June 04, 2007, 10:20:54 AM
It's not loading for me . . . .
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: George on June 04, 2007, 05:32:15 PM
It's not loading for me . . . .

Recently there have been many server crashed at forumup.com, worldwide, so please be patient if the forum doesn't load, it should be up in a few days.

 $:)
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: Greta on June 08, 2007, 01:33:42 AM
That's a nice forum! I will post there sometime.  :D

So...Sibelius on video, what's out there? I would love to see concert footage of any of his works, especially the symphonies.

It seems there is a whole cycle plus a Kullervo floating around with Salonen conducting the Swedish RSO (!), from broadcasts on a Japanese or European arts channel, and it got me thinking about what there was on DVD. I saw the end of the 5th and it was so great to watch.

Did Bernstein ever film these?
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: Wanderer on June 08, 2007, 02:25:50 AM
As far as that Isokoski disc goes, I recommend it without reservation, Q! Her rendition of Luonnotar is worth the asking price of this disc alone.

I second this recommendation. Immaculate performances and a thrilling version of Luonnotar.
Title: Great new article on Sibelius in the New Yorker
Post by: Kullervo on July 02, 2007, 05:41:21 AM
You can find it here (http://www.newyorker.com/reporting/2007/07/09/070709fa_fact_ross).
Title: Re: Great new article on Sibelius in the New Yorker
Post by: Bogey on July 02, 2007, 08:12:10 AM
You can find it here (http://www.newyorker.com/reporting/2007/07/09/070709fa_fact_ross).

Thanks!
Title: Re: Great new article on Sibelius in the New Yorker
Post by: Florestan on July 04, 2007, 01:21:05 AM
You can find it here (http://www.newyorker.com/reporting/2007/07/09/070709fa_fact_ross).

Beautiful. Thanks.
Title: Re: Great new article on Sibelius in the New Yorker
Post by: Shrunk on July 04, 2007, 04:13:04 AM
I'll be eagerly awaiting my copy in the mail.  Alex Ross is a great writer on music, and his website is well worth visiting:

http://www.therestisnoise.com/

It looks like the Sibelius article will be included in an upcoming book on 20th century music.
Title: Re: Great new article on Sibelius in the New Yorker
Post by: Kullervo on July 04, 2007, 04:16:32 AM
I'll be eagerly awaiting my copy in the mail.  Alex Ross is a great writer on music, and his website is well worth visiting:

http://www.therestisnoise.com/

It looks like the Sibelius article will be included in an upcoming book on 20th century music.


Thanks, but his website is how I found the article. I have his blog on an RSS feed. :)
Title: Re: Great new article on Sibelius in the New Yorker
Post by: beclemund on July 04, 2007, 12:09:15 PM
Fascinating article. Thank you for the link.
Title: Re: Great new article on Sibelius in the New Yorker
Post by: sidoze on July 04, 2007, 12:24:37 PM
You can find it here (http://www.newyorker.com/reporting/2007/07/09/070709fa_fact_ross).

Now I see where you got your name from

"The national legends of Finland are contained in the “Kalevala,” a poetic epic compiled in 1835 by a country doctor named Elias Lönnrot. Cantos 31 through 36 tell of the bloodthirsty young fighter Kullervo, who has his way with a young woman who turns out to be his sister. She commits suicide; he goes off to war. One day, finding himself again in the forest where the rape occurred, he asks his sword what kind of blood it wishes to taste. The sword demands the blood of a guilty man, whereupon Kullervo rams his body on the blade. In 1891 and 1892, Sibelius, who had just completed two final years of study in Berlin and Vienna, used this dismal tale as the basis for his first major work, “Kullervo,” an eighty-minute symphonic drama for men’s chorus, soloists, and orchestra."
Title: Re: Great new article on Sibelius in the New Yorker
Post by: Tapio Dimitriyevich Shostakovich on July 04, 2007, 07:31:52 PM
Thank you, I'll read it.
Personally, I have only few knowledge about his symphonies, I've bought the Blomstedt SFSO cycle and the Rozhdestvensky/Moscow SO.

But I'm absolutely fascinated by his tone poems. At the top of all, there's the wood nymph op. 15. What a great piece of more than 20 minutes of music. What a powerful earthquake like conclusion! There are probably just two cd releases out there, the best known is the BIS one. A must. Too sad, lot of people do not know it!

(http://ec1.images-amazon.com/images/G/01/ciu/d5/e6/e425224b9da0b2d57822c010._AA240_.L.jpg)

Also on my top recommendations list: The Rozhdestvensky/LSO interpretation of the Finlandia. It's different from others, at some points staccato like. To me, it's as it has to be... This interpretation transports all the finlandia feelings best. The sadness, the tragic, the war, the victory, the peace... all it has.... The Rozh/LSO can e.g. be found here:

(http://ec1.images-amazon.com/images/I/5123F0AC6SL._AA240_.jpg)
Title: Re: Great new article on Sibelius in the New Yorker
Post by: Kullervo on July 05, 2007, 04:07:18 AM
Thank you, I'll read it.
Personally, I have only few knowledge about his symphonies, I've bought the Blomstedt SFSO cycle and the Rozhdestvensky/Moscow SO.

But I'm absolutely fascinated by his tone poems. At the top of all, there's the wood nymph op. 15. What a great piece of more than 20 minutes of music. What a powerful earthquake like conclusion! There are probably just two cd releases out there, the best known is the BIS one. A must. Too sad, lot of people do not know it!

(http://ec1.images-amazon.com/images/G/01/ciu/d5/e6/e425224b9da0b2d57822c010._AA240_.L.jpg)

Also on my top recommendations list: The Rozhdestvensky/LSO interpretation of the Finlandia. It's different from others, at some points staccato like. To me, it's as it has to be... This interpretation transports all the finlandia feelings best. The sadness, the tragic, the war, the victory, the peace... all it has.... The Rozh/LSO can e.g. be found here:

(http://ec1.images-amazon.com/images/I/5123F0AC6SL._AA240_.jpg)

Thanks for the recommendations, Wurstwasser -- I was not familiar with Op. 15. I'll have to add that disc to my wishlist.  :)
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: longears on August 24, 2007, 08:45:49 PM
Wow--doesn't Sibelius get any play around here anymore?  (Found this thread buried on the 8th page!)

I'd just like to report that I finally heard the Rattle recording of Night Ride & Sunrise that Mike has praised to the heavens.  Capital Public Radio played it the other morning.  I ordered a copy that night. 
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: Dancing Divertimentian on August 25, 2007, 05:31:58 PM
I'd just like to report that I finally heard the Rattle recording of Night Ride & Sunrise that Mike has praised to the heavens.  Capital Public Radio played it the other morning.  I ordered a copy that night. 

Rattle's was the very first Sibelius cycle I ever bought moons ago. Though, sadly, I never really warmed to it.

But being moons ago I couldn't say with much authority just what Rattle did that rubbed me so wrong. So could be time for a fresh reassessment.

Thoughts on Rattle's Sibelius, LongE?



Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: longears on August 26, 2007, 05:09:48 AM
The only Rattle Sibelius I have at present is the CBSO 5th, which I've heard only once, finding it so bland that I've never returned.  I'm not a Rattle fan anyway, and admit to taking potshots at him when he seems overpraised.  Nor am I a fan of Night Ride and Sunrise -- possibly the only orchestral piece by Sibelius I don't love.  Mike has suggested that hearing Rattle's Night Ride might change my mind about both.

It has.

I heard it in the car on my way to work--and not even the whole thing, as I had an early telecon preventing me from sitting in the car and listening till the end.  What I heard in the first 4 minutes was an orchestral balance that favored the winds rather than the repetitive rhythmic figure in the strings, somewhat liberal rubato rendering the figure less mind-numbingly boring, and very liberal dynamics that really made the piece come alive.  I ordered a copy from BRO and when it arrives will let you know if I like the rest of it as much!

Nice to hear from you, Don.   :)
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: Greta on August 26, 2007, 02:58:23 PM
I like Rattle's Sibelius, actually I love his 3rd, just a very nice recording with a lot of color and life...and I like his 7th too, and Night Ride and Sunrise, which really is a great performance. The 5th is good, but there are so many other awesome 5ths around. Same for his 2nd. I think you'll really like that disc.

I'm still listening over here, longears, though hampered by school now, going to start on Ashkenazy I think next, and also Sanderling. Also looking forward to Mackerras's 2nd and 5th in the "to listen to" pile.

For live Sibelius, LA Phil and Salonen are doing a full cycle in September/October, in L.A. and London, with some nice pairings, I wish I could make it out for that. But as consolation I will at least hear this fall our local orchestra in the 2nd, and Houston is doing the 7th and Finlandia, which is great, I adore the 7th particularly and am so glad to see it live.

Also worth mentioning, Hilary Hahn has recorded the Violin Concerto, and Schoenberg's, with Salonen and SRSO, to be released next year. I look forward to hearing her playing on that piece.  :D
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: Dancing Divertimentian on August 26, 2007, 08:10:22 PM
The only Rattle Sibelius I have at present is the CBSO 5th, which I've heard only once, finding it so bland that I've never returned.  I'm not a Rattle fan anyway, and admit to taking potshots at him when he seems overpraised.  Nor am I a fan of Night Ride and Sunrise -- possibly the only orchestral piece by Sibelius I don't love.  Mike has suggested that hearing Rattle's Night Ride might change my mind about both.

It has.

I heard it in the car on my way to work--and not even the whole thing, as I had an early telecon preventing me from sitting in the car and listening till the end.  What I heard in the first 4 minutes was an orchestral balance that favored the winds rather than the repetitive rhythmic figure in the strings, somewhat liberal rubato rendering the figure less mind-numbingly boring, and very liberal dynamics that really made the piece come alive.  I ordered a copy from BRO and when it arrives will let you know if I like the rest of it as much!

Interesting. So Rattle takes a checkered piece and breathes new life into it. Score one for Rattle!


Quote
Nice to hear from you, Don.   :)

Don't be a stranger. :)


 
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: Dancing Divertimentian on August 26, 2007, 09:00:19 PM

...going to start on Ashkenazy I think next...

This cycle seems to divide GMGers.

Some object to Ashkenazy's romantic/hothouse tendencies, turning what ought to be austere and shimmering into bubbling late romantic excess.

For myself, I've frequently come to the defense of Ashkenazy while recognizing that others are better at capturing that Nordic chill so integral to the music - Vänskä and Blomstedt for starters.

But for what it is Ashkenazy's cycle certainly makes its mark. It's not for lack of an 'angle' or forethought that Ashkenazy tackles these works. They've been thoroughly thought out.

Whether or not one warms to them is entirely a personal thing, however.



Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: George on August 27, 2007, 05:46:29 AM
This cycle seems to divide GMGers.

For myself, I've frequently come to the defense of Ashkenazy while recognizing that others are better at capturing that Nordic chill so integral to the music - Vänskä and Blomstedt for starters.

But for what it is Ashkenazy's cycle certainly makes its mark. It's not for lack of an 'angle' or forethought that Ashkenazy tackles these works. They've been thoroughly thought out.

Whether or not one warms to them is entirely a personal thing, however.

As usual, well put Don. I am a big fan of Ashkenazy's Sibelius, but then I am a bleeding heart romantic.  :)
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: karlhenning on August 27, 2007, 05:50:16 AM
The first I heard Night-Ride and Sunrise, it was the Segerstam recording on Ondine, so of course I've always loved that tone-poem :-)
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: Brewski on August 28, 2007, 06:50:12 AM
Here's an article (http://www.nytimes.com/2007/08/28/arts/music/28sibe.html?ex=1345953600&en=5e8727def4b6a786&ei=5090&partner=rssuserland&emc=rss) about The Sibelius Edition on BIS, which will be 70 CDs.  :o

--Bruce
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: karlhenning on August 28, 2007, 07:01:12 AM
Here's an article (http://www.nytimes.com/2007/08/28/arts/music/28sibe.html?ex=1345953600&en=5e8727def4b6a786&ei=5090&partner=rssuserland&emc=rss) about The Sibelius Edition on BIS, which will be 70 CDs.  :o

Lemminkainen’s Return

Lemminkainen Returns, Again

Just When You Thought Lemminkainen Wouldn't Go Elsewhere No More . . . .
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: M forever on August 28, 2007, 07:27:02 AM
Here's an article (http://www.nytimes.com/2007/08/28/arts/music/28sibe.html?ex=1345953600&en=5e8727def4b6a786&ei=5090&partner=rssuserland&emc=rss) about The Sibelius Edition on BIS, which will be 70 CDs.  :o

--Bruce

The New York Times Doesn't know how to do the umlauts in names such as Vänskä or Lemminkäinen? Pretty provincial.
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: Brewski on August 28, 2007, 07:35:06 AM
The New York Times Doesn't know how to do the umlauts in names such as Vänskä or Lemminkäinen? Pretty provincial.

I have noticed that, too, over the last few years.  Must be something to do with their "house style," since I'm sure if they chose to do it, they could. 

--Bruce
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: Greta on September 25, 2007, 03:17:41 PM
I'm in the middle of listening to Maazel's 1st with Vienna, just finished the 1st two mvmts...

 :o  :D

I think, my eyes possibly rolled back in my head. Wow. It, very literally, left me breathless. The horns/low brass sound completely amazing, so intense they knock the wind out of you. Well, the whole orchestra, of course. It's just incredible. Have you ever heard a recording and thought, man it's too bad there's only ONE "first time", because the first time is so overwhelming?

The crashing accelerandos, spinning the Viennese into a frenzy, the sinewy strings, round clear winds, and towering unshakable horns, this is perhaps the dream 1st, so far, for me.

I am gleeful listening to this. The way the strings bite into the ends of the phrases in the 3rd mvmt, how they play up the fugal nature of the writing. The extremely exuberant timpani. The impassioned opening of the last mvmt.

I'm going to save the 4th for tomorrow, I have to digest this a bit...I'm speechless!
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: longears on September 25, 2007, 06:26:36 PM
 8)  It is a good cycle--in fact, the one that made me fall in love with Sibelius.  Your post inspired me to move it up in the batting order.  Maybe I'll start the day off tomorrow with the first!
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: Keemun on September 26, 2007, 05:39:20 AM
Is THIS (http://www.amazon.com/Sibelius-Symphonies-Jean/dp/B0000041Z3/ref=pd_bbs_sr_1/002-4460477-5431201?ie=UTF8&s=music&qid=1190817197&sr=8-1) the Maazel/Vienna cycle you are referring to?  I'm interested in listening to it, and at that price, it's quite a bargain.   :)
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: karlhenning on September 26, 2007, 05:56:05 AM
That's it.
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: edward on September 26, 2007, 09:45:47 AM
Of course, once you have the Maazel cycle, then you need the single Legends disc to get his Tapiola too, thus duplicating 4 & 7. Bah.
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: Kullervo on September 26, 2007, 11:19:38 AM
Of course, once you have the Maazel cycle, then you need the single Legends disc to get his Tapiola too, thus duplicating 4 & 7. Bah.

Thankfully you can find it for just a few bucks used. Still, paying for one track...
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: Sergeant Rock on September 27, 2007, 07:10:51 AM
Of course, once you have the Maazel cycle, then you need the single Legends disc to get his Tapiola too, thus duplicating 4 & 7. Bah.

I agree you need Maazel's Tapiola too. You can avoid duplication by finding a copy of this CD:

(http://photos.imageevent.com/sgtrock/ngmg/FinMa.jpg)

Kord directs the New Philharmonia in the other Sibelius works. Hopefully you can find it cheaper than this (http://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/offer-listing/B0000265DA/ref=dp_olp_2/026-1785396-5568431?ie=UTF8&qid=1190909205&sr=8-9)  ;D

Sarge
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: Sergeant Rock on September 27, 2007, 07:15:57 AM
The crashing accelerandos, spinning the Viennese into a frenzy, the sinewy strings, round clear winds, and towering unshakable horns, this is perhaps the dream 1st, so far, for me.

It's remained my dream First for the last 34 years. Maazel's Vienna version of the Fourth is my favorite of that symphony too as I've often said here.

Sarge
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: Tapio Dimitriyevich Shostakovich on October 01, 2007, 12:20:08 AM
Hi,

what do you think about this Finlandia?

[mp3=200,20,0,left]http://www.fileden.com/files/2007/9/21/1446950/Finlandia2.mp3[/mp3]

Compared with many other Finlandias, this is played differently, more staccato like. The one and only performance which I like. It's from Rozhdestvensky/LSO.

EDIT: The plugin plays way too fast (here), pls download the file.
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: longears on October 01, 2007, 03:44:57 AM
Boy, the sound quality is awful, but the performance sounds worth hearing.  Can't tell much from the short clip.  Have you heard Segerstam's with the HPO?  That's a Finlandia performance I enjoy.

As for performances I don't enjoy...last night I put on Szell leading the RCO in the 2nd.  I couldn't take it...way too pumped up and "dramatic."
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: Tapio Dimitriyevich Shostakovich on October 02, 2007, 08:00:31 AM
Hmm, the Rozh/LSO has a rather good quality. But I converted to CBR/96, because I don't want to offer high quality pieces...

Yes I know one Segerstam/HPO, it's with choir, together with Sym. #4 iirc. Very powerful. In terms of timing I like the Rozh more.
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: Greta on October 15, 2007, 10:59:50 PM
Hey Sibelians...anyone else here have the scores and like to study them? :) I am working on obtaining the scores to the symphonies and tone poems, and they are just fascinating. Sibelius was both way ahead of his time and endearingly behind it. His writing is so utterly sophisticated, and...well, natural is somehow a good word.

I have been looking at the 5th (and the 2nd) scores recently, and I'm blown away...it's also so neat to listen to different recordings and hear how freely the writing is interpreted. The best ones (for me) take a lot of freedom within lines, with rubato, so the effect is like the rippling of a brook, or rustling of wind through the leaves. :D

I've also been checking out Volume 1 of Erik Tawastsjerna's "Sibelius" - it is amazingly good, detail to the max, discussion of he and and his relationships with contemporaries, his personal life, and great analyses of the compositions - but it is in 3 volumes (to cover his whole life) and it is incredibly expensive, plus I'm having trouble even locating where to get it.  ;) (Hehe, christmas present!)

PS - There's a cycle with Oramo and the Finnish RSO now on Operashare, from the 2006 Bergen International Festival. And over on SymphonyCast's website, check out Vanska and Minnesota with a gorgeous Sibelius 2nd. And...there is indication from some who have went, that the current LA cycle is being recorded for iTunes....  0:)



Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: marvinbrown on October 23, 2007, 04:15:37 AM


  Hello everyone, I am posting here because I am new to Sibelius and have been looking for a new composer to explore. I always like to discover new music, last month I discovered Brunckner and now I am looking into exploring Sibelius.  So why Sibelius, well quite honestly because I read that, much like Bruckner, he was a great admirer of WAGNER  0:), my favorite composer.  So what I'd like to ask is how "WAGNERIAN" are Sibelius' works? Where should I start? What should I expect? and most importantly what should I look forward to?

  marvin (Sibelius Newbie)

  PS:  Why is Sibelius Snowshoed  ??? ??   
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: Mark on October 23, 2007, 04:19:50 AM

  Hello everyone, I am posting here because I am new to Sibelius and have been looking for a new composer to explore. I always like to discover new music, last month I discovered Brunckner and now I am looking into exploring Sibelius.  So why Sibelius, well quite honestly because I read that, much like Bruckner, he was a great admirer of WAGNER  0:), my favorite composer.  So what I'd like to ask is how "WAGNERIAN" are Sibelius' works? Where should I start? What should I expect? and most importantly what should I look forward to?

  marvin (Sibelius Newbie)

  PS:  Why is Sibelius Snowshoed  ??? ??  

Marvin, your training shall commence with recordings of Symphonies Nos. 2, 3, 5, 6 & 7. Others will undoubtedly wail that I've left out No. 4 (some might even challenge the exclusion of No. 1), but I'm prepared to live with this. ;D

Welcome to the world of Sibelius, my favourite composer after Beethoven.
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: Lethevich on October 23, 2007, 04:22:40 AM
  Hello everyone, I am posting here because I am new to Sibelius and have been looking for a new composer to explore. I always like to discover new music, last month I discovered Brunckner and now I am looking into exploring Sibelius.  So why Sibelius, well quite honestly because I read that, much like Bruckner, he was a great admirer of WAGNER  0:), my favorite composer.  So what I'd like to ask is how "WAGNERIAN" are Sibelius' works? Where should I start? What should I expect? and most importantly what should I look forward to?

Unfortunately, from what I gather, Sibelius was initially interested in Wagner, but then diverged from this path during his maturity. Even his early works don't have too many similarities (his first two symphonies are more reminicent of Tchaikovsky, for example). The unnumbered Kullervo symphony may be the nearest to Wagner, but only in it being a large and dramatic work - stylistically he is not as similar to Wagner as Bruckner was. As an original composer in his own right though, he is incredible, and with many inexpensive ways to buy his symphonies and tone poems, can be explored cheaply.

  PS:  Why is Sibelius Snowshoed  ??? ??   

His music represents the frosty north :P
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: marvinbrown on October 23, 2007, 04:28:34 AM


  Thank you Mark and Lethe for the speedy response.  WOW Mark, for you Sibelius comes right after Beethoven that says a lot.  Lethe thanks for answering my queries regarding Wagner,  and I think I'll go along with Mark and your suggestion and start with the Symphonies.

  marvin
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: Mark on October 23, 2007, 04:32:07 AM

  Thank you Mark and Lethe for the speedy response.  WOW Mark, for you Sibelius comes right after Beethoven that says a lot.  Lethe thanks for answering my queries regarding Wagner,  and I think I'll go along with Mark and your suggestion and start with the Symphonies.

  marvin

Currently on Amazon, two twofers you ought not to pass up:

http://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B0000041BV/ref=s9_asin_image_1/026-2676685-3936431?pf_rd_m=A3P5ROKL5A1OLE&pf_rd_s=center-1&pf_rd_r=1TK3KVD7EB703TPZFPNB&pf_rd_t=101&pf_rd_p=139045791&pf_rd_i=468294

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Sibelius-Symphonies-Nos-Violin-Concerto/dp/B0000041BW/ref=pd_bxgy_m_h__img_b/026-2676685-3936431
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: Sergeant Rock on October 23, 2007, 04:34:13 AM

  Hello everyone, I am posting here because I am new to Sibelius and have been looking for a new composer to explore. I always like to discover new music, last month I discovered Brunckner and now I am looking into exploring Sibelius.  So why Sibelius, well quite honestly because I read that, much like Bruckner, he was a great admirer of WAGNER  0:), my favorite composer.  So what I'd like to ask is how "WAGNERIAN" are Sibelius' works? Where should I start? What should I expect? and most importantly what should I look forward to?

  marvin (Sibelius Newbie)

  PS:  Why is Sibelius Snowshoed  ??? ??   

Hey, Marvin. Knowing you as a Wagnerian, hence a lover of vocal music, I'd suggest beginning your exploration with Kullervo. The Davis live LSO account is mighty fine (althought personally I prefer the slower tempos in his RCA set) and can be had for a fiver. Don't expect anything like Wagner though. Sibelius was his own man even this early in his career.

Sarge
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: marvinbrown on October 23, 2007, 04:40:14 AM
Currently on Amazon, two twofers you ought not to pass up:

http://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B0000041BV/ref=s9_asin_image_1/026-2676685-3936431?pf_rd_m=A3P5ROKL5A1OLE&pf_rd_s=center-1&pf_rd_r=1TK3KVD7EB703TPZFPNB&pf_rd_t=101&pf_rd_p=139045791&pf_rd_i=468294

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Sibelius-Symphonies-Nos-Violin-Concerto/dp/B0000041BW/ref=pd_bxgy_m_h__img_b/026-2676685-3936431

  Thanks for the link Mark  :).  I'll have to pick up the Kullervo separately.

  marvin
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: Sergeant Rock on October 23, 2007, 04:42:51 AM
Currently on Amazon, two twofers you ought not to pass up:

http://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B0000041BV/ref=s9_asin_image_1/026-2676685-3936431?pf_rd_m=A3P5ROKL5A1OLE&pf_rd_s=center-1&pf_rd_r=1TK3KVD7EB703TPZFPNB&pf_rd_t=101&pf_rd_p=139045791&pf_rd_i=468294

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Sibelius-Symphonies-Nos-Violin-Concerto/dp/B0000041BW/ref=pd_bxgy_m_h__img_b/026-2676685-3936431


I also like Davis's Boston cycle. His symphonies 3 and 6 are especially good (that Sixth perfect IMO). But as a first set I'd go for this one (http://www.amazon.co.uk/Sibelius-Symphonies-Nos-1-7-Jean/dp/B0000041Z3/ref=sr_1_2/202-8673089-4772615?ie=UTF8&s=music&qid=1193146701&sr=1-2) and it's even cheaper. Maazel and Vienna are phenomenal in the First, Fourth and Seventh.

Sarge

Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: karlhenning on October 23, 2007, 04:49:07 AM
Marvin, your training shall commence with recordings of Symphonies Nos. 2, 3, 5, 6 & 7.

What! You've left out № 4!!  8)
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: Sergeant Rock on October 23, 2007, 04:50:45 AM
What! You've left out № 4!!  8)

Perhaps not the best place to start a Sibelius exploration. I agree with Mark.

Sarge
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: Lethevich on October 23, 2007, 04:51:27 AM
So many great Sibelius cycles for so little money :D The Sanderling/Brilliant Classics (http://www.amazon.co.uk/Sibelius-Complete-Symphonies-Box-Set/dp/B0000695SN) one is very worthy, plus the Berglund/EMI (http://www.amazon.co.uk/Sibelius-Symphonies-Nos-Tone-Poems/dp/B00005MIZT) - I agree that the Davis/Boston (http://www.amazon.co.uk/Sibelius-Symphonies-Nos-5-Jean/dp/B0000041BV/ref=pd_bxgy_m_h__img_b/202-8402122-3750216) cycle is minutely better than his LSO/RCA (http://www.amazon.co.uk/Sibelius-Complete-Symphonies-Jean/dp/B00011KOF4) one, which in turn is better than his LSO Live cycle (excepting the Kullervo (http://www.amazon.co.uk/Sibelius-Kullervo-London-Symphony-Orchestra/dp/B000E42MQ2) which is very, very good).

The Davis LSO/RCA set also comes with a Kullervo which means that Marvin could pick them all up at once - but this obsession with boxed sets is perhaps bad to force on someone who doesn't even know if they like the music yet :D

Edit: Linked each set for convenience.
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: Keemun on October 23, 2007, 04:57:13 AM
What! You've left out № 4!!  8)

I was just listening to No. 4 when I began reading the new posts in this thread and I would agree with skipping No. 4 in the beginning.  Actually, I might save No. 7 for a later date as well.  From my personal experience, it took a while to get into that symphony. 
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: Lethevich on October 23, 2007, 04:57:50 AM
I was just listening to No. 4 when I began reading the new posts in this thread and I would agree with skipping No. 4 in the beginning.  Actually, I might save No. 7 for a later date as well.  From my personal experience, it took a while to get into that symphony. 

Indeedie. Many would add number 6 so the list, but that was the one which grabbed me first...
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: karlhenning on October 23, 2007, 05:12:17 AM
Perhaps not the best place to start a Sibelius exploration. I agree with Mark.

Sarge

I was just listening to No. 4 when I began reading the new posts in this thread and I would agree with skipping No. 4 in the beginning.  Actually, I might save No. 7 for a later date as well.  From my personal experience, it took a while to get into that symphony. 

[ A ] Consider this not quite in the light of opposition . . . regarding Mark's statement:

Quote from: Our esteemed Mark
Marvin, your training shall commence with recordings of Symphonies Nos. 2, 3, 5, 6 & 7.

The training is commencing not with any one symphony (to which I might propose the substitution of № 4), but with some 2+ hours of music, all the symphonies but № 4 (and 1) (and I'm okay with Mark living with my mini-wail).

[ B ] You never know;  for some people, № 4 may be the Sibelius Lever.  All I say is, it's possible (the freethinker in me).
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: edward on October 23, 2007, 05:35:15 AM
For what it's worth, the symphonies that really got me back into Sibelius (after hearing mostly 1, 2 and 5 when young) were 4 and 7. :)

I still don't have much time for 1 & 2, but subsequently have grown to love 3, 5 and particularly 6.
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: Sergeant Rock on October 23, 2007, 05:40:26 AM
[ B ] You never know;  for some people, № 4 may be the Sibelius Lever.  All I say is, it's possible (the freethinker in me).

Absolutely...and the Fourth is his masterpiece. Nonetheless it's not the work I'd first recomend for a Sibelius beginner. What surprises me is Mark leaving out the First, which is the symphony I'd start Marvin with...but then I'm a chronological kind of guy  ;D

Sarge
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: Mark on October 23, 2007, 05:43:18 AM
What surprises me is Mark leaving out the First, which is the symphony I'd start Marvin with...but then I'm a chronological kind of guy  ;D

Sarge

I guess everyone has a different 'biting point' with these symphonies; for me, it was No. 2 (I never really 'got' No. 1 for quite some time). And thanks for the link to the Maazel. :)
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: Sergeant Rock on October 23, 2007, 05:50:49 AM
I guess everyone has a different 'biting point' with these symphonies; for me, it was No. 2 (I never really 'got' No. 1 for quite some time). And thanks for the link to the Maazel. :)

It's just not me and my oddball taste: M and a few others also have a very high opinion of certain symphonies in Maazel's Vienna cycle...and it's dirt cheap. Well worth a purchase.

Although I fell immediately in love with Finlandia when I was a teen (played it in high school band) I didn't really connect with Sibelius until I heard Maazel conduct the Fifth in Cleveland (December 1972, I think). A few months later I heard the Second in Cincinnati and that cemented the deal  :)

Sarge
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: marvinbrown on October 23, 2007, 10:54:29 AM


  OK now I am intrigued, what is it about the 4th Symphony that sets it apart from the rest?  different sound texture? style? is it more complex musically? whats really going on here  ??? ??  When I first approached Bruckner's symphonies I started at the beginning and moved sequentially culminating in the 9th that seemed to work out great for me....now from what I am reading I have to go through a juggling act with Sibelius, skipping the 4th till the end..but before I join the circus I would like to know why?

  PS:  I am keen on acquiring all of Sibelius' symphonies but if listening requires some variation in order then I am just going to have to live with it!!

  marvin
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: Kullervo on October 23, 2007, 10:58:16 AM
I got into Sibelius through symphonies 4 and 7 and Tapiola. The 4th I still don't understand, but I liked the 7th almost immediately. I'll have to give the 4th another listen to remember what it is I find confusing.
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: Mark on October 23, 2007, 11:13:22 AM
I'm going to listen to his Fourth again this evening when all here is quiet. I need to refresh my memory ...
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: Lethevich on October 23, 2007, 11:16:38 AM
  OK now I am intrigued, what is it about the 4th Symphony that sets it apart from the rest?  different sound texture? style? is it more complex musically? whats really going on here  ??? ??  When I first approached Bruckner's symphonies I started at the beginning and moved sequentially culminating in the 9th that seemed to work out great for me....now from what I am reading I have to go through a juggling act with Sibelius, skipping the 4th till the end..but before I join the circus I would like to know why?

  PS:  I am keen on acquiring all of Sibelius' symphonies but if listening requires some variation in order then I am just going to have to live with it!!

  marvin

Going from symphony no.1 to no.7 chronologically would be an excellent idea if you have the will, as his evolving style is remarkable to trace :) The first two are his most accessable, the 3rd is an excellent bridge into his new style. The 4th isn't as oppressive as we make it sound, it's just a little "dark" and "cold" compared to some of his other works - and if you already have the previous three (and possibly Kullervo) under your belt before listening, it has no chance of alienating you.

Note that there is much crossover between his symphonies and tone poems, to the extent that it is difficult to know where one starts and the other ends. His 7th symphony is a very refined single movement work (although it can be divided into sections for CDs, but it is continuously played throughout), and in some ways his tone poem Tapiola is almost his 8th symphony, as it feels very natural coming after the single movement 7th. His tone poems are an equally important area of his work to his symphonies, so if you are looking to choose between various cheap boxed sets, perhaps pick one with a good selection of them - or supplement your purchase with a tone poem disc :)
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: karlhenning on October 23, 2007, 11:26:49 AM
The first two are his most accessable, the 3rd is an excellent bridge into his new style. The 4th isn't as oppressive as we make it sound, it's just a little "dark" and "cold" compared to some of his other works . . . .

And I delight in the sequence of the Third, Fourth, Fifth and Sixth, because no two of them have the same character.  A major voice doesn't sing the same song all the time.
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: marvinbrown on October 23, 2007, 11:29:30 AM
Going from symphony no.1 to no.7 chronologically would be an excellent idea if you have the will, as his evolving style is remarkable to trace :) The first two are his most accessable, the 3rd is an excellent bridge into his new style. The 4th isn't as oppressive as we make it sound, it's just a little "dark" and "cold" compared to some of his other works - and if you already have the previous three (and possibly Kullervo) under your belt before listening, it has no chance of alienating you.

Note that there is much crossover between his symphonies and tone poems, to the extent that it is difficult to know where one starts and the other ends. His 7th symphony is a very refined single movement work (although it can be divided into sections for CDs, but it is continuously played throughout), and in some ways his tone poem Tapiola is almost his 8th symphony, as it feels very natural coming after the single movement 7th. His tone poems are an equally important area of his work to his symphonies, so if you are looking to choose between various cheap boxed sets, perhaps pick one with a good selection of them - or supplement your purchase with a tone poem disc :)

  Thanks Lethe for the reassurance on the 4th and the tip on the tone poems, as I prepare to make my amazon purchase I will keep all these points in mind.

  marvin
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: karlhenning on October 23, 2007, 11:41:03 AM
Oh, tone-poems, now! the following are Essential!!

Valse triste, Opus 44 No. 1
Pohjola's daughter (Pohjolan tytär), Opus 49
Night-Ride and Sunrise (Öinen ratsastus & auringon nousu), Opus 55
Luonnotar, Opus 70
Tapiola, Opus 112


And the incidental music to The Tempest is below the green lemon, as well.
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: Kullervo on October 23, 2007, 11:43:47 AM
The Oceanides is my favorite. :)
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: Mark on October 23, 2007, 11:44:16 AM
Oh, tone-poems, now! the following are Essential!!

Valse triste, Opus 44 No. 1
Pohjola's daughter (Pohjolan tytär), Opus 49
Night-Ride and Sunrise (Öinen ratsastus & auringon nousu), Opus 55
Luonnotar, Opus 70
Tapiola, Opus 112


And the incidental music to The Tempest is below the green lemon, as well.

Everything this man says in this post is true. You must buy recordings of all of these without delay. 8)
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: karlhenning on October 23, 2007, 11:45:30 AM
The Oceanides is my favorite. :)

Oh, I knew I should omit one, whose omission I would immediately rue!  :)
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: Lethevich on October 23, 2007, 11:51:37 AM
The Oceanides is the one I obsess most over, too. The ones which I consider very important:

En Saga
The Dryad
Pohjola's Daughter
Finlandia
Night Ride and Sunrise
The Bard
Tapiola
The Oceanides
Luonnotar
Lemminkäinen Suite (a collection)
Scènes Historiques I & II (collections)
Valse Triste (not really a tone poem, but popular)

There are a few hidden gems, but those seem to be the major ones.
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: karlhenning on October 23, 2007, 11:52:30 AM
Valse Triste (not really a tone poem, but popular)

Granted;  originally incidental music.
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: Kullervo on October 23, 2007, 01:00:53 PM
The fourth... what to make of that last movement??
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: Mark on October 23, 2007, 01:09:20 PM
The fourth... what to make of that last movement??

This symphony is, in general, the odd-man-out in the cycle as a whole. It doesn't endear itself to you in the way the others so immediately can. 'Dark', 'cold', 'brooding', 'melancholy' - all these words have been used to describe it, and rightly so. It seems so desperately sad, particularly in the third movement. Painfully so, almost.
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: Kullervo on October 23, 2007, 01:12:12 PM
This symphony is, in general, the odd-man-out in the cycle as a whole. It doesn't endear itself to you in the way the others so immediately can. 'Dark', 'cold', 'brooding', 'melancholy' - all these words have been used to describe it, and rightly so. It seems so desperately sad, particularly in the third movement. Painfully so, almost.

Yes, I'm not ashamed to admit my eyes always get misty during the third movement. The fourth movement is just totally baffling to me.
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: Mark on October 23, 2007, 01:19:11 PM
The fourth movement is just totally baffling to me.

Surprises me that you say this. I hear the fourth movement as pretty inevitable after its predecessors. It's almost as though what's most co-ordinated and lyrical from the first three movements is making an attempt to bring light to this darkest of Sibelius' symphonies before it closes. It's very Mahlerian, in a way - I hear parallels between this final movement and the scherzo of Mahler's Fifth.
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: Kullervo on October 23, 2007, 01:24:45 PM
Surprises me that you say this. I hear the fourth movement as pretty inevitable after its predecessors. It's almost as though what's most co-ordinated and lyrical from the first three movements is making an attempt to bring light to this darkest of Sibelius' symphonies before it closes. It's very Mahlerian, in a way - I hear parallels between this final movement and the scherzo of Mahler's Fifth.

You think so? I thought the mixture of the two keys (I'm not really sure which exactly, but it sounds like two keys) lends it a farcical air. I would go so far as to say it sounds sick. (I apologize for the wording, but I can't really describe it any other way.)
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: Lethevich on October 23, 2007, 01:27:26 PM
There's actually some relevent information about the finale on Wikipedia (that thing just keeps getting bigger/more useful :)):

Edit: URL fix. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Symphony_No._4_(Sibelius))
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: Mark on October 23, 2007, 01:27:31 PM
I would go so far as to say it sounds sick.

Or perhaps, an attempt to laugh in the face of sickness? The whole work has a sick quality to it - you can imagine it on its deathbed. ;D Then, at the last, an attempt at humour; one final moment of joviality (a little warped, maybe) before it 'dies'.
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: AnthonyAthletic on October 23, 2007, 01:36:39 PM
(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/61%2Bgo8tWiEL._SS500_.jpg)

Just been through this set again (15cds), and again.  Can't get to grips of the two cds which are jam packed with Sibelius' lieder.  As dandy as Von Otter and Groop are, the songs just don't appeal at all and my interest was quickly lost.  'Till Havs' is still my favourite song but it needs to be in the male voice for me, that goes to a lot of these songs.

What say, I heard there's a huge project in the pipelines.  Anyone know who's doing what and are they starting from Scratch?  As the above set covers the majority of the orchestral works.  Hope the new project can justify an outlay, hope so.
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: Lethevich on October 23, 2007, 01:40:06 PM
(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/61%2Bgo8tWiEL._SS500_.jpg)

Just been through this set again (15cds), and again.  Can't get to grips of the two cds which are jam packed with Sibelius' lieder.  As dandy as Von Otter and Groop are, the songs just don't appeal at all and my interest was quickly lost.  'Till Havs' is still my favourite song but it needs to be in the male voice for me, that goes to a lot of these songs.

What say, I heard there's a huge project in the pipelines.  Anyone know who's doing what and are they starting from Scratch?  As the above set covers the majority of the orchestral works.  Hope the new project can justify an outlay, hope so.

I almost bought that until I discovered that they were going to do complete volumes of each genre seperately. I'm going to buy the complete symphonies, tone poems and (depending on what their definition of it includes) incidental music volumes. That essential set is nice, but lacks quite a few tone poems, and only includes some of his incidental music, which is probably the strongest of his lesser known output. The misc. set also includes some discs of stuff that I am totally uninterested in.
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: Mark on October 23, 2007, 01:41:29 PM
What say, I heard there's a huge project in the pipelines.  Anyone know who's doing what and are they starting from Scratch?  As the above set covers the majority of the orchestral works.  Hope the new project can justify an outlay, hope so.

You referring to this: BIS - Sibelius Edition (http://www.bis.se/bis_pages/bis_sibelius-edition.php?storyID=2869&newssectionID=1)

I think it's re-releases of existing recordings, with new stuff recorded to fill in all the gaps. It'll all be finished by 2010. I'm looking forward to adding every note of Sibelius to my collection via this enterprise. :)
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: AnthonyAthletic on October 23, 2007, 01:46:11 PM
That's it,

I have most of the first two planned issues and I can see this doing my head in being a completist....just like this Sony 60cd Beethoven Box is doing my head in, I sit up at nights thinking about the other 25 cds to complete every note  :D  Sad, but true.  But I suppose 60cds is a fair old slice of Beethoven, so I mustn't think too hard about the other works.
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: Mark on October 23, 2007, 01:49:13 PM
That's it,

I have most of the first two planned issues and I can see this doing my head in being a completist....just like this Sony 60cd Beethoven Box is doing my head in, I sit up at nights thinking about the other 25 cds to complete every note  :D  Sad, but true.  But I suppose 60cds is a fair old slice of Beethoven, so I mustn't think too hard about the other works.

Do what I did with the Beethoven: get the Brilliant Classics box set (though go for the 100-CD version, which has the 15 discs of 'old cracklies' which I know you'll enjoy. ;D).
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: Greta on October 23, 2007, 02:20:11 PM
I guess everyone has a different 'biting point' with these symphonies; for me, it was No. 2 (I never really 'got' No. 1 for quite some time). And thanks for the link to the Maazel. :)

Yeah, same here, it took really the "right" performance for me to click with the 1st.

Marvin! Welcome to what shall be an amazing journey, I know it has been for me (and still is currently), I can honestly say Sibelius is right under Wagner for me (yes, I am also a Wagnerian!), tied with Mahler.  :D That's my "composer trifecta" ;)

Heck, why not go in order, which is what I did - Kullervo and the Lemminkainen Legends suite (and I think En Saga?) come first - I love all Sibelius, but man, his early period is astoundingly good. Lusty, passionate, extremely attractive music. Kullervo has risen to become one of my favorite pieces - period. And Lemminkainen and the Maidens of Saari, it's way up there as well, it to my ears owes quite a debt to Tristan (depending on interpretation).

Right now, I would recommend Vanska/Lahti SO on BIS (with the original versions) or Segerstam/Helsinki PO on Ondine for Lemminkainen, great playing, lots of detail. I would like to hear Paavo Jarvi with Stockholm and especially Mikko Franck with Swedish RSO, who takes time to smell the roses. ;)

Salonen also made great, colorful recordings of Kullervo, Lemminkainen and En Saga on Sony with Los Angeles, now OOP and really worth getting if you see them around.

Also the historical recordings such as Ormandy with Philadelphia (big first advocates of Sibelius in America), and Horst and Stein are pretty special.

Kullervo - man, there are a lot of great ones, and often also in the sets - I have a personal fondness for Saraste with Finnish RSO and Berglund with Helsinki PO - one thing I love about both of these is the very idiomatic playing. For me, I prefer the northern European orchestras in Sibelius, they have an honest, natural (rhythmically) way of playing the music that feels so right. He was quite influenced by folk music of the region, and occasionally the language, these elements the northern orchestras understand so well, it's in their blood.

The symphonies:

I'd go in order, you don't have to, but it's fun to see how he kept honing and refining his writing while still trying to express new moods and colors. Throw the tone poems in along the way - which isn't hard as they come as fillers quite often.

And don't be scared of the 4th - I mean it's forward-looking, but it's not Schoenberg, it's really beautiful, very inward. The symphonies aren't terribly long, but you'll want to come back often, as his writing is so condensed and his themes and form evolve so gradually and organically, they are fascinating works to revisit.

Don't forget Luonnotar, and his Songs either, the Violin Concerto (which you've probably heard), and do pick up one of the Works for Violin and Orchestra discs out there, his chamber orchestra stuff is perfectly delightful. :)
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: Dancing Divertimentian on October 23, 2007, 04:10:08 PM
Can't get to grips of the two cds which are jam packed with Sibelius' lieder.  As dandy as Von Otter and Groop are, the songs just don't appeal at all and my interest was quickly lost. 

If you haven't already seek out Luonnotar. Of all the songs it's the most apt to convert someone. In its orchestral arrangement its scope is impressive. Equaling that of the symphonies. Though (admittedly) I wouldn't know how it rates w/ piano accompaniment.




Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: Dancing Divertimentian on October 23, 2007, 04:30:11 PM
You think so? I thought the mixture of the two keys (I'm not really sure which exactly, but it sounds like two keys) lends it a farcical air.

That's how I view the last movement of the fourth too. Letting out some much needed steam after all that moroseness.



Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: longears on October 23, 2007, 05:18:53 PM
Congratulations, Marvin--you're about to discover one of the very few GIANTS of music. A peerless craftsman with a singular voice, Sibelius is best discovered chronologically through the symphonies and tone poems and incidental music comprising his serious output.  This body of work reflects and reveals a spiritual journey; the quizzical Fourth, a turning point.

You might find the Sibelius thread on the old GMG forum (http://www.good-music-guide.com/forum/index.php/topic,43.0.html) interesting.
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: Mark on October 23, 2007, 10:29:20 PM
Greta, thank you for reminding me of my single favourite Sibelius work: the Violin Concerto. 0:)

This is an astonishingly good piece, with loads to hold your interest from the first notes to the very last. If I may, I'd like to recommend a recording which I suspect is more idiosyncratic than idiomatic - that with soloist, Ida Haendel, supported by Paavo Berglund and the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra (my home band :)). The sound Haendel draws out of her violin is quite something, and I often liken her interpretation of this to Du Pre's of the Elgar Cello Concerto: neither is, perhaps, what the composers had in mind, but both blow you away with their intensity and depth of personal commitment. ;)
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: Lethevich on October 24, 2007, 02:16:00 AM
Right now, I would recommend Vanska/Lahti SO on BIS

That's my favourite too, although I think even when they are reissued in the "edition" volume, they probably won't compare favourably with many others in price.

Edit: WTF - the projected release for the symphonies box is March 2010 (http://www.bis.se/bis_pages/bis_sibelius-edition.php).
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: matti on October 24, 2007, 02:59:44 AM
Warning: for true hardcore Sibelians only. The narration is in Finnish and the film is boring. However, I'd like to see any footage from, say, Beethoven's funeral, if any were available.  :D

http://www.yle.fi/elavaarkisto/?s=s&g=4&ag=26&t=117

The last link "Sibeliuksen hautajaiset" will take you to Sibelius' funeral.

Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: karlhenning on October 24, 2007, 05:01:19 AM
Ooh, I'll have to check that out later this week!
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: Sergeant Rock on October 24, 2007, 05:10:39 AM
Surprises me that you say this. I hear the fourth movement as pretty inevitable after its predecessors. It's almost as though what's most co-ordinated and lyrical from the first three movements is making an attempt to bring light to this darkest of Sibelius' symphonies before it closes. It's very Mahlerian, in a way - I hear parallels between this final movement and the scherzo of Mahler's Fifth.

I hear what is perhaps a more relevant parallel with the Finale of Mahler's Sixth...which ends, like the Sibelius Fourth, in an absolutely desolate A minor.

Sarge
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: Sergeant Rock on October 24, 2007, 05:14:07 AM
The Oceanides is the one I obsess most over, too. The ones which I consider very important:

En Saga
The Dryad
Pohjola's Daughter
Finlandia
Night Ride and Sunrise
The Bard
Tapiola
The Oceanides
Luonnotar
Lemminkäinen Suite (a collection)
Scènes Historiques I & II (collections)
Valse Triste (not really a tone poem, but popular)

There are a few hidden gems...

The Wood Nymph Op.15 is one. It's a tremendous piece and I can't understand why it's not recorded more often. It should be in every Sibelian's collection.

Sarge
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: Lethevich on October 24, 2007, 06:10:45 AM
The Wood Nymph Op.15 is one. It's a tremendous piece and I can't understand why it's not recorded more often. It should be in every Sibelian's collection.

Hmm, I should've included that, especially with the recent discussion on it, but forgot :)
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: Greta on October 30, 2007, 09:45:20 PM
The recent LA Phil performance of the 2nd Symphony from their cycle is on iTunes already, actually I'm listening to it now...will have to comment later more.

There are interesting ideas, some which work less well than others, and crisp lean playing (horns and general brass sound really good), but the focus is more technical than emotional. Except for the Andante, which does get pretty intense. Generally quick tempos. Reminds me a little of Saraste's live recording.

It's kind of...well, odd, though according to M forever this was supposed to be the dud of the bunch anyway. I'd be interested to hear the others, hopefully they will be also be released.
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: longears on October 31, 2007, 04:35:34 AM
I'm not sure Salonen really has baldy's measure, anyway.  The recordings I've heard strike me as well-executed but safely mainstream without fresh insights.  Still, I'd jump at a reasonable opportunity to hear him in person!
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: karlhenning on October 31, 2007, 06:13:17 AM
"Baldy"? Oh the indignity . . . .
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: Dancing Divertimentian on October 31, 2007, 04:02:16 PM
I'm not sure Salonen really has baldy's measure, anyway. 

"Baldy"? Oh the indignity . . . .

Might I give the thread title a tweak to reflect this new image of...baldy? ;)




Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: Mark on November 13, 2007, 01:20:18 AM
Right now, I would recommend Vanska/Lahti SO on BIS ...

Wow! I'm soooooooooooo glad I didn't wait around to pick up the symphonies as conducted by Vanska. I've only heard Nos. 2 and 3 so far, and while I'll quibble everso slightly with his reading of the central movement of the Third Symphony - I think this should be a touch 'icier' than Vanska conducts it - these two have pushed this cycle into pole position ... so far. ;)

I was particularly moved (almost to real tears) but the groundswells of emotion Vanska conjures up at several points throughout the Second Symphony; and I was impressed by the fact that, for the first time, I felt I could 'see' the structure of both symphonies, not just hear them. On this evidence, I'm looking forward to listening to the rest. :)
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: Mark on December 02, 2007, 03:47:19 PM
While cheating doing some comparative listening in order to join in M Forever's new Mystery Orchestra thread, I dug out Sanderling's account of the Second Symphony (Brilliant Classics reissue). Skipping ahead to the section which corresponds to that of the clips posted in M's thread - and with volume up all the way and headphones on - I noticed something weird: a fast string section playing something entirely different to Sibelius, only VERY, VERY faintly in the quiet point in the third movement between the fading of the timpani and the oboe theme's entry (1' 30" approx.). I 'rewound' a few times: it was still there. WTF? :o

Is this just a shoddy reissue fault, or can anyone with the original set confirm or deny the appearance of this 'ghost' string section. ???
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: Dancing Divertimentian on December 02, 2007, 06:45:14 PM
While cheating doing some comparative listening in order to join in M Forever's new Mystery Orchestra thread, I dug out Sanderling's account of the Second Symphony (Brilliant Classics reissue). Skipping ahead to the section which corresponds to that of the clips posted in M's thread - and with volume up all the way and headphones on - I noticed something weird: a fast string section playing something entirely different to Sibelius, only VERY, VERY faintly in the quiet point in the third movement between the fading of the timpani and the oboe theme's entry (1' 30" approx.). I 'rewound' a few times: it was still there. WTF? :o

Is this just a shoddy reissue fault, or can anyone with the original set confirm or deny the appearance of this 'ghost' string section. ???

Are you absolutely certain it's not some kind of residual decay or echo or something?

What are the recording's origins? Is it live, or perhaps a radio relay? Sometimes performances taken from radio relays can have momentary fade-in from another station.

Live performances in general can have all sorts of intrusions (as we all know). If some unthinking person had their iPod turned up too high...



Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: M forever on December 02, 2007, 07:20:59 PM
I don't have the recording handy to check right now - I have it, and that doesn't mean that it is one of the recordings I used in Mystery Orchestra, and it doesn't mean it isn't either, maybe it is, or maybe not, I just can't find it right now since I started reorganizing my CD collection yesterday which means it is now in greater chaos than ever before - but the effect described by Mark is probably an analog tape print-through. That may no be the correct technical term in English though. What it means is that sometimes over the years, layers of analog tape tightly wound against each other influence the magnetization of neighboring layers and leave such ghost images. Those who still know MC know this unwanted effect. It is really hard to get rid of, too. 
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: Mark on December 03, 2007, 12:02:14 AM
Are you absolutely certain it's not some kind of residual decay or echo or something?

What are the recording's origins? Is it live, or perhaps a radio relay? Sometimes performances taken from radio relays can have momentary fade-in from another station.

It's studio AFAIK, Don. :-\ I first thought of headphone 'spill', but that didn't make any sense. Then M said this:

... the effect described by Mark is probably an analog tape print-through. That may no be the correct technical term in English though. What it means is that sometimes over the years, layers of analog tape tightly wound against each other influence the magnetization of neighboring layers and leave such ghost images. Those who still know MC know this unwanted effect. It is really hard to get rid of, too. 

This is precisely what it sounds like - I remember I used to get it with tape cassettes many years ago. Bloody annoying, but only perceptible at high volume through cans, so not the end of the world.
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: Siedler on December 06, 2007, 08:58:36 AM
As it's the 90th Independence Day of Finland, I think I'll listen to Finlandia, Op.26, now.  :)
What is your favourite recording of this  symphonic poem ?
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: Tapio Dimitriyevich Shostakovich on December 06, 2007, 10:32:47 PM
Well I'll have to listen to it today as well. I know a lot of Finlandias. There can be only one. Rozhdestvensky/LSO. A matter of taste though. It's conducted a bit different than most others (e.g. Ashkenazy). Some more staccato like passages, a bit slower, more dramatic. Excerpt: Here. (http://www.fileden.com/files/2007/9/21/1446950/Finlandia2.mp3) Great sound.

(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/5123F0AC6SL._AA240_.jpg)
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: karlhenning on December 07, 2007, 06:20:25 AM
I know a lot of Finlandias. There can be only one.

I beg to differ;  but I do respect your admiration for that one recording.
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: Tapio Dimitriyevich Shostakovich on December 12, 2007, 03:17:32 AM
The Wood Nymph Op.15 is one. It's a tremendous piece and I can't understand why it's not recorded more often. It should be in every Sibelian's collection.
The wood nymph has always been top of the tops of my favorite Sibelius orchestral works, so mighty and traaaagic in the end!

A very good article about the wood nymph, --> here. (http://www.fimic.fi/fimic/fimic.nsf/mainframe?readform&B950447BF8E56E8FC225682D003AD6A7)

Currently I'm discovering En Saga, together with the Oceanides the last orchestral works I do not know. Oh, En Saga seems great. Especially the the conclusion, it's so peaceful und lovely...
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: 71 dB on December 12, 2007, 04:37:14 AM
The wood nymph has always been top of the tops of my favorite Sibelius orchestral works

Same here. Sibelius' style works well in tone poems.
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: karlhenning on December 12, 2007, 05:08:13 AM
Sibelius's style also works brilliant well in his symphonies, Poju.  Once again, the fact that you do not care for something (for instance, the Rakhmaninov Vespers) is no indication — no indication whatever — of any "lack of musical merit."
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: longears on December 26, 2007, 07:08:28 AM
In reading The Cambridge Companion to Sibelius, in Julian Anderson's chapter on Sibelius's influence on contemporary music, I found the following quote from Magnus Lindberg:
Quote
I have often said that it is a pity that Sibelius was Finnish!  His music has been deeply misunderstood.  While his language was far from modern, his thinking, as far as form and the treatment of materials is concerned, was ahead of its time.  While Varese is credited with opening the way for new sonorities, Sibelius has himself pursued a profound reassessment of the formal and structural problems of composition.  I do not think it is fair that he has been considered as a conservative...His harmonies have a resonant, almost spectral quality.  You find an attention to sonority in Sibelius works which is actually not so far removed from that which would appear long after in the work of Grisey or Murail...For me, the crucial aspect of this work remains his conception of continuity.  In Tapiola, above all, the way genuine processes are created using very limited materials is pretty exceptional.

Later Anderson quotes an anecdote related by Morton Feldman about how much he and Takemitsu liked Sibelius to illustrate his (Feldman's) dictum that "The people who you think are radicals might really be conservatives.  The people who you think are conservative might really be radical."
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: karlhenning on December 26, 2007, 07:13:07 AM
Beautiful!
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: Kullervo on December 26, 2007, 07:20:00 AM
In reading The Cambridge Companion to Sibelius, in Julian Anderson's chapter on Sibelius's influence on contemporary music, I found the following quote from Magnus Lindberg:
Later Anderson quotes an anecdote related by Morton Feldman about how much he and Takemitsu liked Sibelius to illustrate his (Feldman's) dictum that "The people who you think are radicals might really be conservatives.  The people who you think are conservative might really be radical."

Interesting, I was thinking the other day how I get similar things from Varèse and Sibelius. In Ameriques, V. wanted to create the illusion of objects in space with his orchestration. I get that feeling in most Sibelius (esp. Tapiola), and as a bonus, it's actually musical. ;D
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: longears on December 26, 2007, 07:30:51 AM
Beautiful!
He also cites a long letter from Per Nørgård to Sibelius in 1954 expressing Nørgård's admiration for him and surprise on discovering that Sibelius was composing with a metamorphic technique decades earlier:
Quote
Indeed, his letter continues, he is increasingly aware of the fact that Sibelius's music is virtually limitless in its depth and novel implications, in contrast to the work of other more recent composers.  "You may imagine, against this background, my feelings on discovering this new, genuinely symphonic principle fully blossoming in works normally labelled under the heading of an earlier historical period of music! ...It's very possible that you have known about what I'm trying to say for a long time--and understood that it was the way it should be."
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: edward on December 26, 2007, 08:03:23 AM
Or, from perhaps an even less likely source of praise:

Quote from: Brian Ferneyhough
Sibelius' mastery of temporal architecture makes him a "composer's composer" par excellence.

(This being on why he regarded the 7th symphony as one of his favourite works from any time period.)
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: Greta on February 09, 2008, 04:48:12 PM
Later Anderson quotes an anecdote related by Morton Feldman about how much he and Takemitsu liked Sibelius to illustrate his (Feldman's) dictum that "The people who you think are radicals might really be conservatives.  The people who you think are conservative might really be radical."

Just noticed - Alex Ross used this to cleverly close his chapter on Sibelius in The Rest Is Noise.  :D His chapter "Sibelius, An Apparition in the Woods"  is great reading, as he delves into Sibelius' place in the 20th century...in such a large and comprehensive book, it's nice to see Ross give such weight to him.

I have posted before about my affection for early Sibelius - in a discussion elsewhere, people were pondering the evolution of his symphonic self, and I had noticed that in the long foreword to the score for Kullervo (by Glenda Dawn Goss), it is concluded that Sibelius did indeed consider the work a "symphony", though unnumbered, and always referred to it as such.

And in addition, afterward came the 4 Lemminkainen Legends, which to me are so evocative of being a symphony in the structure and length, that I honestly have always thought of them as such. So, the case could be made that the Legends would qualify as his Symphony No. "0", and therefore, Kullervo his Symphony No. "00".

Because I think these works were extremely important in him leading up to, and finding his "symphonic self", at least that is how they seem to me. Thoughts?

Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: Tapio Dimitriyevich Shostakovich on April 29, 2008, 02:02:57 AM
Hello everyone,

Some of JS' small orchestral pieces are really really beautyful. They aren't played or heard too often... Do some come to your mind? Do you have recommendations? 2 pieces come to my mind, do you know them?

1. "Canzonetta, Op.62a" (66b is Valse romantique). It's a rather contemplative song, the pizziccato string bass gives it a good "swing".
Here's an excerpt: [mp3=200,20,0,left]http://www.fileden.com/files/2007/9/21/1446950/Canzonetta%20Op.62a.mp3[/mp3]
2. "Act II, No.9, Lento" of Swanwhite op. 54 - Can be found on the Wood Nymph recording from BIS. Nice.

Michael
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: DavidRoss on April 29, 2008, 04:23:24 AM
I like The Bard and Scene with Cranes (the latter is often played as a stand alone piece).
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: karlhenning on April 29, 2008, 04:39:34 AM
I like The Bard and Scene with Cranes (the latter is often played as a stand alone piece).

Those are both delightful. I first heard The Bard live at Symphony.  The Scene with Cranes is part of the incidental music which gave us the Valse triste, IIRC
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: DavidRoss on April 29, 2008, 04:54:06 AM
You RC, dude!  Pageant music. 

It's nice to see this thread resurrected.  I mourn the loss of the old thread on the now inaccessible old forum.  It had many thoughtful comments and fine recommendations--as did some other old threads now lost. 

After a break of several months during which I've scarcely listened to Sibelius, I think it's about time to remedy that.  ;D
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: karlhenning on April 29, 2008, 04:59:00 AM
That's the really great thing about the depth and variety of the literature:  I often dwell with a particular pocket of the lit, and then my ears are fresh to return to another well-loved composer, without tiring of anything  :)
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: Tapio Dimitriyevich Shostakovich on April 29, 2008, 05:28:48 AM
Oh yes, I like the Bard. The Scene with cranes, yes, listened to it once, I'll give it another try. BTW I don't know what's so good about the Valse Triste. It never became a friend of mine.
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: karlhenning on April 29, 2008, 05:29:58 AM
Don't know how to vouch for it; I've just always liked it.  In fact, I've arranged it for cl/vn/pf trio.
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: karlhenning on April 30, 2008, 02:56:01 AM
I need to remember, this evening, to pack up the Lenny/NY Phil symphonies set to fetch back in to the office;  want to revisit that.
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: DavidRoss on April 30, 2008, 03:58:29 AM
I need to remember, this evening, to pack up the Lenny/NY Phil symphonies set to fetch back in to the office;  want to revisit that.
That's a good un!  Maybe I'll follow suit, and take them sequentially.  Though I've already resumed some Sibelius listening, with Maazel's Tapiola and Segerstam's 4th. 
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: Sergeant Rock on April 30, 2008, 04:35:39 AM
Hello everyone,
Some of JS' small orchestral pieces are really really beautyful. They aren't played or heard too often... Do some come to your mind?

I love the beauty, and resignation, in Prospero, from the incidental music to The Tempest:

...I'll break my staff,
Bury it certain fathoms in the earth
And deeper than did ever plummet sound
I'll drown my book.


The second movement of Scènes Historiques Op.25, Scena, is quite appealing to me; the drama and militant majesty.

Sarge
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: Tapio Dimitriyevich Shostakovich on April 30, 2008, 07:15:15 AM
I love the beauty, and resignation, in Prospero, from the incidental music to The Tempest:[/i]

Don't know that one, but hey, how could I forget: "ANTONIO - DANCE OF THE SHAPES" from the Tempest. It's very, very powerful and pure fun, great melody, makes you feel great, good stuff for spring maybe. I have it as an audio file of Vänskä/Lahti, a Radio recording. I like it when the beginning is played Klezmer like.

EDIT: I remember it's uploaded somewhere. As it was from a radio broadcast, here's the file, listen yourself, you won't be disappointed. Very accessible:

[mp3=200,20,0,left]http://www.fileden.com/files/2007/9/21/1446950/Antonio.%20Dance%20of%20the%20Shapes.mp3[/mp3]

Quote
The second movement of Scènes Historiques Op.25, Scena, is quite appealing to me; the drama and militant majesty.

Oh, I've got it somewhere, should give it a first try, have never listened to them. There's also another Scenes Historiques IIRC.

Sarge
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: DavidRoss on May 02, 2008, 04:12:09 AM
The music for The Tempest is wonderful, indeed, as is his other theatre music--none of which is as well known as it deserves.  Saraste's complete recording with Monica Groop floats my boat, but the Segerstam disc with both suites is a fine introduction.  Think I'll pop that in now, following Ms Hahn's gorgeous Lark Ascending.
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: Symphonien on May 04, 2008, 04:08:53 AM
I've been struggling to try and understand Sibelius for a while now, but I think the 4th may be my way in. I urge anyone that hasn't to listen to Stephen Johnson's brilliant lecture on this symphony at  BBC's Discovering Music archive (http://www.bbc.co.uk/radio3/discoveringmusic/audioarchive.shtml) (just scroll down to Sibelius and then click on the audio link to the 4th Symphony). I had previously thought Sibelius was too traditional and that was part of what deterred me, but this analysis has shown me how modern he really can be. Where Schoenberg was radical in his approach to harmony by adding so many chromatic notes that the sense of a home key became lost, Sibelius is equally radical but in a different way. He pits several keys against each other, so that by the time we get to the end of the symphony and it ends simply in A Minor it doesn't sound simple at all! All the other elements are radical in their own ways as well: his rhythm - the way he overlaps the cellos and basses at the introduction of the first movement, the way he seemingly has two tempos moving at the same time in various parts - but above all his approach to form. I love the "organic growth" and the way he lets his themes and motives decide the form on their own rather than predefining a structure, so that any sense of sonata form/ternary/etc disappears and the boundaries of development/recapitulation cannot be defined, and rather don't really exist at all but instead give way to a new process unique to Sibelius.

By the way, here's a quick little question for anyone who has the score to this symphony:

The 4-note motif which permeates the finale (A-B-C#-B) - is it written for glockenspiel or tubular bells? On Blomstedt's recording, it is played on tubular bells, but on the recording I heard used on BBC's Discovering Music analysis of the work it is played on glockenspiel. I have also seen it referred to elsewhere as a glockenspiel melody. Maybe Sibelius just wrote "bells" in the score and Blomstedt interpreted this to mean tubular bells? What instrument is it played on in other recordings?
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: Sergeant Rock on May 04, 2008, 05:29:35 AM

Maybe Sibelius just wrote "bells" in the score and Blomstedt interpreted this to mean tubular bells? What instrument is it played on in other recordings?

Here are a few examples. I hope others will "chime" in with other performances. I'll keep adding to the list.


Glockenspiel

Maazel/Vienna
Ashkenazy/Philharmonia
Berglund/COE
Berglund/Bournemouth
Berglund/Helsinki
Vänskä/Lahti SO
Karajan/Berlin Phil (DG)
Karajan/Berlin Phil (EMI)
Segerstam/Helsinki
Beecham/RPO
Barbirolli/Hallé
Sakari/Iceland
Kegel/Dresden
Rattle/CBSO
Rozhdestvensky/Moscow
Sanderling/Berlin SO
Saraste/Finnish RSO
Inkinen/New Zealand SO

Tubular Bells

Bernstein/NY Phil
Ormandy/Philadelphia
Blomstedt/San Francisco
Ansermet/Suisse Romande
Stokowski

Glockenspiel and Tubular Bells

Maazel/Pittsburgh
Davis/LSO (RCA)
Davis/Boston
Järvi/Gothenburg
Szell/Cleveland
Reiner/Chicago

Szell and Reiner begin with the glockenspiel, then add tubular bells, and end with just bells.

I think the combination of instruments is the most effective. Davis, for example, begins with glockenspiel, uses bells only in the central climax, and has both appear near the symphony's end, which make those bars sound even more chaotic and disturbing than usual.


Sarge
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: DavidRoss on May 04, 2008, 06:39:50 AM
Thanks for the listing, Sarge.  IIRC Berglund's other recordings also use glockenspiel, as do Rozhdestvensky, Rattle, Sanderling, and Maazel/Pittsburg.  But it was Bernstein's NYPO recording that turned me on to this piece.  Perhaps that has something to do with why glockenspiel in the 4th movement sounds wrong to my ears.  But also it's such a weighty symphony that the deep resonance of the tubular bells just seems right and the tinkly glockenspiel seems trivial.

My sources on this say that the manuscript score says "Glocken," which is "Bells" in German.  Some think that he must have meant bells, i.e. tubular bells, but some argue that he could have abbreviated the word "Glockenspiel."  According to Michael Steinberg, there is a letter from Sibelius in which he suggests using "Glockenspiel" in the 4th but "Stahlstäbe" for The Oceanides.  However, since "Stahlstäbe" is another German word used for the instrument we know as the glockenspiel, this document which some cite as dispositive in favor of the glockenspiel actually makes a case for bells, for Sibelius was clearly trying to distinguish between the sounds he wanted for the two pieces.  Bottom line: a puzzle, no more likely to be solved definitively than we are likely to discover the lost score for the 8th Symphony.

As I acquired various cycles on CD, often the first thing I would do is turn to the 4th movement of the 4th to hear whether the conductor got it right.  They seldom did.  I bought the complete Järvi cycle primarily because I heard that he had used both and wanted to know what that sounded like.  (Good!)  There is probably no more thorough Sibelius scholar among musicians today than Paavo Berglund.  Beats me why he uses the damned glockenspiel!  Otherwise, his COE 4th is pretty effing impeccable!  Vänskä has practically made a career of "authentic" Sibelius performance, and he, too, disappoints me in this.  And I cannot understand why Segerstam opted for the tinkly little steel bars in his lush and powerful reading with the HPO, but there it is.  Nobody's perfect.  Or at least nobody but Blomstedt and Bernstein, both of whom got this right and pretty much everything else in their respective cycles with the SFSO & NYPO. 
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: Sergeant Rock on May 04, 2008, 10:29:22 AM
Thanks for the listing, Sarge.  IIRC Berglund's other recordings also use glockenspiel, as do Rozhdestvensky, Rattle, Sanderling, and Maazel/Pittsburg

Thanks for the additions, David. One correction: Maazel, in Pittsburgh, uses the glockenspiel initially but then, like Davis, switches to bells for the central climax. After that it's back to the glockenspiel.

But it was Bernstein's NYPO recording that turned me on to this piece.  Perhaps that has something to do with why glockenspiel in the 4th movement sounds wrong to my ears.

And Karajan was my first Sibelius 4 which perhaps explains why the tubular bells sound wrong to me...at least in the first third of the symphony. As I said in my initial post, it's the combination of instruments that work best for me now. I like the glockenspiel in the beginning because it sounds so bright and optimistic. But I think the tubular bells add significantly to the central climax, sounding so much more majestic than a tinkly glockenspiel. Davis, using both instruments in the final pages, superbly depicts the chaos and disintegration.

My sources on this say that the manuscript score says "Glocken," which is "Bells" in German.  Some think that he must have meant bel, i.e. tubular bells, but some argue that he could have abbreviated the word "Glockenspiel."  Bottom line: a puzzle, no more likely to be solved definitively than we are likely to discover the lost score for the 8th Symphony.

The problem seems to be that Sibelius added a period after Glocken, suggesting it was an abbreviation for Glockenspiel instead of just Glocken, the German word for bells. In any case, I love mysteries, and the ambiguity in Sibelius's score allows us multiple interpretations of a supreme musical masterpiece...and that's cool.

Sarge
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: DavidRoss on May 04, 2008, 12:02:03 PM
And thanks for the emendation, Sarge. 
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: M forever on May 04, 2008, 12:16:02 PM
I like both the bells and the glockenspiel, though not at the same time. I think a conductor should decide for either or, the mixed versions don't make so much sense to me. I think I would ultimately chose the bells, but the glockenspiel makes an interesting effect, too, kind of demonically (does such a word exist?) playful which fits very well in the context.
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: Symphonien on May 07, 2008, 10:47:28 PM
Hmm... a mystery then. Thanks for those facts Sarge and David (and especially that listing of recordings!). So it was like I suspected; just "bells", which is sometimes used to refer to the glockenspiel in English as well. I might pick up another recording some time then to see how it sounds with glockenspiel in that last movement - I'm considering getting Maazel's Vienna set next, and I've heard that one has a great 4th too. Although I haven't heard one yet, I agree with M that a version with both instruments wouldn't really make sense musicologically since I'm sure Sibelius would have made it clear if this was what he intended, although it may prove interesting to listen to.
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: Est.1965 on September 02, 2008, 10:48:52 AM
Well, I've had a look at Sibelius threads here, but there isn't one for general Sibleian discussion.
For example, which performance of Snofrid, Op. 29 do you recommend?  It has fast become one of my favourite pieces ever.  I have only the one version, Vanska with the Lahti Symphony Orchestra, so I'd like to know what the forum thinks before I buy another of the same in the hope of something better
And what is your favourite tone poem - and why it so?  Mines done by Scottish National Orchestra under Sir Alexander Gibson:  Nightride and Sunrise.  Recorded in Glasgow City Halls in 1978 (released six years later I think) - there's more mystery and curiosity with the Gibson version, we know we're on the journey the title depicts and oh what a glorious sunrise!  You can see the dawn sky opening up, it's getting louder, you're on that snowbound single track through Southern Finland on your way to Helsinki, and here comes the Sun, but is it, is it not, yes it is and hell the SNO and Gibson make me think just that.
Anyway, er... I am getting carried away, but I hope this post finds a life - we need more Sibelius!  ;D 0:)

Here is an uncharacteristic picture of the Finnish Master - he is young and has hair.  Followed by our man Sibelius in more recognisable format.
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: M forever on September 02, 2008, 10:54:01 AM
And what is your favourite tone poem - and why it so?  Mines done by Scottish National Orchestra under Sir Alexander Gibson:  Nightride and Sunrise.  Recorded in Glasgow City Halls in 1978 (released six years later I think) - there's more mystery and curiosity with the Gibson version, we know we're on the journey the title depicts and oh what a glorious sunrise!

The Rattle recording with the Philharmonia is clearly better in every respect. Better played, better recorded, more characterized. Not that the Gibson version is at all bad - far from it. It is a very decent performance. This is one of the things (one of the few things, actually) that I think Rattle got totally "right".
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: Est.1965 on September 02, 2008, 11:01:59 AM
The Rattle recording with the Philharmonia is clearly better in every respect. Better played, better recorded, more characterized. Not that the Gibson version is at all bad - far from it. It is a very decent performance. This is one of the things (one of the few things, actually) that I think Rattle got totally "right".

I do not have that to compare, so great tip, it's on my next-list.
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: vandermolen on September 02, 2008, 11:05:37 AM
Tapiola is my favourite. As for recordings of it, I have a number of very good ones. Jarvi's DGG recording an old DGG one with Hans Rosbaud of Brucknerian fame. Beecham and Karajan made excellent recordings too.

As for the symphonies I have an excellent boxed set with Sixten Ehrling conducting the Swedish RSO. I love many of the Beecham recordings, especially of Symphony No 4.

The complete Karelia music is my recommendation to anyone who does not know it (I like the Ondine version but the BIS is fine too.) It really was a great discovery.

Four Legends: Thomas Jensen with Danish RSO is my favourite recording, very atmospheric. I like the old Koussevitsky and Kajanus symphony recordings too.

My latest Sibelius aquisition is Basil Cameron conducts Symphony No 2 and Erich Leinsdorf conducts Symphony No 5 and the Karelia Suite. These are from 1946/7. I shall listen tonight, inspired by this thread.

Rattle's Symphony 3 is excellent.

I think that Sibelius was the greatest 20th Century composer and the only one whose music I can listen to regardless of the mood I am in.
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: Kullervo on September 02, 2008, 11:09:41 AM
Sibelius is my favorite composer. I relate to his music in a way I don't know how to describe.

And what is your favourite tone poem - and why it so?

The Oceanides — it has this feeling of the mists and dread of the unknown that is very unique in his music, indeed, I doubt there is anything else like it in all music.
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: Lethevich on September 02, 2008, 12:00:53 PM
For example, which performance of Snofrid, Op. 29 do you recommend?  It has fast become one of my favourite pieces ever.  I have only the one version, Vanska with the Lahti Symphony Orchestra, so I'd like to know what the forum thinks before I buy another of the same in the hope of something better

It is very good, but I doubt anybody other than Järvi and Vänskä have recorded it, and I cannot imagine the former being better...

And what is your favourite tone poem - and why it so?

The Oceanides (Vänskä, Berglund), The Bard (Vänskä). Oceanides... words cannot describe. The Bard has a similar organic buildup to a big event in the second half, but is a different atmosphere - warmer, delicate, naturalistic in feel (the Oceanides in comparison sounds almost ghostly). Something about the writing makes it comfort me like little else - it is stylistically a mile away from the earlier tone poems with all their turmoil.
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: Kullervo on September 02, 2008, 12:18:11 PM

Oceanides... words cannot describe. The Bard has a similar organic buildup to a big event in the second half, but is a different atmosphere - warmer, delicate, naturalistic in feel (the Oceanides in comparison sounds almost ghostly). Something about the writing makes it comfort me like little else - it is stylistically a mile away from the earlier tone poems with all their turmoil.

I hate saying this, but — yes, ditto. Couldn't have said it better.
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: drogulus on September 02, 2008, 12:29:11 PM
     
     I rate Tapiola among the finest tone poems written by anyone. I only have the Beecham recording from 1955.

     Tapiola, The Oceanides, and Symphony No. 7 on one disc, conducted by Beecham.

     (http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51y5To%2B2tnL._SL500_AA280_.jpg)


     I have the earlier non-GROC CD, a 1990 release. I don't know if it makes sense to get this remaster.

   
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: Est.1965 on September 02, 2008, 12:50:03 PM
I think there is one: The Snowshoed Sibelius (http://www.good-music-guide.com/community/index.php/topic,341.0.html)

I will merge the threads if there are no objections.

Q

Thats ok Q.  One day, and one very fine day it will be, far, far in the mystical future, I will start a thread that is original enough to NOT get merged.    :-[
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: Mark on September 02, 2008, 12:59:21 PM
Anyone looking for some Sibelius off the beaten track might want to try his Swanwhite Suite, which is rather beautifully played on this disc:
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: vandermolen on September 02, 2008, 09:17:59 PM
     
     I rate Tapiola among the finest tone poems written by anyone. I only have the Beecham recording from 1955.

     Tapiola, The Oceanides, and Symphony No. 7 on one disc, conducted by Beecham.

     (http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51y5To%2B2tnL._SL500_AA280_.jpg)


     I have the earlier non-GROC CD, a 1990 release. I don't know if it makes sense to get this remaster.

   

V good CD. The Bard and Oceanides are also favourites of mine as is In Memoriam.

Have just listened to Basil Cameron's excellent recording of Symphony No 2 (LPO, 1947, Dutton)
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: Tapio Dimitriyevich Shostakovich on September 03, 2008, 12:48:13 AM
@mahler10th:

1. Tapiola (Blomstedt - SFSO) by far the tone poem/performance I like most. THE forest hymn. I know many Tapiolas. It is the best performance because it is the best performance. Period. ;) Good quality as well.
Listen carefully- you'll experience thousands of variations of the main theme.
2. The Wood Nymph - The BIS recording Lahti/Vänskä. Groundbreaking drama.
3. En Saga. Very refreshing! It rocks. Beautiful conclusion, I posted a piece of it somewhere here. A lot of good performances. I like Lahti/Vänskä here as well.

Nightride and Sunrise - it has a very special mood, very great. I look when I'm at home, not sure what my fav. performance was. Maybe Järvi Gothenburg. Generally, most likely you find good performances with either Vänskä/Lahti or Järvi/Gothenburg. EDIT: Yes, I like Järvi/GSO most.

In memoriam -has been mentioned- yes good, true. But only the final version. Vänskä/Lahti.

Is there a voiceless orchestral Snofrid out there?
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: M forever on September 03, 2008, 07:19:40 AM
It is the best performance because it is the best performance. Period.

Thanks, that was very informative.

Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: Tapio Dimitriyevich Shostakovich on September 03, 2008, 07:35:52 AM
It's subjective, anyway. This Tapiola is as I think it should be played. The tempo is fine. You can hear many details, the great finale, which starts with this kind of violin storm, the timpanies afterwards, the last increasing of volume (pp?) in the end, just everything as I think it should be played. It's all subjective, I have no english words and not many better german words and no objective words.
OK this is objective: The performance has a good recording quality.
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: eyeresist on September 03, 2008, 07:07:31 PM
I don't listen to the tone poems much. I don't think any come close to the quality of the symphonies.
 
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: Kurkikohtaus on September 03, 2008, 09:02:35 PM
I don't think any come close to the quality of the symphonies.

I'm going to have to step in here after some time away and interject a little.  I love music forums, as most threads yield informative or at least fun discussions about topics we all care dearly about.  That said, most threads also contain sweeping generalizations that do not meet the standards of modern criticism or analysis.  I don't mean to pick on eyeresist, but his statement is exactly onesuch.

While most posts in most threads are simply different ways of stating opinions, I believe it is very important to always formulate our opinions carefully and justify them.  If we slack from these standards, we risk degrading the discussions found here into pointless trumpetings of our favourite pieces.

I credit eyeresist in saying "I don't think" as opposed to "They don't come close".  A good first step.  But I object to his use of the word "quality".  If he had said...

They don't communicate to me what the symphonies do...
The themes in the tone poems aren't as memorable to me as the ones in the ones in the symphonies...
I find them too one-dimensional when compared to the internal contrasts within each symphony...


... or any variation thereof, I wouldn't be writing this post.

But eyeresist chose the term "quality".  "Quality" is a term that can drive a man insane and one who's historical philosophical examination traces back to ancient Greece.  In short, it is offering a value judgement about something singularily inherent to the subject, in this case Sibelius' the tone poems.  The word positions itself to uncover an element that is beyond mere opinion but directly exposes something basic about the subject's existance.

So I ask when making a statement like the one above, that we either qualify our opinion through musical and stringent philosophilcal examination, or simply express our opinions in less complicated ways.
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: eyeresist on September 03, 2008, 10:54:40 PM
I take it back. The tone poems are just as good as the symphonies.




 >:D
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: Kurkikohtaus on September 03, 2008, 11:33:52 PM
My point was not in defence of the tone poems.  It is perfectly fine that someone likes the symphonies much better.

My point was that if we are going to talk about their comparative inherent quality, we need to justify our opinions with deeper arguments.
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: eyeresist on September 03, 2008, 11:57:02 PM
Sorry. You should have explained yourself at length.
 
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: karlhenning on September 04, 2008, 01:52:27 AM
My point was not in defence of the tone poems.  It is perfectly fine that someone likes the symphonies much better.

My point was that if we are going to talk about their comparative inherent quality, we need to justify our opinions with deeper arguments.

Entirely agree that there is value in distinguishing between one's preferences, and what is actually a component of the music.
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: vandermolen on September 04, 2008, 05:50:39 AM
I like Maazel's VPO Tapiola because of the very slow phrasing of the storm sequence.
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: Mark on September 04, 2008, 06:02:53 AM
I've just recently downloaded the reissued Rattle/CBSO (EMI) set of Sibelius symphonies (plus one or two tone poems). I'm looking forward to listening to them, especially as I've so far heard and been very impressed by Rattle's take on the Second Symphony. I have numerous recordings of this work (though not, I'm ashamed to admit, the Berglund or Blomstedt), and with many of them, I get the impression that the musicians are playing the notes but not interpreting the music. Rattle - and even more so, Vanska - gives an account that sounds positively alive and makes me hear the work as though new, enriching my understanding and enjoyment of it no end. :)
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: Tapio Dimitriyevich Shostakovich on September 04, 2008, 09:12:19 AM
I like Maazel's VPO Tapiola because of the very slow phrasing of the storm sequence.

Interesting you say "storm sequence"... It may also be turbulence amongst the wood-sprites. :D

EDIT: A bigger Tapiola review is here (http://inkpot.com/classical/sibtapiola.html).

This performance btw? (http://www.amazon.com/Sibelius-Symphonies-Maazel-Philharmonic-Orchestra/dp/B00004TTX3) Don't know this one, because usually I avoid buying that old performances.

(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/41NYHE1446L._SL500_AA240_.jpg)
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: vandermolen on September 04, 2008, 01:22:40 PM
Yes, I think that it's probably the Wood-Sprites too  :)

Yes, that is the CD I meant. Don't be put off by it's age as the performances are great and the remastering excellent. But it is that slower-than-usual storm-sequence in Tapiola which is the highlight for me.

By the way, for anyone that doesn't know it, Moeran's Symphony has a great Tapiola-like-storm-sequence in the last movement. I'd recommend this work to anyone who likes Sibelius.
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: Est.1965 on September 08, 2008, 12:42:38 PM
I am ashamed to say I listened to Sibelius's "In Memoriam" for the very first time today (from the Segerstam set).  A magnificent piece of work - Sibelius at his best. ;D
Perfect use of sonorous brass, well timed gaps, nice (and appropriately dark) movements by the stings up and down the scale, building deliberately to fitting conclusions...but only to die at the end.
Wow.   :o ;D
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: Est.1965 on September 28, 2008, 06:14:57 AM
I don't know what Davis BSO/LSO has over this. 
This is by far the most dramatic and exciting and grand Sibelius collection out there.  The difference to almost every other box set I have is near palpable.  *****
(http://www.zavvi.co.uk/images/500/500372_CD_L_F.JPG)
Segerstam DNRSO - sometimes sounds off too slow, but a dynamic interpretation nonetheless - would be better if he didn't take so many liberties here and there. ***
Davis - BSO / LSO - Very nice, as Blomstedt below, somewhat more special through 'Davis Power' but why is he so revered as a Sibelian? ****
Blomstedt SFSO - Wide, breathy and excellent, but still nothing special. ***
Maazel - PSO - aha, I don't have his VPO set which is very highly regarded indeed, but I do have his Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra, which has special moments but not 'even' enough to be regarded as a great set. **
Rattle - CBSO - Rattle doing magic with sonics but not with Sibelius.  ***
Vanska / Jarvi - Lahti - Such a very different approach to Ashkenazy, but well on the money, clear and broad melodics make for great listening. *****
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: M forever on September 28, 2008, 10:40:52 AM
A lot of the stuff in the Ashlenazy box is indeed very exciting, thanks to the driven, intense character of the performances and the great contributions of the orchestra, especially in #1 (the ending of the first movement really sounds like an avalanche or huge chunks of brass ice breaking off a glacier. But there is also a lot of very fine detail in Sibelius' music and a lot of the musical gestures are very terse and to the point, and that is where Ashkenazy with all the sonic excitement he generates from the orchestra sometimes is not so good. You should also listen to Maazel's WP cycle which has a lot of that kind of excitement (and very massive playing in some pieces, again particularly in the 1st) but more detail and specific athmosphere. It won't hurt you to get to know Berglund's HPO and Sanderling's BSO cycles either, believe me!
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: Est.1965 on September 28, 2008, 10:50:19 AM
A lot of the stuff in the Ashlenazy box is indeed very exciting, thanks to the driven, intense character of the performances and the great contributions of the orchestra, especially in #1 (the ending of the first movement really sounds like an avalanche or huge chunks of brass ice breaking off a glacier. But there is also a lot of very fine detail in Sibelius' music and a lot of the musical gestures are very terse and to the point, and that is where Ashkenazy with all the sonic excitement he generates from the orchestra sometimes is not so good. You should also listen to Maazel's WP cycle which has a lot of that kind of excitement (and very massive playing in some pieces, again particularly in the 1st) but more detail and specific athmosphere. It won't hurt you to get to know Berglund's HPO and Sanderling's BSO cycles either, believe me!

Thank you M, just the kid of feedback I'd hoped for.  I will indeed be looking out for Berglund HPO and the Snaderling.
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: M forever on September 28, 2008, 11:10:56 AM
Yes, but "look out" for Maazel's WP cycle first. Be careful though when you listen to the 4th symphony, this version is so bleak and dark, if you are already in a bad mood, it might make you jump out of the window. Other highlights of this cycle are the very massive and exciting 1st and the 3rd (it is good to hear the soaring horn figures at the beginning and in the recapitulation of the first movement played by people who can actually really play them, for a change), and the epic 7th. The highlight of the Berglund/HPO cycle for me is the uniquely athmospheric 6th. But the other symphonies in both boxes are very good, too. Then Sanderling cycle is generally a little low key and analytic, but it is also phenomenally well recorded. You will be surprised by how much detail can actually be captured in a recording, and how "natural" these sound.
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: Moldyoldie on December 15, 2008, 09:05:05 AM
(Pasted from "What Are You Listening To?".)

(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/411nwE8DbcL._SL500_AA240_.jpg)
Sibelius: Symphony No. 1; Symphony No. 5
BBC Symphony Orchestra
Sir Malcolm Sargent, cond.
EMI

By the by, this CD was something of a bargain bin epiphany pour moi in a much earlier time of my Sibelian experience; it occurred after having been thoroughly discouraged from ever again listening to the Sibelius Symphony No. 5 by the dour and depressing performance heard on the recording by Esa-Pekka Salonen sometime in the late '80s.  Whether that would still be the case is questionable, but even today, there's no subverting the fact that these are among the sunniest and most optimistic performances of these two popular symphonies one's ears will likely ever hear.  Sargent and the BBCSO come to both sporting yellow-tinged glasses and ineffable grins.

It's almost pointless attempting to differentiate between the two works as performed here. Symphony No. 1 is as bracing as ever with a steadily implacable undercurrent of pulse and forward momentum.  There's absolutely no sense of overt affectation other than what seemingly springs forth inevitably from the score -- except, perhaps, for an incredibly relentless helter-skelter conclusion to the Allegro third movement which has the orchestra grasping for ensemble and the listener gasping for breath! 

The Symphony No. 5 here also doesn't "take time to smell the roses", mainly because Sargent and the orchestra smell the roses from the get-go in a straightforward reading of the first movement which could probably benefit from some "strategic phrasing" by Sargent to help accentuate the marvelous build to the movement's powerful coda.  As performed here, this "power" seems diminished by the lack of contrast with what precedes it, and the strings don't possess the necessary heft to make for a truly visceral crescendo, something I listen for with great anticipation.  Another thing is disconcerting, that being the extended silent pauses between tracks of the symphony's movements instead of the more attaca approach which I've become used to.  The andante second movement commences in an unusually measured fashion when considering the performance in toto.  I must admit, however, that in the grand scheme of the performance, these prove to be quibbles as the symphony is brought home in the same sunny fashion in which it commenced, and indeed, as it was predominantly conducted throughout.

The recording quality from the late '50s displays a modicum of tape hiss and is decidedly bass shy, but with fine midrange presence and not too much tinniness on the top end; no one could possibly mistake this for the very best recording of similar vintage.  Still, there's fine presence and "personality" in the winds especially, lending well to these...yes, "uniquely cheery" performances.
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: Moldyoldie on December 18, 2008, 04:25:43 AM
(Pasted from "What are You Listening To?")
(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51FTVZDST8L._SL500_AA240_.jpg)
Sibelius: Symphony No. 4
Finnish Radio Symphony Orchestra
Paavo Berglund, cond.

Sibelius: Symphony No. 5
Helsinki Philharmonic Orchestra
Jorma Panula, cond.
FINLANDIA

These recordings originally date from 1968 and are thoroughly inside the idiom.   A few months ago, I heard Berglund's most recent commercial recording of the Symphony No. 4 with the Chamber Orchestra of Europe (also on the Finlandia label) and commented on how leaden and uninvolving the performance was compared to most others I've heard.  Well, this performance with his erstwhile band, the Finnish Radio Symphony Orchestra, presents much the same interpretation, perhaps even darker and more expansive, but with some much needed heft and resonance throughout the timbral spectrum, especially in those growling double-basses and expressive massed strings, which here are unusually subdued and hence even more forbidding.  They continue on in painting the bleakest possible sonic landscape throughout the entire opening movement.  Even the brief allegro molto vivace second movement hardly offers a respite from the bleakness.  It makes Berglund's incredibly forlorn, but impressively well-wrought il tempo largo third movement an extended expression of utter despair. I'm trying to remember if even Karajan, Bernstein, and a few other notables were this cold and dour in their memorable traversals of this landscape.  The figurative light breaking through the dark clouds in the beginning of the finale, accented here with softly rung glockenspiel, hardly brings a feeling of redemption. Instead, Berglund offers merely an extended baiting glimpse of hope before foundering in a wave of dissonance.  Orchestral balances are impressively unique here in conjuring this effect. The dynamic suddenly shifts to a jarring forte late in the movement, but quickly subsides into a coda suggesting hope was but a taunting zephyr -- the inexorable gloom returns, soon fading, along with all else, on a hushed closing whimper.  Now I know what was missing from that COE recording:  It makes one believe that this, Sibelius' masterpiece of personal expression, is best heard in large swaths of varying greys as opposed to mere pen & ink, and it's certainly worth the hearing for anyone with an affinity for this symphony.  I've not heard Berglund's two other recordings with the Bournemouth and Helsinki orchestras on EMI.

Noted Finnish conducting guru Jorma Panula was music director of the Helsinki Phiharmonic at this time and offers up a unique and musically insightful rendering of the popular Symphony No. 5.  The opening clarion horn slowly unfurls and the succeeding winds display a delightfully earthy quality seemingly straight from a Finnish bog -- it's difficult to adequately describe and I'm loathe to think it's merely due to the power of musical suggestion.  The opening movement develops most effectively up to the first appearance of the so-called swan hymn, through which the tempo upshifts to a delightful lilt.  From there, the build to the movement's coda is superbly realized with just the right amount of tempo and dynamic adjustments to bring maximum effect to the powerful ostinato crescendo, launched abruptly and executed with superb ensemble -- yowza!  Following a fine andante second movement, the allegro molto finale is taken at the most relaxed and softly expressive measure I ever remember hearing!   The final swan hymn has brass braying with that marvelous earthy quality heard earlier in the winds -- more power of suggestion?  I don't think so, this is the real McCoy!  The symphony's concluding bursts are tight and terse, bringing an end to this uniquely satisfying performance.  My not-always-acute-sense is that this is the kind of performance Esa-Pekka Salonen "meant" to produce for CBS with the Philharmonia, instead of the...well, never mind.
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: karlhenning on December 30, 2008, 12:20:25 PM
Quote from: Guy Rickards
The Third Symphony, dedicated to [Granville] Bantock, was completed on his return and given its première in Helsinki before September [1907] was out, alongside Pohjola’s Daughter and the suite from Belshazzar’s Feast.  The last two were received more enthusiastically by the audience than the austere, pared-down textures of the symphony, with its oddly elusive atmosphere, restrained mid-nineteenth-century orchestration and telescoped scherzo-and-finale.  [Karl] Flodin, though, was delighted, calling the composer ‘a Classical master’ and the music ‘revolutionary, new and truly Sibelian’.  Flodin was right — the Third Symphony was indeed a quietly radical work, where all the most extraordinary activity occurred below the surface, unlike in the Second with its grander, romantic mien.  Harold Truscott believed it to be the first Sibelius symphony to evince ‘complete mastery’ and was ‘the key to all that followed it’, while others like Julian Herbage have commented on its innovative key-scheme, harmonic side-slips and the individuality of the finale.  In many ways Symphony № 3 accorded with Busoni’s ideal of ‘Young Classicality’, a return to the musical spirit of the past and not to be confused with the mannered neo-classicism that became the rage amongst composers of the post-World War I years.  As such, the Third — the first of the truly great Sibelius symphonies — has been generally misunderstood and did not succeed with audiences or the bulk of critics to anything like the degree of the First or Second.  So complete was the incomprehension that greeted the work that its lack of success was at least partially attributed by many to the composer’s use of folk elements, whereas in fact this was intentionally the most cosmopolitan and international score Sibelius had yet attempted to compose.

Jean Sibelius, (Phaidon, 1997), pp.91-92
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: karlhenning on January 02, 2009, 08:03:55 AM
Just finished the Rickards book;  excellent little 'handbook' bio.  I found it illuminating.
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: karlhenning on January 02, 2009, 08:19:27 AM
I've been very selective, or very lucky, or both, in my Sibelius exploration.  Rickards makes the point that over the course of his career, Janne had to write a fair amount of 'fluff' to raise ready money (the various sums of Sibelius's debt which Rickards mentions from time to time through the course of the composer's life are nothing short of hair-raising), and I have been fortunate never to hear anything by the Mighty Finn answering to the description 'fluff'.

(The Valse triste is light, and a minor work; but it is not fluff!)
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: Sergeant Rock on January 11, 2009, 07:05:31 AM
I have been fortunate never to hear anything by the Mighty Finn answering to the description 'fluff'.

There is fluff, and then there is great fluff. Sibelius composed the latter  8)

Sarge
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: Bu on January 11, 2009, 01:29:38 PM
I don't listen to the tone poems much. I don't think any come close to the quality of the symphonies.
 

Haven't given those pieces enough attention, for whatever reason; hope to rectify that with this disc:

(http://www.musicweb-international.com/classRev/2004/May04/Sibelius_tone_5857852.jpg)
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: karlhenning on January 11, 2009, 03:00:07 PM
Haven't given those pieces enough attention, for whatever reason; hope to rectify that with this disc:

(http://www.musicweb-international.com/classRev/2004/May04/Sibelius_tone_5857852.jpg)

A nice two-fer, indeed!
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: Bu on January 11, 2009, 09:33:35 PM
A nice two-fer, indeed!

True that, Dr. Karl.   For a good price, too!   :D

I think I'll give it a spin after the Beethoven is done playing.
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: Tapio Dimitriyevich Shostakovich on January 12, 2009, 11:45:28 AM
(http://rogerbourland.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2006/06/ISmeetsJS.jpg)
Oh, yes. "ISmeetsJS.jpg" - Who's I.S.?
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: Bu on January 12, 2009, 11:55:20 AM
Prince Igor.  Sometimes just called by his last name, "Stravinsky."
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: karlhenning on January 12, 2009, 11:57:49 AM
Who's I.S.?

You can't mean it.
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: Tapio Dimitriyevich Shostakovich on January 12, 2009, 09:11:48 PM
You can't mean it.
I mean it. I know nothing about I.S. - You know nothing about Haskell programming. This is perfectly allowed.
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: Peregrine on January 13, 2009, 10:25:25 AM
Not wanting to sound too pedantic, but Burglund's 1st cycle is with the Bournemouth Symphony orchestra, not Birmingham...
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: karlhenning on January 13, 2009, 11:50:22 AM
I mean it. I know nothing about I.S. - You know nothing about Haskell programming. This is perfectly allowed.

This is a forum about classical music, not about "Haskell programming."

Not knowing who "I.S." is, is allowed, but it's surprising.
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: imperfection on January 13, 2009, 09:01:20 PM
Am I the only one that thinks the 2nd movement of the 1st symphony is so beautiful that nothing compares to it?
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: Florestan on January 13, 2009, 11:54:16 PM
Am I the only one that thinks the 2nd movement of the 1st symphony is so beautiful that nothing compares to it?

Nay, we are two..  :)
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: Wanderer on January 14, 2009, 02:15:58 AM
I think it's just beautiful.
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: Kullervo on January 14, 2009, 05:43:15 AM
The fourth movement is nice too, but the first two symphonies aren't my favorite Sibelius.
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: Tapio Dimitriyevich Shostakovich on January 14, 2009, 07:29:56 AM
Sym 1./2nd mvmt. I cannot get warm with it. I'm always thinking of Sinatra "I did it my way..." :(

Not knowing who "I.S." is, is allowed, but it's surprising.
In the real world (the world I know), knowing who Jean Sibelius is would be surprising. Not to talk about an old man on a b/w jpg picture named "IS..." and looking like Polands General Jaruzelsky.
I once asked at work who Anton Bruckner is. 0 out of 5 knew it. Null, Zero, Nada. High school graders.
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: karlhenning on January 14, 2009, 08:02:43 AM
In the real world (the world I know) . . . .

Sure, but this forum is a specific subset of the real world. Everyone here has heard of Bruckner.
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: Tapio Dimitriyevich Shostakovich on January 14, 2009, 12:53:06 PM
Come on, Karl. I doubt everybody here who sees the picture http://rogerbourland.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2006/06/ISmeetsJS.jpg and reads "ISmeetsJS" knows this is Igor Stravinsky. Personally I thought it's the blogger :) Well, now I realized the jpg's metadata hold all information.

Quote
Bild-Orientierung:  1
Datum der Aufnahme:  2003:08:27 14:47:08
Bildbeschreibung:  PEJE03 19610910 JÄRVENPÄÄ, FINLAND: Russian-born composer Igor Stravinsky lays flowers on Finnish composer Jean Sibelius's grave at Sibelius's home, Ainola, in Järvenpää, Finland, on September 10, 1961. LEHTIKUVA / PERTTI JENYTIN /rl
Benutzte Software:  Adobe Photoshop 7.0
Erstellt hat das Bild:  Pertti Jenytin

I can tell I know nothing about Igor Stravinsky except the names of a few works. I know nothing about 898798 other composers, I know a few things about maybe 50. And there are a lot others than IS to explore first.
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: Mark G. Simon on January 17, 2009, 12:12:43 PM

I can tell I know nothing about Igor Stravinsky except the names of a few works. I know nothing about 898798 other composers, I know a few things about maybe 50. And there are a lot others than IS to explore first.

Once you do explore IS, you'll wish you had tried him much earlier.
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: DavidRoss on January 19, 2009, 06:52:30 AM
Once you do explore IS, you'll wish you had tried him much earlier.
Indeed!  Stravinsky is not just one among 898,798, but one of the very few most prolifically inventive, influential, and masterful composers to grace our world with music.  You might start with his century-defining ballet, The Rite of Spring.  Any of Boulez's discs will do, or Solti's powerhouse CSO recording, or you might go with Abbado's bargain twofer featuring all of the famed early ballets.  But this is a thread about JS, so enough said on little Igor's account.

Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: karlhenning on January 19, 2009, 08:06:25 AM
Hoy, Dave!  :D
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: Tapio Dimitriyevich Shostakovich on January 20, 2009, 03:28:47 AM
Le Sacre du printemps? Yes, one day I'll listen to it :)
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: Wanderer on February 01, 2009, 04:24:31 AM
An excellent musicweb review (http://www.musicweb.uk.net/classrev/2009/Feb09/Sibelius_Edition_BIS_I-V.htm) of the five first volumes of the ongoing BIS Sibelius edition.
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: Est.1965 on February 01, 2009, 10:18:10 AM
jlaurson's post below highlighting the many Sibelius cycles out there.  I am wondering why the Ashkenazy is more expensive than the Maazel, as it's the Maazel VPO big sound of Sibelius everyone seems to connect to...however, I like the pricing, having many of these sets myself, I would still pay more for Ashkenazys take on Sibelius than Maazels.  Like I say, Maazel brings a much bigger orchestral sound to the works, and fine attention to detail, but still for me there is something in Ashkenazys quicker but cooler take  - there is more of a 'searing' atmosphere to it's icy urgency.
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: Dax on February 02, 2009, 12:02:36 AM
Having newly discovered this thread and its beguiling title, I'm disappointed to find no mention of The lonely ski trail.
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: ChamberNut on February 02, 2009, 05:05:02 AM
I am really enjoying Sibelius' Symphony No. 7 in C

Is it just me - it reminds me a lot of Strauss' Eine Alpensinfonie?
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: Tapio Dimitriyevich Shostakovich on February 02, 2009, 06:42:19 AM
Having newly discovered this thread and its beguiling title, I'm disappointed to find no mention of The lonely ski trail.
IIRC (CD not available) it's one track e.g. on the BIS Wood Nymph CD, with a narrator? Oh well, it's a piece I always skipped because of the talking. I don't understand finnish additionally...
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: jlaurson on February 02, 2009, 06:52:57 AM
I am really enjoying Sibelius' Symphony No. 7 in C

Is it just me - it reminds me a lot of Strauss' Eine Alpensinfonie?

Hmm... I enjoy it, too, and did so in performance a few days ago (Harding, BRSO) when it was coupled with Strauss' "Tod & Verklaerung". But "Alpensinfonie"?? Harding was more earthy (lots of greens and browns) and 'continental' than 'northern lights' and 'pale snow'... , but Aplensinfonie I did not hear.

Just went back to Bernstein's 4th with the NYPhil and found it an astounding (if not necessarily excellent) recording. It never really becomes a symphony... but only individual, chamber-music like, voices that just hint at the possibility of a symphony. Strange and beguiling.

-------------------------------------------------
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: Lethevich on February 02, 2009, 07:01:09 AM
Oh well, it's a piece I always skipped because of the talking.

I think there is a similar RVW work that I also cannot enjoy due to this...

(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51nPvjDSA2L._SL500_AA240_.jpg)

I have it in this recording, and the disc is 'interesting', but none of the works are particularly top-flight.
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: karlhenning on February 02, 2009, 07:06:23 AM
I think there is a similar RVW work that I also cannot enjoy due to this...

For me it's Debussy's Chansons de Bilitis.

Thread duty: Really enjoying the Blomstedt recording of the Seventh; and it's thanks to Ben for bringing this to my attention!
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: DavidRoss on February 02, 2009, 07:25:55 AM
As a certifiable Sibelius nut, I have 16 of the 23 cycles shown above, plus a couple of others, as well as individual recordings from all but one of the others.  The ones I return to most frequently are Bernstein/NYPO (I've also come to enjoy his very different approach with the WP late in life), Blomstedt/SFS, Vänskä/Lahti, Berglund (all 3!), Maazel/WP, Sakari/Iceland, and Segerstam/HPO.  Those I like least and listen to occasionally out of a sense of obligation to give them a fair hearing are: Järvi on BIS (dull as dishwater--I don't have DGG but expect no different), Davis (all 3 bore me), and Ashkenazy/LSO (some things are just plain wrong!).  Further comments, should anyone be interested, are plentiful not only here but even more so on the old forum Rob has graciously resurrected.

As for the 7th, I've never considered it similar to Ein Alpensinfonie (not one of my favorite works) but might well give the Strauss a hearing with the comparison in mind.  Chambernut, what makes them seem similar to you?

Finally, for those who know little other than the symphonies, the VC, and some of the tone poems, I highly recommend his incidental music for the theatre (especially P&M and The Tempest) and his vocal music for both orchestral and piano accompaniment.
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: jlaurson on February 02, 2009, 07:39:17 AM
As a certifiable Sibelius nut, I have 16 of the 23 cycles shown above, plus a couple of others,

Pray tell, which ones are they?!

Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: ChamberNut on February 02, 2009, 07:42:46 AM
As for the 7th, I've never considered it similar to Ein Alpensinfonie (not one of my favorite works) but might well give the Strauss a hearing with the comparison in mind.  Chambernut, what makes them seem similar to you?

I don't know David?  Please keep in mind, I'm a veritable newbie in the Sibelius arena, and particularly Sibelius 7th!  It is the atmosphere and mood of the symphony.  Reminded me of a vast northern landscape, and I got to think of Strauss' Eine Alpensinfonie.  Whether I'm in my own little world or not, both works are my favorites respectably for both composers (Symphony No. 2 coming in a close 2nd for Sibelius, and Don Quixote for Strauss).  :)
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: DavidRoss on February 02, 2009, 08:18:57 AM
Pray tell, which ones are they?!
The complete cycle by Rozhdestvensky and the incomplete cycle by Bernstein on DGG and Karajan on EMI, and I'm a couple short of Maazel's cycle with Pittsburg.  Like I said, I'm a nut on JS--the only composer I have more recordings of is Beethoven!

I don't know David?  Please keep in mind, I'm a veritable newbie in the Sibelius arena, and particularly Sibelius 7th!  It is the atmosphere and mood of the symphony.  Reminded me of a vast northern landscape, and I got to think of Strauss' Eine Alpensinfonie.  Whether I'm in my own little world or not, both works are my favorites respectably for both composers (Symphony No. 2 coming in a close 2nd for Sibelius, and Don Quixote for Strauss).  :)
Well, Donkey Hotey is one of my favorite Strauss pieces, but the second is my least favorite of JS's symphonies (though it's still pretty good).  I will give the Strauss a shot later today if I have the time.
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: jlaurson on February 02, 2009, 09:12:05 AM

updated - Maazel Pittsburgh & Rozhdestvensky added
Thanks to DavidRoss for the reminder.

Here's a list of (almost) all available Sibelius Symphony cycles. (Very roughly sorted (top to bottom) acc. to my personal favorites. [Some I have not heard - e.g. Segerstam I, Berglund I & III, Jaervi I, Collins, Saraste...]
"Berglund II", despite being next to 'last', is safely recommendable... I merely added it late.
Oramo's Sibelius (Erato/Warner) has not (yet?) been issued in a box. Davis III (LSO live), good but overrated, isn't out as a box, either... Davis II I won't include unless I have to. (I.e. to fill the fourth spot in the last row.)
I've found the Sixtus Ehrling/Stockholm cycle still exists (at least on German Amazon (http://www.amazon.de/exec/obidos/ASIN/B000026ADH/nectarandambr-21)). Anyone have that?
Daverz pointed out the Rozhdestvensky cycle, available in Japan (http://www.hmv.co.jp/product/detail/1424517).
What was I thinking when I wrote "Birmingham" instead of "Bournemouth" for Berglund II? Probably "Rattle". :-) Corrected, thanks to Peregrine



(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51GiQiFqadL._SL500_AA240_.jpg) (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B00008CLIG/goodmusicguide-20)
V. Ashkenazy I,
Philharmonia
Decca ~$40,- (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B00008CLIG/goodmusicguide-20)
(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/41AP9WJHSPL._SL500_AA240_.jpg) (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B0000041BV/goodmusicguide-20)
C. Davis I,
Boston SO
Philips v.1 ~$18,- (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B0000041BV/goodmusicguide-20)
(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/21CAP78YVWL._SL500_AA130_.jpg) (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B000000A9D/goodmusicguide-20)
A. Gibson,
Royal ScO
Chandos (oop) (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B000000A9D/goodmusicguide-20)
(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/513gkv4W8EL._SL500_AA240_.jpg) (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B0010SU4UW/goodmusicguide-20)
L. Segerstam I,
Danish NSO
Chandos/Brilliant ~$46,- (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B0010SU4UW/goodmusicguide-20)
(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/21V3F35G0BL._SL500_AA132_.jpg) (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B0000016JY/goodmusicguide-20)
N. Jaervi I,
Gothenburg SO
BIS ~$62,- (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B0000016JY/goodmusicguide-20)
(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/5185H-P2E4L._SL500_AA240_.jpg) (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B000NDFKDQ/goodmusicguide-20)
A. Collins,
LSO
Decca (Japan) ~$44,- (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B000NDFKDQ/goodmusicguide-20)
(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/41l23NQzgQL._SL500_AA240_.jpg) (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B00006OA66/goodmusicguide-20)
L. Maazel II,
Pittsburg SO
Sony ~$25,-

 (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B00006OA66/goodmusicguide-20)
(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51X8447B7VL._SL500_AA240_.jpg) (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B000CQNVSU/goodmusicguide-20)
L. Segerstam II,
Helsinki PO
Ondine ~$54,- (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B000CQNVSU/goodmusicguide-20)
(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/4154NWJFSBL._SL500_AA240_.jpg) (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B0000041BW/goodmusicguide-20)
C. Davis I,
Boston SO
Philips v.2 ~$18,- (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B0000041BW/goodmusicguide-20)
(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/31HRVE76QBL._SL500_AA240_.jpg) (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B00008CLIG/goodmusicguide-20)
H.v. Karajan / Kamu,
Berlin Phil
DG ~$24,- (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B00008CLIG/goodmusicguide-20)
(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/41KWV2RBDQL._SL500_AA240_.jpg) (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B00008PW43/nectarandambr-20)
L. Bernstein,
NY Phil
Sony ~$50,- (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B00008PW43/goodmusicguide-20)
(http://g-ecx.images-amazon.com/images/G/01/ciu/c2/fb/a11db220dca044c269049010._AA190_.L.jpg) (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B00000IGLH/goodmusicguide-20)
P. Berglund I,
Bournemouth SO
Royal Classics (oop) (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B00000IGLH/goodmusicguide-20)
(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/61MGV75JENL._SL500_AA240_.jpg) (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B00005QISF/goodmusicguide-20)
J.P. Saraste,
Finnish RSO
Finlandia (oop) ~$60,- (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B00005QISF/goodmusicguide-20)
(http://img.hmv.co.jp/image/jacket/190/14/2/4/517.jpg) (http://www.hmv.co.jp/product/detail/1424517)
G. Rozhdestvensky,
Moscow RSO (Japan only)
Russia Ed. ~$26,-
(http://www.hmv.co.jp/product/detail/1424517)
(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/212K0QHVRAL._SL500_AA130_.jpg) (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B00005Q450/goodmusicguide-20)
O. Vanska,
Lahti SO
BIS ~$65,- (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B00005Q450/goodmusicguide-20)
(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/41qB4N9j12L._SL500_AA240_.jpg) (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B0000041Z3/goodmusicguide-20)
L. Maazel,
Vienna Phil.
Decca ~$24,- (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B0000041Z3/goodmusicguide-20)
(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/21YBXARJNCL._SL500_AA130_.jpg) (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B0000035OJ/goodmusicguide-20)
K. Sanderling,
Berlin
Berlin Cl. ~$33,- (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B0000035OJ/goodmusicguide-20)
(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/414Y1JM39XL._SL500_AA240_.jpg) (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B00003ZKRM/goodmusicguide-20)
Sir J. Barbirolli,
Hallé Orchestra
EMI ~$35,- (sale) (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B00003ZKRM/goodmusicguide-20)
(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51NQ1JMEBEL._SL500_AA240_.jpg) (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B00005MIZT/goodmusicguide-20)
P. Berglund II,
Helsinki PO
EMI ~$35,- (sale) (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B00005MIZT/goodmusicguide-20)
(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/31VG0ZX125L._SL500_AA240_.jpg) (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B0001HK2AK/goodmusicguide-20)
C. Davis III,
LSO v.1 (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B0001HK2AK/nectarandambr-20)-v.2 (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B00026KGX8/goodmusicguide-20)-v.3 (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B000O78IWQ/nectarandambr-20)-v.4 (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B001IC59JG/nectarandambr-20)
LSO live (4 à ~$16,-)
(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/415dkb3WBNL._SL500_AA240_.jpg) (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B000FOQ1EA/goodmusicguide-20)
H. Blomstedt,
S.F.SO
Decca ~$31,- (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B000FOQ1EA/goodmusicguide-20)
(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51aCTh-UO0L._SL500_AA240_.jpg) (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B00005QISF/goodmusicguide-20)
P. Sakari,
Iceland SO
Naxos ~$36,- (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B00005QISF/goodmusicguide-20)
(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/41xDPCRN07L._SL500_AA240_.jpg) (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B000SSPL2Q/goodmusicguide-20)
N. Järvi II,
Gothenburg SO
DG ~$56,- (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B000SSPL2Q/goodmusicguide-20)
(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51vOXxcZpHL._SL500_AA240_.jpg) (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B000UPQFEA/goodmusicguide-20)
P. Rattle,
Birmingh.SO
EMI ~$34,- (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B000UPQFEA/goodmusicguide-20)
(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/31TE3rEBl%2BL._SL500_AA240_.jpg) (http://www.amazon.de/exec/obidos/ASIN/B00002472T/nectarandambr-21)
P. Berglund III,
Chamber OoE

Finlandia ~$40,-
(Germany only)
(http://www.amazon.de/exec/obidos/ASIN/B00002472T/nectarandambr-21)
(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51LXQCbJedL._SL500_AA240_.jpg) (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B00011KOF4/goodmusicguide-20)
C. Davis II,
LSO
RCA ~$41,- (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B00011KOF4/goodmusicguide-20)

Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: Est.1965 on February 02, 2009, 09:34:29 AM
I am really enjoying Sibelius' Symphony No. 7 in C

Is it just me - it reminds me a lot of Strauss' Eine Alpensinfonie?

Its just you.
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: Est.1965 on February 02, 2009, 09:43:47 AM
David, what is just plain wrong about the Ashkenazy/LPO?  I've never heard it.  Did he do a set with them?  Or is that a reference to the Philharmonia?  If it is, I'm very interested in what you have to say - why is it plain wrong?
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: Wanderer on February 02, 2009, 09:46:21 AM
updated - Maazel Pittsburgh & Rozhdestvensky added
Thanks to DavidRoss for the reminder.

Here's a list of (almost) all available Sibelius Symphony cycles. (Very roughly sorted (top to bottom) acc. to my personal favorites. [Some I have not heard - e.g. Segerstam I, Berglund I & III, Jaervi I, Collins, Saraste...]
"Berglund II", despite being next to 'last', is safely recommendable... I merely added it late.
Oramo's Sibelius (Erato/Warner) has not (yet?) been issued in a box. Davis III (LSO live), good but overrated, isn't out as a box, either... Davis II I won't include unless I have to. (I.e. to fill the fourth spot in the last row.)
I've found the Sixtus Ehrling/Stockholm cycle still exists (at least on German Amazon (http://www.amazon.de/exec/obidos/ASIN/B000026ADH/nectarandambr-21)). Anyone have that?
Daverz pointed out the Rozhdestvensky cycle, available in Japan (http://www.hmv.co.jp/product/detail/1424517).
What was I thinking when I wrote "Birmingham" instead of "Bournemouth" for Berglund II? Probably "Rattle". :-) Corrected, thanks to Peregrine


Excellent work! Let me also mention Finnish Radio SO/Saraste's second (studio) cycle available on Finlandia as 6 individual discs.

The Oramo/CBSO cycle is available as a set from Erato (got it in the mail yesterday but haven't listened to it yet).
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: DavidRoss on February 02, 2009, 11:10:38 AM
David, what is just plain wrong about the Ashkenazy/LPO?  I've never heard it.  Did he do a set with them?  Or is that a reference to the Philharmonia?  If it is, I'm very interested in what you have to say - why is it plain wrong?
Not the LPO, the LSO (London Symphony Orchestra).  And it was a mistake on my part (should proof my posts, eh?)!   Don't know how "LSO" got in there--still thinking of Colin Davis, perhaps, whose Sibelius (like most of his recordings?) isn't so much bad as chronically overrated, especially by Anglophiles and the British press.  The set in question is with the Philharmonia Orchestra.

I know that some respected critics (as well as some posters here whose opinions I often share) praise this set, but to me it's so grossly overdone--romanticized, hopped-up--that it's garish.  Ashkenazy reads him consistent with the mainstream and completely wrong point of view regarding Sibelius as a second-rate Russian Romantic, slogging along garishly in Tchaikovsky's footsteps.  I hear Sibelius quite differently.  Even in his early career when still influenced by Tchaikovsky and the Viennese and Wagner, I hear the independent proto-Sibelius, a distinctive voice guided by an essentially modern aesthetic.  One of the many virtues of Blomstedt's set for me is that he brings out more of JS's unique voice in the early symphonies than one often hears under the baton of conductors trying to fit JS into a conventional late-Romantic mold.  (Not that I insist on always hearing a lean and bracing rendering of his music.  I rather like Maazel's hot WP set, Bernstein's near-wallowing WP quasi-set, Segerstam's lush HPO set (and what I've heard of his set with the Danes), and Rozhdestvensky's smoking cycle in really bad Russian sound.)

For more discussion of Sibelius's music in general as well as opinions about specific recordings, you might look up relevant threads on the old GMG forum which Rob has graciously restored access to.  I recall, for instance, a discussion with Mike S. (M) about Luonnotar that I might revisit out of curiosity to see whether I still feel the same way.
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: karlhenning on February 02, 2009, 11:25:47 AM
Separately . . . when I first popped this disc into the drive (disc 2 of the Blomstedt set), it was with the intention of listening to Tapiola.  My aim nearly turned as I heard the opening measures of the Second Symphony, which I haven't heard in a while, and which sounded invitingly fresh!
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: jlaurson on February 02, 2009, 11:31:08 AM
Excellent work! Let me also mention Finnish Radio SO/Saraste's second (studio) cycle available on Finlandia as 6 individual discs.

The Oramo/CBSO cycle is available as a set from Erato (got it in the mail yesterday but haven't listened to it yet).

Found it. Thanks!  And Saraste has TWO cycles?? Which is the one I included? (And which is the other?)

Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: DavidRoss on February 02, 2009, 11:38:32 AM
Found it. Thanks!  And Saraste has TWO cycles?? Which is the one I included? (And which is the other?)
The one you pictured is the live set recorded on tour in St. Petersburg.  As I recall it's really quite good, though I've seldom heard it since I've so many others that I usually reach for.  Maybe it's time for another go.  I know nothing about another Saraste set.
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: DavidRoss on February 02, 2009, 11:40:13 AM
Separately . . . when I first popped this disc into the drive (disc 2 of the Blomstedt set), it was with the intention of listening to Tapiola.  My aim nearly turned as I heard the opening measures of the Second Symphony, which I haven't heard in a while, and which sounded invitingly fresh!
Worth a listen, Karl, as is his/their fine reading of the Third.
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: karlhenning on February 02, 2009, 11:42:49 AM
Oh, yes, I do like this entire set, Dave!
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: Renfield on February 02, 2009, 11:53:02 AM
I seem to have ended up with no less than twelve of the above complete cycles in my collection, I realise...

And Segerstam, for one, demands my urgent attention!
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: Sergeant Rock on February 02, 2009, 11:56:25 AM
Found it. Thanks!  And Saraste has TWO cycles?? Which is the one I included?

You show the second. His first cycle was recorded by RCA and released in the late 80s, early 90s, one symphony to a disc with fillers. I only have two discs from that set (3 and 7). I'm not sure it was ever offered as a box.


Sarge
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: Tapio Dimitriyevich Shostakovich on February 02, 2009, 11:59:03 AM
I had both russian cycles - Rozhdestvensky and Ashkenazy - and I sold both. Both didn't match my "technical" quality needs. The Rozh of course was worse, lot of hiss. Ashkenazy has some Subway rumbling and hiss. And - both were IIRC played pretty fast. Especially some pieces on the Rozh cycle are played really fast. Hastily. I had no reasons to keep it and I avoid collecting things which I'll surely not listen to. So, as for the symphonies and Tapiola, I stick with Blomstedt. Only for the 4th Symphony I tend to switch to Segerstam.

Night ride and Sunrise (a real good one!), Lemminkäinen: Järvi/Gothenburg. On the Symphonies cycle.
Wood Nymph, En Saga: Vänskä/Lahti
Finlandia: Rozhdestvensky/LSO
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: jlaurson on February 02, 2009, 12:18:48 PM
It looks like the new Ashkenazy Sibelius cycle on Exton is finnish(ed), too!:

Symphonies 4 & 5 (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B0013GBD9C/goodmusicguide-20), Less outrageously expensive in the UK (http://www.amazon.co.uk/exec/obidos/ASIN/B0013GBD9C/nectarandambrUK-21)


Symphony 2 & Tapiola, Swan of T. (UK) (http://www.amazon.co.uk/exec/obidos/ASIN/B0017OCMNQ/nectarandambrUK-21)


Symphonies 1 & 3 (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B000P0IB1U/goodmusicguide-20), in the UK (http://www.amazon.co.uk/exec/obidos/ASIN/B0013GBD92/nectarandambrUK-21)


Symphonies 6 & 7, UK (http://www.amazon.co.uk/exec/obidos/ASIN/B001B3HDJG/nectarandambrUK-21)

Wurstwasser: "Ashkenazy's Russian cycle????" Which one are you talking about.
Thanks, Sergeant--so the other recordings on Warner/Elatus/Finlandia are all one-and-the-same Saraste cycle?!

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

updated - Maazel Pittsburgh & Rozhdestvensky added. Wanatabe also added.
Thanks to DavidRoss for the reminder. Thanks to Drasko for Wanatabe hint!

Here's a list of (almost) all available Sibelius Symphony cycles. (Very roughly sorted (top to bottom) acc. to my personal favorites. [Some I have not heard - e.g. Segerstam I, Berglund I & III, Jaervi I, Collins, Saraste...]
"Berglund II", despite being next to 'last', is safely recommendable... I merely added it late.
Oramo's Sibelius (Erato/Warner) has not (yet?) been issued in a box. Davis III (LSO live), good but overrated, isn't out as a box, either... Davis II I won't include unless I have to. (I.e. to fill the fourth spot in the last row.)
I've found the Sixtus Ehrling/Stockholm cycle still exists (at least on German Amazon (http://www.amazon.de/exec/obidos/ASIN/B000026ADH/nectarandambr-21)). Anyone have that?
Daverz pointed out the Rozhdestvensky cycle, available in Japan (http://www.hmv.co.jp/product/detail/1424517).
What was I thinking when I wrote "Birmingham" instead of "Bournemouth" for Berglund II? Probably "Rattle". :-) Corrected, thanks to Peregrine



(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51GiQiFqadL._SL500_AA240_.jpg) (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B00008CLIG/goodmusicguide-20)
V. Ashkenazy I,
Philharmonia
Decca ~$40,- (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B00008CLIG/goodmusicguide-20)
(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/41AP9WJHSPL._SL500_AA240_.jpg) (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B0000041BV/goodmusicguide-20)
C. Davis I,
Boston SO
Philips v.1 ~$18,- (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B0000041BV/goodmusicguide-20)
(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/21CAP78YVWL._SL500_AA130_.jpg) (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B000000A9D/goodmusicguide-20)
A. Gibson,
Royal ScO
Chandos (oop) (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B000000A9D/goodmusicguide-20)
(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/513gkv4W8EL._SL500_AA240_.jpg) (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B0010SU4UW/goodmusicguide-20)
L. Segerstam I,
Danish NSO
Chandos/Brilliant ~$46,- (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B0010SU4UW/goodmusicguide-20)
(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/21V3F35G0BL._SL500_AA132_.jpg) (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B0000016JY/goodmusicguide-20)
N. Jaervi I,
Gothenburg SO
BIS ~$62,- (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B0000016JY/goodmusicguide-20)
(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/5185H-P2E4L._SL500_AA240_.jpg) (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B000NDFKDQ/goodmusicguide-20)
A. Collins,
LSO
Decca (Japan) ~$44,- (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B000NDFKDQ/goodmusicguide-20)
(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/41l23NQzgQL._SL500_AA240_.jpg) (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B00006OA66/goodmusicguide-20)
L. Maazel II,
Pittsburg SO
Sony ~$25,-

 (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B00006OA66/goodmusicguide-20)
(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51X8447B7VL._SL500_AA240_.jpg) (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B000CQNVSU/goodmusicguide-20)
L. Segerstam II,
Helsinki PO
Ondine ~$54,- (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B000CQNVSU/goodmusicguide-20)
(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/4154NWJFSBL._SL500_AA240_.jpg) (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B0000041BW/goodmusicguide-20)
C. Davis I,
Boston SO
Philips v.2 ~$18,- (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B0000041BW/goodmusicguide-20)
(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/31HRVE76QBL._SL500_AA240_.jpg) (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B00008CLIG/goodmusicguide-20)
H.v. Karajan / Kamu,
Berlin Phil
DG ~$24,- (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B00008CLIG/goodmusicguide-20)
(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/41KWV2RBDQL._SL500_AA240_.jpg) (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B00008PW43/nectarandambr-20)
L. Bernstein,
NY Phil
Sony ~$50,- (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B00008PW43/goodmusicguide-20)
(http://g-ecx.images-amazon.com/images/G/01/ciu/c2/fb/a11db220dca044c269049010._AA190_.L.jpg) (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B00000IGLH/goodmusicguide-20)
P. Berglund I,
Bournemouth SO
Royal Classics (oop) (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B00000IGLH/goodmusicguide-20)
(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/61MGV75JENL._SL500_AA240_.jpg) (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B00005QISF/goodmusicguide-20)
J.P. Saraste,
Finnish RSO
Finlandia (oop) ~$60,- (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B00005QISF/goodmusicguide-20)
(http://img.hmv.co.jp/image/jacket/190/14/2/4/517.jpg) (http://www.hmv.co.jp/product/detail/1424517)
G. Rozhdestvensky,
Moscow RSO (Japan only)
Russia Ed. ~$26,-
(http://www.hmv.co.jp/product/detail/1424517)
(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/212K0QHVRAL._SL500_AA130_.jpg) (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B00005Q450/goodmusicguide-20)
O. Vanska,
Lahti SO
BIS ~$65,- (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B00005Q450/goodmusicguide-20)
(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/41qB4N9j12L._SL500_AA240_.jpg) (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B0000041Z3/goodmusicguide-20)
L. Maazel,
Vienna Phil.
Decca ~$24,- (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B0000041Z3/goodmusicguide-20)
(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/21YBXARJNCL._SL500_AA130_.jpg) (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B0000035OJ/goodmusicguide-20)
K. Sanderling,
Berlin
Berlin Cl. ~$33,- (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B0000035OJ/goodmusicguide-20)
(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/414Y1JM39XL._SL500_AA240_.jpg) (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B00003ZKRM/goodmusicguide-20)
Sir J. Barbirolli,
Hallé Orchestra
EMI ~$35,- (sale) (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B00003ZKRM/goodmusicguide-20)
(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51NQ1JMEBEL._SL500_AA240_.jpg) (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B00005MIZT/goodmusicguide-20)
P. Berglund II,
Helsinki PO
EMI ~$35,- (sale) (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B00005MIZT/goodmusicguide-20)
(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/31VG0ZX125L._SL500_AA240_.jpg) (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B0001HK2AK/goodmusicguide-20)
C. Davis III,
LSO v.1 (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B0001HK2AK/nectarandambr-20)-v.2 (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B00026KGX8/goodmusicguide-20)-v.3 (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B000O78IWQ/nectarandambr-20)-v.4 (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B001IC59JG/nectarandambr-20)
LSO live (4 à ~$16,-)
(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/4127TXBJV9L._SL500_AA240_.jpg) (http://www.amazon.UK/exec/obidos/ASIN/B0000SYABW/nectarandambr-21)
S. Oramo,
CoBirm.O

Erato ~£30,-
(Europe only)
(http://www.amazon.co.uk/exec/obidos/ASIN/B0000SYABW/nectarandambr-21)
(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/415dkb3WBNL._SL500_AA240_.jpg) (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B000FOQ1EA/goodmusicguide-20)
H. Blomstedt,
S.F.SO
Decca ~$31,- (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B000FOQ1EA/goodmusicguide-20)
(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51aCTh-UO0L._SL500_AA240_.jpg) (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B00005QISF/goodmusicguide-20)
P. Sakari,
Iceland SO
Naxos ~$36,- (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B00005QISF/goodmusicguide-20)
(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/41xDPCRN07L._SL500_AA240_.jpg) (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B000SSPL2Q/goodmusicguide-20)
N. Järvi II,
Gothenburg SO
DG ~$56,- (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B000SSPL2Q/goodmusicguide-20)
(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51vOXxcZpHL._SL500_AA240_.jpg) (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B000UPQFEA/goodmusicguide-20)
P. Rattle,
Birmingh.SO
EMI ~$34,- (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B000UPQFEA/goodmusicguide-20)
(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/31TE3rEBl%2BL._SL500_AA240_.jpg) (http://www.amazon.de/exec/obidos/ASIN/B00002472T/nectarandambr-21)
P. Berglund III,
Chamber OoE

Finlandia ~$40,-
(Germany only)
(http://www.amazon.de/exec/obidos/ASIN/B00002472T/nectarandambr-21)
(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51LXQCbJedL._SL500_AA240_.jpg) (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B00011KOF4/goodmusicguide-20)
C. Davis II,
LSO
RCA ~$41,- (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B00011KOF4/goodmusicguide-20)
(http://img.hmv.co.jp/image/jacket/190/25/4/0/725.jpg) (http://www.hmv.co.jp/product/detail/2540725)
A. Watanabe,
Japan PhilO
(Japan only)
Denon ~$31,-
(http://www.hmv.co.jp/product/detail/2540725)

Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: Sergeant Rock on February 02, 2009, 12:35:48 PM
Thanks, Sergeant--so the other recordings on Warner/Elatus/Finlandia are all one-and-the-same Saraste cycle?!

I think so...unless he's doing a third cycle :D  The one exception I notice is the Toronto Lemminkäinen Suite which isn't the same one that was part of his first cycle (and coupled with the Seventh Symphony). The Toronto recording is a 21st century production.

Sarge
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: Drasko on February 02, 2009, 12:37:21 PM
There is another set you can add to your table, Akeo Watanabe on Denon. He actually recorded two cycles, one in the 60s and another, digital, in the 80s. Later one seems in print.

(http://img.hmv.co.jp/image/jacket/400/25/4/0/725.jpg)
http://www.hmv.co.jp/product/detail/2540725
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: karlhenning on February 02, 2009, 02:21:25 PM
I seem to have ended up with no less than twelve of the above complete cycles in my collection, I realise...

Yes, this topic is rife with temptation.

Must resist . . . .
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: Sergeant Rock on February 02, 2009, 03:07:58 PM
Upon further investigation I came upon the Saraste's first cycle (including Kullervo) offered at Amazon.de (http://www.amazon.de/Sinfonien-3-6-7/dp/B000026FWA/ref=sr_1_20?ie=UTF8&s=music&qid=1233615797&sr=8-20) on two twofers...well, not exactly twofers now since the used price for the box that includes Kullervo is more than I want to pay right now.

Sarge
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: jlaurson on February 02, 2009, 04:03:06 PM
Upon further investigation I came upon the Saraste's first cycle (including Kullervo) offered at Amazon.de (http://www.amazon.de/Sinfonien-3-6-7/dp/B000026FWA/ref=sr_1_20?ie=UTF8&s=music&qid=1233615797&sr=8-20) on two twofers...well, not exactly twofers now since the used price for the box that includes Kullervo is more than I want to pay right now.

Sarge

Where does RCA come in the picture? Ultima was a super-budget (or at least budget)-priced Warner sublabel... so that's the same stuff that's on Elatus/Apex... which is the same stuff that was on Finlandia. No? These even have the Finlandia logo on the cover.
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: Wanderer on February 03, 2009, 02:11:09 AM
The one you pictured is the live set recorded on tour in St. Petersburg.

Exactly (recorded in 1993, if I remember correctly). The one I'm talking about was recorded in 1995 (or so is mentioned in the booklets); the one that Sarge mentions (on Ultima) must be the live recordings.
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: Tapio Dimitriyevich Shostakovich on February 03, 2009, 02:27:00 AM
Wurstwasser: "Ashkenazy's Russian cycle????" Which one are you talking about.
Oh, what I meant was "cycles by russian conductors" :D. Ashkenazy/Philharmonia
Ehrling is available on hmv as well. http://www.hmv.co.jp/product/detail/441019
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: Sergeant Rock on February 03, 2009, 06:26:43 AM
Where does RCA come in the picture? Ultima was a super-budget (or at least budget)-priced Warner sublabel... so that's the same stuff that's on Elatus/Apex... which is the same stuff that was on Finlandia. No? These even have the Finlandia logo on the cover.

You're right of course. I was confused about the provenance of Ultima and Elatus/Apex. It appears then that Saraste's RCA cycle is no longer available.

Sarge
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: DavidRoss on February 03, 2009, 07:16:25 AM
I don't know David?  Please keep in mind, I'm a veritable newbie in the Sibelius arena, and particularly Sibelius 7th!  It is the atmosphere and mood of the symphony.  Reminded me of a vast northern landscape, and I got to think of Strauss' Eine Alpensinfonie.  Whether I'm in my own little world or not, both works are my favorites respectably for both composers (Symphony No. 2 coming in a close 2nd for Sibelius, and Don Quixote for Strauss).  :)
A follow up, ChamberNut:

I listened to Jochum's Alpensinfonie yesterday (at least the first part--I confess my mind wandered and soon my body followed!) and heard a lot of Wagner and some proto-Rosenkavalier, but no Sibelius.  But if Alpensinfonie seems like a landscape to you, and the 7th also, then I see why you might regard them as similar.

I'm always delighted when someone discovers Sibelius.  To those who know his work, he's a giant, but mainstream opinion still tends to marginalize him.  The wheel is turning, however, and the cream eventually rises to the top.
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: ChamberNut on February 03, 2009, 07:52:41 AM
A follow up, ChamberNut:

I listened to Jochum's Alpensinfonie yesterday (at least the first part--I confess my mind wandered and soon my body followed!) and heard a lot of Wagner and some proto-Rosenkavalier, but no Sibelius.  But if Alpensinfonie seems like a landscape to you, and the 7th also, then I see why you might regard them as similar.
Thanks David.

As Mahler10th indicated....I guess it was just me.  ;D
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: karlhenning on February 03, 2009, 07:58:38 AM
As Dave indicated, Ray: The more of Sibelius's music you get to know, the better you like him.

Trust Me™
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: DavidRoss on February 03, 2009, 10:01:46 AM
Trust Me™
Reminds me of:

(http://www.latimes.com/media/photo/2008-01/35037305.jpg)
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: Benji on February 05, 2009, 03:27:28 PM
Has anyone any thoughts on the new Ashkenazy cycle? It's really expensive in the UK and I have no strong feelings either way towards his first cycle so i'm in no rush unless I can be convinced otherwise!
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: eyeresist on February 05, 2009, 04:42:27 PM
I think we're all waiting for the price to drop.
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: Benji on February 05, 2009, 04:46:44 PM
I think we're all waiting for the price to drop.

Damn credit crunch eh!  :P
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: jlaurson on February 06, 2009, 12:34:14 AM
Has anyone any thoughts on the new Ashkenazy cycle? It's really expensive in the UK and I have no strong feelings either way towards his first cycle so i'm in no rush unless I can be convinced otherwise!

A friend at the local record store really likes them (as he does Exton's Macal Mahler). He convinced a colleague of mine to get one of them (while I got the Mahler 4th). What I heard back was positive, I believe... but I neither trust that colleagues ears all that much, nor did he rave.
I do, however, have strong (positive) feelings toward the first cycle, so I am mildly intrigued. Now: Just where's Exton's contact information?!  ;D
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: matti on February 06, 2009, 10:48:41 PM
Interesting interviews of Berglund, Vänskä, Rattle, Salonen, Davis etc. on Sibelius in 1999:

http://www.fmq.fi/articles/ar_1999_1_vs.html
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: DavidRoss on February 07, 2009, 06:26:52 AM
Interesting interviews of Berglund, Vänskä, Rattle, Salonen, Davis etc. on Sibelius in 1999:

http://www.fmq.fi/articles/ar_1999_1_vs.html
It's a pleasure to read that article again.  Colin Davis's comments certainly clarify why he's clueless.  I like Rattle's comment that
Quote from: Simon Rattle
...if it was [sic] possible to concentrate a Wagner opera into ten minutes, then maybe you would come up with the first movements of the Fourth Symphony. Something maybe could connect Sibelius to the third act of Parsifal. But Sibelius is so concentrated and exact. Wagner may be very exact but he is not concentrated," he laughs.

"With Sibelius you feel that if one drop touches your skin it will burn right through to the bone."

Berglund and Vänskä's comments are illuminating, as are their recordings, and reading this again reminds me that it's been awhile since I last heard Berglund's COE 4th, which may be my favorite.  Thanks for posting this link, Matti!
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: Moldyoldie on February 14, 2009, 01:52:45 PM
(Pasted from "What Are You Listening To?")
(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/41YCTVA7M3L._SL500_AA240_.jpg)
Rondo of the Waves
Sibelius: Aallottaret (The Oceanides, Yale version);  Fragments from a Suite for Orchestra / Predecessor of The Oceanides;    Cassazione (first version);    Musik zu einer Scène;    Coronation March;    Morceau romantique;    Porilaisten marssi;    Cortège;    Spring Song (1895 version);    The Oceanides (Aallottaret, final version)
Lahti Symphony Orchestra
Osmo Vänskä, cond
BIS

After having cursorily perused reviews, I was fully expecting this fancifully titled album to consist of more unfinished "works in progress" and lesser sounding "original versions" unearthed by scholars and presented in the BIS label's continuing project to record EVERYTHING Sibelius ever put down -- how miscalculating I was!

Yes, perhaps only The Oceanides is generally familiar to music lovers (the album's title was this work's original working title), but every single track on this CD is a musical gem by any account!  Hearing the so-called Yale version of The Oceanides and the two short fragments of a projected suite from which it sprang make one hear this stirring and evocative music anew.  While the work's themes may have had their genesis at a previous time, it was actually brought to initial fruition in 1914 via commission the previous year, induced by an American scholar from wealthy American patrons.  While Sibelius eventually reworked it, a completed score of this original version ended up in the archives of Yale University and was recently brought to light.  (While I'm thinking of it, special props go out to scribe Andrew Barnett, the gist of whose fine album notes can also be found in Chapter 11 of his 2007 book on the composer from Yale Press (http://books.google.com/books?hl=en&id=vkIWs6nvRs8C&dq=Sibelius+Andrew+Barnett&printsec=frontcover&source=web&ots=yVcrp0dvUr&sig=P4fidxLUHpXxU-ffRc06vZcYeT0&ei=5SaXSfusJZicNcTzmY4M&sa=X&oi=book_result&resnum=2&ct=result#PPP1,M1).) 

The original versions of Cassazione and Spring Song are especially alluring, while the two brief marches add an enlivening rhythmic jolt to a program that's wonderfully varied. Nine of the ten works presented on the CD represent world premiere recordings, making it definitely of interest to hardcore Sibelians.  What I'm so bold to suggest, however, is that this music is so compellingly performed and recorded as to be a thorough delight for even the Sibelian novice or the aforementioned general music lover. Appropriately, the program ends with a hauntingly expansive performance of The Oceanides...the final version.
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: Moldyoldie on February 20, 2009, 08:13:55 AM
(Pasted from "What Are You Listening To?")
(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51hXpUc8uiL._SL500_AA240_.jpg)
Sibelius: Karelia Suite;   The Oceanides;    Finlandia;   Valse Triste;    Tapiola;    Night Ride and Sunrise
London Symphony Orchestra
Sir Colin Davis, cond.
RCA

Outside of the gorgeously recorded orchestral sound (RCA and the LSO seem to strike a chord with me, ever since Previn's Vaughan Williams cycle), this is Sibelius from a relaxing spa (or as has been suggested, a geriatric ward) -- perhaps only ephemerally and superficially evocative of rugged landscapes, savage myths, but not the least of "cool, clear water".  Davis and the LSO  make "beautiful music" of these incredible Sibelian inventions in performances stripped of spontaneity and milked for all the lushness and warmth of sonority that can possibly be mustered.   I'm not altogether convinced these performances even work as drama, especially for the novice listener.  However, one can certainly bask in the pure sound of it all.
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: DavidRoss on February 20, 2009, 08:26:01 AM
Outside of the gorgeously recorded orchestral sound (RCA and the LSO seem to strike a chord with me, ever since Previn's Vaughan Williams cycle), this is Sibelius from a relaxing spa (or as has been suggested, a geriatric ward) -- perhaps only ephemerally and superficially evocative of rugged landscapes, savage myths, but not the least of "cool, clear water".  Davis and the LSO  make "beautiful music" of these incredible Sibelian inventions in performances stripped of spontaneity and milked for all the lushness and warmth of sonority that can possibly be mustered.   I'm not altogether convinced these performances even work as drama, especially for the novice listener.  However, one can certainly bask in the pure sound of it all.
I've not heard this particular disc of symphonic poems, but I have some of the symphony recordings they made and your assessment tallies with my impressions.  See?  We can agree sometimes!
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: Moldyoldie on February 22, 2009, 06:44:49 AM
See?  We can agree sometimes!
Well, by my tally, we've agreed once and disagreed once -- I'd like to see a larger sampling. :P ;)

FWIW, I've mostly enjoyed what I've heard of Davis' Sibelius symphony cycle on LSO Live -- especially the Seventh!  I'm so bold as to say it's the most stirring and moving interpretation and performance I've ever heard. 

Beware the Fifth, however -- it's "Hum Along with Sir Colin". ::)
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: DavidRoss on February 22, 2009, 06:58:01 AM
If it's stirring then I probably won't like it.
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: Moldyoldie on February 22, 2009, 07:06:20 AM
If it's stirring then I probably won't like it.
Ah, so you like it shaken, not stirred.


Here's another mutual disagreement, abetted by my pasted comments from a few months ago:
(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/21913KG17PL._SL500_AA130_.jpg)
Sibelius: Symphony No. 6; Symphony No. 4
Chamber Orchestra of Europe
Paavo Berglund, cond.
FINLANDIA

Hearing these two symphonies played by a chamber-sized orchestra conducted by no less a Sibelian authority than Paavo Berglund sounded like an interesting proposition, seeing that the Sixth is my (current) personal favorite of The Sibelian Seven (for reasons not entirely quantifiable) and that I've yet to hear a recording of the Fourth that I didn't find at least...intriguing.  The used CD was also priced very reasonably, quite unlike other individual disks in Berglund's last recorded cycle.

Textures are crystal clear as the orchestra is not only lean, but play with very fine ensemble and intonation.  Miking puts the listener right on the podium with a very broad, yet intimate soundstage, all recorded in vaunted 24-bit digital.  I'm certain if one puts their mind to it, they could delineate every single note and individual sonority.

Now, let me get this out and over with -- these must be the most leaden and uninvolving interpretations of these two great symphonies I've ever heard! There.  Sure, I'm hearing things I've not heard before, but to what end overall?  At least the short interview of Berglund in the booklet was interesting.

FWIW, I also have Berglund's late '60s recording of the Fourth with the Finnish Radio Symphony Orchestra, but it's been a few years since I've heard it; maybe it's time to dig it out.  At best, the present CD will hereafter be considered a very, very remote alternative.




[Back to the present] I did go back and listen to Berglund's Fourth on this recording; it's one of my absolute favorites.  The interpretation is similar, but I believe the size of the band makes a salient difference.  Again, my comments are pasted from a past posting:
(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51FTVZDST8L._SL500_AA240_.jpg)
Sibelius: Symphony No. 4
Finnish Radio Symphony Orchestra
Paavo Berglund, cond.

Sibelius: Symphony No. 5
Helsinki Philharmonic Orchestra
Jorma Panula, cond.
FINLANDIA

These recordings originally date from 1968 and are thoroughly inside the idiom.   A few months ago, I heard Berglund's most recent commercial recording of the Symphony No. 4 with the Chamber Orchestra of Europe (also on the Finlandia label) and commented on how leaden and uninvolving the performance was compared to most others I've heard.  Well, this performance with his erstwhile band, the Finnish Radio Symphony Orchestra, presents much the same interpretation, perhaps even darker and more expansive, but with some much needed heft and resonance throughout the timbral spectrum, especially in those growling double-basses and expressive massed strings, which here are unusually subdued and hence even more forbidding.  They continue on in painting the bleakest possible sonic landscape throughout the entire opening movement.  Even the brief allegro molto vivace second movement hardly offers a respite from the bleakness.  It makes Berglund's incredibly forlorn, but impressively well-wrought il tempo largo third movement an extended expression of utter despair. I'm trying to remember if even Karajan, Bernstein, and a few other notables were this cold and dour in their memorable traversals of this landscape.  The figurative light breaking through the dark clouds in the beginning of the finale, accented here with softly rung glockenspiel, hardly brings a feeling of redemption. Instead, Berglund offers merely an extended baiting glimpse of hope before foundering in a wave of dissonance.  Orchestral balances are impressively unique here in conjuring this effect. The dynamic suddenly shifts to a jarring forte late in the movement, but quickly subsides into a coda suggesting hope was but a taunting zephyr -- the inexorable gloom returns, soon fading, along with all else, on a hushed closing whimper.  Now I know what was missing from that COE recording:  It makes one believe that this, Sibelius' masterpiece of personal expression, is best heard in large swaths of varying greys as opposed to mere pen & ink, and it's certainly worth the hearing for anyone with an affinity for this symphony.  I've not heard Berglund's two other recordings with the Bournemouth and Helsinki orchestras on EMI.

Noted Finnish conducting guru Jorma Panula was music director of the Helsinki Phiharmonic at this time and offers up a unique and musically insightful rendering of the popular Symphony No. 5.  The opening clarion horn slowly unfurls and the succeeding winds display a delightfully earthy quality seemingly straight from a Finnish bog -- it's difficult to adequately describe and I'm loathe to think it's merely due to the power of musical suggestion.  The opening movement develops most effectively up to the first appearance of the so-called swan hymn, through which the tempo upshifts to a delightful lilt.  From there, the build to the movement's coda is superbly realized with just the right amount of tempo and dynamic adjustments to bring maximum effect to the powerful ostinato crescendo, launched abruptly and executed with superb ensemble -- yowza!  Following a fine andante second movement, the allegro molto finale is taken at the most relaxed and softly expressive measure I ever remember hearing!   The final swan hymn has brass braying with that marvelous earthy quality heard earlier in the winds -- more power of suggestion?  I don't think so, this is the real McCoy!  The symphony's concluding bursts are tight and terse, bringing an end to this uniquely satisfying performance.  My not-always-acute-sense is that this is the kind of performance Esa-Pekka Salonen "meant" to produce for CBS with the Philharmonia, instead of the...well, never mind.
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: DavidRoss on February 22, 2009, 08:30:23 AM
Here's another mutual disagreement....
Yep--that's one of my faves.  I like my Sibelius crisp and clean, with all voices clearly delineated.  Not just Sibelius, but a general preference for most music, especially of the more thickly scored variety--one reason why Boulez is one of my mostest favoritest conductors (with apologies to Cato).  ;)
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: eyeresist on February 22, 2009, 04:30:23 PM
If it's stirring then I probably won't like it.
::)  ::)  ::)




;)
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: Benji on February 22, 2009, 04:35:47 PM
Yep--that's one of my faves.  I like my Sibelius crisp and clean, with all voices clearly delineated.  Not just Sibelius, but a general preference for most music, especially of the more thickly scored variety--one reason why Boulez is one of my mostest favoritest conductors (with apologies to Cato).  ;)

Perhaps Boulez will tackle Sibelius at some point. He recently did some Janacek (Glagolitic Mass at last years BBC Proms), which is a bit off his beaten track, though it wasn't very memorable IMO.
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: Moldyoldie on February 28, 2009, 08:08:47 AM
(Pasted from "What Are You Listening To?)

(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/41A%2BZBWqWZL._SL500_AA240_.jpg)
Sibelius: Symphony No. 2; Pohjola's Daughter
London Symphony Orchestra
Sir Colin Davis, cond.
LSO LIVE

Colin Davis' conception here of the popular Sibelius Symphony No. 2 (I've not heard any of his other recordings of No. 2, but have read his approach hasn't changed much over the years) is hardly heroic in the grand sense; it's more one of brooding rumination as heard in consistently broad, heavy-handed phrasing and a minimum of overt dynamic variation -- it's also mostly a crushing bore.   I've put myself at the mercy of this three times and hear less and less of what I would deem to be "inspiration".   The orchestra still plays very well, the all-important transitions and climaxes are handled with subtle and consummate skill, but Davis is loathe to whip up any fire and froth to suggest a composer in the throes of Romantic fervor (Bernstein, Barbirolli, and Karajan in equally expansive renderings), nor does he offer up much of an intellectually interesting interpretation (Vänskä, in a cool and similarly sober vein, and also perhaps Segerstam, who also reins in the emotion) -- forget about tuneful, invigorating, or merely entertaining (Ormandy, Szell, Berglund, and even Levine).  For the experienced listener, hearing this Second is akin to having one foot in the barren Sibelian landscape of his Fourth Symphony; I leave it to that listener to determine if it's worth exploring as this one is hesitant to return -- the novice should probably stay clear.

The program starts off, however, with a very expressive performance of Pohjola's Daughter, replete with more mournful portamento from the solo cellist than I've ever heard in the piece.  Here Davis allows the optimism to emerge with finely judged phrasing, dynamic bursts and crescendi.  The piece affectingly winds down and ends with the quietest strings imaginable, perhaps partly a function of a recording which is wide in dynamic range, but noticeably shy of resonance and bass presence.

Speaking of which, I've read many complaints about the exceedingly dry acoustic of the Barbican venue heard on this series of releases from the LSO Live label.  It's never been a big problem with me as it seems oddly suited to the Sibelian repertoire and particularly to Colin Davis' mostly intimate and cerebral take on it.   
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: Est.1965 on February 28, 2009, 08:16:39 AM
moldyoldie 
Your Sibelius reviews make very interesting reading, and arm us with a very considered viewpoint for our own listening.  Thanks.
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: Dancing Divertimentian on February 28, 2009, 04:03:40 PM
Just in from the Associated Press:

"Obama taps Sebelius for HHS secretary".

Good job.
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: jlaurson on February 28, 2009, 04:38:21 PM
Just in from the Associated Press:

"Obama taps Sebelius for HHS secretary".

Good job.

No doubt we are to expect an immediate freeze in wiretapping? 
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: Dancing Divertimentian on February 28, 2009, 07:15:56 PM
(http://www.origo.hu/i/0708/20070822batmanmrf.jpg)
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: Moldyoldie on March 05, 2009, 10:39:55 AM
[Pasted from "What Are You Listening To?"]
(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/41P9NJV2T4L._SL500_AA240_.jpg)
Sibelius: Symphony No. 2; Romance in C
Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra
Neeme Järvi, cond.
BIS

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 make for some very effective phrasing marked by powerful dynamic variance and providing a most expressive rubato which Sibelius asks for in his labeling of the movement -- very nicely done!  The vivacissimo third movement bursts out of the starting gate at full throttle with ensemble barely held together by the strings.  There's a very pregnant pause before the beautifully pensive interlude from the winds, then the horserace recommences till the dramatically downshifted winds again sing their song.  The difficult extended crescendo building into the finale is marvelously rendered here, held together very nicely. I've heard some fairly ragged ensemble playing in this all-important section, but certainly not here!  The finale itself is exemplary of how I most like to hear it -- unbridled in the forte sections with pointed adherence to the big tune, while momentarily contemplative in the contrasting quieter sections.  (For those with an interest in orchestral nuance, I'm hearing the tuba here as emphatically as I ever have in this movement.)  Again, the coda builds very dramatically and the symphony is brought home in stirring fashion -- indeed, inspiration seemingly exudes from every pore of this performance.  All told, and not to sound brash, but here's your antidote to the likes of Colin Davis...if one feels the need. 

This is the first I'm hearing the Romance in C for string orchestra, labeled Op. 42 and first performed in 1904 (Symphony No. 2 is Op. 43 from 1901).  It's a very short five-and-a-half minute mini-drama of sorts in the Sibelian style most reminiscent of Tchaikovsky. It's pleasant enough and probably holds some interest as Sibelian arcana, but makes for an insubstantial and anticlimactic conclusion to a CD program of only about 47 minutes -- that's how they often did it in the early days of digital, folks.

As an aside, it's amusing how BIS would print a large red warning on the front directing us to see the back cover with the following:  "WARNING! Contrary to established practice this recording retains the staggering dynamics of the ORIGINAL performance.  This may damage your loudspeakers, but given first-rate playback equipment you are guaranteed a truly remarkable musical and audio experience.  Good luck!"  Yes, it's a fine recording -- spaciously vivid and weighted toward the highs with only slight hints of congestion on fortissimos -- but know that the early digital sound has since been generally eclipsed.  If your loudspeakers are still intact, your "good luck" will be in hearing this stimulating performance of the Sibelius Second.


(p.s. Thank you for the comment on the previous page, John.  :)  The pleasure's mine.)
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: Mark G. Simon on March 11, 2009, 04:40:41 AM
Just in from the Associated Press:

"Obama taps Sebelius for HHS secretary".

I just hope they've vetted her for alcohol problems. Also, I fear she may spend the next 8 years working on a major policy statement, and then burn it at the last minute.
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: Kullervo on March 25, 2009, 06:38:03 PM
I've been interested in hearing Sibelius's piano music for some time now, but have been wary to take the plunge on a set. Any comments on the pieces? Are they all "potboilers" or are some of real substance? Standouts?

I'm considering this set:

(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/613odpwcw%2BL._SS500_.jpg)
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: Lethevich on March 25, 2009, 07:23:22 PM
Do you like Grieg's solo piano music? There are comparisons which can be made between the two composers. Their piano music can be "nice", but to anybody with high standards a complete set would be OTT. In addition, I find that Sibelius' piano music doesn't have the highlights of Grieg's either.

This isn't to say that the Sibelius isn't fine throughout - and with some appealing miniatures - but it's simply not excellent. Some people seem unhappy owning even slightly weaker music, let alone paying for it. Perhaps check out one of the Naxos CDs before buying a set (I can send some samples if you like).
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: DavidRoss on March 25, 2009, 07:44:55 PM
Yeah, in brief, some of the piano music is reasonably good, but it wasn't an instrument he had much affinity for and his piano music was meant for home entertainment, not ART.  Better are his songs, especially later ones.
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: Kullervo on March 25, 2009, 08:05:22 PM
his piano music was meant for home entertainment, not ART.

Do any of the piano pieces qualify as ART, so that I could narrow down my search to one or two discs? I'm a snob, I can't help it.

Better are his songs, especially later ones.

That's interesting. I've never heard anything about the songs! (And I call myself a Sibelius fan?)
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: Dancing Divertimentian on March 25, 2009, 08:27:03 PM
That's interesting. I've never heard anything about the songs! (And I call myself a Sibelius fan?)

You should check out the first post on this thread. 0:)
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: DavidRoss on March 25, 2009, 08:32:28 PM
Do any of the piano pieces qualify as ART, so that I could narrow down my search to one or two discs? I'm a snob, I can't help it.

That's interesting. I've never heard anything about the songs! (And I call myself a Sibelius fan?)
Just get this disc:

(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51EZGTQ0P1L._SL500_AA240_.jpg)

We'll talk about orchestral songs later
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: karlhenning on March 26, 2009, 04:58:56 AM
Do any of the piano pieces qualify as ART, so that I could narrow down my search to one or two discs?

That's not being a snob, that's managing one's time and attention.
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: DavidRoss on March 26, 2009, 06:08:08 AM
Corey--If you follow this link (http://www.good-music-guide.com/community/index.php/topic,341.msg6987.html#msg6987) to the first page of this thread, you'll see Donwyn's recommendations for discs of orchestral songs, which I heartily endorse.  The Isokoski/Segerstam/HPO sonic spectacular on Ondine may not have my favorite renditions of certain favorite songs, but it's pretty darned good all around and received rave reviews when released.  BBC Music Magazine even named it their Disc of the Year.  My capsule review of it on the old forum is here (http://www.good-music-guide.com/forum/index.php/topic,43.msg292579.html#msg292579), followed by some discussion with Michael S. (M) about it and the then newly-reissued Blomstedt/SFS cycle.  Somewhere else around there is a discussion with Michael about the merits of various recordings of Luonnotar which you might find of interest.

I'm glad you've expressed an interest in Sibelius's songs.  Some of the Sibelius fans around here have been advocating his vocal music for a long time.  The Isokoski record and the Karneus disc recommended above should give you a good idea why.  Most of the songs, like his piano music, were written not as ART--that he reserved for the symphonies and tone poems, and a few other bits and pieces like the Voces Intimae quartet--but rather to meet the market demand for music for amateurs to perform at home (real chamber music) in the days before TV and radio and the internet created a pop culture of musical illiterates. 
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: Benji on March 26, 2009, 09:20:57 AM
I'm not a big fan of the piano music either. Why then, didn't Sibelius write more music for violin since that's an instrument he clearly was fond of? Not to mention bloody good with it! I'm sure I read his Violin Concerto was the most performed concerto for any instrument, or at least most performed 20th century concerto.

Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: DavidRoss on March 26, 2009, 10:21:22 AM
I'm not a big fan of the piano music either. Why then, didn't Sibelius write more music for violin since that's an instrument he clearly was fond of? Not to mention bloody good with it! I'm sure I read his Violin Concerto was the most performed concerto for any instrument, or at least most performed 20th century concerto.
Probably didn't sell as well...and he was always in need of money.

No doubt you're familiar with this?
(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/41ARVM0KSAL._SS400_.jpg)
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: Moldyoldie on March 27, 2009, 03:29:29 PM
[Updated for timeliness and extended remarks on 3/27/09, pasted from "What Are You Listening To?"]
(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/5186FBYS0KL._SL500_AA240_.jpg)
Sibelius: Symphony No. 5; Symphony No. 6
London Symphony Orchestra
Sir Colin Davis, cond.
LSO LIVE

With the semi-chaos that's become of the recording industry, and as do a few prominent orchestras nowadays, the London Symphony Orchestra is producing and distributing live recordings on their own label. This is the first installment of what has become Sir Colin Davis' third complete recorded cycle of Sibelius' symphonies, the last two with the LSO.

Unfortunately, for much of the popular Symphony No. 5 it's "Hum Along with Sir Colin". Though it's become something of a given throughout Davis' vast discography, I've never heard his humming as disconcertingly conspicuous as here! One might be able to overlook it in the face of an overwhelmingly convincing performance, but the truth is that Davis doesn't necessarily convey a special affinity for this stirring and monumental score. The performance is certainly enjoyable enough -- tuneful, mostly fleet of pace, powerful when need be, and confidently played with an evident savvy emanating from the podium -- but it's hardly as gripping, penetrating, and memorable as those of Bernstein and Karajan, who in my estimation still reign supreme in this work, even when compared to the recent spate of fine native Finnish and Scandinavian performances on CD.

The performance of Symphony No. 6 here, however, has become one of my personal favorites. This knotty score is seemingly the bane of many Sibelian interpreters, but Davis and the LSO winningly render an optimistic reading from beginning to end. The delightfully disarming poco vivace third movement, a favorite Sibelian concoction of this listener, is especially fetching here. An effective performance of this symphony seemingly hinges on artful tempo relations and the all-important dynamic balance between strings and winds; here it's well-nigh perfect -- and Davis' humming is mercifully held in check!

Overall, I do love the performances on this CD. The acoustic of the Barbican live performance recording venue is decidedly dry, but it complements Davis' mostly cerebral take on these two symphonies. If one can manage to inure themself to the conductor's "verbal accompaniment" in No. 5, these are most enjoyable.
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: Tapio Dimitriyevich Shostakovich on March 29, 2009, 07:52:56 PM
I avoid buying CDs with Mr. Davis because of his humming. He's annoying.
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: Wanderer on March 30, 2009, 12:36:18 AM
Unfortunately, for much of the popular Symphony No. 5 it's "Hum Along with Sir Colin". Though it's become something of a given throughout Davis' vast discography, I've never heard his humming as disconcertingly conspicuous as here!

Maybe the recording engineers assigned him his own microphone for this one?
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: Tapio Dimitriyevich Shostakovich on March 30, 2009, 06:46:20 AM
Maybe the recording engineers assigned him his own microphone for this one?
They should put him into a glass box.
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: nut-job on March 30, 2009, 08:12:14 AM
Recently listened to Pohjola's Daughter, Jarvi's recent recording on DG.  A piece which vaguely follows a program involving the North god, but which is wonderfully evocative in a purely musical sense.  Superb!
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: Moldyoldie on April 11, 2009, 07:04:58 AM
[Pasted from "What Are You Listening To?]
(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/212AH3KHEZL._SL500_AA130_.jpg)
Sibelius: Symphony No. 4; Symphony No. 5
Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra
James Levine, cond.
DEUTSCHE GRAMMOPHON

Under Levine's direction, Sibelius's dark and morose Fourth Symphony begins powerfully and weighty, more akin to Maazel/VPO than Karajan/BPO, the latter whose opening double-basses arise from silence with a more soft-spoken sullenness.  Levine traverses the four-movement landscape with a fine feel for where the music needs to go and how to get there; one is hardpressed to notice a musical misstep at any point -- and the orchestra does play splendidly!  However, Karajan's Sibelius Fourth (BPO/'78 on EMI) is certainly more characterful and overtly dramatic, putting forth one of the most convincing arguments of this great symphony's gravitas and import. The intensity of Karajan's Il tempo largo is well-nigh unmatched, in my opinion.  Still, all told, I wouldn't hesitate to suggest Levine's performance as an introduction to the Fourth for the novice listener. Seasoned listeners, too, should appreciate Levine's sheer grasp of this great and mysterious music, rendered in up-close and incredibly vivid recorded sound.

Levine effects the popular Symphony No. 5 in a full-bore forward manner much as he did in his overall ill-measured reading of No. 2 with the same forces.  However, the first movement here is taken much too fast for effectiveness in the climaxes.  The usually deliberately demarcated long crescendo building to the opening movement's powerful conclusion (the highlight of the entire symphony for this listener!) lacks meaningful contrast with what precedes it; its intrinsic dramatic impact is effectively fleeced. (sigh!) The andante second movement, also taken at a brisk pace, is also devoid of meaningful contrast.  The buzzing violins which commence the opening of the third movement sound here as if tiny killer bees are swarming an intruder to the hive -- would it be a redundancy to describe it as hyperactive prestissimo?   This leads to the first sounding of the big theme which is seemingly too fast by half, as indeed are its succeeding reiterations -- the transcendental sense of nature's power and grandeur is thus diminished.  Are we noticing a pattern here?  While I've always admired and often appreciated Levine's "no fear" headlong approach to conducting many of the thorniest Late Romantic and 20th Century warhorses, what he does here to the Sibelius Fifth borders on the unconscionable -- an interpretation seemingly borne of a misunderstanding of what makes this a symphony for the ages for all who love it, alas!  All that being said, the performance is coherent, consistent, and mostly enjoyable. DG's fantastic digital rendering of a great orchestra is also a consolation here.
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: jlaurson on April 12, 2009, 10:32:46 PM
Update: How about voting on favorite Versions of individual Symphonies, which I'll include here, too??

It looks like the new Ashkenazy Sibelius cycle on Exton is finnish(ed), too!:

Symphonies 4 & 5 (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B0013GBD9C/goodmusicguide-20), Less outrageously expensive in the UK (http://www.amazon.co.uk/exec/obidos/ASIN/B0013GBD9C/nectarandambrUK-21)

Symphony 2 & Tapiola, Swan of T. (UK) (http://www.amazon.co.uk/exec/obidos/ASIN/B0017OCMNQ/nectarandambrUK-21)

Symphonies 1 & 3 (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B000P0IB1U/goodmusicguide-20), in the UK (http://www.amazon.co.uk/exec/obidos/ASIN/B0013GBD92/nectarandambrUK-21)

Symphonies 6 & 7, UK (http://www.amazon.co.uk/exec/obidos/ASIN/B001B3HDJG/nectarandambrUK-21)

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
updated - Maazel Pittsburgh & Rozhdestvensky added. Wanatabe also added.
Thanks to DavidRoss for the reminder. Thanks to Drasko for Wanatabe hint!

Here's a list of (almost) all available Sibelius Symphony cycles. (Very roughly sorted (top to bottom) acc. to my personal favorites. [Some I have not heard - e.g. Segerstam I, Berglund I & III, Jaervi I, Collins, Saraste...]
"Berglund II", despite being next to 'last', is safely recommendable... I merely added it late.
Oramo's Sibelius (Erato/Warner) has not (yet?) been issued in a box. Davis III (LSO live), good but overrated, isn't out as a box, either... Davis II I won't include unless I have to. (I.e. to fill the fourth spot in the last row.)
I've found the Sixtus Ehrling/Stockholm cycle still exists (at least on German Amazon (http://www.amazon.de/exec/obidos/ASIN/B000026ADH/nectarandambr-21)). Anyone have that?

Thanks to Wurstwasser who also found the Ehling cycle on HMV (http://www.hmv.co.jp/product/detail/441019).
I'll include it once I find three more cycles to complete a row.

Daverz pointed out the Rozhdestvensky cycle, available in Japan (http://www.hmv.co.jp/product/detail/1424517).
What was I thinking when I wrote "Birmingham" instead of "Bournemouth" for Berglund II? Probably "Rattle". :-) Corrected, thanks to Peregrine



(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51GiQiFqadL._SL500_AA240_.jpg) (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B00008CLIG/goodmusicguide-20)
V. Ashkenazy I,
Philharmonia
Decca ~$40,- (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B00008CLIG/goodmusicguide-20)
(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/41AP9WJHSPL._SL500_AA240_.jpg) (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B0000041BV/goodmusicguide-20)
C. Davis I,
Boston SO
Philips v.1 ~$18,- (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B0000041BV/goodmusicguide-20)
(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/21CAP78YVWL._SL500_AA130_.jpg) (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B000000A9D/goodmusicguide-20)
A. Gibson,
Royal ScO
Chandos (oop) (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B000000A9D/goodmusicguide-20)
(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/513gkv4W8EL._SL500_AA240_.jpg) (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B0010SU4UW/goodmusicguide-20)
L. Segerstam I,
Danish NSO
Chandos/Brilliant ~$46,- (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B0010SU4UW/goodmusicguide-20)
(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/21V3F35G0BL._SL500_AA132_.jpg) (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B0000016JY/goodmusicguide-20)
N. Jaervi I,
Gothenburg SO
BIS ~$62,- (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B0000016JY/goodmusicguide-20)
(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/5185H-P2E4L._SL500_AA240_.jpg) (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B000NDFKDQ/goodmusicguide-20)
A. Collins,
LSO
Decca (Japan) ~$44,- (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B000NDFKDQ/goodmusicguide-20)
(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/41l23NQzgQL._SL500_AA240_.jpg) (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B00006OA66/goodmusicguide-20)
L. Maazel II,
Pittsburg SO
Sony ~$25,-

 (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B00006OA66/goodmusicguide-20)
(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51X8447B7VL._SL500_AA240_.jpg) (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B000CQNVSU/goodmusicguide-20)
L. Segerstam II,
Helsinki PO
Ondine ~$54,- (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B000CQNVSU/goodmusicguide-20)
(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/4154NWJFSBL._SL500_AA240_.jpg) (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B0000041BW/goodmusicguide-20)
C. Davis I,
Boston SO
Philips v.2 ~$18,- (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B0000041BW/goodmusicguide-20)
(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/31HRVE76QBL._SL500_AA240_.jpg) (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B00008CLIG/goodmusicguide-20)
H.v. Karajan / Kamu,
Berlin Phil
DG ~$24,- (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B00008CLIG/goodmusicguide-20)
(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/41KWV2RBDQL._SL500_AA240_.jpg) (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B00008PW43/nectarandambr-20)
L. Bernstein,
NY Phil
Sony ~$50,- (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B00008PW43/goodmusicguide-20)
(http://g-ecx.images-amazon.com/images/G/01/ciu/c2/fb/a11db220dca044c269049010._AA190_.L.jpg) (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B00000IGLH/goodmusicguide-20)
P. Berglund I,
Bournemouth SO
Royal Classics (oop) (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B00000IGLH/goodmusicguide-20)
(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/61MGV75JENL._SL500_AA240_.jpg) (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B000009L6O/goodmusicguide-20)
J.P. Saraste,
Finnish RSO
Finlandia (oop) ~$60,- (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B000009L6O/goodmusicguide-20)
(http://img.hmv.co.jp/image/jacket/190/14/2/4/517.jpg) (http://www.hmv.co.jp/product/detail/1424517)
G. Rozhdestvensky,
Moscow RSO (Japan only)
Russia Ed. ~$26,-
(http://www.hmv.co.jp/product/detail/1424517)
(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/212K0QHVRAL._SL500_AA130_.jpg) (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B00005Q450/goodmusicguide-20)
O. Vanska,
Lahti SO
BIS ~$65,- (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B00005Q450/goodmusicguide-20)
(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/41qB4N9j12L._SL500_AA240_.jpg) (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B0000041Z3/goodmusicguide-20)
L. Maazel,
Vienna Phil.
Decca ~$24,- (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B0000041Z3/goodmusicguide-20)
(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/21YBXARJNCL._SL500_AA130_.jpg) (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B0000035OJ/goodmusicguide-20)
K. Sanderling,
Berlin
Berlin Cl. ~$33,- (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B0000035OJ/goodmusicguide-20)
(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/414Y1JM39XL._SL500_AA240_.jpg) (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B00003ZKRM/goodmusicguide-20)
Sir J. Barbirolli,
Hallé Orchestra
EMI ~$35,- (sale) (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B00003ZKRM/goodmusicguide-20)
(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51NQ1JMEBEL._SL500_AA240_.jpg) (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B00005MIZT/goodmusicguide-20)
P. Berglund II,
Helsinki PO
EMI ~$35,- (sale) (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B00005MIZT/goodmusicguide-20)
(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/31VG0ZX125L._SL500_AA240_.jpg) (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B0001HK2AK/goodmusicguide-20)
C. Davis III,
LSO v.1 (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B0001HK2AK/nectarandambr-20)-v.2 (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B00026KGX8/goodmusicguide-20)-v.3 (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B000O78IWQ/nectarandambr-20)-v.4 (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B001IC59JG/nectarandambr-20)
LSO live (4 à ~$16,-)
(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/4127TXBJV9L._SL500_AA240_.jpg) (http://www.amazon.UK/exec/obidos/ASIN/B0000SYABW/nectarandambr-21)
S. Oramo,
CoBirm.O

Erato ~£30,-
(Europe only)
(http://www.amazon.co.uk/exec/obidos/ASIN/B0000SYABW/nectarandambr-21)
(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/415dkb3WBNL._SL500_AA240_.jpg) (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B000FOQ1EA/goodmusicguide-20)
H. Blomstedt,
S.F.SO
Decca ~$31,- (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B000FOQ1EA/goodmusicguide-20)
(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51aCTh-UO0L._SL500_AA240_.jpg) (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B00005QISF/goodmusicguide-20)
P. Sakari,
Iceland SO
Naxos ~$36,- (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B00005QISF/goodmusicguide-20)
(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/41xDPCRN07L._SL500_AA240_.jpg) (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B000SSPL2Q/goodmusicguide-20)
N. Järvi II,
Gothenburg SO
DG ~$56,- (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B000SSPL2Q/goodmusicguide-20)
(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51vOXxcZpHL._SL500_AA240_.jpg) (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B000UPQFEA/goodmusicguide-20)
P. Rattle,
Birmingh.SO
EMI ~$34,- (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B000UPQFEA/goodmusicguide-20)
(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/31TE3rEBl%2BL._SL500_AA240_.jpg) (http://www.amazon.de/exec/obidos/ASIN/B00002472T/nectarandambr-21)
P. Berglund III,
Chamber OoE

Finlandia ~$40,-
(Germany only)
(http://www.amazon.de/exec/obidos/ASIN/B00002472T/nectarandambr-21)
(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51LXQCbJedL._SL500_AA240_.jpg) (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B00011KOF4/goodmusicguide-20)
C. Davis II,
LSO

RCA ~$41,- (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B00011KOF4/goodmusicguide-20)
(http://img.hmv.co.jp/image/jacket/190/25/4/0/725.jpg) (http://www.hmv.co.jp/product/detail/2540725)
A. Watanabe,
Japan PhilO

(Japan only)
Denon ~$31,-
(http://www.hmv.co.jp/product/detail/2540725)

Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: mark4mich on May 08, 2009, 05:31:12 AM
I heard Sibelius Piano Quintet on XM yesterday and would love to get a recording of it. Any recommendations?
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: jlaurson on May 08, 2009, 06:07:18 AM
I heard Sibelius Piano Quintet on XM yesterday and would love to get a recording of it. Any recommendations?

Not like there's a LOT of choice (three recordings that I know of, two of which I have).


(http://www.arkivmusic.com/graphics/covers/non-muze/full/168202.jpg)

I prefer the new BIS recording
by a slight margin over the
Chandos and, if memory serves
me right, the Pihtipudas Quintet,
too. (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B000OQF6OK/nectarandambr-20)
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: Est.1965 on May 08, 2009, 06:51:54 AM
I avoid buying CDs with Mr. Davis because of his humming. He's annoying.

Forget the humming.  Davis is one of the finest Sibelius interpreters out there.
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: jlaurson on May 08, 2009, 07:07:07 AM
Forget the humming.  Davis is one of the finest Sibelius interpreters out there.

Forget the humming, indeed. But I have come to think of Davis as one of the finest Sibelius misinterpreters out there.

And I say that not just for being coy: I think his Boston recordings sound terrific, as does a Dresden Staatskapelle 2nd I have. But I think he shoots right by the core of Sibelius. Too empathetic, to grandiose. Quotes like these don't help rectify that aural view:

Quote
I look in the mirror and see the ruthlessness of life, and nevertheless find the strength to go on with it. Sibelius was happy in a crowd and depressed when he was alone. I'm like that, too.
Quote
The second movement [of the 4th Symphony] begins gaily enough, but then something bewildering and horrible happens. To me, the last pages of the score describe Death, with no false consolations. It's like a sleigh that has run off the road. Sibelius' loved ones lie around it, dead, and he feels he has let them down.
Quote
That is Sibelius, smoothing over the graves of his loved ones with his bare hands.
Quote
There, you have an agonized Sibelius riding through the night because he cannot sleep. Along the way, he sees goblins and ghosts and breaks out in a cold sweat. And then the sun comes up. The nightmare is over, at least for a while. (On "Night Ride & Sunrise")

Be that as it may, his are my favorite misinterpretations, next to a select few recordings of Barbirolli, Bernstein, and Celibidache.
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: Est.1965 on May 08, 2009, 07:11:35 AM
Well, I would like to listen to select Davis / Sibelius again to argue my point...but alas, I'm in Collection rebuild mode  :( , and it'll be a while before I get round to it.  But when it comes to Sibelius, all points are worth considering, and I'll bear it in mind when I do get round to it. :)
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: karlhenning on May 31, 2009, 01:30:13 PM
TTT (puzzled that it drifted to page, I dunno, 5 or 6 . . . .)
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: Tapkaara on July 21, 2009, 09:56:51 AM
I will be flying to Finland this September to attend the annual Sibelius Festival at Sibelius Hall in Lahti, Finland. On the menu are works of the composer's middle period, including the 2nd, 3rd and 4th symphonies. There will also be tone poems, orchestral songs and chamber music the last day of the festival.

Of course, it will be the Sinfonia Lahti playing the music under their (out-going) music director Jukka Pekka Saraste.

I can't wait to be bombarded by Sibelius in his home country...
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: Brewski on July 21, 2009, 10:13:53 AM
Wow, that sounds like great fun!  PS, we have a number of people from Finland here, who can give you advice on your trip, I'm sure.  :D

--Bruce
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: Tapkaara on July 21, 2009, 10:16:09 AM
Wow, that sounds like great fun!  PS, we have a number of people from Finland here, who can give you advice on your trip, I'm sure.  :D

--Bruce

I'm 30 and I've had an on-going interest in Finland for about half my life, yet this will be my first trip there. I leave Sept. 7th...it can't come soon enough.

I wonder if any of the resident Finns have done the festival before...
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: Elgarian on July 21, 2009, 11:04:13 AM
I will be flying to Finland this September to attend the annual Sibelius Festival at Sibelius Hall in Lahti, Finland. On the menu are works of the composer's middle period, including the 2nd, 3rd and 4th symphonies. There will also be tone poems, orchestral songs and chamber music the last day of the festival.

Now that sounds exciting! How many days does the festival last, Erik?
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: Tapkaara on July 21, 2009, 11:10:16 AM
Now that sounds exciting! How many days does the festival last, Erik?

It is three evenings (Thursday, Friday, Saturday) and one morning (Sunday) of chamber works. Here are the details:

http://www.sinfonialahti.fi/sibelius/en_GB/sibelius
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: Elgarian on July 21, 2009, 12:07:00 PM
It is three evenings (Thursday, Friday, Saturday) and one morning (Sunday) of chamber works. Here are the details:

http://www.sinfonialahti.fi/sibelius/en_GB/sibelius

Looks like a double dose on Saturday - lunchtime piano recital in addition to the evening's orchestral frolics.

Well, it looks terrific. Really stunning thing to do.
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: vandermolen on July 21, 2009, 01:25:18 PM
I have the cycle with Sixten Ehrling conducting the Royal Stockholm Orchestra it is on warner and the recordings are from 1952/53. It is my favourite cycle - the one I listen to most.

Favourite individual performances.

1 Kajanus

2 Beecham on BBC Legends or Biddulph

3 Okko Kamu (DGG)/Kajanus

4 Beecham (Dutton - in a class of its own)

5 Sargent BBC SO

6 Anthony Collins

7 Beecham/Koussevitsky

Tapiola: Mazel/Segerstam

Four Legends: Thomas Jensen, Royal Danish SO
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: Tapkaara on July 21, 2009, 01:35:37 PM
I have the cycle with Sixten Ehrling conducting the Royal Stockholm Orchestra it is on warner and the recordings are from 1952/53. It is my favourite cycle - the one I listen to most.

Favourite individual performances.

1 Kajanus

2 Beecham on BBC Legends or Biddulph

3 Okko Kamu (DGG)/Kajanus

4 Beecham (Dutton - in a class of its own)

5 Sargent BBC SO

6 Anthony Collins

7 Beecham/Koussevitsky

Tapiola: Mazel/Segerstam

Four Legends: Thomas Jensen, Royal Danish SO

Those are interesting and, for the most part, somewhat obscure choices. And when I say obscure, I mean not many people even now about them or go on to list them as favorites for that matter.

Kajanus conducted a great performance of Pohjola's Daughter in the 1930s that I have on disc. It is very intense, and the power of the performance makes up for the rather scratcy mono sound.
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: rubio on July 21, 2009, 10:38:39 PM
4 Beecham (Dutton - in a class of its own)


Interesting list you got there! Does this Beecham Dutton performance exist on CD? I only found symphonies 2, 6, and 7 by Beecham available on Dutton. I found no. 4 as part of The Beecham Collection on Somm. Do you know if this is the same performance as the Dutton?

http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/41QRctFBOsL._SL500_AA240_.jpg

(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/41QRctFBOsL._SL500_AA240_.jpg)
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: DavidRoss on July 22, 2009, 02:47:04 AM
I will be flying to Finland this September to attend the annual Sibelius Festival at Sibelius Hall in Lahti, Finland. On the menu are works of the composer's middle period, including the 2nd, 3rd and 4th symphonies. There will also be tone poems, orchestral songs and chamber music the last day of the festival.

Of course, it will be the Sinfonia Lahti playing the music under their (out-going) music director Jukka Pekka Saraste.

I can't wait to be bombarded by Sibelius in his home country...

http://www.sinfonialahti.fi/sibelius/en_GB/concerts/ (http://www.sinfonialahti.fi/sibelius/en_GB/concerts/) Sounds terrific--wish I were joining you.  Nice that opening night includes Luonnotar and other songs performed by Helena Juntunen.  I've never heard Luonnotar live but that alone is enough to make me consider attending!  And note that there's yet another Henning involved:  Henning Kraggerud, the fiddler who'll be playing the VC!

Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: jlaurson on July 22, 2009, 03:22:46 AM
Vandermolen's Favorites as available (or not) on Amazon:
(Correct me where I linked to the wrong version.)

I have the cycle with Sixten Ehrling conducting the Royal Stockholm Orchestra it is on warner and the recordings are from 1952/53. It is my favourite cycle - the one I listen to most.

Favourite individual performances.

1 Kajanus (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B000006KIO/goodmusicguide-20) (OOP)

2 Beecham on BBC Legends (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B0002NY8EY/goodmusicguide-20) or Biddulph (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B000007N8Y/goodmusicguide-20)

3 Okko Kamu (DGG) (http://www.amazon.co.uk/exec/obidos/ASIN/B00006LSRU/nectarandambrUK-21)/Kajanus (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B000001SF6/goodmusicguide-20) (OOP)

4 Beecham (Dutton - in a class of its own) (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B00004SMMZ/goodmusicguide-20) (same as on KOCH?)

5 Sargent BBC SO (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B00008ETYV/goodmusicguide-20)

6 Anthony Collins (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B000NDFKDQ/goodmusicguide-20)

7 Beecham (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B0013FSVDE/goodmusicguide-20)/Koussevitsky (http://www.amazon.co.uk/exec/obidos/ASIN/B0001AGOLS/nectarandambrUK-21)

Tapiola: Mazel (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B00004TTX3/goodmusicguide-20)/Segerstam (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B00005MIXX/goodmusicguide-20)

Four Legends: Thomas Jensen, Royal Danish SO  (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B000VT6P7M/goodmusicguide-20)
[couldn't find that anywhere -- but rubio did.]
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: DavidRoss on July 22, 2009, 03:44:12 AM
Vandermolen's Favorites as available (or not) on Amazon:[/size


Or you could just buy a cycle by Vänskä, Bernstein, Blomstedt, Segerstam, or Berglund and have even better performances of them all.  ;)

Pssst.  The Kajanus recordings were available as torrents, last I looked.
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: karlhenning on July 22, 2009, 03:46:16 AM
Or you could just buy a cycle by Vänskä, Bernstein, Blomstedt, Segerstam, or Berglund and have even better performances of them all.  ;)

(* sips hot tea *)
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: Elgarian on July 22, 2009, 05:36:30 AM
Erik and I had some conversation on another forum about symphony cycles. I'd had the Naxos Icelandic set for some years, which seemed adequate if not brilliant. But then I bought the RCA Colin Davis LSO set (not LSO Live) because it was incredibly cheap, and because the Penguin Guide heaped accolades upon its accolades. But I lost interest in it when I found the 1st and 2nd symphonies in that set over-glossy, smooth, and grindingly slow - to an extent that made the Naxos Icelanders sound significantly more enthusiastic, interestingly lively, and more suitably raw.

Is that just me? Does everyone else think the RCA Davis set is the bees' knees, like Penguin?
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: rubio on July 22, 2009, 06:19:59 AM
Four Legends: Thomas Jensen, Royal Danish SO [can't find that anywhere]


It's all about searching skills :).

http://www.amazon.com/Sibelius-VLN-Minor-Orch-Works/dp/B000VT6P7M/ref=wl_it_dp?ie=UTF8&coliid=I2W6E3919YSPR5&colid=1L61W0MN46OUE

(http://g-ecx.images-amazon.com/images/G/01/ciu/46/ea/611ec060ada0e010dbe39110.L._AA240_.jpg)
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: Brian on July 22, 2009, 06:46:49 AM
rubio, that's one for the bad cover art thread!

Erik and I had some conversation on another forum about symphony cycles. I'd had the Naxos Icelandic set for some years, which seemed adequate if not brilliant. But then I bought the RCA Colin Davis LSO set (not LSO Live) because it was incredibly cheap, and because the Penguin Guide heaped accolades upon its accolades. But I lost interest in it when I found the 1st and 2nd symphonies in that set over-glossy, smooth, and grindingly slow - to an extent that made the Naxos Icelanders sound significantly more enthusiastic, interestingly lively, and more suitably raw.

Is that just me? Does everyone else think the RCA Davis set is the bees' knees, like Penguin?
I think most critics have tended to agree that the LSO/RCA Davis set stinks. On the last page, Jens Laurson said he'd only list it if he had to, Victor Carr writes as follows on ClassicsToday:
Quote
Colin Davis' RCA Sibelius cycle must be ranked among the most unnecessary recording projects of all time. Having already recorded a universally lauded set of Sibelius symphonies and tone poems with the Boston Symphony for Philips, Davis' new undertaking constitutes a sad dilution of his previous success, with its lackluster Symphony No. 2, bland Nos. 3 & 6, and lifeless No. 5. The conductor does replicate his earlier achievements in Nos. 1 & 7, and to a lesser degree in No. 4. However, the London Symphony for the most part doesn't meet the challenge of its Boston competition--certainly not in the shocking ensemble lapses that disfigure parts of the drably rendered Lemminkäinen Suite and Fifth Symphony, which, along with the deadly dull Kullervo form the artistic nadir of the set. The remaining tone poems (with the exception of a confused Pohjola's Daughter) proceed well enough, but some, such as Finlandia, En Saga, and The Oceanides, have been done better by the likes of Järvi, Berglund, Bernstein, and of course, Davis himself. RCA's engineering is of variable quality, with some strangely murky sonics afflicting the Lemminkäinen and Kullervo. Considering that Davis' earlier cycle is available on two Philips Duos, this new one, even with its low price and extra items, is no bargain.

and David Hurwitz says things like, "Their previous cycle for RCA was very spotty indeed, slackly played and not at all well recorded, particularly in the Third Symphony, and this remake [LSO Live] makes handsome amends for what otherwise would have remained a blot on the career of one of our great Sibelius conductors and on an orchestra with as rich a tradition in this music as any."
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: DavidRoss on July 22, 2009, 07:09:43 AM
Erik and I had some conversation on another forum about symphony cycles. I'd had the Naxos Icelandic set for some years, which seemed adequate if not brilliant. But then I bought the RCA Colin Davis LSO set (not LSO Live) because it was incredibly cheap, and because the Penguin Guide heaped accolades upon its accolades. But I lost interest in it when I found the 1st and 2nd symphonies in that set over-glossy, smooth, and grindingly slow - to an extent that made the Naxos Icelanders sound significantly more enthusiastic, interestingly lively, and more suitably raw.

Is that just me? Does everyone else think the RCA Davis set is the bees' knees, like Penguin?
No, it's not just you.  I think the Davis's Sibelius mostly sucks (at least insofar as it's possible for Sibelius's music to be less than splendiferous)...and for exactly the same reasons you fault it.  The old Davis/BSO recordings (long praised by many and reason enough for taking British criticism of British conductors with a huge shaker of salt) were partly responsible for my mistaken belief that Sibelius was a dull, superficial, late Romantic--which delayed my appreciation of his magnificent music for decades!   :'( 

I also think that the Naxos set by Sakari and the Icelanders is one of the best!  (Should have put it in my list of favorite cycles above).  And also for the same reasons you cite; I love the raw energy in this set!

 
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: Elgarian on July 22, 2009, 07:17:00 AM
Thanks for these replies, Brian and David. All very reassuring in a way, and it makes me wonder what the guys at Penguin were thinking of when they festooned it with medals.

Erik'll be interested to read your comments too, I'll bet.


[Anyone want to buy a cheap RCA set of Sibelius symphonies?]
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: Tapkaara on July 22, 2009, 07:57:21 AM
No, it's not just you.  I think the Davis's Sibelius mostly sucks (at least insofar as it's possible for Sibelius's music to be less than splendiferous)...and for exactly the same reasons you fault it.  The old Davis/BSO recordings (long praised by many and reason enough for taking British criticism of British conductors with a huge shaker of salt) were partly responsible for my mistaken belief that Sibelius was a dull, superficial, late Romantic--which delayed my appreciation of his magnificent music for decades!   :'( 

I also think that the Naxos set by Sakari and the Icelanders is one of the best!  (Should have put it in my list of favorite cycles above).  And also for the same reasons you cite; I love the raw energy in this set!

 

Aha, another who thinks the Davis/BSO set is...OVER-RATED? I ike this forum more and more every moment.

I would never suggest that set to anyone trying to get into Sieblius. Davis is asleep at the wheel too much throughout it. And I can ndver forgive him for the lack of horns during the famous 'swan theme' of the final movement of the 5th symphony. You can hardly hear them, and it's perhaps THE moment that most people wait for in this work.
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: karlhenning on July 22, 2009, 08:08:31 AM
There's much else of Davis's recordings which I like very well;  but his BSO recording of Debussy had me temporarily convinced that La mer was duller than dishwater.
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: Tapkaara on July 22, 2009, 08:10:36 AM
Of course, Davis/LSO Live is another story...this is an excellent cycle. I've never bothered with his middle cycle on RCA due to the uniformly bad reviews.
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: DavidRoss on July 22, 2009, 08:12:55 AM
Aha, another who thinks the Davis/BSO set is...OVER-RATED? I ike this forum more and more every moment.

I would never suggest that set to anyone trying to get into Sieblius. Davis is asleep at the wheel too much throughout it. And I can ndver forgive him for the lack of horns during the famous 'swan theme' of the final movement of the 5th symphony. You can hardly hear them, and it's perhaps THE moment that most people wait for in this work.
We're always glad to have another Sibelius fan aboard, dude!  (I see you're from Lakeside--no doubt y'all have suffered the same frightening growth the past few decades that's beleaguered North County, I presume?  Is Dudley's Bakery still in business?
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: karlhenning on July 22, 2009, 08:13:21 AM
Of course, Davis/LSO Live is another story...this is an excellent cycle.

Yes, I should expect so.
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: Tapkaara on July 22, 2009, 08:21:03 AM
We're always glad to have another Sibelius fan aboard, dude!  (I see you're from Lakeside--no doubt y'all have suffered the same frightening growth the past few decades that's beleaguered North County, I presume?  Is Dudley's Bakery still in business?

Dudley's is indeed still in business! Lakeside has experienced growth, I suppose, but it still feels like a small town...just how I like it.
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: ChamberNut on July 22, 2009, 08:23:57 AM
Well, I don't find the 7th by Davis and the BSO dull at all (Pentatone Classics disc).  In fact, that catapulted Sibelius' 7th in my all time favorite symphonies.
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: DavidRoss on July 22, 2009, 08:26:27 AM
Dudley's is indeed still in business! Lakeside has experienced growth, I suppose, but it still feels like a small town...just how I like it.
Cool!  Back when I was a young fellow living in Escondido (and gas was 25¢/gallon), I used to sprint up the hill on weekend mornings for some of that fresh-baked goodness.  Back then the line might go out the door.  Nowadays I expect it stretches halfway to Santee!
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: DavidRoss on July 22, 2009, 08:28:10 AM
Well, I don't find the 7th by Davis and the BSO dull at all (Pentatone Classics disc).  In fact, that catapulted Sibelius' 7th in my all time favorite symphonies.
That's great, Ray.  Don't know if this is a case of different strokes, or if the Pentatone recording differs from the one on Philips, but any recording that helps us to appreciate Old Baldy is a good one in my book!
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: Tapkaara on July 22, 2009, 08:31:50 AM
Well, I don't find the 7th by Davis and the BSO dull at all (Pentatone Classics disc).  In fact, that catapulted Sibelius' 7th in my all time favorite symphonies.

Hmmm...I'll have to pop it into the plaer this afternoon to see if I experiece any new found appreciation. I do think his readings of the 3rd and 6th in this cycle are actually pretty good, by the way. David, perhaps, seems better tuned in to the "lighter" symphonies" in this cycle.
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: jlaurson on July 22, 2009, 08:33:31 AM

Is that just me? Does everyone else think the RCA Davis set is the bees' knees, like Penguin?

No, actually... from the feedback I have, all I've heard and all coinciding with my own estimation, everyone seems to know that the RCA Sibelius is not just not as good as his other go-s at Sibelius, but that it's a downright dreary, possibly even dreadful, affair.

The other two cycles have high points, but are totally overrated, too. Sibelius with the sappy emotional intelligence of Oscar Straus simply don't work. It's ironic that Davis got to known well for what he's done to that composer. (No discredit to Davis' Berlioz, though. And there's a Dresden Sibelius "2" that's more than reasonably fine, too...)

Edit: Holy cow: 8 Responses in 4 minutes or so. You certainly hit a nerve.
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: ChamberNut on July 22, 2009, 08:35:41 AM
Don't know if this is a case of different strokes,

Probably just is.  :)
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: karlhenning on July 22, 2009, 08:39:40 AM
Tapiola and Blomstedt: I'm lovin' it!
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: DavidRoss on July 22, 2009, 09:02:47 AM
Tapiola and Blomstedt: I'm lovin' it!
I'll be there before the day is out.  Time for Sakari's 6th now.  ;)
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: Tapkaara on July 22, 2009, 09:19:46 AM
Well, I just gave Davis/BSO another go and it's not all bad, is it? Actually pretty good. Davis keep the energy flowing throughout the work in what ends up being a fairly taut yet satisfying performance. I hadn't listened to it for about a year (the Davis/BSO version, that is) and perhaps I need to take back any negative comments I once had of this performance...!
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: Elgarian on July 22, 2009, 10:10:15 AM
Damn but it's one of the most compelling openings in the entire repertoire--and it just goes on, building bit by bit, cell by cell, like nothing anyone had ever even imagined before, and which despite my familiarity, I cannot help but get drawn into whenever I hear it.

This be truth indeed.

Quote
If you're looking for a fantastic 1st, and 2nd, 3rd, and 5th, performed with Romantic fire and sweep, you cannot do better than Bernstein's cycle with the NYPO from the '60s (http://www.amazon.co.uk/Sibelius-Complete-Symphonies-Leonard-Bernstein/dp/B00008PW43/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=music&qid=1248282051&sr=1-1).  (The other 3 symphonies are performed well, too!)

Could we focus for a moment on just the 1st, and gather opinions? You're going to spend 6 months in a wooden hut in Lapland, and you can only take one version of Sibelius 1. Which one? (DR, I presume, would opt for Bernstein and the NYPO.)
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: Tapkaara on July 22, 2009, 10:12:03 AM
This be truth indeed.

Could we focus for a moment on just the 1st, and gather opinions? You're going to spend 6 months in a wooden hut in Lapland, and you can only take one version of Sibelius 1. Which one? (DR, I presume, would opt for Bernstein and the NYPO.)


Either Segerstam/Helsinki or Davis/LSO.
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: Sergeant Rock on July 22, 2009, 10:27:36 AM
Could we focus for a moment on just the 1st, and gather opinions? You're going to spend 6 months in a wooden hut in Lapland, and you can only take one version of Sibelius 1. Which one? (DR, I presume, would opt for Bernstein and the NYPO.)

Maazel/WP

Sarge
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: Tapkaara on July 22, 2009, 10:33:38 AM
Maazel/WP

Sarge

That, likely, would have been my 3rd choice.
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: Elgarian on July 22, 2009, 10:34:32 AM
Holy cow: 8 Responses in 4 minutes or so. You certainly hit a nerve.

Didn't I just? Actually this is really encouraging. I'd put my Sibelius quest on the backburner, but now I think I need to put Davis and the LSO on the back burner, and set out afresh.
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: Sergeant Rock on July 22, 2009, 10:44:25 AM
Hmmm...I'll have to pop it into the plaer this afternoon to see if I experiece any new found appreciation. I do think his readings of the 3rd and 6th in this cycle are actually pretty good, by the way.

They are. The negative comments about Davis and Boston really disturb me....well, actually they don't  ;D  I don't care what anyone else thinks. Davis' 3, 6 and 7 are among the great Sibelius interpretations (the Brits aren't wrong here). That Sixth is my all-time favorite. Davis opened up that work for me; made me see the light. Everything about it is perfect. If the Sixth is Sibelius in Mozartian mode, then that explains why Davis does it so well.

About the RCA set: greatest Kullervo ever! Davis' slow, enormous, majestic first movement is just unbelievably awesome.

Just thought I'd chime in to provide some fairness and balance  :D

Sarge
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: Tapkaara on July 22, 2009, 10:47:28 AM
They are. The negative comments about Davis and Boston really disturb me....well, actually they don't  ;D  I don't care what anyone else thinks. Davis' 3, 6 and 7 are among the great Sibelius interpretations (the Brits aren't wrong here). That Sixth is my all-time favorite. Davis opened up that work for me; made me see the light. Everything about it is perfect. If the Sixth is Sibelius in Mozartian mode, then that explains why Davis does it so well.

About the RCA set: greatest Kullervo ever! Davis' slow, enormous, majestic first movement is just unbelievably awesome.

Just thought I'd chime in to provide some fairness and balance  :D

Sarge

What do you think of the squelched brass during the 'swan theme' in his reading of the 5th?
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: Sergeant Rock on July 22, 2009, 10:50:26 AM
What do you think of the squelched brass during the 'swan theme' in his reading of the 5th?

Hate it. His Boston 1, 2, and 5 I no longer listen to.

Sarge
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: Elgarian on July 22, 2009, 10:52:11 AM
Thanks! Great! Keep 'em coming and we'll add 'em up in a day or two, to get the Definitive Answer.
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: Elgarian on July 22, 2009, 10:52:55 AM
Either Segerstam/Helsinki or Davis/LSO.

But if you HAD to choose - which one?
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: Tapkaara on July 22, 2009, 10:53:10 AM
Thanks! Great! Keep 'em coming and we'll add 'em up in a day or two, to get the Definitive Answer.

That's the nice thing about music...definitive answers can always be reached.
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: Elgarian on July 22, 2009, 11:01:15 AM
That's the nice thing about music...definitive answers can always be reached.

Yes. We will prove it, once and for all, so there will never be any argument about the matter ever again.

But which one? Which one, of your two?
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: Tapkaara on July 22, 2009, 11:01:23 AM
Hate it. His Boston 1, 2, and 5 I no longer listen to.

Sarge

Hahaha, well I find this completely rational. And now I'm thinking...am I over-hating the Davis/BSO cycle? I guess now that I think about it (especially after "rediscovering" his good go at the 7th just this morning), perhaps its just the 1st, 2nd and 5th I have issues with...
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: Tapkaara on July 22, 2009, 11:02:32 AM
Yes. We will prove it, once and for all, so there will never be any argument about the matter ever again.

But which one? Which one, of your two?

Oy vey, that's hard. By just a hair...Segerstam/Helsinki.
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: Elgarian on July 22, 2009, 11:07:26 AM
Oy vey, that's hard. By just a hair...Segerstam/Helsinki.

A hair is good enough!
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: Renfield on July 22, 2009, 12:17:59 PM
It's a fine balance between Vänskä/Lahti and Segerstam/Helsinki, here; though I haven't heard the Maazel yet.

(It was one of my last purchases before all my time and stamina ran out a couple of months ago. Pending a relative recovery of mental and physical resources, however, I certainly should devote some time to that cycle...)
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: DavidRoss on July 22, 2009, 01:26:23 PM
You're going to spend 6 months in a wooden hut in Lapland, and you can only take one version of Sibelius 1. Which one? (DR, I presume, would opt for Bernstein and the NYPO.)

Well, not that this is definitive for me (natch), but I just played the first few minutes of several contenders (Bernstein NYPO & WP, Maazel/WP, Vänskä/Lahti, Segerstam/HPO, Blomstedt/SFS, Ashkenazy/Philharmonia, Berglund Bournemouth & COE) and on that basis narrowed it down to Vänskä, Blomstedt, and Berglund/COE, finally selecting the last because of the combination of intensity with exemplary clarity revealing inner voices unheard elsewhere--and then I played Bernstein/NYPO once again and forgot all the others.  Sure it's not the best in every respect, but it's pretty damned good and nothing else comes close to the outstanding musicianship coupled with decent sound and white hot incandescence.  I might miss the others, but suspect I'd get over that every time I put Lenny's on the platter.  ;D
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: DavidRoss on July 22, 2009, 01:39:51 PM
Hahaha, well I find this completely rational. And now I'm thinking...am I over-hating the Davis/BSO cycle? I guess now that I think about it (especially after "rediscovering" his good go at the 7th just this morning), perhaps its just the 1st, 2nd and 5th I have issues with...

If only there weren't all those better cycles available, without the weaknesses:  Bernstein, Blomstedt, Vänskä, Segerstam, Maazel, Berglund, Berglund, Berglund.  Heck, I'd take Ashkenazy to the desert island Lapland hut before I'd take Davis.  (Especially the 1st, which is probably the best of the whole cycle.)  And I'm still scratching my head over the lukewarm reception given Berglund's COE set.

Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: Tapkaara on July 22, 2009, 01:52:51 PM
Well, there really is no perfect Sibelius cycle, is there? Segerstam/Helsinki missed being pefect, though, by one symphony: the 2nd. It is such a lukewarm, dragging performance. It's almost weird how affected it is. I am not sure what Segerstam was trying to acheive by sucking this symphony dry of its lusty romantic asperations, but the results were not good. But where the 2nd is lacking, he lets things go much better with the 1st and indeed the 5th. (Segerstam's 5th is, I believe, the best currently on disc.)

Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: DavidRoss on July 22, 2009, 04:41:11 PM
Well, there really is no perfect Sibelius cycle, is there? Segerstam/Helsinki missed being pefect, though, by one symphony: the 2nd. It is such a lukewarm, dragging performance. It's almost weird how affected it is. I am not sure what Segerstam was trying to acheive by sucking this symphony dry of its lusty romantic asperations, but the results were not good. But where the 2nd is lacking, he lets things go much better with the 1st and indeed the 5th. (Segerstam's 5th is, I believe, the best currently on disc.)

To me there are several perfect cycles, with Bernstein, Blomstedt, Vänskä, Segerstam, Maazel, Sakari, and Berglund all having completed cycles I find wholly satisfying. (Note that each has also recorded Tapiola, and most also have a fine Luonnotar and maybe even a Kullervo or Lemminkäinen Suite to flesh out the cycle.) 

Of course, you and I doubtless have very different ideas of "perfection."  I'm one of those fellows who doesn't think there is such a thing as a "perfect" or "definitive" performance or interpretation.  I think that great music is open to a variety of interpretations that are equally valid, and that different performers offer us different views of a piece that is greater than any one approach can capture fully...or even the same performer at different times in life will offer different interpretations informed by learning, life experience, and personal spiritual growth, all of which are reflected in the performance.
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: Tapkaara on July 22, 2009, 05:50:26 PM


Of course, you and I doubtless have very different ideas of "perfection."  I'm one of those fellows who doesn't think there is such a thing as a "perfect" or "definitive" performance or interpretation.  I think that great music is open to a variety of interpretations that are equally valid, and that different performers offer us different views of a piece that is greater than any one approach can capture fully...or even the same performer at different times in life will offer different interpretations informed by learning, life experience, and personal spiritual growth, all of which are reflected in the performance.

Sure, any one piece of music is open to interpretation, but there is BAD interpretation as well as good, and Segerstams' 2nd symphony is, to me, a bad one. Taking a ho-hum approach to Sibelius 2 is certainly how he wanted it to sound, but I find little worth in it.

For me, the two cycles that come closest to "perfection" is Maazel/Vienna and Davis/LSO Live.
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: Tapio Dimitriyevich Shostakovich on July 22, 2009, 10:42:50 PM
Tapiola and Blomstedt: I'm lovin' it!
Of course you're loving it. Anybody except a few completely lost souls loves Tapiola with Blomstedt.
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: Elgarian on July 22, 2009, 11:07:19 PM
Let's see what we've got:

Berglund/COE
Bernstein/NYPO
Blomstedt/SFS
Davis/LSO Live
Maazel/WP
Segerstam/Helsinki
Vanska/Lahti

OK. Now, what I want is to buy the 'best' 1st symphony I can, to accompany me to the Lapland hut. I already have Sakari/Iceland which is OK. And I have Davis/LSO (RCA) which is very much not OK. (I'm somewhat prejudiced in favour of Vanska, because if his 1st is anything like his Wood Nymph, then I know he produces my kind of Sibelius.) I think I might start a poll in a separate thread and ask for votes, and maybe get still more opinions from passing Sibelians who might miss this thread but would stop and do the poll.

Any more contenders, before I make the poll?

Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: Tapio Dimitriyevich Shostakovich on July 22, 2009, 11:40:27 PM
I'm no expert at Sibelius' symphonies, but I think you forgot Järvi/Gothenburg as an important nowadays Sibelius interpreter.
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: Elgarian on July 22, 2009, 11:50:43 PM
I'm no expert at Sibelius' symphonies, but I think you forgot Järvi/Gothenburg as an important nowadays Sibelius interpreter.

No one's mentioned him yet. Here goes:

Berglund/COE
Bernstein/NYPO
Blomstedt/SFS
Davis/LSO Live
Järvi/Gothenburg
Maazel/WP
Segerstam/Helsinki
Vanska/Lahti

My Wood Nymph CD has just arrived.....
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: DavidRoss on July 23, 2009, 03:27:40 AM
Sure, any one piece of music is open to interpretation, but there is BAD interpretation as well as good, and Segerstams' 2nd symphony is, to me, a bad one. Taking a ho-hum approach to Sibelius 2 is certainly how he wanted it to sound, but I find little worth in it.
Hmmmm.  The 2nd is my least favorite so doesn't get much play...but Segerstam is one of my favorites among the more Romantic interpreters.  Hard to believe he wanted a boring rendition; usually he goes in the other direction, emphasizing drama rather than just letting the music speak for itself.  Guess his second with the HPO is long overdue for a spin.  8)
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: DavidW on July 23, 2009, 04:48:50 AM
Well if you are going to have Bernstein, you might as well add Ormandy and Barbirolli, I might be the absolutely one to find positive things to say but it would certainly contrast the overwhelming modernist list that you have now Elgarian. :)
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: Elgarian on July 23, 2009, 06:49:34 AM
Well, you don't like the 4th? This fine mysterious piece? Give it a try with Segerstam.

My problem - well, it's hardly a problem, as such - is that I'm in the process of discovering an endless ocean of Handel, Vivaldi, and baroque in general, that I love so much that it hurts; and there's so much of it to explore and so little time. By contrast, there's Sibelius 4, 6 and 7, all of which have had a fair amount of my time already, with little success. My revisiting of the 6th today suggests to me that I haven't changed much in this area; so ... I'm not keen to keep pushing at this one.
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: Tapkaara on July 23, 2009, 07:42:01 AM
Hmmmm.  The 2nd is my least favorite so doesn't get much play...but Segerstam is one of my favorites among the more Romantic interpreters.  Hard to believe he wanted a boring rendition; usually he goes in the other direction, emphasizing drama rather than just letting the music speak for itself.  Guess his second with the HPO is long overdue for a spin.  8)

It's hard for me to believe that Segerstam wanted full-throated romanticism in this reading of the second. he delivers it in the 1st and 5th, but something is strangly lacking here. It's as if he wanted to do something different to what is usually listed as people's favorite symphony of the 7. It's like he wanted to go for some "classical" style approach and de-emphasize the dramatic qualities in favor of something else. I'm not sure what that something else is, but his interpretation just does not work for me. I remember the first time I heard it, I was massively dissapointed.
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: Tapkaara on July 23, 2009, 07:51:43 AM
My problem - well, it's hardly a problem, as such - is that I'm in the process of discovering an endless ocean of Handel, Vivaldi, and baroque in general, that I love so much that it hurts; and there's so much of it to explore and so little time. By contrast, there's Sibelius 4, 6 and 7, all of which have had a fair amount of my time already, with little success. My revisiting of the 6th today suggests to me that I haven't changed much in this area; so ... I'm not keen to keep pushing at this one.

I would urge you NOT to give up on symphonies 4, 6 and 7. For a while, even in all of my Sibelius-mania, the 6th was the symphony I returned to the least. It was just too strange, too ephemeral. But I never gave up on. I would always remember a (somewhat curious) quote by the composer himself on the 6th: "passion and rage are essential in it." Passion and rage? This is, for the most part, a very serene work. What could the composer be talking about? But I discovered after a few deep listens, there did seem to be something seething, just below the surface. It occasionally manifests with a brief brass outburst, but it is usually hidden below. I don't know if it's power of suggestion from the composer's quote, but that latent rage and passion did make me understand a little bit better.

And then there is another quote on the 6th that I love. Sibelius said that, in this work, "the shadows lengthen." What does he mean by this? It's often taken that Sibelius is beginning to come to terms with that fact he was really entering into old age. The lengthening of the shadows is something like getting closer to death. Though this work is not grim, it's like a sort of peaceful resignation.
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: DavidW on July 23, 2009, 07:57:05 AM
At first the fourth symphony sounded like nothing more than a big pile of notes, but after time it came to be my favorite of his symphonies.
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: Brewski on July 23, 2009, 08:00:08 AM
Just as an aside, one of the enticing items in this latest box of live Concertgebouw recordings (from 1980-1990) is a Sibelius Sixth conducted by Sir Colin Davis, taped Jan. 20, 1983.  I don't know the piece all that well (heard it, but not to the point of familiarity), but will post comments afterward.

--Bruce
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: karlhenning on July 23, 2009, 08:15:53 AM
At first the fourth symphony sounded like nothing more than a big pile of notes

The first recording of the Fourth I ever heard, was HvK, too  8)
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: Tapkaara on July 23, 2009, 08:17:38 AM
The first recording of the Fourth I ever heard, was HvK, too  8)

Hahahaha, Karajan's 4th is often considered one of the best...
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: DavidW on July 23, 2009, 08:18:07 AM
The first recording of the Fourth I ever heard, was HvK, too  8)

Hey what a coincidence! :D
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: DavidRoss on July 23, 2009, 08:40:24 AM
At first the fourth symphony sounded like nothing more than a big pile of notes,
The first recording of the Fourth I ever heard, was HvK, too  8)
;D ;D ;D  >:D
Hahahaha, Karajan's 4th is often considered one of the best...

Yes...and the check is in the mail, sure I'll respect you in the morning, and Obama's socialized medicine plan will reduce costs while improving services!

Hey what a coincidence! :D

I've been intrigued by the fourth since the first time I heard it, and learned to love it soon after.  Maazel/WP.  Still one of the best, methinks, and not solely because I imprinted on it.  (As for Herbie the K's DGG 4th, it's not as bad as one might think--though I'd want to hear it again before betting on it.  Seems I used to think it was pretty good but changed my mind last time I played it.  Hmmm.)

Still haven't made time for Segerstam/HPO 2nd...but lunchtime approaches!
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: karlhenning on July 23, 2009, 08:44:17 AM
I've been intrigued by the fourth since the first time I heard it, and learned to love it soon after.  Maazel/WP.

That's the one which 'redeemed' the piece for me, after it had been . . . Herbied  8)
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: DavidW on July 23, 2009, 08:45:19 AM
A former gmg member sent me a copy of Maazel, and it is sweet! 8)  Segerstam is perfectly fine for me though, of course that is my favorite cycle.
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: DavidRoss on July 23, 2009, 09:01:27 AM
A former gmg member sent me a copy of Maazel, and it is sweet! 8)  Segerstam is perfectly fine for me though, of course that is my favorite cycle.

I first read that as "former gang member" -- appropriate, eh?  Mike, I would guess.  Segerstam may be more dramatic, IIRC, and though I generally prefer leaner readings, like Vänskä or Blomstedt, and my absolute favorite 4th these days is Berglund/COE, I still think Segerstam's cycle is first rate, right up there with Lennie & Lorin for romantic vigor, but even more lush and in very good sound!

Damn!  All this recent discussion about Sibelius is kicking my jones into high gear.  Must...hear...Sibelius!
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: DavidW on July 23, 2009, 09:04:20 AM
Yeah it was your review that got me to acquire the Segerstam cycle Dave.  I wanted Lennie like performances with better sound, and bingo! :)
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: karlhenning on July 23, 2009, 09:04:48 AM
Damn!  All this recent discussion about Sibelius is kicking my jones into high gear.  Must...hear...Sibelius!

Yes, as soon as this here Hindemith Nobilissima visione is done, I'm tossing on Lenny & the NYPhil playing the mighty Fourth!
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: edward on July 23, 2009, 10:12:48 AM
Count me as another who would counsel people not to give up on the 4th, 6th and 7th (definitely my favourites from the cycle, though I tend to prefer the more introverted, concise Sibelius).

I only have the Davis remake of the 3rd, and haven't really enjoyed it--this thread is making it clear to me I should acquire another. Suggestions? (Right now I'd be inclining to buying the Blomstedt set.)
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: Elgarian on July 23, 2009, 10:50:34 AM
Well if you are going to have Bernstein, you might as well add Ormandy and Barbirolli, I might be the absolutely one to find positive things to say but it would certainly contrast the overwhelming modernist list that you have now Elgarian. :)

Thanks David. Just been listening to some samples from Bernstein's as a matter of fact, and I must say this does sound like my kind of Sibelius. Barbirolli, however, is by no means a daft suggestion. Ormandy I know nothing about.
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: karlhenning on July 23, 2009, 10:55:26 AM
Barbirolli, however, is by no means a daft suggestion.

Never, indeed, to one whose handle is Elgarian  0:) 8)
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: DavidW on July 23, 2009, 10:58:34 AM
You know I hate when I drop words and don't even realize it.  "absolutely only one" becomes "absolute one", arg it's so annoying.  I even look over my post but my mind fills in the missing words and I don't notice their absence. ::)

Anyway nobody ever talks about Ormandy anymore.  People kind of stopped caring about the Philadephia Orchestra after Stokowski stepped down.  I know of Ormandy because he appears in Sony Essential Classics, which I collected alot when I was in high school because they were cheap and my stereo was so poor I couldn't hear how hissy they sounded (that was before they remastered them).  At that time I actually liked his performances as much as Bernstein and would grab them up when I saw them in the store.  I think most listeners don't like Ormandy as much though.
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: Elgarian on July 23, 2009, 11:08:52 AM
I would urge you NOT to give up on symphonies 4, 6 and 7.

You're a great advocate, Erik, and I'm not in the least suggesting that there aren't great treasures within those symphonies worth digging for; the trouble is that I think it requires more commitment to Sibelius than I have these days. I suppose I've given at least one of those symphonies a try, once every few years, spread over maybe 40 years. I have to ask myself how many times I should listen to them, when they've always left me baffled, bored and unmoved. There's never been a glimmer of light. Against that experience, there is this vast ocean of hitherto unexplored music beckoning from the baroque, most of which I'm pretty sure will be enormously rewarding. I don't think I'm being defeatist; I'm just juggling priorities.
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: Elgarian on July 23, 2009, 11:12:54 AM
Never, indeed, to one whose handle is Elgarian  0:) 8)

Exactly so; it puzzles me somewhat that I've never heard any Barbirolli Sibelius as far as I recall. But I suppose many of my omissions in all walks of life would puzzle me if I chose to contemplate them.
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: Drasko on July 23, 2009, 11:13:03 AM
I only have the Davis remake of the 3rd, and haven't really enjoyed it--this thread is making it clear to me I should acquire another. Suggestions? (Right now I'd be inclining to buying the Blomstedt set.)

Suggestions for 3rd or the cycle? If 3rd try Mustonen/Helsinki Festival Orchestra on Ondine.
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: DavidW on July 23, 2009, 11:28:06 AM
Exactly so; it puzzles me somewhat that I've never heard any Barbirolli Sibelius as far as I recall. But I suppose many of my omissions in all walks of life would puzzle me if I chose to contemplate them.

I think you'd like his Sibelius, he has a very romantic take on the symphonies.  A bit slow at times, but never plodding.
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: DavidRoss on July 23, 2009, 02:29:57 PM
It's hard for me to believe that Segerstam wanted full-throated romanticism in this reading of the second. he delivers it in the 1st and 5th, but something is strangly lacking here. It's as if he wanted to do something different to what is usually listed as people's favorite symphony of the 7. It's like he wanted to go for some "classical" style approach and de-emphasize the dramatic qualities in favor of something else. I'm not sure what that something else is, but his interpretation just does not work for me. I remember the first time I heard it, I was massively dissapointed.
Okay, Bruce (right?  Bruce?) -- I played through this 2nd and I sure get what you're talking about.  To me, Segerstam's conception is very expansive and subjugates structure to the beauty of the sounds--particularly the HPO winds and brass, splendidly refurbished since Berglund recorded his cycle with the same orchestra back in the '80s.  It's grand and lush, but not especially dramatic.  From my perspective it works reasonably well, but it flags a bit in the fourth movement.  Where he really ought to hold more tension, via crisp attacks in the brass, strings, and timpani, he's too soft instead of edgy.  Instead of energy building to a climax, he lets things drift a bit and get somewhat...er...flaccid.

I think Segerstam is striving for some deep, spiritual introspection--informed, perhaps, by looking forward to the fourth symphony--but it seems a bit out of place, at least for those accustomed to the tightening tension of more overtly dramatic interpretations, like Bernstein/NYPO, Szell/RCO, or Barbirolli/RPO.  I don't think it's bad...just different; but I can certainly see how a listener expecting a blazing statement of symphonic drama would be disappointed by that finale.  Such listeners would definitely be better served by one of the three just mentioned--and they should definitely stay away from what is becoming my favorite recording of the second, Bernstein's last with the WP: a glorious example of everything wrong with the excessive, indulgent Lenny in his later years...and everything right as well--in spades!
 
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: Tapkaara on July 23, 2009, 02:53:01 PM
Okay, Bruce (right?  Bruce?) -- I played through this 2nd and I sure get what you're talking about.  To me, Segerstam's conception is very expansive and subjugates structure to the beauty of the sounds--particularly the HPO winds and brass, splendidly refurbished since Berglund recorded his cycle with the same orchestra back in the '80s.  It's grand and lush, but not especially dramatic.  From my perspective it works reasonably well, but it flags a bit in the fourth movement.  Where he really ought to hold more tension, via crisp attacks in the brass, strings, and timpani, he's too soft instead of edgy.  Instead of energy building to a climax, he lets things drift a bit and get somewhat...er...flaccid.

I think Segerstam is striving for some deep, spiritual introspection--informed, perhaps, by looking forward to the fourth symphony--but it seems a bit out of place, at least for those accustomed to the tightening tension of more overtly dramatic interpretations, like Bernstein/NYPO, Szell/RCO, or Barbirolli/RPO.  I don't think it's bad...just different; but I can certainly see how a listener expecting a blazing statement of symphonic drama would be disappointed by that finale.  Such listeners would definitely be better served by one of the three just mentioned--and they should definitely stay away from what is becoming my favorite recording of the second, Bernstein's last with the WP: a glorious example of everything wrong with the excessive, indulgent Lenny in his later years...and everything right as well--in spades!

You can call me Erik.  ;)

Well, at least I know I'm making things up in my head. I'm encouraged that I'm not the only one who finds this performance to be, as you put if, flaccid.

You had some great points. Things sound rounder, cushier and more flowy as opposed to tense, moody and snappy. It is as if Segerstam is going for a more introspective approach...he is trying to get to the deep down soul of the music. But I don't think symphony is about the little nuances as much as, say, the 4th. I see this work as a more extroverted, Romantic piece, and it needs all of the sizzling energy you can bring to it. So focusing on its softer side is not the way to go. (It would be like trying to emphasize the softer side of Le Sacred du printemps...why on EARTH would you want a cushy, safe performance of that??)

Yeah, I agree about the ending. That great ending (one of the best in music, I think) has no momentum or profundity in Segerstam's hands. What a shame. It's just one weird, unappealing performance in general.
 
[/quote]
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: Renfield on July 23, 2009, 04:08:09 PM
Speaking of the 4th, the first 4th I truly, deeply (insert melancholic violin solo) loved was Karajan - but not by any means the DG. It's the 1953 Philharmonia 4th on EMI, still my favourite. The DG version was too wall-of-sound for me to start with, although I do appreciate it now.
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: Tapkaara on July 23, 2009, 04:30:55 PM
Speaking of the 4th, the first 4th I truly, deeply (insert melancholic violin solo) loved was Karajan - but not by any means the DG. It's the 1953 Philharmonia 4th on EMI, still my favourite. The DG version was too wall-of-sound for me to start with, although I do appreciate it now.

I was actually unimpressed with Kajaran's 4th the first time I heard it, but I have since warmed up to it. I know what you mean by too "wall of sound" like. Notwithstanding, Karajan keeps the momentum moving pretty well, and it is a fine performance.
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: karlhenning on July 24, 2009, 03:48:21 AM
Okay, Bruce (right?  Bruce?)

I owe you (and Brucebhodges, I mean) an apology for creating a certain amount of confusion, Dave.  I didn't remember Erik's actual name, he being a new acquaintance, and me being awful at new-names-attached-to-new-user-IDs.  So my referring to him as "new Bruce" was an allusion to the Philosophy Department at the University of Wollamaloo, where a chap named Michael is called Bruce just to keep it clear:

http://www.youtube.com/v/_f_p0CgPeyA

Hot enough to boil a monkey's bum, in here.
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: DavidRoss on July 24, 2009, 04:45:30 AM
I owe you (and Brucebhodges, I mean) an apology for creating a certain amount of confusion, Dave.  I didn't remember Erik's actual name, he being a new acquaintance, and me being awful at new-names-attached-to-new-user-IDs.  So my referring to him as "new Bruce" was an allusion to the Philosophy Department at the University of Wollamaloo, where a chap named Michael is called Bruce just to keep it clear:

Roight! Thanks for clearing that up, myte.  Off to my sheep-dipping class, now.  Today we're going to dip the sheep in a lovely dark chocolate sauce punctuated with raspberries and blanched almonds. 

And apologies to new Bruce...er, Erik...for calling him "Bruce."  It is a poofterish sort of name (excepting our own bhodges, of course!), and rules number 2, 5, and 7 of the Snowshoed Sibelius fan club, drill team, and sheep-dipping squad clearly state, "No poofters."  (Not that there's anything wrong with that--but that's another iconic television program all together.)

Meanwhile, on topic (at last!) lest the off-topic post police banish this message to the outback:  After listening to Segerstam's 2nd I later followed it with his 6th--and loved it!  (Capsule review on the "What's tickling your ears now?" thread) 
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: vandermolen on July 25, 2009, 12:47:49 AM
Rubio - this is my favourite performance of Sibelius Symphony No 4:

Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: Elgarian on August 02, 2009, 11:18:39 PM
(http://www.mdt.co.uk/public/pictures/products/standard/5672992.jpg)

Found this offered by MDT at just under £20 yesterday, and I'm seriously considering it. Although I don't think I ever heard Barbirolli play any Sibelius, this comes from the era when I was discovering Sibelius, (and indeed attending some of Sir John's Halle concerts), so there are additional reasons for trying it, to see how it fits, today.

As far as I can discover, his version of the 1st is regarded as a cracker; and this might be a nice to way to get it - with the others thrown in effectively as bonuses.
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: DavidW on August 03, 2009, 02:57:20 AM
I find the cycle to be fairly consistent, so if you like one you should like the rest. :)
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: vandermolen on August 03, 2009, 06:37:55 AM
(http://www.mdt.co.uk/public/pictures/products/standard/5672992.jpg)

Found this offered by MDT at just under £20 yesterday, and I'm seriously considering it. Although I don't think I ever heard Barbirolli play any Sibelius, this comes from the era when I was discovering Sibelius, (and indeed attending some of Sir John's Halle concerts), so there are additional reasons for trying it, to see how it fits, today.

As far as I can discover, his version of the 1st is regarded as a cracker; and this might be a nice to way to get it - with the others thrown in effectively as bonuses.

I have this set and recommend it warmly. Barbirolli was a great conductor especially in Elgar, Vaughan Williams and Sibelius.
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: jlaurson on August 03, 2009, 06:49:05 AM
I have this set and recommend it warmly. Barbirolli was a great conductor especially in Elgar, Vaughan Williams and Sibelius.

I would recommend it for its great (as in: extraordinary, but also as in: very fine) personality. Not necessarily to set and Sibeliean standard.
At a good price, it's one of the 'essential supplemantary' Sibelius cycles.
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: Elgarian on August 03, 2009, 08:49:21 AM
Thanks for the comments, folks. Bearing your comments in mind, and my own Barbirolli-ish inclinations, I think at this price I'll be daft not to get it.
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: Tapkaara on August 03, 2009, 10:43:44 AM
Thanks for the comments, folks. Bearing your comments in mind, and my own Barbirolli-ish inclinations, I think at this price I'll be daft not to get it.

Barbiolli's foray in the the Sibelius Second with the Royal Phil on Chesky is often listed as the be-all-and-end-all recording of the work. I've not heard these Hallé recordings (believe it or not!), but if they are anything like his S2, Elgarian should be a happy camper.
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: jlaurson on October 16, 2009, 05:44:57 PM
 Ashkenazy Sibelius cycle on Exton is finnish(ed), too! But the discs can be difficult to to get outside Japan.

Symphonies 4 & 5 (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B0013GBD9C/goodmusicguide-20), Less outrageously expensive in the UK (http://www.amazon.co.uk/exec/obidos/ASIN/B0013GBD9C/nectarandambrUK-21)

Symphony 2 & Tapiola, Swan of T. (UK) (http://www.amazon.co.uk/exec/obidos/ASIN/B0017OCMNQ/nectarandambrUK-21)

Symphonies 1 & 3 (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B000P0IB1U/goodmusicguide-20), in the UK (http://www.amazon.co.uk/exec/obidos/ASIN/B0013GBD92/nectarandambrUK-21)

Symphonies 6 & 7, UK (http://www.amazon.co.uk/exec/obidos/ASIN/B001B3HDJG/nectarandambrUK-21)

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------



Oramo's Sibelius (Erato/Warner) has not (yet?) been issued in a box. Davis III (LSO live) has just been released as a box.
I've found the Sixten Ehrling/Stockholm cycle still exists (at least on German Amazon (http://www.amazon.de/exec/obidos/ASIN/B000026ADH/nectarandambr-21)). Anyone have that?

Thanks to Wurstwasser who also found the Ehling cycle on HMV (http://www.hmv.co.jp/product/detail/441019).
I'll include it once I find three more cycles to complete a row.

Daverz pointed out the Rozhdestvensky cycle, available in Japan (http://www.hmv.co.jp/product/detail/1424517).

(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51GiQiFqadL._SL500_AA240_.jpg) (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B00008CLIG/goodmusicguide-20)
V. Ashkenazy I,
Philharmonia
Decca ~$40,- (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B00008CLIG/goodmusicguide-20)
(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/41AP9WJHSPL._SL500_AA240_.jpg) (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B0000041BV/goodmusicguide-20)
C. Davis I,
Boston SO
Philips v.1 ~$18,- (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B0000041BV/goodmusicguide-20)
(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/21CAP78YVWL._SL500_AA130_.jpg) (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B000000A9D/goodmusicguide-20)
A. Gibson,
Royal ScO
Chandos (oop) (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B000000A9D/goodmusicguide-20)
(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/513gkv4W8EL._SL500_AA240_.jpg) (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B0010SU4UW/goodmusicguide-20)
L. Segerstam I,
Danish NSO
Chandos/Brilliant ~$46,- (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B0010SU4UW/goodmusicguide-20)
(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/21V3F35G0BL._SL500_AA132_.jpg) (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B0000016JY/goodmusicguide-20)
N. Jaervi I,
Gothenburg SO
BIS ~$62,- (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B0000016JY/goodmusicguide-20)
(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/5185H-P2E4L._SL500_AA240_.jpg) (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B000NDFKDQ/goodmusicguide-20)
A. Collins,
LSO
Decca (Japan) ~$44,- (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B000NDFKDQ/goodmusicguide-20)
(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/41l23NQzgQL._SL500_AA240_.jpg) (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B00006OA66/goodmusicguide-20)
L. Maazel II,
Pittsburg SO
Sony ~$25,-

 (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B00006OA66/goodmusicguide-20)
(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51X8447B7VL._SL500_AA240_.jpg) (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B000CQNVSU/goodmusicguide-20)
L. Segerstam II,
Helsinki PO
Ondine ~$54,- (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B000CQNVSU/goodmusicguide-20)
(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/4154NWJFSBL._SL500_AA240_.jpg) (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B0000041BW/goodmusicguide-20)
C. Davis I,
Boston SO
Philips v.2 ~$18,- (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B0000041BW/goodmusicguide-20)
(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/31HRVE76QBL._SL500_AA240_.jpg) (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B00008CLIG/goodmusicguide-20)
H.v. Karajan / Kamu,
Berlin Phil
DG ~$24,- (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B00008CLIG/goodmusicguide-20)
(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/41KWV2RBDQL._SL500_AA240_.jpg) (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B00008PW43/nectarandambr-20)
L. Bernstein,
NY Phil
Sony ~$50,- (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B00008PW43/goodmusicguide-20)
(http://g-ecx.images-amazon.com/images/G/01/ciu/c2/fb/a11db220dca044c269049010._AA190_.L.jpg) (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B00000IGLH/goodmusicguide-20)
P. Berglund I,
Bournemouth SO
Royal Classics (oop) (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B00000IGLH/goodmusicguide-20)
(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/61MGV75JENL._SL500_AA240_.jpg) (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B000009L6O/goodmusicguide-20)
J.P. Saraste,
Finnish RSO
Finlandia (oop) ~$60,- (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B000009L6O/goodmusicguide-20)
(http://img.hmv.co.jp/image/jacket/190/14/2/4/517.jpg) (http://www.hmv.co.jp/product/detail/1424517)
G. Rozhdestvensky,
Moscow RSO (Japan only)
Russia Ed. ~$26,-
(http://www.hmv.co.jp/product/detail/1424517)
(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/212K0QHVRAL._SL500_AA130_.jpg) (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B00005Q450/goodmusicguide-20)
O. Vanska,
Lahti SO
BIS ~$65,- (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B00005Q450/goodmusicguide-20)
(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/41qB4N9j12L._SL500_AA240_.jpg) (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B0000041Z3/goodmusicguide-20)
L. Maazel,
Vienna Phil.
Decca ~$24,- (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B0000041Z3/goodmusicguide-20)
(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/21YBXARJNCL._SL500_AA130_.jpg) (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B0000035OJ/goodmusicguide-20)
K. Sanderling,
Berlin
Berlin Cl. ~$33,- (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B0000035OJ/goodmusicguide-20)
(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/414Y1JM39XL._SL500_AA240_.jpg) (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B00003ZKRM/goodmusicguide-20)
Sir J. Barbirolli,
Hallé Orchestra
EMI ~$35,- (sale) (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B00003ZKRM/goodmusicguide-20)
(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51NQ1JMEBEL._SL500_AA240_.jpg) (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B00005MIZT/goodmusicguide-20)
P. Berglund II,
Helsinki PO
EMI ~$35,- (sale) (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B00005MIZT/goodmusicguide-20)
(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/41bmIYU5O7L._SL500_AA240_.jpg) (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B002LTJ30G/goodmusicguide-20)
C. Davis III,
LSO v.1 (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B0001HK2AK/nectarandambr-20)-v.2 (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B00026KGX8/goodmusicguide-20)-v.3 (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B000O78IWQ/nectarandambr-20)-v.4 (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B001IC59JG/nectarandambr-20)
LSO live (4 à ~$16,-)
(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/4127TXBJV9L._SL500_AA240_.jpg) (http://www.amazon.UK/exec/obidos/ASIN/B0000SYABW/nectarandambr-21)
S. Oramo,
CoBirm.O

Erato ~£30,-
(Europe only)
(http://www.amazon.co.uk/exec/obidos/ASIN/B0000SYABW/nectarandambr-21)
(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/415dkb3WBNL._SL500_AA240_.jpg) (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B000FOQ1EA/goodmusicguide-20)
H. Blomstedt,
S.F.SO
Decca ~$31,- (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B000FOQ1EA/goodmusicguide-20)
(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51aCTh-UO0L._SL500_AA240_.jpg) (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B00005QISF/goodmusicguide-20)
P. Sakari,
Iceland SO
Naxos ~$36,- (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B00005QISF/goodmusicguide-20)
(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/41xDPCRN07L._SL500_AA240_.jpg) (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B000SSPL2Q/goodmusicguide-20)
N. Järvi II,
Gothenburg SO
DG ~$56,- (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B000SSPL2Q/goodmusicguide-20)
(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51vOXxcZpHL._SL500_AA240_.jpg) (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B000UPQFEA/goodmusicguide-20)
P. Rattle,
Birmingh.SO
EMI ~$34,- (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B000UPQFEA/goodmusicguide-20)
(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/31TE3rEBl%2BL._SL500_AA240_.jpg) (http://www.amazon.de/exec/obidos/ASIN/B00002472T/nectarandambr-21)
P. Berglund III,
Chamber OoE

Finlandia ~$40,-
(Germany only)
(http://www.amazon.de/exec/obidos/ASIN/B00002472T/nectarandambr-21)
(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51LXQCbJedL._SL500_AA240_.jpg) (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B00011KOF4/goodmusicguide-20)
C. Davis II,
LSO

RCA ~$41,- (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B00011KOF4/goodmusicguide-20)
(http://img.hmv.co.jp/image/jacket/190/25/4/0/725.jpg) (http://www.hmv.co.jp/product/detail/2540725)
A. Watanabe,
Japan PhilO

(Japan only)
Denon ~$31,-
(http://www.hmv.co.jp/product/detail/2540725)


Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: Drasko on October 17, 2009, 12:55:06 AM
Update: How about voting on favorite Versions of individual Symphonies, which I'll include here, too??

Don't think I have clear cut favorites for all symphonies, some I like:

#1 Berliner Sinfonie-Orchester / Kurt Sanderling
#3 Helsinki Festival Orchestra / Olli Mustonen
#4 Wiener Philharmoniker / Lorin Maazel
#7 Leningrad Philharmonic / Evgeny Mravinsky

p.s. Isn't it Sixten, and not Sixtus Ehrling?
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: The new erato on October 17, 2009, 07:52:24 AM


p.s. Isn't it Sixten, and not Sixtus Ehrling?
Yep; he was Swedish, not Roman!  ;)
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: matti on October 18, 2009, 10:45:55 AM
Yep; he was Swedish, not Roman!  ;)

IS Swedish - still going strong!
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: The new erato on October 19, 2009, 12:12:51 AM
IS Swedish - still going strong!
As in new recordings? He has given us much valuable, but I admit to thinking he was dead since I cannot seem to remember stumbling across his name for a long time.
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: matti on October 19, 2009, 06:06:49 AM
As in new recordings? He has given us much valuable, but I admit to thinking he was dead since I cannot seem to remember stumbling across his name for a long time.

No idea about his current recording projects, but rumours of his death are premature. He recently conducted a concert in Helsinki. http://yle.fi/rso/show_page.php?page=2199&cmd=series&ID=391&lang=eng
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: Est.1965 on November 05, 2009, 12:47:43 PM
"If someone writes about my music and finds, let us say, a feeling of nature in it, all well and good. Let him say that, as long as we have it clear within ourselves, we do not become a part of the music's innermost sound and sense through analysis ... Compositions are like butterflies. Touch them even once and the dust of hue is gone. They can, of course, still fly, but are nowhere as beautiful..."

Very sound advice.   ;D
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: vandermolen on November 14, 2009, 03:36:17 PM
I have never been much of a fan of Colin Davis's Sibelius symphony recordings (LSO or Boston SO) - finding them largely unengaging and overrated. However, the CD of tone poems below was an absolute revelation. I bought it very cheaply on Amazon UK (you can find it there for under £4) and I can't stop playing it.  I would go so far as saying that these are top recommendations for all the works featured - wonderfully warm and atmospheric recordings and terrific performances from Davis and the LSO. I shall have to revise my views of this conductor! Even the ubiquitous 'Finlandia' gripped me and Karelia, Oceanides and Tapiola are all riveting:

Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: Elgarian on November 15, 2009, 01:32:11 PM
I have never been much of a fan of Colin Davis's Sibelius symphony recordings (LSO or Boston SO) - finding them largely unengaging and overrated.
Reading this far, I was nodding emphatically. Among all my various box sets (I mean of anything, not just Sibelius), the Davis LSO/RCA set is probably the single biggest dud. So much so that it's almost left me with Davisibeliophobia: I'd cross the road to avoid going near a Colin Davis Sibelius CD. So these comments here ...

Quote
However, the CD of tone poems below was an absolute revelation. I bought it very cheaply on Amazon UK (you can find it there for under £4) and I can't stop playing it.  I would go so far as saying that these are top recommendations for all the works featured - wonderfully warm and atmospheric recordings and terrific performances from Davis and the LSO. I shall have to revise my views of this conductor!
(http://www.good-music-guide.com/community/index.php?action=dlattach;topic=341.0;attach=22013;image)
... challenged all my prejudices. I read your comments and thought, no, surely not. Then I registered your enthusiasm and thought, but what if? So thanks for this stimulating (albeit unnerving) recommendation.
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: listener on November 15, 2009, 02:30:13 PM
Does the Decca song set come with texts?    At least the enclosure with the LP set was readable.
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: Tapio Dimitriyevich Shostakovich on November 17, 2009, 04:54:27 AM
I have never been much of a fan of Colin Davis's Sibelius symphony recordings (LSO or Boston SO) - finding them largely unengaging and overrated. However, the CD of tone poems below was an absolute revelation. I bought it very cheaply on Amazon UK (you can find it there for under £4) and I can't stop playing it.
IIRC he was humming very loud in Finlandia?! Well, it's Colin Davis, so humming is very likely....
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: vandermolen on November 17, 2009, 08:13:22 AM
Reading this far, I was nodding emphatically. Among all my various box sets (I mean of anything, not just Sibelius), the Davis LSO/RCA set is probably the single biggest dud. So much so that it's almost left me with Davisibeliophobia: I'd cross the road to avoid going near a Colin Davis Sibelius CD. So these comments here ...
... challenged all my prejudices. I read your comments and thought, no, surely not. Then I registered your enthusiasm and thought, but what if? So thanks for this stimulating (albeit unnerving) recommendation.

Interesting comments.  The odd thing is that all the record guides etc seem to bubble over with enthusiasm for Davis' Sibelius symphony recordings - I agree with you - I never play them and I can say the same for his much praised recent LSO recording of Walton's First Symphony. But, worth trying those RCA Sibelius tone poems.
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: Brahmsian on November 17, 2009, 10:38:11 AM
I really don't get all the backlash on Colin Davis (Sibelius).   ???  Ditto for Rattle (everything).
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: jlaurson on November 17, 2009, 02:00:40 PM
I really don't get all the backlash on Colin Davis (Sibelius).   ???  Ditto for Rattle (everything).

it's cyclical. overratedness is followed by taker-down-mania which is followed by 'daring reassessment' of greatness which is then... etc.
action & re-action... marx overreacted capitalism, ayn rand overreacted to socialism... that sort of thing.  ;)
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: Wanderer on November 17, 2009, 11:52:53 PM
it's cyclical. overratedness is followed by taker-down-mania which is followed by 'daring reassessment' of greatness which is then... etc.
action & re-action... marx overreacted capitalism, ayn rand overreacted to socialism... that sort of thing.  ;)

That's about it. And I'm not really fond of C. Davis' Sibelius, either.  $:)
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: Sergeant Rock on November 18, 2009, 06:12:16 AM
I really don't get all the backlash on Colin Davis (Sibelius).

When I started to collect recordings, Davis/Boston was one of the few Sibelius cycles available. Perhaps for that reason critics overpraised it. We have so much choice now it's easy to dismiss that old classic set. But forty years on I still like his Boston Third and Seventh. It's hard to fault his Fourth too although there are several other versions I prefer. I've never heard a finer Sixth though. To me it's the definitive version. I also love his RCA/LSO Kullervo. I can't defend that choice (he Brucknerizes the music) but it works for me better than any of the other nine Kullervos I own.

Sarge
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: Brian on November 18, 2009, 07:37:09 AM
Most of the critics I've read agree that Davis/Boston and Davis/LSO Live are greatly superior to Davis/LSO RCA.

I ordered the Berglund box (EMI) the other day. I've discovered that I prefer my Sibelius to be classically charged, in the sense of being fleet and daring and abrupt rather than expansive. The exception is the finale of Symphony No 5, which I wish would never end ... I still haven't found a recording of this finale that's voluptuous enough for me. The unanimous E flat played by the strings in the last minute and a half seems to me not just to be a triumph against the symphony's own drama and doubts (I feel this is a symphony that doubts itself, until the end - maybe I'm expressing this inaccurately; will have to give it some thought) but an affirmation of tonality itself.
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: Catison on November 18, 2009, 07:44:05 AM
I've never heard a finer Sixth though.

Have you heard Vanska?  What are your thoughts comparing these two interpretations?
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: Elgarian on November 18, 2009, 08:20:24 AM
I really don't get all the backlash on Colin Davis (Sibelius).

If it's backlash, it's not consciously so in my case. I was drawn to his RCA LSO Sibelius box set by its cheapness, and by the rave reviews and (naively) I expected to find it wonderful. I was dismayed to discover that I had never heard Sibelius sound so lifeless before. I understand his LSO Live Sibelius symphonies are much better, but I'm reluctant to invest further in that direction, particularly now that I have Vanska's recordings of the symphonies to explore.
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: vandermolen on November 18, 2009, 09:08:51 AM
If it's backlash, it's not consciously so in my case. I was drawn to his RCA LSO Sibelius box set by its cheapness, and by the rave reviews and (naively) I expected to find it wonderful. I was dismayed to discover that I had never heard Sibelius sound so lifeless before. I understand his LSO Live Sibelius symphonies are much better, but I'm reluctant to invest further in that direction, particularly now that I have Vanska's recordings of the symphonies to explore.

This goes for me too. I heard Colin Davis do a very good live performance of Vaughan Williams' 6th Symphony and wish that he had recorded it.
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: Renfield on November 18, 2009, 04:36:28 PM
I really don't get all the backlash on Colin Davis (Sibelius).   ???  Ditto for Rattle (everything).

Re Davis, I've found myself in possession of almost all of his Sibelius recordings, mostly on account of various offers.

And even though I do not compare him to Vänskä at all, given how I'm not a 'there can only be one' (thanks Drasko) kind of listener, I still find time to relish certain aspects of what he does with some of the symphonies, with his Boston 3rd in particular close to being my outright favourite, in purely musical (vs. atmospheric, cultural) terms. The LSO Live 2nd is another standout.

Between his cycles, I think the Boston one is the 'cleanest' and most focused, the LSO Live the most involved, and the RCA possibly the best-played one; IIRC, the 6th in that one was very good, as were indeed some of the tone poems. :)


Re Simon Rattle, I like, and to an extent admire him as a conductor for much of his Birmingham (though not the Sibelius), and most of his Berlin work; in fact, I might say he's the best thing that happened to the BPO since Karajan.

So make what you will of my personal taste, compared to yours!
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: Benji on November 18, 2009, 05:02:12 PM
[...] given how I'm not a 'there can only be one' (thanks Drasko) kind of listener [...]

Ah, the Highlander kind!  8)

I have a wee soft spot for Davis RCA cycle mainly because it was a disc of his 3rd and 5th that was my first taste of Sibelius (well, aside from Finlandia on a compliation, so my first taste of real Sibelius). Though i've now, in my mind, superceded that cycle with my favourites Vanska and Blomstedt, I still don't think i've heard a Sibelius 3rd I like more than Davis's. And i'm still really fond of his Nightride, so I imagine i'll keep his boxset for the time being.

Don't get my started on the Boston cycle though. Lordy lordy no, no, no...
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: Brian on December 08, 2009, 08:23:30 AM
Happy birthday, Jean Sibelius!
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: Opus106 on December 08, 2009, 08:27:24 AM
Happy birthday, Jean Sibelius!

Listening to the 7th! Thanks for letting us know, Brian. :)
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: DavidRoss on December 08, 2009, 09:13:22 AM
Happy birthday, Jean Sibelius!

Ah...that must be why I felt an overwhelming compulsion to hear Tapiola this morning!
(And it was good.)
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: Tapio Dimitriyevich Shostakovich on December 16, 2009, 10:02:22 AM
re: Davis-Cycles: Unfortunately lacking a "Wood Nymph" performance. I'm wondering why nobody performs the Nymph, it's such a powerful orchestral work. To my knowledge and very regrettable, there's still only Vänskä/Lahti and Sato/Kuopio.
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: Tapio Dimitriyevich Shostakovich on December 20, 2009, 06:02:22 AM
BBC Discovering Music - Sibelius' Tapiola

"Stephen Johnson joins the BBC Philharmonic, conducted by Martyn Brabbins, for a workshop on the great Finnish composer's final orchestral work."

Not sure if I uploaded it. Now I did it, alongside with the web site, as maybe one day it will disappear. Realaudio sucks and BBC is changing to wma. So I decided to download the stream before it disappears, and converted it to mp3 and packed it together with the web page contents. Have fun.

Download (http://www.fileden.com/files/2007/9/21/1446950/BBC%20Discovering%20Music%20-%20Sibelius%20-%20Tapiola.zip) - Source (http://www.bbc.co.uk/radio3/discoveringmusic/pip/ftng8/)
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: Sergeant Rock on December 21, 2009, 07:55:05 AM
re: Davis-Cycles: Unfortunately lacking a "Wood Nymph" performance. I'm wondering why nobody performs the Nymph, it's such a powerful orchestral work. To my knowledge and very regrettable, there's still only Vänskä/Lahti and Sato/Kuopio.

The world's best looking conductor, Estonian Anu Tali, has recorded the melodrama version of the Wood Nymph (for narrator, two horns, piano and strings) with the orchestra she and her twin sister founded:

(http://photos.imageevent.com/sgtrock/ngmg/KadriAnuTali.jpg) (http://photos.imageevent.com/sgtrock/ngmg/d89ffbd5.jpg)


(http://photos.imageevent.com/sgtrock/ngmg/Tuli.jpg)

I like it but it's only about half the length of the fully orchestrated tone poem.

Sarge
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: jlaurson on December 21, 2009, 08:03:12 AM
The world's best looking conductor, Estonian Anu Tali, has recorded the melodrama version of the Wood Nymph (for narrator, two horns, piano and strings) with the orchestra she and her twin sister founded:


a.) That's sexist.

b.) It is WRONG (http://www.riccardomuti.com/Immagini.aspx).


 ;)
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: Brian on December 21, 2009, 09:59:32 AM
The world's best looking conductor

For your consideration: Sarah Ioannides, El Paso Symphony Orchestra.

(http://www.lubowphotography.com/_B1P4812.jpg)
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: Tapio Dimitriyevich Shostakovich on December 21, 2009, 12:21:50 PM
Mr. Rock, I knew about that CD, but I really don't like the narrated version.

How I condemn the sexism amongst you guys  :P

Alondra de la Parra.
(http://losconcertistassalvajes.files.wordpress.com/2009/10/alondra_de_la_parra.jpg)
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: Brian on December 21, 2009, 01:19:12 PM
My local orchestra is considering Ms de la Parra for the role of music director ... I think my vote may have just been cast (though Rossen Milanov is a terrific young conductor!).
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: Renfield on December 22, 2009, 08:49:08 AM
(though Rossen Milanov is a terrific young conductor!).

He is? He seems to do a lot of work with the RSNO here, but being rather picky about my concerts, I've yet to hear him in action.

Mental note made.
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: Brian on December 22, 2009, 09:10:39 AM
He is? He seems to do a lot of work with the RSNO here, but being rather picky about my concerts, I've yet to hear him in action.

Mental note made.

I saw him in the following program:

BORODIN | Polovtsian Dances (w/ chorus) - on the slow side, the very slow side, largely because choirs in San Antonio, TX can't sing in Russian
HAYDN | One of the London symphonies - obviously it didn't make much of an impression. No sign of knowledge of the HIP movement, FWIW
PROKOFIEV | Alexander Nevsky Cantata - totally thrilling, really brought out the very best in the orchestra. My mom professes to "hate modernism" and the 20th century generally, except Rachmaninov, but she got caught up in this and couldn't stop talking about it.

In terms of demeanor, Milanov is energetic, young, and pretty eager; he gave a little talk which was enthusiastic and all-smiles. The San Antonio Symphony isn't the number-one orchestra in the world, but they tried their best to be for him.
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: Sergeant Rock on December 24, 2009, 06:28:18 AM
(http://www.lubowphotography.com/_B1P4812.jpg)
(http://losconcertistassalvajes.files.wordpress.com/2009/10/alondra_de_la_parra.jpg)

Both very nice but being the sexist pig I am, I'll still take the twins   >:D :D

Sarge
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: Keemun on December 24, 2009, 08:04:28 AM
I recently listened to all of my recordings of Sibelius' Symphony No. 5.  Here is my ranking in order of preference, with brief impressions of each recording:

1.  Blomsted/SFS:  Expansive, atmospheric and dynamic.
2.  Maazel/VPO:  The tempos are on the fast side, but they work well with the excellent playing.
3.  Bernstein/NYPO (on Sony):  Slow and dramatic.  This has the slowest third movement I've heard.
4.  Vanska/Lahti SO:  Excellent sound quality.
5.  Davis/LSO (on LSO Live):  This one feels a little too heavy.
6.  Davis/BSO:  The first movement is too slow.  The brass sound sloppy and harsh in the third movement.
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: Est.1965 on December 26, 2009, 07:59:56 PM
I recently listened to all of my recordings of Sibelius' Symphony No. 5.  Here is my ranking in order of preference, with brief impressions of each recording:
1.  Blomsted/SFS:  Expansive, atmospheric and dynamic.
2.  Maazel/VPO:  The tempos are on the fast side, but they work well with the excellent playing.
3.  Bernstein/NYPO:  Slow and dramatic.  This has the slowest third movement I've heard.
4.  Vanska/Lahti SO:  Excellent sound quality.
5.  Davis/LSO (on LSO Live):  This one feels a little too heavy.
6.  Davis/BSO:  The first movement is too slow.  The brass sound sloppy and harsh in the third movement.

Interesting.  I would have the top three in your list completely reversed and have Vanska in there at second  instead of Blomstedt, just  for the sheer showmanship of the music.  Blomstedt has a more classically hewn baton in everything he does and just sometimes I get waylaid by the beauty of the direction instead of the passion of the music.
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: Brian on December 26, 2009, 08:46:34 PM
3.  Bernstein/NYPO:  Slow and dramatic.  This has the slowest third movement I've heard.

Sounds like I will need to hear that one. However, I like my first movement moderate, my second movement fast, and my third movement very slow. So far the closest to the mark for me has been Berglund/Helsinki (out of Davis/LSO Live, Vanska, Davis/Boston, Salonen/Verbier, Salonen/SRSO, and Segerstam/Helsinki).

Perhaps I like my finale so slow because I'm a totally hopeless romantic. It should begin at a quick tempo, step on the breaks when the horns enter with the "swan" theme, and then generally be measured until the conclusion. I like to be able to wallow in the rapturous, ecstatic E-flat unison strings of the last minute or so before the last chords. Segerstam was therefore jarring because he takes the movement very slowly until the final moment of rapture, then accelerates wildly, races to the finish, and delivers the last chords with little bitty silences. Felt robbed!
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: Renfield on December 26, 2009, 09:47:18 PM
to wallow in the rapturous, ecstatic E-flat unison strings of the last minute or so before the last chords.

You'll like the Bernstein, then.

(Assuming the one in question is the DG NYPO; the earlier version wallows less , and is noticeably less interventionist.)
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: Keemun on December 27, 2009, 08:28:14 AM
You'll like the Bernstein, then.

(Assuming the one in question is the DG NYPO; the earlier version wallows less , and is noticeably less interventionist.)

I'd forgotten that there were two NYPO versions.  The one in question is the earlier version (1961) on Sony.  I've edited my original post accordingly.  I haven't heard the later version on DG, but it definitely sound interesting. 
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: Keemun on December 27, 2009, 08:40:08 AM
Interesting.  I would have the top three in your list completely reversed and have Vanska in there at second  instead of Blomstedt, just  for the sheer showmanship of the music.  Blomstedt has a more classically hewn baton in everything he does and just sometimes I get waylaid by the beauty of the direction instead of the passion of the music.

Vanska is good, but it just didn't have the same effect on me as the top three did.  Blomstedt evokes the mystery that I associate with much of Sibelius' music.  In comparison, I found Maazel to be more classically played with much warmer playing.  Bernstein's overly slow third movement cost it a higher ranking.  The drama was good, but its slowness still bothered me a little.  I'm actually surprised by this because I usually like Bernstein's slow and dramatic readings.  I guess it didn't work for me with Sibelius' 5th, but perhaps his later DG version would.  There was nothing great about the two Davis recordings, and the third movement of Davis/BSO just sounds bad in my opinion.   
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: karlhenning on December 27, 2009, 09:20:23 AM
. . .  Bernstein's overly slow third movement cost it a higher ranking.  The drama was good, but its slowness still bothered me a little.

Yes, just a little mannered.
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: Renfield on December 27, 2009, 08:22:08 PM
I'd forgotten that there were two NYPO versions.  The one in question is the earlier version (1961) on Sony.  I've edited my original post accordingly.  I haven't heard the later version on DG, but it definitely sound interesting.

Ouch! If the slowness bothers you in that version, maybe I should advise you to stay away from the DG at all costs. :P

It's one of the most bent-out-of-shape recordings Bernstein has ever done, though I absolutely love it; and I know Sarge does too.
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: Keemun on December 28, 2009, 08:16:45 AM
Ouch! If the slowness bothers you in that version, maybe I should advise you to stay away from the DG at all costs. :P

It's one of the most bent-out-of-shape recordings Bernstein has ever done, though I absolutely love it; and I know Sarge does too.

Thanks.  Duly noted.  :D
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: Brian on December 28, 2009, 10:54:45 AM
Thanks.  Duly noted.  :D

On the other hand, and on a totally unrelated note, you will love Lenny's slowed-down-and-immensely-improved Dvorak Seventh! The intervention isn't too dramatic [40:15 to Szell's 35:35, Suitner's 36:48 and Kubelik's 38:03], so one might not even consider it intervention at all, but it's certainly effective. A really dark, impassioned performance.
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: vandermolen on January 31, 2010, 10:15:40 AM
Local charity shops usually have unappealing choice of CDs - ie freebie which comes with Gramophone and 'Greatest Hits of 1982' etc, but delighted yesterday to pick up Kullervo Symphony (Colin Davis) for £1.00. I don't usually like Davis' Sibelius but this sounds good.
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: eyeresist on January 31, 2010, 04:54:18 PM
For your consideration: Sarah Ioannides, El Paso Symphony Orchestra.

(http://www.lubowphotography.com/_B1P4812.jpg)

Bloody hell!

I wonder what her Sibelius is like? (on topic)
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: Sergeant Rock on February 01, 2010, 05:35:49 AM
You'll like the Bernstein, then. (Assuming the one in question is the DG NYPO; the earlier version wallows less , and is noticeably less interventionist.)

It's one of the most bent-out-of-shape recordings Bernstein has ever done, though I absolutely love it; and I know Sarge does too.

I do love it. It's not quite as perversely bent-out-of-shape as his DG Second...but almost  ;D  One correction, though: Bernstein's DG Fifth is with the Vienna Phil, not New York.

Other Fifths I love: Berglund/Bournemouth and COE, Rattle/Philh.

Sarge
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: Sergeant Rock on February 01, 2010, 05:46:27 AM
...but delighted yesterday to pick up Kullervo Symphony (Colin Davis) for £1.00. I don't usually like Davis' Sibelius but this sounds good.

It is good, even great (I'm assuming you bought the LSO live recording). I still prefer (probably alone in this) his earlier performance on RCA. They are very different. Timings don't tell all but you'll notice the RCA is much slower. I think that works especially well in the first and last movements, perhaps not so well in the Allegro Vivace third movement.

         RCA        LSO LIVE
I        16.18      14.22 
II       15.58      14.04
III      26.01      23.22
IV       10.27      10.18
V        11.53      9.46

The RCA really inspired Hurwitz poetically  ;D  "the drably rendered Lemminkäinen Suite and Fifth Symphony, which, along with the deadly dull Kullervo form the artistic nadir of the set."  But he gave the new version 10/10

http://www.classicstoday.com/review.asp?ReviewNum=9605

Sarge
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: karlhenning on February 01, 2010, 05:48:18 AM
Most interesting, Sarge.
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: vandermolen on February 01, 2010, 12:54:58 PM
It is good, even great (I'm assuming you bought the LSO live recording). I still prefer (probably alone in this) his earlier performance on RCA. They are very different. Timings don't tell all but you'll notice the RCA is much slower. I think that works especially well in the first and last movements, perhaps not so well in the Allegro Vivace third movement.

         RCA        LSO LIVE
I        16.18      14.22 
II       15.58      14.04
III      26.01      23.22
IV       10.27      10.18
V        11.53      9.46

The RCA really inspired Hurwitz poetically  ;D  "the drably rendered Lemminkäinen Suite and Fifth Symphony, which, along with the deadly dull Kullervo form the artistic nadir of the set."  But he gave the new version 10/10

http://www.classicstoday.com/review.asp?ReviewNum=9605

Sarge

Very interesting and yes, it was the LSO live version I have.  Generally I have been very disappointed by Davis' Sibelius symphony recordings but I really enjoyed the RCA CD of tone poems including Tapiola.
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: Renfield on February 02, 2010, 12:40:48 AM
I do love it. It's not quite as perversely bent-out-of-shape as his DG Second...but almost  ;D  One correction, though: Bernstein's DG Fifth is with the Vienna Phil, not New York.

Oops! I had his 'Pathetique' in mind when I wrote that (even though my comments did refer to the Sibelius).
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: Tapio Dimitriyevich Shostakovich on February 08, 2010, 10:43:17 PM
Important message for us Sibelians: Finland is now on Google Street View.
Sibeliustalo/Sibelius Hall (http://bit.ly/96Rf0P)
Ainola (the house) must be here somewhere (http://bit.ly/d5DhOX)
EDIT: I think it can be seen from here: http://bit.ly/bnaCkc Haha, I'm peeing in my Järvenpääntie's.
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: greg on February 13, 2010, 07:37:09 PM
Important message for us Sibelians: Finland is now on Google Street View.
Sibeliustalo/Sibelius Hall (http://bit.ly/96Rf0P)
Ainola (the house) must be here somewhere (http://bit.ly/d5DhOX)
EDIT: I think it can be seen from here: http://bit.ly/bnaCkc Haha, I'm peeing in my Järvenpääntie's.
Nice! Looks like a whole other world...

So, since I've finally really gotten into the 7th symphony (the only other symphony I've liked before this one was the 4th), what might I like by Sibelius that might sound similar?
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: Sergeant Rock on February 14, 2010, 04:24:36 AM
Nice! Looks like a whole other world...

So, since I've finally really gotten into the 7th symphony (the only other symphony I've liked before this one was the 4th), what might I like by Sibelius that might sound similar?

Have you tried Tapiola? See if you can find Karajan or Maazel.

Sarge
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: DavidRoss on February 14, 2010, 07:55:52 AM
I've finally really gotten into the 7th symphony (the only other symphony I've liked before this one was the 4th), what might I like by Sibelius that might sound similar?
I thought the same as Sarge, Greg--start with Tapiola.  (Can't recommend Karajan, however.)  Keep at it and you'll eventually find that most of the symphonic poems (Pohjola's Daughter, Luonnotar, En Saga, etc.) and symphonies 5, 6, 3, 1, and even 2 are also great--and so is most of the incidental music (i.e. Pelleas & Melisande) and the violin concerto and much else, as well!
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: greg on February 14, 2010, 06:24:48 PM
I listened to it this morning- had listened to it several times before, but it's probably been a couple years since my last listen, so I didn't remember a note of it.

So, upon listening, my opinion turned out very good in a deceptive way- I didn't feel like, "WHHHOOOOOOOOOAAA!!!!!! THIS IS AMAZING! BEST THING EVER! EXACTLY WHAT I'M LOOKING FOR!!!!" Instead, I felt like, "hmmm... nice... interesting... sounds good..." etc. which might not sound very favorable, but it's best to remember that practically all of my favorite music started off this way. Then, I just have the feeling that it would be nice to keep on listening whenever I want to, and it grows on me.

Just wondering... anyone else ever notice having first impressions which might be a little TOO favorable, and then the enthusiasm fizzles out over time?  :D
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: Tapio Dimitriyevich Shostakovich on February 15, 2010, 09:28:03 AM
Just wondering... anyone else ever notice having first impressions which might be a little TOO favorable, and then the enthusiasm fizzles out over time?  :D
Yes, but that doesn't say anything. Everything happened. Bad became good. Good became bad. Bad stayed bad and good stayed good. Tapiola, it's a lot about the mood and the 1000 incarnations of the main theme. It'll probably grow on you; least I can say it works for many people :) For me, the Blomstedt SFSO is the one and only.
Easier and devastating: You want to get the Wood Nymph now! It's such a forgotten work I cannot understand why. Once again I read a sibelius book of a music professor, again the Wood nymph is not mentioned. Crazy.
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: jlaurson on February 15, 2010, 12:11:33 PM
 Ashkenazy Sibelius cycle on Exton is finnish(ed), too! But the discs can be difficult to to get outside Japan.

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51GiQiFqadL._SL500_AA240_.jpg) (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B00008CLIG/goodmusicguide-20)
V. Ashkenazy I,
Philharmonia
Decca ~$40,- (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B00008CLIG/goodmusicguide-20)
(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/41AP9WJHSPL._SL500_AA240_.jpg) (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B0000041BV/goodmusicguide-20)
C. Davis I,
Boston SO
Philips v.1 ~$18,- (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B0000041BV/goodmusicguide-20)
(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/21CAP78YVWL._SL500_AA130_.jpg) (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B000000A9D/goodmusicguide-20)
A. Gibson,
Royal ScO
Chandos (oop) (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B000000A9D/goodmusicguide-20)
(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/513gkv4W8EL._SL500_AA240_.jpg) (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B0010SU4UW/goodmusicguide-20)
L. Segerstam I,
Danish NSO
Chandos/Brilliant ~$46,- (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B0010SU4UW/goodmusicguide-20)
(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/21V3F35G0BL._SL500_AA132_.jpg) (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B0000016JY/goodmusicguide-20)
N. Jaervi I,
Gothenburg SO
BIS ~$62,- (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B0000016JY/goodmusicguide-20)
(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/5185H-P2E4L._SL500_AA240_.jpg) (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B000NDFKDQ/goodmusicguide-20)
A. Collins,
LSO
Decca (Japan) ~$44,- (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B000NDFKDQ/goodmusicguide-20)
(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/41l23NQzgQL._SL500_AA240_.jpg) (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B00006OA66/goodmusicguide-20)
L. Maazel II,
Pittsburg SO
Sony ~$25,-

 (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B00006OA66/goodmusicguide-20)
(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51X8447B7VL._SL500_AA240_.jpg) (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B000CQNVSU/goodmusicguide-20)
L. Segerstam II,
Helsinki PO
Ondine ~$54,- (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B000CQNVSU/goodmusicguide-20)
(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/4154NWJFSBL._SL500_AA240_.jpg) (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B0000041BW/goodmusicguide-20)
C. Davis I,
Boston SO
Philips v.2 ~$18,- (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B0000041BW/goodmusicguide-20)
(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/31HRVE76QBL._SL500_AA240_.jpg) (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B00008CLIG/goodmusicguide-20)
H.v. Karajan / Kamu,
Berlin Phil
DG ~$24,- (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B00008CLIG/goodmusicguide-20)
(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/41KWV2RBDQL._SL500_AA240_.jpg) (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B00008PW43/nectarandambr-20)
L. Bernstein,
NY Phil
Sony ~$50,- (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B00008PW43/goodmusicguide-20)
(http://g-ecx.images-amazon.com/images/G/01/ciu/c2/fb/a11db220dca044c269049010._AA190_.L.jpg) (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B00000IGLH/goodmusicguide-20)
P. Berglund I,
Bournemouth SO
Royal Classics (oop) (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B00000IGLH/goodmusicguide-20)
(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/61MGV75JENL._SL500_AA240_.jpg) (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B000009L6O/goodmusicguide-20)
J.P. Saraste,
Finnish RSO
Finlandia (oop) ~$60,- (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B000009L6O/goodmusicguide-20)
(http://images.amazon.com/images/P/B003GT37LG.01.L.jpg) (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B003GT37LG/goodmusicguide-20)
G. Rozhdestvensky,
Moscow RSO
Melodyi. ~$45,-
(http://www.hmv.co.jp/product/detail/1424517)
(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/212K0QHVRAL._SL500_AA130_.jpg) (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B00005Q450/goodmusicguide-20)
O. Vanska,
Lahti SO
BIS ~$65,- (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B00005Q450/goodmusicguide-20)
(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/41qB4N9j12L._SL500_AA240_.jpg) (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B0000041Z3/goodmusicguide-20)
L. Maazel,
Vienna Phil.
Decca ~$24,- (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B0000041Z3/goodmusicguide-20)
(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/21YBXARJNCL._SL500_AA130_.jpg) (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B0000035OJ/goodmusicguide-20)
K. Sanderling,
Berlin
Berlin Cl. ~$33,- (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B0000035OJ/goodmusicguide-20)
(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/414Y1JM39XL._SL500_AA240_.jpg) (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B00003ZKRM/goodmusicguide-20)
Sir J. Barbirolli,
Hallé Orchestra
EMI ~$35,- (sale) (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B00003ZKRM/goodmusicguide-20)
(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51NQ1JMEBEL._SL500_AA240_.jpg) (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B00005MIZT/goodmusicguide-20)
P. Berglund II,
Helsinki PO
EMI ~$35,- (sale) (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B00005MIZT/goodmusicguide-20)
(http://images.amazon.com/images/P/B002LTJ30G.01.L.jpg) (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B002LTJ30G/goodmusicguide-20)
C. Davis III,
LSO v.1 (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B0001HK2AK/nectarandambr-20)-v.2 (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B00026KGX8/goodmusicguide-20)-v.3 (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B000O78IWQ/nectarandambr-20)-v.4 (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B001IC59JG/nectarandambr-20)
LSO live (4 à ~$16,-)
(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/4127TXBJV9L._SL500_AA240_.jpg) (http://www.amazon.UK/exec/obidos/ASIN/B0000SYABW/nectarandambr-21)
S. Oramo,
CoBirm.O

Erato ~£30,-
(Europe only)
(http://www.amazon.co.uk/exec/obidos/ASIN/B0000SYABW/nectarandambr-21)
(http://images.amazon.com/images/P/B000FOQ1EA.01.L.jpg) (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B000FOQ1EA/goodmusicguide-20)
H. Blomstedt,
S.F.SO
Decca ~$31,- (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B000FOQ1EA/goodmusicguide-20)
(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51aCTh-UO0L._SL500_AA240_.jpg) (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B00005QISF/goodmusicguide-20)
P. Sakari,
Iceland SO
Naxos ~$36,- (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B00005QISF/goodmusicguide-20)
(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/41xDPCRN07L._SL500_AA240_.jpg) (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B000SSPL2Q/goodmusicguide-20)
N. Järvi II,
Gothenburg SO
DG ~$56,- (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B000SSPL2Q/goodmusicguide-20)
(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51vOXxcZpHL._SL500_AA240_.jpg) (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B000UPQFEA/goodmusicguide-20)
P. Rattle,
Birmingh.SO
EMI ~$34,- (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B000UPQFEA/goodmusicguide-20)
(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/31TE3rEBl%2BL._SL500_AA240_.jpg) (http://www.amazon.de/exec/obidos/ASIN/B00002472T/nectarandambr-21)
P. Berglund III,
Chamber OoE

Finlandia ~$40,-
(Germany only)
(http://www.amazon.de/exec/obidos/ASIN/B00002472T/nectarandambr-21)
(http://images.amazon.com/images/P/B00011KOF4.01.L.jpg) (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B00011KOF4/goodmusicguide-20)
C. Davis II,
LSO

RCA ~$41,- (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B00011KOF4/goodmusicguide-20)
(http://img.hmv.co.jp/image/jacket/190/25/4/0/725.jpg) (http://www.hmv.co.jp/product/detail/2540725)
A. Watanabe,
Japan PhilO

(Japan only)
Denon ~$31,-
(http://www.hmv.co.jp/product/detail/2540725)

Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: greg on February 15, 2010, 01:55:15 PM
Yes, but that doesn't say anything. Everything happened. Bad became good. Good became bad. Bad stayed bad and good stayed good. Tapiola, it's a lot about the mood and the 1000 incarnations of the main theme. It'll probably grow on you; least I can say it works for many people :) For me, the Blomstedt SFSO is the one and only.
Easier and devastating: You want to get the Wood Nymph now! It's such a forgotten work I cannot understand why. Once again I read a sibelius book of a music professor, again the Wood nymph is not mentioned. Crazy.
I'll check that one out.  8)
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: Brian on February 15, 2010, 03:12:17 PM
So, since I've finally really gotten into the 7th symphony (the only other symphony I've liked before this one was the 4th), what might I like by Sibelius that might sound similar?

At first, when I only knew Symphonies 2, 5 and 7, it seemed a lot to me as if the earlier symphonies were just preparations for the Seventh, that 7 unifies various ideas from the earlier ones in a Great way. Now, though I definitely still notice ways in which 7 condenses and unifies the previous six, I've fallen in love with ... well, all but No. 4. So maybe you shouldn't look to me for advice.  ;D  I do definitely see similarities between 4 and Tapiola for you to explore.
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: Scarpia on February 15, 2010, 03:21:08 PM
At first, when I only knew Symphonies 2, 5 and 7, it seemed a lot to me as if the earlier symphonies were just preparations for the Seventh, that 7 unifies various ideas from the earlier ones in a Great way. Now, though I definitely still notice ways in which 7 condenses and unifies the previous six, I've fallen in love with ... well, all but No. 4. So maybe you shouldn't look to me for advice.  ;D  I do definitely see similarities between 4 and Tapiola for you to explore.

I think 4 is the only Sibelius symphony that does not come together for me.  Oddly, it gets less and less convincing as I get more familiar with it.  3 keeps getting better and better.  Tapiola, is a piece that only works in the right performance (for me).  Karajan's circa 1982 recording on DG is the most convincing for me (particularly the apparent blizzard scene).

Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: DavidRoss on February 16, 2010, 05:45:06 AM
I think 4 is the only Sibelius symphony that does not come together for me. [...]Tapiola, is a piece that only works in the right performance (for me).
Too bad.  Both are at the summit of the repertoire, for me and many others who appreciate them.  I had the pleasure of hearing Berglund's recording of the 4th with the COE just last night.

You want to get the Wood Nymph now! It's such a forgotten work I cannot understand why.
Perhaps because it's an early work that doesn't begin to compare with his mature style?  Too much of it sounds like the Karelia pageant muzak crossed with Nightride & Sunrise--interesting for its proto-minimalist style, perhaps, but otherwise mostly dismissible.  Sibelius himself seems to have dismissed it, as he never revised it into a coherent whole, as he did with some of his youthful works, nor did he publish it.
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: Franco on February 16, 2010, 06:48:24 AM
Aside from a few recordings of Sym 2 & 4 and the well known tone poems I don't have any Sibelius symphonies. 

If you were to suggest one complete set that would be a good basic reference set, who would it be?

I was thinking of Vanska, Berglund or Segerstam. 
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: Brian on February 16, 2010, 06:57:18 AM
I have Berglund's on EMI (Helsinki) - got it for $30 - have heard the First (good), Second (good), Fifth (VERY good), Sixth (extraordinary).

I have also heard some from the Segerstam (Ondine) - Third (my preferred Third!), Fifth (slow opening, too fast in the final coda, great in between), Seventh (my preferred Seventh!), and the coupled Violin Concerto (pretty terrible, sadly).

And some from Vanska - Second (finale not as superexciting as I'd like, the rest is good), Fourth (though I'm not a fan of the symphony, this is a great recording), Fifth (VERY good).

Sanderling (Berlin Classics, Brilliant) has a miracle of a Sixth Symphony.

~~~~~~

DavidRoss - Karelia, pageant muzak? But it makes me happy  :(
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: Scarpia on February 16, 2010, 07:15:03 AM
Aside from a few recordings of Sym 2 & 4 and the well known tone poems I don't have any Sibelius symphonies. 

If you were to suggest one complete set that would be a good basic reference set, who would it be?

I was thinking of Vanska, Berglund or Segerstam.

I have Vanska and it is nice to have it as an alternative but it is not my favorite by far.  The Maazel/Pittsburgh is my choice overall (I prefer it to the earlier Maazel/VPO).  There is also a nice set with the SFO.

(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51HY4XKGH1L._SL500_AA240_.jpg)

(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/415dkb3WBNL._SL500_AA240_.jpg)

There's also the Jarvi.  I got it because I loved his recordings of the tone poems, haven't listened to the symphonies yet but I am optimistic.

(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/41xDPCRN07L._SL500_AA240_.jpg)
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: Franco on February 16, 2010, 07:23:43 AM
Thanks for those suggestions, I forgot about the Blomstedt/SF, I had considered that one as well.
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: Scarpia on February 16, 2010, 07:26:18 AM
Thanks for those suggestions, I forgot about the Blomstedt/SF, I had considered that one as well.

Less "High voltage" than some others.  But an interesting view of the music.
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: DavidRoss on February 16, 2010, 07:50:26 AM
Aside from a few recordings of Sym 2 & 4 and the well known tone poems I don't have any Sibelius symphonies. 

If you were to suggest one complete set that would be a good basic reference set, who would it be?

I was thinking of Vanska, Berglund or Segerstam.
All are excellent.  And so are Bernstein/NYPO and Blomstedt/SFS--my faves these days, along with Berglund's latest (with the COE). 

Note:  Vänskä, Berglund, and Blomstedt are all on the leaner, cooler, more objective side, whereas Bernstein and especially Segerstam tend to warmer, bigger, more romanticized interpretations.  Another in the latter category I admire is Maazel's first cycle with the WP--the set through which I first learned to appreciate and then to love Sibelius's symphonies.

If I had to choose just one from all of these as a good basic reference, it would be Blomstedt/SFS.  Very good sound and orchestra play, Blomstedt's approach is neither too fat nor too thin, and better than any other I know he brings out the essentially Sibelian characteristics of the first two symphonies rather than approaching them as ersatz Tchaikovsky.
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: jlaurson on February 16, 2010, 08:49:36 AM
I would consider one of these. All that are not good basic sets have been deleted.
This may include personal favorites (Barbirolli's set, for example), but with so many Sibelius sets out there that eschew introducing
an extraordinary amount of personal color while being absolutely first rate (rather than bland or boring--like either of Jaervi's sets, btw.),
there is no point in including them among recommendations for a first set. Perhaps count the Bernstein among those, actually... if I had to
reduce this list any more, I'd leave: Ashkenazy, Segerstam, Blomstedt, Sanderling.

(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51GiQiFqadL._SL500_AA240_.jpg) (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B00008CLIG/goodmusicguide-20)
V. Ashkenazy I,
Philharmonia
Decca ~$40,- (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B00008CLIG/goodmusicguide-20)
(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/41l23NQzgQL._SL500_AA240_.jpg) (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B00006OA66/goodmusicguide-20)
L. Maazel II,
Pittsburg SO
Sony ~$25,-

 (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B00006OA66/goodmusicguide-20)
(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51X8447B7VL._SL500_AA240_.jpg) (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B000CQNVSU/goodmusicguide-20)
L. Segerstam II,
Helsinki PO
Ondine ~$54,- (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B000CQNVSU/goodmusicguide-20)
(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/41KWV2RBDQL._SL500_AA240_.jpg) (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B00008PW43/nectarandambr-20)
L. Bernstein,
NY Phil
Sony ~$50,- (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B00008PW43/goodmusicguide-20)
(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/41qB4N9j12L._SL500_AA240_.jpg) (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B0000041Z3/goodmusicguide-20)
L. Maazel,
Vienna Phil.
Decca ~$24,- (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B0000041Z3/goodmusicguide-20)
(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/21YBXARJNCL._SL500_AA130_.jpg) (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B0000035OJ/goodmusicguide-20)
K. Sanderling,
Berlin
Berlin Cl. ~$33,- (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B0000035OJ/goodmusicguide-20)
(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/415dkb3WBNL._SL500_AA240_.jpg) (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B000FOQ1EA/goodmusicguide-20)
H. Blomstedt,
S.F.SO
Decca ~$31,- (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B000FOQ1EA/goodmusicguide-20)

Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: Franco on February 16, 2010, 08:58:05 AM
Quote
Note:  Vänskä, Berglund, and Blomstedt are all on the leaner, cooler, more objective side, whereas Bernstein and especially Segerstam tend to warmer, bigger, more romanticized interpretations. 

This may be the most important dichotomy, and I tend towards the cooler more objective side.  I am glad to have been told about these basic interpretative groups since I don't think I will go for Segerstam, which had previously been high on my list of choices.  I never considered Bernstein, since I don't ever include his recordings among my favorites other than with his own music or other Americans.
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: Sergeant Rock on February 16, 2010, 09:04:03 AM
Although I haven't heard any cycle that satisfies completely (I own 11), if I had to choose it would be Ashkenazy or Maazel/WP. Berglund/Bournemouth would be a first choice (and includes Kullervo) but it's been long oop. I love Maazel's Pittsburgh 4th and 5th. Now that the cycle is available cheaply, I've ordered it. Lookiong forward to further comparisons: Vienna vs Pittsburgh!

Sarge
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: Sergeant Rock on February 16, 2010, 09:20:15 AM
...I tend towards the cooler more objective side.

Well, forget everything I said  :D

Sarge
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: Scarpia on February 16, 2010, 09:26:15 AM
I love Maazel's Pittsburgh 4th and 5th. Now that the cycle is available cheaply, I've ordered it.

Good decision.   :D  I'd say 3 and 6 are the brightest gems in that set. 
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: Renfield on February 16, 2010, 10:55:07 PM
I just listened to Maazel's Sibelius 4th for the first time; or tried to! At the 1:49 mark, first movement,  there is a very ugly 'pop' in my rip. The question is: is it my rip, my CD, or the recording? :(

Could I ask one of you who has the recording in its most recent CD incarnation to help confirm whether the problem is with my copy?

Edit: Seems like re-ripping had no effect, meaning it should be the CD, or just a very loud edit. :-\
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: Lethevich on February 16, 2010, 11:52:38 PM
I checked the rip I have and it too has a blemish at that exact time as well.
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: Renfield on February 17, 2010, 12:01:25 AM
Thanks. I guess someone must have sneezed in the studio. >:D

In all seriousness, I don't usually mind blemishes - obviously, given how I go for 1930s recordings. But that one just lashed out at me from the creamy sound of the Vienna strings. If it's in the master, I wonder how it passed QC.
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: Tapio Dimitriyevich Shostakovich on February 17, 2010, 12:37:38 AM
Perhaps because it's an early work that doesn't begin to compare with his mature style?  Too much of it sounds like the Karelia pageant muzak crossed with Nightride & Sunrise--interesting for its proto-minimalist style, perhaps, but otherwise mostly dismissible.  Sibelius himself seems to have dismissed it, as he never revised it into a coherent whole, as he did with some of his youthful works, nor did he publish it.
I enjoy the straightforward style pretty much and I think, the drama scene (starting at 16:45 on BIS) is too good not to be heard. This is how drama works  :o
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: DavidRoss on February 17, 2010, 04:35:54 AM
I just listened to Maazel's Sibelius 4th for the first time; or tried to! At the 1:49 mark, first movement,  there is a very ugly 'pop' in my rip. The question is: is it my rip, my CD, or the recording?
Your later post explains that you're referring to Maazel's WP 4th.  I have two copies of that recording on CD--one in the complete symphony set, the other on the Decca "Legends" disc with Tapiola.  Neither has the flaw you describe.
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: Drasko on February 17, 2010, 04:59:14 AM
There is a glitch audible at 1:49 on my CD, from the set.
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: DarkAngel on February 17, 2010, 05:18:12 AM
Aside from a few recordings of Sym 2 & 4 and the well known tone poems I don't have any Sibelius symphonies. 

If you were to suggest one complete set that would be a good basic reference set, who would it be?

I was thinking of Vanska, Berglund or Segerstam.

Berglund definitely yes, but get the early EMI Helsinki PO set (not his later remakes) now issued on two budget priced EMI Gemini releases.......or pay more for the 8CD box and get very nice Kullervo and extra tone poems
 
Also as mentioned by a couple others the early Maazel/Decca set is outstanding powerful sweeping performances with great sound. Also the Bernstein/Sony is cut from same cloth but with more Lenny exagerations, slight edge to Maazel/WP/Decca
 
I own the Vanska and new Segerstam/Ondine sets but not really thrilled by them, they are broader more restrained style of Sibelius performance......would not be top choices for me
 
If you want a cooler leaner less romantic Sibelius set the Blomstedt/Decca will fit the bill nicely
 
 
 (http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51XBPAQNQQL._SL500_AA240_.jpg) (http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51WGP741RQL._SL500_AA240_.jpg)  (http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51NQ1JMEBEL._SL500_AA240_.jpg)  (http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/41qB4N9j12L._SL500_AA240_.jpg)
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: Sergeant Rock on February 17, 2010, 05:18:50 AM
I just listened to Maazel's Sibelius 4th for the first time; or tried to! At the 1:49 mark, first movement,  there is a very ugly 'pop' in my rip. The question is: is it my rip, my CD, or the recording? :(

I have the 3 disc London box and the London Jubilee incarnation: both have the pop although I really had to crank up the volume to hear it distinctly. Being an old school LP guy, that kind of thing doesn't usually bother me. I've heard worse  ;D

Sarge
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: Tapio Dimitriyevich Shostakovich on February 17, 2010, 05:25:08 AM
Sibelius in small doses, you should like it. One of my favourite pieces! "Canzonetta", from Kuolema, Op 62a. Lovely pizzicatti. Rather slow playing here. Järvi/Gothenburg plays it in 3:21.
http://www.youtube.com/v/pZNwN2cD1Q8
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: jlaurson on February 17, 2010, 05:27:58 AM
Sibelius in small doses, you should like it. One of my favourite pieces! "Canzonetta", from Kuolema, Op 62a. Lovely pizzicatti.
http://www.youtube.com/v/pZNwN2cD1Q8
Sounds like post-depression Tchaikovsky.
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: Tapio Dimitriyevich Shostakovich on February 17, 2010, 05:32:18 AM
Sounds like post-depression Tchaikovsky.
Oh this is deeply european; we love darkness, depression and tragedy :) I'll never understand people from Africa with all their drumming. :o
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: Renfield on February 17, 2010, 06:12:04 AM
Your later post explains that you're referring to Maazel's WP 4th.  I have two copies of that recording on CD--one in the complete symphony set, the other on the Decca "Legends" disc with Tapiola.  Neither has the flaw you describe.

There is a glitch audible at 1:49 on my CD, from the set.

I have the 3 disc London box and the London Jubilee incarnation: both have the pop although I really had to crank up the volume to hear it distinctly. Being an old school LP guy, that kind of thing doesn't usually bother me. I've heard worse  ;D

Sarge


Firstly, I should indeed have specified 'VPO' to begin with. I keep forgetting that he's done another cycle in Pittsburgh.

Secondly, your very useful (and most kind) observations clearly point to this being in the master, but perhaps not as intrusive when not on headphones, as was my case. I was just surprised at such an obvious blemish, in an otherwise fairly recent recording. I wouldn't think something recorded that late should 'pop' anywhere! Hence my bringing it up at all.

That said, it could be the CD transfer. Anyone have an LP? ;D


Excellent performance, otherwise. Quite 'straight', but very powerful. I'll be happy to hear more from that set.
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: DavidRoss on February 17, 2010, 06:31:52 AM
...your very useful (and most kind) observations clearly point to this being in the master....
???  Not on either of my Decca discs.


Berglund definitely yes, but get the early EMI Helsinki PO set (not his later remakes) now issued on two budget priced EMI Gemini releases.......or pay more for the 8CD box and get very nice Kullervo and extra tone poems
 
Also as mentioned by a couple others the early Maazel/Decca set is outstanding powerful sweeping performances with great sound. Also the Bernstein/Sony is cut from same cloth but with more Lenny exagerations, slight edge to Maazel/WP/Decca
 
I own the Vanska and new Segerstam/Ondine sets but not really thrilled by them, they are broader more restrained style of Sibelius performance......would not be top choices for me
 
If you want a cooler leaner less romantic Sibelius set the Blomstedt/Decca will fit the bill nicely
 
If you could find either of the OOP Berglund cycles, both are quite good, and the last with the COE is my favorite--but the Helsinki set is a bargain and it is quite good, even though the orchestra back then was rather ragged in comparison to the instrument Segerstam wielded 30 years later.

I and many others prefer Bernstein to Maazel--his set with the NYPO is not at all exaggerated (and the NYPO winds are to die for) but his later takes with the WP certainly are!

Vänskä is certainly on the more restrained side, but Segerstam (either with the Danes or the Finns) is far from it--much bigger and fuller and more romantic than either Bernstein/NYPO or Maazel.
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: Sergeant Rock on February 17, 2010, 06:36:31 AM
That said, it could be the CD transfer. Anyone have an LP? ;D

I do, but my Thorens turntable is presently out of commission. But I'm not sure I could pick out that specific pop among the many ground in snap, crackle and pops I'm sure that record has acquired in forty years  ;D

Sarge
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: karlhenning on February 17, 2010, 06:37:53 AM
I just listened to Maazel's Sibelius 4th for the first time; or tried to! At the 1:49 mark, first movement,  there is a very ugly 'pop' in my rip. The question is: is it my rip, my CD, or the recording? :(

With the Vienna Phil?  It's not in my CD (so, not in the recording).
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: Renfield on February 17, 2010, 08:05:11 AM
???  Not on either of my Decca discs.

With the Vienna Phil?  It's not in my CD (so, not in the recording).

With just David, I was assuming it might have been the equipment that made it less distinct, or some other circumstantial factor next to the slew of people who have noted the error; hence 'points to' vs. 'conclusively determines'.

But two seem unlikely to be 'noise'. Something is fishy (or 'unfishy') with certain CD printings, methinks.

(I presume Sarge, at the very least, checked CDs directly, rather than rips - correct me if I'm wrong).
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: DavidRoss on February 17, 2010, 08:43:10 AM
With just David, I was assuming it might have been the equipment that made it less distinct, or some other circumstantial factor next to the slew of people who have noted the error; hence 'points to' vs. 'conclusively determines'.
So little respect for me?  I had thought you more observant than that.

Sigh.
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: Renfield on February 17, 2010, 08:58:54 AM
So little respect for me?  I had thought you more observant than that.

Sigh.

Respect and investigative methodology do not intermingle for me. When in doubt, I am taught to be as observant as to first question self-reported facts, especially when a plausible alternative explanation is readily available.

I've already questioned my own assertion, by seeking to confirm that the problem existed at all. Then I asserted the most likely case, after reviewing the evidence: mainly that the single contradictory observation was due to noise.

This is regardless of who made it, as long as it's directly comparable to the rest of them.

When new data became available via Karl (quantitatively: there were now two of you), I revised my hypothesis to account for it.


Respect does not factor in this; except, potentially, as regards my not taking your report as 'evidence from authority'. But again, that is a methodological choice, I don't use authority as evidence. I utilise it when assessing the evidence I do use, instead.

Bottom line: I did not mean to insult you. My apologies. But I did not mean to insult good practice, either. :)
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: Moldyoldie on February 17, 2010, 11:24:44 AM
I just listened to Maazel's Sibelius 4th for the first time; or tried to! At the 1:49 mark, first movement,  there is a very ugly 'pop' in my rip. The question is: is it my rip, my CD, or the recording? :(

Could I ask one of you who has the recording in its most recent CD incarnation to help confirm whether the problem is with my copy?

Edit: Seems like re-ripping had no effect, meaning it should be the CD, or just a very loud edit. :-\
I've just listened to my Decca Legends CD through headphones -- NO GLITCH AT 1:49 -- pop, snap, crackle or otherwise.
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: DavidRoss on February 17, 2010, 11:42:11 AM
Respect does not factor in this; except, potentially, as regards my not taking your report as 'evidence from authority'. But again, that is a methodological choice, I don't use authority as evidence. I utilise it when assessing the evidence I do use, instead.

Bottom line: I did not mean to insult you. My apologies. But I did not mean to insult good practice, either. :)
You deceive yourself.  It's not a matter of dismissing "evidence from authority," but of dismissing evidence, period, due to regarding me as an incompetent witness.  This is not "good practice."  Throwing out evidence that doesn't fit some predetermined conclusion practically defines BAD practice.  There's no way to get around your dismissal of my credibility, which is not just rude (whether consciously intended or not) but indicates a surprising lack of judgment or failure to observe the obvious.

Sigh.
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: Scarpia on February 17, 2010, 11:44:43 AM
You deceive yourself.  It's not a matter of dismissing "evidence from authority," but of dismissing evidence, period, due to regarding me as an incompetent witness.  This is not "good practice."  Throwing out evidence that doesn't fit some predetermined conclusion practically defines BAD practice.  There's no way to get around your dismissal of my credibility, which is not just rude (whether consciously intended or not) but indicates a surprising lack of judgment or failure to observe the obvious.

Sigh.

Besides which, if you had not dismissed the evidence you would have spared yourself the hissy fit.  ;D
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: DavidRoss on February 17, 2010, 12:08:05 PM
Besides which, if you had not dismissed the evidence you would have spared yourself the hissy fit.  ;D
Hissy fit?  Such mischaracterization speaks ill of your own credibility.
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: Scarpia on February 17, 2010, 12:09:53 PM
Hissy fit?  Such mischaracterization speaks ill of your own credibility.

How many keyboard would I have worn out if I took issue every time someone ignored my helpful advice on a web site?   ;D   Although, I guess I'd be galled if someone suggested my stereo wasn't sufficiently refined to hear a loud "pop."
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: DavidW on February 17, 2010, 01:48:29 PM
Edit: Seems like re-ripping had no effect, meaning it should be the CD, or just a very loud edit. :-\

Not necessarily, a pop from hitting a scratch would not be a random error.  Do you use secure mode when you rip?
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: Dancing Divertimentian on February 17, 2010, 08:16:27 PM
Although, I guess I'd be galled if someone suggested my stereo wasn't sufficiently refined to hear a loud "pop."

Yep. ;D
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: Est.1965 on February 17, 2010, 08:32:15 PM
Is this the blip you hear (it occurs 8 seconds into this snip).  ??   $:)
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: Scarpia on February 17, 2010, 09:35:01 PM
Is this the blip you hear (it occurs 8 seconds into this snip).  ??   $:)

I heard nothing at all.
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: Lethevich on February 18, 2010, 12:49:54 AM
Same, it was blank for me. 'dis is the bizzle:

http://www.zshare.net/audio/727103254248ad8f/
http://rapidshare.com/files/352264258/maazsib.mp3
http://www.megaupload.com/?d=8DCNA7ON

(zShare will stream without requiring a DL, but might not work for all countries)
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: Renfield on February 18, 2010, 11:20:08 AM
Not necessarily, a pop from hitting a scratch would not be a random error.  Do you use secure mode when you rip?

The thing to note is that the same 'pop' has been found by a number of people on the exact same spot.

That's why I dismissed random error. :)


David, I have already stated my point of view on this, and I am sorry it is offensive, as I will maintain it.

However, any consideration of empirical data towards establishing a conclusion is, as I am sure you know, subject to continuous revision. Basic inductive methodology, and I have deliberately avoided narrowing it down to 'scientific', dictates assessing both the effect of evidence on a possible conclusion, and the significance of of evidence against each other.

When a contradictory observation to the trend occurs, it might or might not be noise.

True, it is not a necessity to treat the sources of the self-reported observations under one label, e.g. 'agent'.

But it reduces complexity, when a model is still at a level when such complexity is not necessarily needed, as was the case before the evidence contradicting the 'simple' conclusion started to accumulate. It's a balancing act.

Forgive me if I chose not to go into the process of assessing the credibility of yourself as an agent, and then Sarge, then Lethe, and so on, simply to make a shorthand assessment of what is likely to be the case over an artifact in a classical recording.


If it does really matter so much how I integrate your opinions into models, then I shall refrain from doing so in the future. Which is a shame, as I do take account of your statements as much as Sarge's, Lethe's, and everyone else's.




And yes, that's the artifact - more like a 'click' than a 'pop' if we'll be technical: never said it was loud, just ugly! - in Lethe's samples.
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: Scarpia on February 18, 2010, 11:32:57 AM
Same, it was blank for me. 'dis is the bizzle:

http://www.zshare.net/audio/727103254248ad8f/
http://rapidshare.com/files/352264258/maazsib.mp3
http://www.megaupload.com/?d=8DCNA7ON

(zShare will stream without requiring a DL, but might not work for all countries)

Sounds like data loss.  Since numerous people report it, it could be that a damaged file was used when the CD was mastered, or there is a physical flaw in the lithographic master for the CD.  I have the set at home and I'm curious to see if the glitch is there as well.

Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: DarkAngel on February 18, 2010, 12:06:58 PM
(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/5100Gv1wLkL._SL500_AA280_.jpg) (http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51WfY5DYjbL._SL500_AA280_.jpg)
 
Does anyone else here besides me like Karajan's later EMI Sibelius better than DG versions that most critics are always gushing over?
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: Scarpia on February 18, 2010, 12:17:54 PM
(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/5100Gv1wLkL._SL500_AA280_.jpg) (http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51WfY5DYjbL._SL500_AA280_.jpg)
 
Does anyone else here besides me like Karajan's later EMI Sibelius better than DG versions that most critics are always gushing over?

Well, there is no late EMI 7, which is my favorite of the 60's DG set.  I probably prefer the EMI 5 and 6, to some extent because of dramatically better audio engineering.
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: Brewski on February 18, 2010, 12:25:53 PM
Last Saturday night Alan Gilbert and the New York Philharmonic played at Carnegie Hall, ending with the Sibelius Symphony No. 2, and as an encore, Valse Triste

Tuesday night, Mariss Jansons and the Concertgebouw were also at Carnegie Hall, with the Sibelius Violin Concerto (with Janine Jansen) and ending with the Rachmaninov Symphony No. 2, and as an encore...Valse Triste.

I realize it's a popular encore, but still...after not having heard the piece for maybe, five years, it shows up twice in a week!

--Bruce
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: Renfield on February 18, 2010, 12:56:28 PM
Sounds like data loss.  Since numerous people report it, it could be that a damaged file was used when the CD was mastered, or there is a physical flaw in the lithographic master for the CD.  I have the set at home and I'm curious to see if the glitch is there as well.

The challenge to this is that David and Karl seem to not be reporting the flaw in their sets, and they are (presumably) from the same master. Unless they aren't, and Decca switched (re)masters at some point.


(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/5100Gv1wLkL._SL500_AA280_.jpg) (http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51WfY5DYjbL._SL500_AA280_.jpg)
 
Does anyone else here besides me like Karajan's later EMI Sibelius better than DG versions that most critics are always gushing over?

I do feel that the EMI is better presented, sonically, and sometimes more consciously 'authoritative' in style, but I feel the DG versions generally have more atmosphere, when available. And I'm happy with less self-assured Sibelius.

In fact, my most favourite Sibelius from Karajan generally comes from the Philharmonia years. I consider his later Philharmonia 5th better than even the DG. And the 4th is not necessarily worse: more like another angle.


I realize it's a popular encore, but still...after not having heard the piece for maybe, five years, it shows up twice in a week!

--Bruce

Ashkenazy doing the Sibelius 2nd and Nielsen Concerto with Fröst also played it, when I heard them three years ago.

It must be the 'it' encore for Sibelius. Frankly, I would approve of someone daring enough to do Finlandia! 8)
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: karlhenning on February 18, 2010, 12:58:30 PM
I once arranged the Valse triste for cl/vn/pf.  May even have a (poorly recorded) tape of it somewhere . . . .
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: Brewski on February 18, 2010, 01:09:51 PM
It must be the 'it' encore for Sibelius. Frankly, I would approve of someone daring enough to do Finlandia! 8)

I would be delighted to witness that. 

I once arranged the Valse triste for cl/vn/pf.  May even have a (poorly recorded) tape of it somewhere . . . .

And I would be delighted to witness that, as well!

--Bruce
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: karlhenning on February 18, 2010, 01:19:50 PM
And I would be delighted to witness that, as well!

Well, Bruce, I was just even whimsically considering adapting it for flute/clarinet/harpsichord . . . .
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: Brewski on February 18, 2010, 01:22:57 PM
Well, Bruce, I was just even whimsically considering adapting it for flute/clarinet/harpsichord . . . .

 :D

--Bruce
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: karlhenning on February 18, 2010, 01:38:38 PM
Knowing a harpsichordist who just plain likes to play, has this effect . . . .
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: Scarpia on February 18, 2010, 02:47:59 PM
The challenge to this is that David and Karl seem to not be reporting the flaw in their sets, and they are (presumably) from the same master. Unless they aren't, and Decca switched (re)masters at some point.

Typically these sets get manufactured in batches.  When they run out a new batch is pressed, or it gets deleted from the catalog, depending on the whims of the record company execs.  It could be that one batch has the problem, but not others.
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: Renfield on February 18, 2010, 02:59:25 PM
Typically these sets get manufactured in batches.  When they run out a new batch is pressed, or it gets deleted from the catalog, depending on the whims of the record company execs.  It could be that one batch has the problem, but not others.

Indeed. And it would have to have been used for more than just the box, if Sarge's report is accurate. Frustrating.

(To the extent that a minor sound artifact in one second of a whole symphony can be frustrating.)
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: eyeresist on February 18, 2010, 04:44:56 PM
I do feel that the EMI is better presented, sonically, and sometimes more consciously 'authoritative' in style, but I feel the DG versions generally have more atmosphere, when available. And I'm happy with less self-assured Sibelius.

I prefer the EMI too. I thought there must be something wrong with me after I finally heard the DG set and thought "Is this it?" The EMI sound is just so much richer, warmer and more impactful, verily a "velvet steamroller". I like to compare the EMI S1 with Collins' old recording, for maximum contrast.
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: Sergeant Rock on February 19, 2010, 04:00:13 AM
Indeed. And it would have to have been used for more than just the box, if Sarge's report is accurate.

The defect (a pop) sounds exactly the same on both my discs. The London Jubilee CD has a copyright date of 1989 (I purchased the disc then or in the early 90s) and was manufactured in the USA.

(http://photos.imageevent.com/sgtrock/oct2009/Sib14Maaz.jpg)

The box set has a date of 1998 (purchased just a few years ago) and was manufactured in Germany.

Sarge
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: Moldyoldie on February 19, 2010, 06:38:06 AM
The defect (a pop) sounds exactly the same on both my discs. The London Jubilee CD has a copyright date of 1989 (I purchased the disc then or in the early 90s) and was manufactured in the USA.

(http://photos.imageevent.com/sgtrock/oct2009/Sib14Maaz.jpg)

The box set has a date of 1998 (purchased just a few years ago) and was manufactured in Germany.

Sarge
To add the second of my two schillings (Austrian) to this Sherlock Holmes mystery, I also have Sarge's disc and there is indeed an extraneous "defect" at 1:49, though to my ears it sounds more of a fly fart than a genuine unadulterated pop. :D  Adding to the mystery, I also noticed a similar, though even less obtrusive sound on the Decca Legends disc at about ten seconds earlier!

Folks, this "defect" is in no way a deterrent to enjoying this very fine performance of the great Sibelius No. 4.

However, apropos to the above discussion of Karajan's late Sibelius on EMI with the Berliners,  I did find a very obtrusive glitch on my EMI Encore disc of the Symphony No. 1.  It pops up at around 3:40 of the fourth movement during a string fortissimo, sounding much like a slow ripping of duct tape -- quite disconcerting!
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: Sergeant Rock on February 19, 2010, 07:02:17 AM
...there is indeed an extraneous "defect" at 1:49, though to my ears it sounds more of a fly fart...

Yes, that's a good description  ;D  As I said in my first post, I had to turn up the volume beyond where I'd normally listen to hear it clearly (through a Denon CD player and Polk speakers). Renfield heard it through headphones which undoubtedly makes it more noticeable. Perhaps the ripping process exaggerates the defect too.

Quote
Adding to the mystery, I also noticed a similar, though even less obtrusive sound on the Decca Legends disc at about ten seconds earlier!

But no pop at 1:49? The Legends CD is what DavidRoss has.

Sarge
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: Moldyoldie on February 19, 2010, 07:18:06 AM
But no pop at 1:49? The Legends CD is what DavidRoss has.

Sarge
That's right, no pop at 1:49.  Read the first of my two schillings (Austrian) on the preceding page.  ;)
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: karlhenning on February 19, 2010, 07:18:41 AM
Nor any snap or crackle.
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: Moldyoldie on February 19, 2010, 07:22:47 AM
Nor any snap or crackle.
...or otherwise.  ;D

I do wonder if anyone else here has that EMI release of Karajan's Sibelius No. 1 and hears that slow ripping of duct tape at 3:40 of the finale.  Believe me, it's no fly fart! >:(
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: Sergeant Rock on February 19, 2010, 07:44:21 AM
That's right, no pop at 1:49.  Read the first of my two schillings (Austrian) on the preceding page.  ;)

Sorry, I must have read that yesterday but...senility, you know  ;)


I do wonder if anyone else here has that EMI release of Karajan's Sibelius No. 1 and hears that slow ripping of duct tape at 3:40 of the finale.  Believe me, it's no fly fart! >:(

I don't have the EMI Encore but do have the EMI Studio version (1987, printed in Holland). Yes, there is a defect at 3:40-42, and yes, it is much louder, more intrusive than the pop on the Maazel.

Sarge
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: Moldyoldie on February 19, 2010, 08:03:59 AM
I don't have the EMI Encore but do have the EMI Studio version (1987, printed in Holland). Yes, there is a defect at 3:40-42, and yes, it is much louder, more intrusive than the pop on the Maazel.

Sarge
Ah, therein lies the bigger scandal!
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: DavidRoss on February 19, 2010, 08:14:26 AM
But no pop at 1:49? The Legends CD is what DavidRoss has.
This ongoing discussion prompted me to check again, since I know quite well that I can be mistaken and have learned that it is much better to "suffer" the ego-deflation of discovering that I've been wrong than to persist in stubborn delusions.

Consequently I just listened again to the Decca Legends disc with the 4th, using a Meridian 506/24 as transport, feeding a Bel Canto DAC2, into a Channel Islands VHP-1 headphone amp, via AKG 701 headphones, with decent cabling linking each component.  I trust those who know about such things will recognize that this equipment offers somewhat greater potential for sound fidelity than your average boombox or PC.

I heard no glitch--not even the faintest trace of a glitch.  That is not to say there is no glitch there.  My high frequency hearing at this stage of life is seriously compromised, falling off starting around 12.5kHz and vanishing completely by 16kHz.  If this pop is an artifact occurring only at such extreme frequencies, then I would not be able to hear it.  Those of you who hear the glitch should be able to tell whether it occurs only in this frequency range or not.  (Note: 12kHz is approximately the 27th harmonic of A440, roughly 2 1/2 octaves higher than the highest fundamental note playable on a standard violin.)

The Decca Legends CD I have is the remastered 96kHz 24-bit "Super Digital Transfer," © 2000, manufactured by Universal Classic Group, 289 466 995-2.
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: Scarpia on February 19, 2010, 08:34:50 AM
This ongoing discussion prompted me to check again, since I know quite well that I can be mistaken and have learned that it is much better to "suffer" the ego-deflation of discovering that I've been wrong than to persist in stubborn delusions.

Consequently I just listened again to the Decca Legends disc with the 4th, using a Meridian 506/24 as transport, feeding a Bel Canto DAC2, into a Channel Islands VHP-1 headphone amp, via AKG 701 headphones, with decent cabling linking each component.  I trust those who know about such things will recognize that this equipment offers somewhat greater potential for sound fidelity than your average boombox or PC.

I heard no glitch--not even the faintest trace of a glitch.  That is not to say there is no glitch there.  My high frequency hearing at this stage of life is seriously compromised, falling off starting around 12.5kHz and vanishing completely by 16kHz.  If this pop is an artifact occurring only at such extreme frequencies, then I would not be able to hear it.  Those of you who hear the glitch should be able to tell whether it occurs only in this frequency range or not.  (Note: 12kHz is approximately the 27th harmonic of A440, roughly 2 1/2 octaves higher than the highest fundamental note playable on a standard violin.)

The Decca Legends CD I have is the remastered 96kHz 24-bit "Super Digital Transfer," © 2000, manufactured by Universal Classic Group, 289 466 995-2.

I have the cycle, and the discs have the old style "London" markings so they are presumably not recent remasterings or pressings.  I did hear a glitch of some sort at 1:49 (right channel primarily) and a smaller glitch in the left channel about 10 seconds earlier.  Again, it sounded like data loss, rather than a legitimate noise.  Not confined to particularly high frequency.

I don't think it is a physically defective disc because my CD sounded exactly the same as the rip Lethe posted.  Even if there a bad spot on the lithographic master it would tend to sound different on every cd player, (every cd player has a different ability to track bad data and a different ability to fill in the gap unobtrusively).  I suspect data loss in the digital master (i.e., a bad spot on the DAT tape that they were using to store the master before transfer to CD).

For my audiophile bona fides, I used a $25 CD-ROM drive in a Dell computer whose motherboard sound board was connected to a pair of $25 computer speakers, into which I plugged a 15 year old pair of Sennheiser HD340's with a broken headband.  I would never consider listening to music this way, but it was perfectly adequate to hear the glitch.
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: Brian on February 19, 2010, 11:07:34 AM
I once arranged the Valse triste for cl/vn/pf.  May even have a (poorly recorded) tape of it somewhere . . . .

Whilst planning a college-stage musical last year, I at one point anticipated adapting the Valse triste for a scene where two lovers meet, using double bass, clarinet, flute and piano. The musical never happened, so I never actually did any of the work.  ;D
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: Franco on February 19, 2010, 11:26:56 AM
Quote
Consequently I just listened again to the Decca Legends disc with the 4th, using a Meridian 506/24 as transport, feeding a Bel Canto DAC2, into a Channel Islands VHP-1 headphone amp, via AKG 701 headphones, with decent cabling linking each component.

I'm envious of your Meridian - but prefer to listen with speakers.  Reading this kind of comment reminds me of when I used to read and post to an espresso forum and after we'd describe our coffee making equipment someone quipped if it were possible to make a decent cup of coffee for less than $2,000.
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: DavidRoss on February 19, 2010, 11:51:19 AM
I'm envious of your Meridian - but prefer to listen with speakers. 
So do I.  The main system uses Gallo Reference 3.1s driven by a Musical Fidelity A5 integrated.  Others had suggested this might not be up to snuff (or that I might not be up to snuff, or might simply be untrustworthy) and that cans might be required to hear the "pop"--so I gave it a shot.

Also, per Scarpia's reference, I just tried using my PC with built-in Realtek ALC1200 sound feeding my trusty 10+year old Labtec APX-4620 2.1 speakers--and then plugged in my Sennheiser HD590 cans just to be sure.  Still no "pop."  Even my wife, who's a few years younger and a woman to boot! --presumably still with better high frequency hearing than I ever had--hears nothing wayward on the disc.  Or maybe she's lying, too!   :o
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: karlhenning on February 19, 2010, 12:01:50 PM
. . . [a man to reckon with] and a woman to boot.

No, don't boot that woman!
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: DavidRoss on February 19, 2010, 03:30:24 PM
No, don't boot that woman!
Hand me the pliers!
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: kishnevi on February 19, 2010, 06:15:16 PM
I played my copy of the Maazel this evening, and heard what I would otherwise take to be a extremely brief bit of CD noise in the proper place; but if I hadn't been listening for it, I probably would not have noticed it.

Audiophile information:  GPX FM radio /alarm clock/ CD player with my very own ears :)
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: DarkAngel on February 19, 2010, 06:52:06 PM
I just listened to Maazel's Sibelius 4th for the first time; or tried to! At the 1:49 mark, first movement,  there is a very ugly 'pop' in my rip. The question is: is it my rip, my CD, or the recording?

Could I ask one of you who has the recording in its most recent CD incarnation to help confirm whether the problem is with my copy?

I checked my Maazel 3CD Decca boxset, very faint click sound at 1:50.....not even worth a 2nd thought such minor a defect on my CD 

(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/41qB4N9j12L._SL500_AA240_.jpg)
 
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: DarkAngel on February 19, 2010, 07:04:40 PM
However, apropos to the above discussion of Karajan's late Sibelius on EMI with the Berliners,  I did find a very obtrusive glitch on my EMI Encore disc of the Symphony No. 1.  It pops up at around 3:40 of the fourth movement during a string fortissimo, sounding much like a slow ripping of duct tape -- quite disconcerting!

I also hear this defect, a slight background buzz from 3:40 fades out to 3:45......although more noticeable than the Maazel 4th defect above still pretty minor in my book, still should have been be edited out if possible
 
(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51K669V8XTL._SL500_AA240_.jpg)
 
 
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: Moldyoldie on March 17, 2010, 09:10:04 AM
[Pasted from WAYLT]
(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/31K4JQR318L._SL500_AA180_.jpg)
Sibelius: Symphony No. 5*
Nielsen: Pan and Syrinx; Symphony No. 4 "The Inextinguishable"
Philharmonia Orchestra*
City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra
Simon Rattle, cond.
EMI

The young Simon Rattle of pre-knighthood was seemingly the cat's meow among British music critics throughout the '80s, a sensitive and often dynamic conductor whose recordings endeavored toward new benchmarks in much of the basic early modern repertoire.  Here from 1982 (the CD is a re-release from 1993) is Rattle's initial foray into recording Sibelius, the popular Symphony No. 5, and it became the most talked about recording of the work since Karajan's in the '60s.  Here ends the requisite dispensable history lesson.

Rattle and the Philharmonia deliver a well-prepared and wonderfully understated interpretation that forces one to re-think this popular symphony in terms which are mostly extra-musical; i.e., cerebrally, as if inside the head of a dual-faced Janus consisting of the young conductor and the dourly disposed composer himself, only looking at each other instead of oppositely!  Unlike Esa-Pekka Salonen's outright depressing recording with the same orchestra from a few years later, Rattle brings his own youthful intellect and optimism to bear on this fine music while effectively harnessing its more overtly dynamic attributes -- it's this latter consideration which may dissuade the novice listener and rebuff the seasoned one. A few listens, however, have brought me around.  I've become particularly taken by the wonderful play (and interplay) of the woodwinds heard throughout, as well as the purposely blatty brass which evoke the large fowl flying overhead in the Sibelian realm.  The big build in the coda to the first movement, one of the most thrilling moments in the entire repertoire for this listener, is rendered in a controlled manner and culminates not with a bang, not with a whimper, but merely as the end of the first part of a lengthier musical journey.  The pianissimo strings in the finale are on the very threshold of audibility (even through headphones!), in itself an ear-catching technical feat, but it still remains temporally and emotionally consistent with this well-played, well-articulated, and sensitive performance.  In my opinion, Bernstein and Karajan are the most effective in pulling out all the stops in all the right places in Sibelius No. 5 -- Rattle/Philharmonia is the antithesis, one I can now readily advocate as a fine alternative. I've read where Rattle's subsequent Sibelius No. 5 recording, part of his complete cycle with the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra, is appreciably different -- I've yet to hear it.

The Nielsen recordings here date from '85 during Rattle's prodigious stint with the Birmingham orchestra. Pan and Syrinx is a brief buffer between the main attractions --it's both evocative and powerful, especially the brooding cello and marvelous brass crescendo in the middle. In my limited experience with it, this is the most effective and entertaining performance I've heard. 

Rattle's rendition of the Symphony No. 4 "Inextinguishable" invites a special scrutiny among those who love this work.  I've read one critic describe the performance as "fussy", I suppose in reference to Rattle's tendency to deliberately fawn over certain details in sacrifice of momentum. As evidenced here, however, there's certainly much to love and fawn over.  It's true that Rattle takes the middle two movements of this seamless symphony at a pace that elicits a great deal of both loving detail and charm.  Where charm exists and flourishes, however, there's always a most effective countervailing aggression that follows -- this performance never wallows in sweetness and light.  The culminating, all-consuming tympani battle in the final movement is brought to bear with resolute meaning and results in an equally powerful victory, putatively of Man's capacity for creative good over those forces which would usurp it.  To my ears, Rattle's judgments and the orchestra's responses are much more effective than the likes of Karajan and Barbirolli in their likewise expansive and deliberative readings. Instead of "rattling" on, I'll conclude by saying that this lucid performance, as manifested by the young conductor's understanding of Nielsen's multi-fold wartime expression, is worth the "fuss"!
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: DavidRoss on March 17, 2010, 09:19:28 AM
[Pasted from WAYLT]
(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/31K4JQR318L._SL500_AA180_.jpg)
Since you're double posting this, guess I'll double post my response:

Gawd but I hate that recording!  Or did when I first got it years ago.  The dullest 5th since Davis/Boston.  But perhaps I'll feel differently these days...especially since I was pleasantly surprised by Rattie's CBSO Sibelius, not one of my top choices but certainly respectable.  Guess I'll make a cuppa and settle down for a mid-morning break with it.  8)

Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: Moldyoldie on March 17, 2010, 11:40:54 AM
Since you're double posting this, guess I'll double post my response:

Gawd but I hate that recording!  Or did when I first got it years ago.  The dullest 5th since Davis/Boston.  But perhaps I'll feel differently these days...especially since I was pleasantly surprised by Rattie's CBSO Sibelius, not one of my top choices but certainly respectable.  Guess I'll make a cuppa and settle down for a mid-morning break with it.  8)
Yeah, it's often a quandary as to where to post things, so I figure cover the bases.  Have you heard the Salonen/Philharmonia No. 5?  That's the one I can feel no love for.
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: DavidRoss on March 17, 2010, 12:05:30 PM
Okay, I gave it a shot, and once again was flabbergasted by it.  To me it is dull, lifeless, mushy, soft, and lackluster, almost completely devoid of energy and commitment, as if the entire orchestra is just going through the motions--and barely at that!  Every entrance is spongy, the horns are distant, the timpani almost non-existent, the strings wimpy, and the winds often sound as if they're phoning it in.  There's no attack, no edginess, no disquieting agitation in buzzing strings and questioning winds and braying horns, no power, no majesty, no sense of impending inevitability.  Any other recording (at least among the 20 or so I've heard) is substantially better, even Salonen.  Try Bernstein/NYPO, Maazel/WP, or any of Berglund's recordings to hear the difference--or Blomstedt/SFS, Rozhdestvensky, Sakari, Vänskä, or either of Segerstam's will do as well.

On the other hand, I do like the Nielsen Pan & Syrinx on the disc.  ;D

edit:  also posted on the WALYT thread.
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: knight66 on March 17, 2010, 12:26:59 PM
I very much surprised myself when looking through my Sibelius discs and discovering that I did not have the Sixth Symphony and had probably never heard it! Most of my Sibelius is Karajan or Jarvi.

I just got hold of the Berglund EMI cycle with the Helsinki Phil. I was listening to the Sixth, enjoying it and then suddenly...it stopped.

Recently I had read that increasingly Sibelius eschewed the classical symphonic model, the Seventh is compressed into a single movement. But can any here tell me what Sibelius was doing with the shape of the Sixth? It sounded as though he decided not to go for a big finish, or to indicate that an end was nigh.

Obviously I can 'look it up', but thought it would be good to ask here to see what folks thought.

Mike
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: DavidRoss on March 17, 2010, 12:46:13 PM
If it "just stopped," Mike, then you might have a defective disc.  There should be a passionate, yearning extended climax in the strings, followed by the winds and strings gathering themselves and then just fading out, as if turning to face the great unknown.  To me it's consistent with the disturbingly unexpected endings of all his symphonies from the 4th on.
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: knight66 on March 17, 2010, 12:54:38 PM
Oh well, mystery solved and problem discovered. I have had a look at the timings of that movement and it is shown as 11.12, but stops at an opportune 2 mins 34 seconds short! Perhaps I am not as daft as I thought.

I still have the packaging.

Mike
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: DavidRoss on March 17, 2010, 01:10:58 PM
Curiosity piqued, I dug out my copy of that recording (a 1996 edition) and listened.  It ends at 11:12, following the pause indicated by the final fermata placed after the last note.

Love that cycle, by the way.  And the 5th is great, let down only by the slightly weak and ragged brass of the HPO 20 years before Segerstam recorded his cycle with the orchestra--no such deficiency with that one!
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: Scarpia on March 17, 2010, 01:13:09 PM
Oh well, mystery solved and problem discovered. I have had a look at the timings of that movement and it is shown as 11.12, but stops at an opportune 2 mins 34 seconds short! Perhaps I am not as daft as I thought.

I still have the packaging.

Mike

Check the disc, maybe there's a piece of schmutz.
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: knight66 on March 17, 2010, 01:15:40 PM
 I tried it again, can't see anything wrong. Well that confirms that the timing is not wrongly printed and on the disc the track shows up on the player as being 11.12; but gets off the bus before that last stop. I don't recall ever having a disc do that and especially odd as the ending I have is not a sudden juddering halt.

I might try it on another machine before I send it back.

Mike
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: DavidRoss on March 17, 2010, 01:18:22 PM
Check the disc, maybe there's a piece of schmutz.
Hmmm, my copy has only Sibelius, no Schmutz--though I believe Schmutz's symphonic poem, Nightsoil on Parade, is a minor masterpiece usually coupled with the work of Schumann that inspired it.
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: knight66 on March 17, 2010, 01:21:24 PM
Hmmm, my copy has only Sibelius, no Schmutz--though I believe Schmutz's symphonic poem, Nightsoil on Parade, is a minor masterpiece usually coupled with the work of Schumann that inspired it.

Gentlemen, I believe I have the rarely performed Cage Edition with 2 minutes 34 seconds silence at the end.

Mike
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: DavidRoss on March 17, 2010, 01:21:48 PM
Gentlemen, I believe I have the rarely performed Cage Edition with 2 minutes 34 seconds silence at the end.
  ;D


BTW: Wow!  Thanks, Mike, for calling attention to Berglund's HPO 6th.  I hadn't heard this one for awhile, so started at the beginning after checking the end of the last track.  It's terrific!
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: knight66 on March 17, 2010, 01:28:02 PM
My pleasue, though I can hardly claim credit. I am now on headphones back on No 5.

I knew this piece from LP from when I was about 12. The first live performance I attended was marred by clapping coming in, halting and restarting before the final chords had been played.

At another performance the conductor explained the false endings and that he would be clear to both orchestra and audience when the final notes had been played. We all got the message.

Mike
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: Moldyoldie on March 17, 2010, 01:51:56 PM
I am now on headphones back on No 5.

I knew this piece from LP from when I was about 12. The first live performance I attended was marred by clapping coming in, halting and restarting before the final chords had been played.

At another performance the conductor explained the false endings and that he would be clear to both orchestra and audience when the final notes had been played. We all got the message.

Mike
Karajan got around the problem by merely ignoring the score. ;D To be honest, it sounds better...imho.
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: Sergeant Rock on March 17, 2010, 01:54:46 PM
Okay, I gave it a shot, and once again was flabbergasted by it.  To me it is dull, lifeless, mushy, soft, and lackluster, almost completely devoid of energy and commitment, as if the entire orchestra is just going through the motions--and barely at that!  Every entrance is spongy, the horns are distant, the timpani almost non-existent, the strings wimpy, and the winds often sound as if they're phoning it in.  There's no attack, no edginess, no disquieting agitation in buzzing strings and questioning winds and braying horns, no power, no majesty, no sense of impending inevitability.  Any other recording (at least among the 20 or so I've heard) is substantially better, even Salonen.

 ;D :D ;D  David, you actually made me laugh out loud. I too own many versions (18) and I love Rattle's Fifths (own both the CBSO and Philh actually). There must be something seriously wrong with your ears...or mine  ;) I'm too lazy, and tired, now to explain why I like it so I'll let Gramophone have a few words here (this review written in 1984):

"Simon Rattle's account of the Fifth Symphony has been greeted with wide acclaim and has also been showered with awards. Its merits have been detailed at some length in these columns and elsewhere, and a further hearing in the CD format serves to reaffirm the strength of its claims on the allegiance of Sibelians. Quite simply it is the most impressive and satisfying account of the Symphony to have appeared since the Bernstein (CBS 61806, 8/77—nla) and Karajan accounts of the mid-1960s (DG) in a field that has always been highly competitive."

Of course that proves nothing since we all know British critics worship at The Church of Saint Simon  ;)  I'll try to get back to this topic tomorrow.

Sarge
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: Sergeant Rock on March 17, 2010, 01:58:54 PM
Karajan got around the problem by merely ignoring the score. ;D To be honest, it sounds better...imho.

I don't agree with here. I hate the way Karajan rushes the chords.

Sarge
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: Moldyoldie on March 17, 2010, 02:20:12 PM
I don't agree with here. I hate the way Karajan rushes the chords.

Sarge
I could never understand the musical reasoning for the protracted pauses; they sound like a mere attention-getting contrivance, hardly inevitable.  As in Karajan's entire interpretation, the final chords spring inevitably from what immediately precedes them.
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: Scarpia on March 17, 2010, 02:34:48 PM
My pleasue, though I can hardly claim credit. I am now on headphones back on No 5.

I knew this piece from LP from when I was about 12. The first live performance I attended was marred by clapping coming in, halting and restarting before the final chords had been played.

At another performance the conductor explained the false endings and that he would be clear to both orchestra and audience when the final notes had been played. We all got the message.

Mike

I can imagine that it would work better in concert, since it would be apparent to the audience that the conductor is not finished conducting and that something more is going to happen.  I first heard the piece on CD in Jarvi's BIS recording, and I recall I was trotting up to the player in anticipation of ejecting the disc when an isolated chord suddenly blared from the speakers, then some time later, another, and another.    At least Karajan's old 60's recording has tape hiss between the chords to tip you off that it ain't over yet.
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: DavidRoss on March 17, 2010, 03:31:45 PM
I could never understand the musical reasoning for the protracted pauses; they sound like a mere attention-getting contrivance, hardly inevitable.  As in Karajan's entire interpretation, the final chords spring inevitably from what immediately precedes them.
We had a surprisingly lengthy discussion regarding this very subject recently: http://www.good-music-guide.com/community/index.php/topic,11930.msg293793.html#msg293793
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: Archaic Torso of Apollo on March 18, 2010, 12:33:49 AM
Anyone else love Sibelius' one mature string quartet, Voces Intimae (Op. 56)?

I've been listening to it seriously for the first time. It's like Bruckner's String Quintet, the only mature chamber piece by a composer known for his orchestral work, and as such offers a fascinating X-ray-like view into the way he structures things when he doesn't have the resources of a full orchestra. The Sibelius style is so distinctive that I'd guess it was him even if I didn't know it.

My version is the one by the Oslo String Quartet on CPO, coupled with another fascinating "name" quartet, Berg's Lyric Suite.
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: Brahmsian on March 18, 2010, 04:45:15 AM
Anyone else love Sibelius' one mature string quartet, Voces Intimae (Op. 56)?

Absolutely, it's a gem.  Along with Grieg's string quartet.
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: karlhenning on March 18, 2010, 05:08:31 AM
Gentlemen, I believe I have the rarely performed Cage Edition with 2 minutes 34 seconds silence at the end.

Take that baby to e-Bay, Mike!
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: knight66 on March 18, 2010, 06:13:16 AM
Too late, Junius...to late, Too late!

Mike
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: DavidRoss on March 18, 2010, 07:19:35 AM
Anyone else love Sibelius' one mature string quartet, Voces Intimae (Op. 56)?
Yes.  Still, I think he understood where his greatest gifts lay.  Given the legacy, I'm glad he chose to concentrate his efforts on orchestral music.   8)

Thanks for the reminder.  I haven't heard this piece for a while and it might be especially interesting after hearing Haydn's opus 20 for the past couple of days.  Think I'll pop in the New Helsinki Quartet's recording right now.

addendum:  As I listened to the New Helsinki's restrained, reflective performance, I was reminded of how unusually introspective this work was at the time--and after.  The title he gave it, Intimate Voices, may offer a key to richer appreciation of this under-appreciated masterpiece.  Written in 1908-09, between the Third and Fourth Symphonies, it is the first formal expression of the turning inward wrought by confrontation with his own mortality.

Sibelius's early works were big and bold, full of the brash extroversion of youth and the era's infatuation with Romantic expressiveness.  Following the success of his first two symphonies, early tone poems like Finlandia, and the 1905 revision of his violin concerto, Sibelius had already begun turning toward the formal concerns that would subsequently inform what he called his "absolute" music.  This preoccupation with form is first seen in his "neo-classical" Third Symphony of 1907.  He later described it in the famous meeting that same year with Mahler, during which Sibelius expressed his interest in achieving a lean, pure style built on the internal logical cohesiveness among all of a work's formal elements.  The next year he was diagnosed with cancer and a tumor was removed from his throat.  Voces Intimae followed.

Perhaps the title and the work describe his own internal voices during this pivotal time in his life.  To me it also suggests a clear determination, reflected in this and his subsequent work, to heed his own muses and to follow his own path as a composer, regardless of the opinions of critics (the Third had been a flop) and regardless of the fashionable trends in Paris and Vienna.  Instead of giving them the brightly colored cocktails they expected, he would offer the cool, clear spring water that nourished his own soul.
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: Archaic Torso of Apollo on March 18, 2010, 11:26:05 AM
addendum:  As I listened to the New Helsinki's restrained, reflective performance, I was reminded of how unusually introspective this work was at the time--and after.  The title he gave it, Intimate Voices, may offer a key to richer appreciation of this under-appreciated masterpiece.  Written in 1908-09, between the Third and Fourth Symphonies, it is the first formal expression of the turning inward wrought by confrontation with his own mortality.

It stands out in a couple of ways. First, it has 5 movements, which makes it different from all of the symphonies. It also makes use of the arch form that Bartok liked to use (2 allegros-2 scherzos-1 slow movement).

Also, the slow movement is unusually long and complex for Sibelius. One can hear it pointing forward to the Largo of the 4th Symphony.
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: Mirror Image on July 30, 2010, 12:12:54 PM
Aside from his symphonies, Sibelius' output is still strong and certainly demanding of attention. Kullervo is such a powerful work. Lemminkainen Suite is a beautiful work that I return to quite often. Tapiola, of course, is mesmerizing in its scope and vision. The Oceanides, Pohjola's Daughter, En Saga, and the Violin Concerto are especially fine. I haven't heard a piece of music by Sibelius that I didn't enjoy in some way or another.
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: Scarpia on August 04, 2010, 08:45:36 PM
Someone here suggested Colin Davis' recordings of the Sibelius symphonies with the Boston Symphony on Philips.  Well, I think I only have two discs of the Boston symphony in my entire collection, but I decided to try it, and listened to the Symphony No 7 today.  There was a lot to like about it.  The "perfume" of the opening was wonderfully done, those aggregations of dissonant notes from all parts of the orchestra that magically resolve.   Wonderful.  However, though Colin did a fine job, I can't help but feel that the BSO let him down.  The brass, in particular, tended to sound very shrill whenever they were called upon to play with power.  They just don't match the sound production of the truly first rate ensembles.
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: Mirror Image on August 04, 2010, 08:58:06 PM
Someone here suggested Colin Davis' recordings of the Sibelius symphonies with the Boston Symphony on Philips.  Well, I think I only have two discs of the Boston symphony in my entire collection, but I decided to try it, and listened to the Symphony No 7 today.  There was a lot to like about it.  The "perfume" of the opening was wonderfully done, those aggregations of dissonant notes from all parts of the orchestra that magically resolve.   Wonderful.  However, though Colin did a fine job, I can't help but feel that the BSO let him down.  The brass, in particular, tended to sound very shrill whenever they were called upon to play with power.  They just don't match the sound production of the truly first rate ensembles.

I've never been a fan of the Boston Symphony Orchestra. The string section always disappoints me for that orchestra.
 
Colin Davis' best Sibelius cycle, in my opinion, was his LSO Live cycle. Here he has gained a lot of wisdom and even more personal insight into this music plus he had the great London Symphony at his command.
 
I'm not that enthralled with Davis' Sibelius anyway. I think too often he lacks the kind of power these symphonies need. He does better in the more introspective moments of the music, but I think he falls short on the climaxes.
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: Brian on August 05, 2010, 06:18:27 AM
I'm not that enthralled with Davis' Sibelius anyway. I think too often he lacks the kind of power these symphonies need. He does better in the more introspective moments of the music, but I think he falls short on the climaxes.

You betcha. In the LSO Live cycle, the very last chord of No 2 sputters and fades - a hugely underwhelming ending, especially compared to something like Barbirolli/RPO, which feels like entering heaven. I haven't listened to 1 or 3 from that cycle, but 6 is good, if a bit speedy, and the Seventh is definitely one of my favorite recordings.
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: Guido on August 11, 2010, 04:10:17 PM
OK then - the orchestral songs... Four CDs I'm considering - I'd like all of them (of course!), but can people advise me?

These are the ones under consideration:

(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51ceP1BUVHL._SL500_AA280_.jpg)(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51M3XT8QFYL._SL500_AA300_.jpg)
(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51VKN1VCeBL._SL500_AA280_.jpg)(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/41bMpCHX4UL._SL500_AA300_.jpg)

Top left says "The Orchestral Songs" - is this really all of them? There are arrangements on some other discs (I imagine they're orchestrations) - are any of these as good? I'm also wondering whether the box set (bottom right) is good enough as a whole to warrant the price - Don't have any of it except Luonnotar, but since this is one of those complete editions, surely there's going to be loads of unecessary guff?

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Sibelius-Complete-Music-Voice-Orchestra/dp/B001PCWZLY/ref=mb_oe_o
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: Mirror Image on August 11, 2010, 04:18:56 PM
OK then - the orchestral songs... Four CDs I'm considering - I'd like all of them (of course!), but can people advise me?

These are the ones under consideration:

(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51M3XT8QFYL._SL500_AA300_.jpg)  (http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/41bMpCHX4UL._SL500_AA300_.jpg)

I'm wondering whether the box set (the last one) is good enough as a whole to warrant the price - Don't have any of it except Luonnotar, but since this is one of those complete editions, surely there's going to be loads of unecessary guff?

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Sibelius-Complete-Music-Voice-Orchestra/dp/B001PCWZLY/ref=mb_oe_o (http://www.amazon.co.uk/Sibelius-Complete-Music-Voice-Orchestra/dp/B001PCWZLY/ref=mb_oe_o)

A correction: Sibelius composed very little "unnecessary guff."
 
That said, if you're collecting BIS's Sibelius Editions, then that would be a very noteworthy set. The Ondine recording with Segerstam also looks quite tempting as I might even pick it up at some point.
 
I own a huge chunk of the BIS Sibelius recordings (a la The Essential Sibelius - 15-CD set), so I won't be picking up any more Sibelius BIS recordings anytime soon or unless something new comes out that looks interesting to me.
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: DavidRoss on August 11, 2010, 05:07:09 PM
OK then - the orchestral songs... Four CDs I'm considering - I'd like all of them (of course!), but can people advise me?

Top left says "The Orchestral Songs" - is this really all of them? There are arrangements on some other discs (I imagine they're orchestrations) - are any of these as good? I'm also wondering whether the box set (bottom right) is good enough as a whole to warrant the price - Don't have any of it except Luonnotar, but since this is one of those complete editions, surely there's going to be loads of unecessary guff?
Hey, Guido--you're in for a treat no matter which you choose.  I have the three single disc albums and about half of the recordings included in the BIS compendium, the complete contents of which are listed here: http://www.bis.se/bis_pages/PDF/BIS-CD-1906-08_contents.pdf

My favorite is the Isokoski/Segerstam disc.  This was Gramophone's CD of the year when it was released, for good reason.  It includes several songs not usually heard in this context, as they were originally written for voice and piano only, then later orchestrated by Sibelius or his son-in-law, Jussi Jalas.  I've split opinions regarding the other two single CDs.  I like the CBSO under Oramo very much and admire Mattila, but her performances tend toward the theatrical, and nearly half the songs are by Grieg, not Sibelius, though they are very fine as well.  The sound on the Panula disc is a touch strident, but Häggander is quite good--and so is Hynninen, but I really prefer the songs when performed by a soprano.  The recordings on that disc are included in the BIS box, along with Vänskä's Kullervo, worthwhile if you don't already own a good recording of it.

"M forever" and I swapped views about most of these discs a couple of years back, either here or on the old archived forum.  If you're really interested in more detail, you could search for those posts.

I don't think you'll go wrong with any of them--each would serve as a fine introduction to Sibelius's vocal music, which is far less well known than deserved.


Edited to correct strangely incomplete sentence. 
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: Guido on August 12, 2010, 02:10:43 AM
Thanks for the tips guys - I opted for the Isokoski for the time being - I'll think about expanding later. She has such a beautiful voice, though I am attracted to Mattila's more dramatic and as you say theatrical voice too - maybe that disc will have to follow one day!
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: karlhenning on August 12, 2010, 03:36:09 AM
Tangentially, I have the Isokoski disc of Hindemith's Das Marienleben (the revised version), and it is fabulous.
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: DavidRoss on August 12, 2010, 04:40:53 AM
Tangentially, I have the Isokoski disc of Hindemith's Das Marienleben (the revised version), and it is fabulous.
And on the same tangent, her Strauss Four Last Songs is fine also, with sumptuous playing from the BRSO under Janowski.

Let us know how you like the disc, Guido!
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: Guido on August 12, 2010, 07:54:58 AM
And on the same tangent, her Strauss Four Last Songs is fine also, with sumptuous playing from the BRSO under Janowski.

Let us know how you like the disc, Guido!

I will. I have that disc also, it's very fine (although I think I prefer her performance of some of the other songs to the Vier Letzte. Has Morgen! ever been so rapt and understated?)
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: vandermolen on August 20, 2010, 11:21:18 AM
Just ordered this for £5.00 - Erik Tuxen conducting Sibelius Symphony No 5 (Dutton) with the String Quartet. Looks like a really interesting release. Recordings from 1950-52. I like the atmosphere of these historical recordings:

Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: Guido on August 20, 2010, 12:40:33 PM
What do people think of the string quartet? I can't decide if it's merely very good and beautiful, or truly profound and one of the great quartets...
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: karlhenning on August 20, 2010, 12:44:18 PM
Darn, I haven't heard it yet, Guido.

Lenny landed first today (before Rattle), so he's in the queue . . . .
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: karlhenning on August 26, 2010, 03:43:17 AM
Sibelius
Symphony № 2 in D, Opus 43 (1902-03)
Wiener Philharmoniker
Lenny


(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51pUBjpJgGL._SL500_AA300_.jpg)
Leonard Bernstein – Sibelius
Complete recordings on Deutsche Grammophon
(http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0001WGDXK?ie=UTF8&tag=goodmusicguide-20&linkCode=as2&camp=1789&creative=390957&creativeASIN=B0001WGDXK)

Dave, I owe you hearty thanks for bringing me, by gradual stages, to acquisition of this box-let.  First, some years ago, I "let you talk me into" picking up the Lenny/NY Phil Sibelius set, which I like very well.  And that, over time, set my mind in a place where I could entertain the idea of revisiting these Wiener Philharmoniker recordings . . . which for years I had mentally "binned."  In exactly the same way, I am enjoying these as entirely as I do his recording of the Leningrad with the CSO — if I were conducting it, it's not an approach which would be anywhere near my radar . . . it seems it ought to be a disaster . . . but he (& they) carry it off splendidly. You can't knock success, and shouldn't knock musical success! ; )
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: Sergeant Rock on August 26, 2010, 04:00:29 AM
Dave, I owe you hearty thanks for bringing me, by gradual stages, to acquisition of this box-let.  First, some years ago, I "let you talk me into" picking up the Lenny/NY Phil Sibelius set, which I like very well.  And that, over time, set my mind in a place where I could entertain the idea of revisiting these Wiener Philharmoniker recordings . . . which for years I had mentally "binned."  In exactly the same way, I am enjoying these as entirely as I do his recording of the Leningrad with the CSO — if I were conducting it, it's not an approach which would be anywhere near my radar . . . it seems it ought to be a disaster . . . but he (& they) carry it off splendidly. You can't knock success, and shouldn't knock musical success! ; )

I posted this in the listening thread several days ago:

Karl, I'm waiting for your reaction to Lenny's Sibelius 2, the 18 minute long Andante  ;D  That's the movement that really divides opinions. In the yea column: Me, M, David Ross. In any case, I think you'll agree the Vienna brass are simply awesome.

Now with you, we're the Gang of Four  ;D
Sarge
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: karlhenning on August 26, 2010, 04:14:58 AM
I did note that post, Sarge, and I did not mean to seem to neglect it!
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: DavidRoss on August 26, 2010, 08:46:47 AM
Karl --I'm glad you like it, but must give credit to Sarge and Mike for likewise prompting me to give it a shot.  ;D
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: karlhenning on August 26, 2010, 08:56:54 AM
Gladly!
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: Brian on September 01, 2010, 05:37:31 AM
Next month Naxos will inaugurate a new cycle of the Sibelius symphonies, with Pietari Inkinen and the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra. The first volume contains symphonies 1 and 3.

(http://www.naxos.com/SharedFiles/images/cds/others/8.572305.gif)

I learn that the cover art photograph was in fact taken in Canada, not Scandinavia. That seems like an unnecessary bit of outsourcing.
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: karlhenning on September 01, 2010, 05:57:07 AM
Hmm. The Ennzed orchestra certainly did a great job with the Copland Third.
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: DavidRoss on September 01, 2010, 06:09:51 AM
Inkinen/NZSO's previous Sibelius recordings have been favorably reviewed and can be heard via Naxos streaming.  Sakari/Iceland's Sibelius cycle is still in the Naxos catalog and is very good so ought we presume the new one's character will differ from the rough-hewn directness of the previous one...?
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: Elgarian on September 10, 2010, 10:34:10 AM
So I'm browsing through a selection of 'Bargains' on Amazon, and I stumble across this:

(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/41rAufKxosL._SL500_AA300_.jpg)

2 CDs for £6 (with free postage), and containing just the four symphonies that set me on fire, and omitting the three symphonies that put me to sleep. Looks like this pack was made for me. So I thought it was worth a shot at this price, and put the order in. However, reviews of these Jansons/Oslo recordings are hard to come by (tho' the few I've found are positive).

Anyone know these? Am I heading for delight, or disappointment?

Link to the bargain purchase here:

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Sibelius-Symphonies-Nos/dp/B002IR3PRS/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=music&qid=1284146834&sr=1-1 (http://www.amazon.co.uk/Sibelius-Symphonies-Nos/dp/B002IR3PRS/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=music&qid=1284146834&sr=1-1)
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: DavidRoss on September 10, 2010, 11:22:30 AM
I have a different 2-disc set, w/2, 3, &5.  Can't say it's one of my faves.  Jansons gets a big, lush sound from his orchestra, but he tends toward extremes of tempo and what to me are ill-considered rubato and dynamic accents that are just too interventionist and make the music sound more like disjointed patchwork than organic growth, a sequence of romantic gestures rather than a unified whole built of related cells.
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: Elgarian on September 10, 2010, 11:30:49 AM
I have a different 2-disc set, w/2, 3, &5.  Can't say it's one of my faves.  Jansons gets a big, lush sound from his orchestra, but he tends toward extremes of tempo and what to me are ill-considered rubato and dynamic accents that are just too interventionist and make the music sound more like disjointed patchwork than organic growth, a sequence of romantic gestures rather than a unified whole built of related cells.
Doesn't sound too good. But I still haven't yet found a Sibelius interpreter that makes me feel 'yes, finally, this is it', so I'll continue to travel hopefully. It may be that I could be happy with a succession of disjointed romantic gestures, provided there were enough snow and ice and pine forests and cold winds and stuff.
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: DavidRoss on September 10, 2010, 11:36:42 AM
Doesn't sound too good. But I still haven't yet found a Sibelius interpreter that makes me feel 'yes, finally, this is it', so I'll continue to travel hopefully. It may be that I could be happy with a succession of disjointed romantic gestures, provided there were enough snow and ice and pine forests and cold winds and stuff.
Whom do you have in these symphonies, Alan?
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: Brewski on September 10, 2010, 11:37:47 AM
Alan, just curious if you've heard any of Ashkenazy's with the Philharmonia, and whether that might do the trick.  While I haven't heard the entire cycle, I have heard maybe half of the symphonies (along with some of the tone poems), and like the results enormously, especially in some of the more seldom-performed symphonies, e.g., Nos. 1, 4, and 7.

And just saw DavidRoss's query...

--Bruce
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: Elgarian on September 10, 2010, 11:49:48 AM
Whom do you have in these symphonies, Alan?
Sakari, Barbirolli, and Vanska. (I gave away my RCA set of Davis/LSO, as a total washout). And I get along with all of them fine, but feel that the ultimate Sibelius experience is still out there somewhere.

I'm thinking of getting the Rozhdestvensky set when I get back in funds after paying for all my Wagner extravagances. MDT have an offer on that box for the next few weeks.

[@Bruce]
Haven't heard Ashkenazy so far, Bruce. Thanks for the suggestion.
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: DavidRoss on September 10, 2010, 11:57:05 AM
Sakari, Barbirolli, and Vanska. (I gave away my RCA set of Davis/LSO, as a total washout). And I get along with all of them fine, but feel that the ultimate Sibelius experience is still out there somewhere.
This might be more up your alley, Alan, and you can listen to it through Naxos streaming:
(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51%2BO2A7RICL._SL500_AA300_.jpg)

Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: kishnevi on September 10, 2010, 12:16:53 PM
So I'm browsing through a selection of 'Bargains' on Amazon, and I stumble across this:

(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/41rAufKxosL._SL500_AA300_.jpg)

2 CDs for £6 (with free postage), and containing just the four symphonies that set me on fire, and omitting the three symphonies that put me to sleep. Looks like this pack was made for me. So I thought it was worth a shot at this price, and put the order in. However, reviews of these Jansons/Oslo recordings are hard to come by (tho' the few I've found are positive).

Anyone know these? Am I heading for delight, or disappointment?

Link to the bargain purchase here:

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Sibelius-Symphonies-Nos/dp/B002IR3PRS/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=music&qid=1284146834&sr=1-1 (http://www.amazon.co.uk/Sibelius-Symphonies-Nos/dp/B002IR3PRS/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=music&qid=1284146834&sr=1-1)

I have that 2-for.

Neither disappointment nor delight.  Some parts good, some parts merely okay.  If the price was higher, you might have regretted the purchase; as it is,  your quest for the perfect Sibelius will continue.

Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: Benji on September 13, 2010, 07:55:11 AM
Does anyone have the set of symphonies recorded with the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra? It was re-released on a buget label but is now infuriatingly expensive and EMI don't seem to want to re-issue it themselves (in competition with the above set, reissued a zillion times already).

If so, i'd be super grateful for a copy of the discs. I'd gladly pay materials and shipping costs and I promise i'm not the copyright police.  :)
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: jlaurson on September 14, 2010, 12:02:15 PM
some reasonable prices are being asked for the set at these places:

amazon.co.uk (link (http://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B0000268R4?ie=UTF8&tag=goodmusicguideuk-21&linkCode=as2&camp=1634&creative=19450&creativeASIN=B0000268R4))

amazon.de (link (http://www.amazon.de/gp/product/B0000268R4?ie=UTF8&tag=goodmusicguide-21&linkCode=as2&camp=1638&creative=19454&creativeASIN=B0000268R4))

Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: Benji on September 14, 2010, 12:11:10 PM
some reasonable prices are being asked for the set at these places:

amazon.co.uk (link (http://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B0000268R4?ie=UTF8&tag=goodmusicguideuk-21&linkCode=as2&camp=1634&creative=19450&creativeASIN=B0000268R4))

amazon.de (link (http://www.amazon.de/gp/product/B0000268R4?ie=UTF8&tag=goodmusicguide-21&linkCode=as2&camp=1638&creative=19454&creativeASIN=B0000268R4))

Yeah I saw those but oh man your definition of reasonable must be different than mine! I'm still sore from forking out £30 for the Blomstedt 1st and 7th disc...which then came out as a ultra-bargain box set a few months later.  :o
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: Sergeant Rock on September 15, 2010, 09:30:18 AM
Does anyone have the set of symphonies recorded with the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra? It was re-released on a buget label but is now infuriatingly expensive and EMI don't seem to want to re-issue it themselves (in competition with the above set, reissued a zillion times already).

If so, i'd be super grateful for a copy of the discs. I'd gladly pay materials and shipping costs and I promise i'm not the copyright police.  :)

I have it on LPs. Love it; my favorite cycle actually, and I too want the CDs. Since you seem to be passing it up, I just might hit the buy button on that offer from Amazon DE. Just don't tell Mrs. Rock  ;) (Thanks for the links, Jens.)

Sarge
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: Elgarian on September 15, 2010, 09:52:04 AM
Jansons gets a big, lush sound from his orchestra, but he tends toward extremes of tempo and what to me are ill-considered rubato and dynamic accents that are just too interventionist and make the music sound more like disjointed patchwork than organic growth, a sequence of romantic gestures rather than a unified whole built of related cells.

(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/41rAufKxosL._SL500_AA300_.jpg)

It arrived this morning and I listened to the first symphony. I wouldn't have been able to articulate my response as finely as you did here, Dave, but I think yours is a very telling description of it. It really does come over as a series of orchestral cameos, of flourishes that are attractive enough in themselves but don't seem quite to stick together somehow.

So I think kishnevi was right:
Quote
Neither disappointment nor delight.  Some parts good, some parts merely okay.
My quest for the ultimate Sibelian experiece will indeed continue.
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: Sergeant Rock on September 17, 2010, 05:15:32 AM
My quest for the ultimate Sibelian experiece will indeed continue.

Considering the cycles you own (or have discarded), you already have a very broad range of styles and interpretations (from Sakari to Barbirolli). I'm really at a loss as what to suggest next. In the symphonies that don't put you to sleep, I've found recordings that satisfy me completely (or nearly so):

1 - Maazel/Vienna
2 - Szell/Concertgebouw or Bernstein/Vienna (interpretive extremes)
3 - Ashkenazy/Philharmonia
5 - Rattle or Berglund/Bournemouth

Of course that won't help you. You'd get a different list from everyone.

About the Sixth: have you heard Davis/Boston? He's so fast I guarantee you won't have time to nod off  ;D

Sarge
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: Benji on September 17, 2010, 05:40:45 AM

About the Sixth: have you heard Davis/Boston? He's so fast I guarantee you won't have time to nod off  ;D

Sarge

Oh how I despise that performance...
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: Scarpia on September 17, 2010, 05:47:20 AM
Oh how I despise that performance...

I'm with you.
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: Elgarian on September 17, 2010, 05:53:24 AM
Considering the cycles you own (or have discarded), you already have a very broad range of styles and interpretations (from Sakari to Barbirolli). I'm really at a loss as what to suggest next. In the symphonies that don't put you to sleep, I've found recordings that satisfy me completely (or nearly so):

1 - Maazel/Vienna
2 - Szell/Concertgebouw or Bernstein/Vienna (interpretive extremes)
3 - Ashkenazy/Philharmonia
5 - Rattle or Berglund/Bournemouth

Of course that won't help you. You'd get a different list from everyone.
I may be beyond help, Sarge. I'm chasing two impossible  memories:

(1) The first time I heard a recording of Sibelius 1 at the age of about 16 (I don't know who the conductor was, and didn't know it mattered), there was something about the transition from the clarinet solo to the entry of the strings that blew my head off. I want that again, however unrealistic the desire may be.
(2) Shortly afterwards I bought a mono LP of Beecham conducting it - on Philips I think - and I played the grooves flat on that. Loved it. Today, I'd find the sound quality an obstacle.

As a result, some weird imperfectly remembered synthesised version - a sort of composite of those two -  has acquired mythic status for me over the decades, and even though it doesn't exist, yet still it's the carrot that still pulls the donkey onwards.

So you see, I think there is no destination; just a road to be travelled hopefully.

Quote
About the Sixth: have you heard Davis/Boston? He's so fast I guarantee you won't have time to nod off
No, I've given up on 4, 6 and 7. I've tried them so many times over the years, really really wanting to get into them; but they leave me feeling bad-tempered and dissatisfied. I just can't hear any proper tunes. And what I want from Sibelius, what I most value him for, is a musical metaphor for clear distant skies, blue ice, wind-driven snow, shivering firs, and big, big typically Sibelian tunes.
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: Sergeant Rock on September 17, 2010, 05:59:10 AM
Oh how I despise that performance...

Funny how different we listeners are. I didn't get the Sixth at all until I heard that Davis recording. Suddenly, the entire work just snapped into focus. I love the way his speeds make the symphony feel Mozartean...and love the way the movements seem to end quite abrubtly, almost before they've begun...and always with a pleasant shock.

Sarge
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: Scarpia on September 17, 2010, 05:59:51 AM
I may be beyond help, Sarge. I'm chasing two impossible  memories:

(1) The first time I heard a recording of Sibelius 1 at the age of about 16 (I don't know who the conductor was, and didn't know it mattered), there was something about the transition from the clarinet solo to the entry of the strings that blew my head off. I want that again, however unrealistic the desire may be.
(2) Shortly afterwards I bought a mono LP of Beecham conducting it - on Philips I think - and I played the grooves flat on that. Loved it. Today, I'd find the sound quality an obstacle.

As a result, some weird imperfectly remembered synthesised version - a sort of composite of those two -  has acquired mythic status for me over the decades, and even though it doesn't exist, yet still it's the carrot that still pulls the donkey onwards.

Clearly you need to hire an orchestra and conduct your own recording.
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: Scarpia on September 17, 2010, 06:00:49 AM
Funny how different we listeners are. I didn't get the Sixth at all until I heard that Davis recording. Suddenly, the entire work just snapped into focus. I love the way his speeds make the symphony feel Mozartean...and love the way the movements seem to end quite abrubtly, almost before they've begun...and always with a pleasant shock.

And you love the way the brass section sounds like a high school band on a Monday morning at 8am?
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: Elgarian on September 17, 2010, 06:01:53 AM
Clearly you need to hire an orchestra and conduct your own recording.
Good idea. Could you be in charge of the emergency evacuation arrangements?
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: karlhenning on September 17, 2010, 06:02:25 AM
As a result, some weird imperfectly remembered synthesised version - a sort of composite of those two -  has acquired mythic status for me over the decades, and even though it doesn't exist, yet still it's the carrot that still pulls the donkey onwards.

The upside is: it's giving the donkey employment ; )
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: Sergeant Rock on September 17, 2010, 06:09:35 AM
And you love the way the brass section sounds like a high school band on a Monday morning at 8am?

I clearly have a higher opinion of the Boston Symphony than you do. The brass is at least the equal of a high school band at midday.

Sarge
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: karlhenning on September 17, 2010, 06:13:09 AM
I'm crying here.
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: Scarpia on September 17, 2010, 06:15:01 AM
I clearly have a higher opinion of the Boston Symphony than you do. The brass is at least the equal of a high school band at midday.

I have heard recordings where they play beautifully, but not in that one (which I've heard just recently).  It truly struck me as the worst brass playing I have ever heard on a classical music recording.
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: Sergeant Rock on September 17, 2010, 06:17:47 AM
I'm crying here.

As much as I hate to agree with our friend Scarpia here, I do find the Boston brass a little crude in a few spots of that Davis Sibelius cycle...although not in the Sixth. I'm sure it's the fault of the recording team though.

Sarge
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: karlhenning on September 17, 2010, 06:21:24 AM
I have heard recordings where they play beautifully, but not in that one (which I've heard just recently).  It truly struck me as the worst brass playing I have ever heard on a classical music recording.

Ah. To that I cannot speak; I haven't heard the Davis/BSO Sibelius.
 
(We crossed, Sarge!)
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: Scarpia on September 17, 2010, 06:39:25 AM
Ah. To that I cannot speak; I haven't heard the Davis/BSO Sibelius.

If you want to maintain a high opinion of the BSO, I'd advise you don't hear it.
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: karlhenning on September 17, 2010, 07:16:28 AM
Ho capito.
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: Elgarian on September 18, 2010, 04:43:54 AM
This might be more up your alley, Alan, and you can listen to it through Naxos streaming:
(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51%2BO2A7RICL._SL500_AA300_.jpg)
I listened to the first movement of the first symphony from this set last night, and thought it was almost entirely fabulous. Perhaps it might even be  entirely fabulous on a second listening. The last half had me irresistibly punching the air - I don't think I've ever heard such an exciting interpretation.

I dallied with the idea of just buying two single CDs with symphonies 1, 3, 5 and 7, but they're by no means cheap, and for not much more one can get the whole box - so I plumped for the box.

Afterwards, I listened to the same movement performed by Vanska/Lahti, and by comparison found that I felt even more uneasy with it, the same sort of uneasiness as I've felt ever since I bought it. There are passages of tremendous power that are breathtaking, but he has a tendency to rush certain key bits. So the theme that enters just after the end of the clarinet solo - the one that goes deyyy, dah dit, diddely-doh; dumdidee, dah dit, diddely-doh - seems squeezed too tight at the ends. The 'diddely-dohs' are played too fast, as though he's in a rush to get to the end of the phrase. Each time he does that, I find myself losing the thread because I'm wanting him to go back and do that bit again properly. Can't get past this somehow.

Anyway, Vanska's had his chance at winning my Perfect Sibelian award, and although he gets a 'Highly commended', he's blown it if the truth be told. Onward, to Segerstam, in high hopes.
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: karlhenning on September 18, 2010, 04:47:26 AM
This is my Quest . . . .
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: Elgarian on September 18, 2010, 04:50:23 AM
This is my Quest . . . .
You can laugh, Henning. But even when I find the perfect Sibelius CD, I still have to find my way to Mount Doom and chuck it in. It's not easy being on a Quest, y'know.
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: Sergeant Rock on September 18, 2010, 04:59:48 AM
I listened to the first movement of the first symphony from this set last night, and thought it was almost entirely fabulous. Perhaps it might even be  entirely fabulous on a second listening. The last half had me irresistibly punching the air - I don't think I've ever heard such an exciting interpretation.

I haven't heard that in quite awhile. Think I'll play it after Ludwig van's op.110 is finished.

Sarge
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: karlhenning on September 18, 2010, 05:00:51 AM
You can laugh, Henning. But even when I find the perfect Sibelius CD, I still have to find my way to Mount Doom and chuck it in. It's not easy being on a Quest, y'know.

Not much laughter here, and such as there is, is affectionate, lad.
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: Brian on September 18, 2010, 05:29:10 AM
I listened to the first movement of the first symphony from this set last night, and thought it was almost entirely fabulous. Perhaps it might even be  entirely fabulous on a second listening. The last half had me irresistibly punching the air - I don't think I've ever heard such an exciting interpretation.

Segerstam's 1 is so, so, so exciting. I also like Mark Elder's with Halle nearly as much (also on NML). You will need to listen to Segerstam's 3, too: the gorgeous recorded sound and Leif's genius for balance make the opening minute or two open up like a sunrise, because you hear every single instrument, every section, making its terraced entrance, like a staircase of musical layers rising up to the light. As you can tell, I love that recording. I also love Segerstam's Seventh to pieces, because he treats it as heroically and forcefully as the others, but it makes me very sad to see that you've given up on that symphony.  :(  I too don't understand the Fourth, but Six teases me endlessly like a beautiful but very moody girl, and Seven is the symphony I love most of all... no Five is... no wait maybe Three... or Six...

That's the thing about Sibelius symphonies. Picking a number-one favorite is like picking a favorite child.
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: Elgarian on September 18, 2010, 05:44:36 AM

Not much laughter here, and such as there is, is affectionate, lad.
Oh, I know.

When I find the perfect Sibelius CD, you can join me on the trip to Mount Doom if you like. [Thinks: that'll cheer him up.]
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: Elgarian on September 18, 2010, 05:48:42 AM
You will need to listen to Segerstam's 3, too: the gorgeous recorded sound and Leif's genius for balance make the opening minute or two open up like a sunrise, because you hear every single instrument, every section, making its terraced entrance, like a staircase of musical layers rising up to the light. As you can tell, I love that recording.
I shall do so with the greatest pleasure - just as soon as PrestoClassical get the box to me.

Quote
I also love Segerstam's Seventh to pieces, because he treats it as heroically and forcefully as the others, but it makes me very sad to see that you've given up on that symphony.  :(  I too don't understand the Fourth, but Six teases me endlessly like a beautiful but very moody girl, and Seven is the symphony I love most of all... no Five is... no wait maybe Three... or Six...
Well, I must never say never, because I've been listening to Vanska doing the 4th for the last half hour, and getting a lot more out of the experience than I usually do. So really I haven't given up on any of them. I just have a tendency to pretend to tear up my comics every now and then.
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: karlhenning on September 18, 2010, 06:17:39 AM
Oh, I know.

When I find the perfect Sibelius CD, you can join me on the trip to Mount Doom if you like. [Thinks: that'll cheer him up.]

If I can wear iron mittens.
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: karlhenning on September 18, 2010, 06:17:59 AM
Hey! I just thought up a name for a band!
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: Sergeant Rock on September 18, 2010, 06:22:25 AM
I agree with you guys about Segerstam's First. But I'm listening, for the first time, to Maazel's Pittsburgh First and, after hearing the first movement twice through, I'm prepared to declare it my new favorite :D  It's not as powerful or muscular, and marginally less exciting, but more poignant in places (and slower by a minute in both the first and last movements which gives Maazel room for a bit of interventionist phrasing). As I wrote in the listening thead, after the clarinet solo, the strings steal in so quietly; it's as if they didn't wish to disturb the sad, mysterious atmosphere created by the opening. Segerstam's violins are jarring at that point...which is the point, I guess. Unfortunately, Maazel rushes the two final notes of the first movement. I prefer them stretched out like Segerstam does it.

Sarge
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: Scarpia on September 18, 2010, 06:25:57 AM
I agree with you guys about Segerstam's First. But I'm listening, for the first time, to Maazel's Pittsburgh First and, after hearing the first movement twice through, I'm prepared to declare it my new favorite :D  It's not as powerful or muscular, and marginally less exciting, but more poignant in places (and slower by a minute in both the first and last movements which gives Maazel room for a bit of interventionist phrasing). As I wrote in the listening thead, after the clarinet solo, the strings steal in so quietly; it's as if they didn't wish to disturb the sad, mysterious atmosphere created by the opening. Segerstam's violins are jarring at that point...which is the point, I guess. Unfortunately, Maazel rushes the two final notes of the first movement. I prefer them stretched out like Segerstam does it.

Maazel/Pittsburgh is a magnificent cycle!  I have to declare it my favorite overall (among 6 or so that I have).

Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: Elgarian on September 18, 2010, 06:29:53 AM
(http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v82/Alan_/BlakeIwant.jpg)
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: Elgarian on September 18, 2010, 06:31:38 AM
Segerstam's violins are jarring at that point...which is the point, I guess.
Lightning from a clear sky.
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: Sergeant Rock on September 18, 2010, 06:32:35 AM
Maazel/Pittsburgh is a magnificent cycle!

I'm beginning to believe you...finally  ;)

Sarge
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: Elgarian on September 18, 2010, 06:33:15 AM
If I can wear iron mittens.
Always. Sensible handwear is important.
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: Sergeant Rock on September 18, 2010, 06:34:02 AM
Lightning from a clear sky.

Exactly. And a good example of why owning just one version simply won't do. Too many fascinating variables; too many interpretive choices. I want to hear them all  :)

Sarge
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: Scarpia on September 18, 2010, 06:34:48 AM
I'm beginning to believe you...finally  ;)

Sarge

The pinnacles of M/P are 3 and 6.
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: Sergeant Rock on September 18, 2010, 06:42:23 AM
The pinnacles of M/P are 3 and 6.

The Sixth I've heard and liked but I still prefer Davis's faster ride (despite the Boston brass  ;) )  But it's an interesting alternative and one that will probably grow on me. The Third I'm looking forward to but I want Mrs. Rock to be there during the first listen. That's her favorite Sibelius symphony and one of the few classical works she's very picky about; must be played just so. Ashkenazy is her current favorite.

Sarge
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: Brian on September 18, 2010, 09:46:10 AM
Maazel/Pittsburgh is a magnificent cycle!  I have to declare it my favorite overall (among 6 or so that I have).

I've only heard Maazel/Pittsburgh's 2 and 6... I found the 2 eccentric, but then I like my 2 really fast and slimmed-down; the Maazel Pittsburgh 6, on the other hand, is my favorite, as I wrote here (http://www.good-music-guide.com/community/index.php/topic,13.msg436264.html#msg436264). It confuses me that Sarge prefers faster here!
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: Sergeant Rock on September 18, 2010, 09:49:09 AM
I've only heard Maazel/Pittsburgh's 2 and 6... I found the 2 eccentric, but then I like my 2 really fast and slimmed-down; the Maazel Pittsburgh 6, on the other hand, is my favorite, as I wrote here (http://www.good-music-guide.com/community/index.php/topic,13.msg436264.html#msg436264). It confuses me that Sarge prefers faster here!

And it confuses me you like slower here. We're usually just the opposite  :D

Sarge

P.S. Are you in London now?
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: Archaic Torso of Apollo on September 18, 2010, 10:40:44 AM
The Sixth I've heard and liked but I still prefer Davis's faster ride

The 6th should be a fast ride. It has the interesting distinction of being one of the few 4-mvt. symphonies without a slow movement. Some conductors try to make the 2nd mvt. into a de facto slow movement, even though it's marked allegretto.

Me, I'm still reveling in Rozhdestvensky's set that I got recently. The 6th is one of the highlights. Above all, he gets the finale right, which often sounds kind of disjointed due to the various tempo changes.
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: Brian on September 18, 2010, 12:22:35 PM
And it confuses me you like slower here. We're usually just the opposite  :D

Sarge

P.S. Are you in London now?

Yes, I am! It's been a really interesting (read: crazy) few days. Just had some wonderful Persian kebabs near Queensway... mm!

On a side note, I'm not sure I like the Sixth too slow. Berglund's 11-minute finale drives me right up the wall (EMI/Helsinki). Colin Davis is pretty darn snappy in his new LSO Live and I like that one. But I do like the first movement to have space to relax and stretch out, and I like the beginning and ending of the symphony to be like sighs, the first a sigh of contentment after coming in from the cold, the last a sigh of loneliness or despair. Maazel gets it just right for me - crunchy on the inside, chewy on the outside. Or something like that.  ;D
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: Scarpia on September 18, 2010, 12:39:56 PM
Yes, I am! It's been a really interesting (read: crazy) few days. Just had some wonderful Persian kebabs near Queensway... mm!

On a side note, I'm not sure I like the Sixth too slow. Berglund's 11-minute finale drives me right up the wall (EMI/Helsinki). Colin Davis is pretty darn snappy in his new LSO Live and I like that one. But I do like the first movement to have space to relax and stretch out, and I like the beginning and ending of the symphony to be like sighs, the first a sigh of contentment after coming in from the cold, the last a sigh of loneliness or despair. Maazel gets it just right for me - crunchy on the inside, chewy on the outside. Or something like that.  ;D

For a Sibelius 6 finale with a lot of wonderful sensuality, there is Karajan's later recording on EMI with the Berlin Philharmonic.  Perhaps not truly idiomatic Sibelius, but wonderful in its way.
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: Sergeant Rock on September 19, 2010, 06:05:01 AM
Me, I'm still reveling in Rozhdestvensky's set that I got recently. The 6th is one of the highlights. Above all, he gets the finale right, which often sounds kind of disjointed due to the various tempo changes.

I bought the Rozh box seven weeks ago and haven't even opened it yet. This gives me incentive  8)

Sarge
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: vandermolen on September 20, 2010, 12:08:44 PM
I bought the Rozh box seven weeks ago and haven't even opened it yet. This gives me incentive  8)

Sarge

I'm very tempted by this set - a further attraction is Gallen-Kallela's painting of 'Lake Keitele' on the front cover - my favourite painting (and possible the most recent - 1904) in the National Gallery, London.
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: Sergeant Rock on September 20, 2010, 12:13:08 PM
I'm very tempted by this set - a further attraction is Gallen-Kallela's painting of 'Lake Keitele' on the front cover - my favourite painting (and possible the most recent - 1904) in the National Gallery, London.

Yeah,it's gorgeous...one of, I think, three versions he did of that scene:

(http://photos.imageevent.com/sgtrock/july2010/Gallen-Kallela_lake.jpg)


Sarge
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: DavidRoss on September 20, 2010, 05:26:31 PM
Yuck--mine's an old Russian set that's about as pretty as yesterday's Pravda after it's been used to line the canary's cage.
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: Archaic Torso of Apollo on September 20, 2010, 08:54:42 PM
Yuck--mine's an old Russian set that's about as pretty as yesterday's Pravda after it's been used to line the canary's cage.

Melodiya really made it look good this time. In addition to the awesome painting, the CDs are made to look like old LPs, with fake grooves even. The essay by Rozh is interesting as a conductor's POV, tho' he doesn't discuss the symphonies individually.

The box says "first time on CD" but I think that's wrong - it was earlier on some label called "Venezia." Is that a pirate label?
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: vandermolen on September 21, 2010, 02:39:27 AM
Yeah,it's gorgeous...one of, I think, three versions he did of that scene:

(http://photos.imageevent.com/sgtrock/july2010/Gallen-Kallela_lake.jpg)


Sarge

The wake trail in the picture is apparently the path of the river god - great mythological stuff.
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: Elgarian on September 21, 2010, 06:47:08 AM
Still waiting for Presto to send me the Segerstam/Helsinki set, and am very much in a Sibelius frame of mind right now, and having read these comments above, and having read the Gramophone review ...  I've decided to order this (special offer at MDT):

(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51CCJbrND2L._SL500_AA300_.jpg)

And while I'm on a Sibelian roll - does anyone out there have the earlier set with Segerstam and the Danish guys, on Brilliant? It's so cheap that it seems very tempting, unless the performances really aren't up to much.
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: Scarpia on September 21, 2010, 07:26:46 AM
And while I'm on a Sibelian roll - does anyone out there have the earlier set with Segerstam and the Danish guys, on Brilliant? It's so cheap that it seems very tempting, unless the performances really aren't up to much.

Wow, $13 for a new 4 CD set (amazon marketplace seller).  I had one disc from the original Chandos release and don't recall enjoying it much, except for the cover art.

(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/61VRRt5ukZL._SS500_.jpg)
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: DavidRoss on September 21, 2010, 10:21:28 AM
Melodiya really made it look good this time. In addition to the awesome painting, the CDs are made to look like old LPs, with fake grooves even. The essay by Rozh is interesting as a conductor's POV, tho' he doesn't discuss the symphonies individually.

The box says "first time on CD" but I think that's wrong - it was earlier on some label called "Venezia." Is that a pirate label?
Nope. It's a commercial label from MOCKBA called VEHEция.
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: DavidRoss on September 21, 2010, 10:25:24 AM
And while I'm on a Sibelian roll - does anyone out there have the earlier set with Segerstam and the Danish guys, on Brilliant? It's so cheap that it seems very tempting, unless the performances really aren't up to much.
I have the 5th & 7th--liked the 5th, not the 7th. Conception similar to his HPO set, a bit on the grand side.  BRO had the whole set for about $12 a couple of years back.  I considered it but passed.
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: MN Dave on September 21, 2010, 10:29:37 AM
(http://www.euro-cig.com/gal_images/20060405111947.jpg)
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: Scarpia on September 21, 2010, 10:32:13 AM
(http://www.euro-cig.com/gal_images/20060405111947.jpg)

Did Sibelius supply the Marlboro theme song?
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: Elgarian on September 21, 2010, 10:49:50 AM
I have the 5th & 7th--liked the 5th, not the 7th. Conception similar to his HPO set, a bit on the grand side.  BRO had the whole set for about $12 a couple of years back.  I considered it but passed.
Thanks. Sounds like when my Helsinki set arrives, I probably have the best of Segerstam, then.
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: Elgarian on September 23, 2010, 12:19:29 PM
This might be more up your alley, Alan, and you can listen to it through Naxos streaming:
(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51%2BO2A7RICL._SL500_AA300_.jpg)
OK Dave, where are you? This box arrived this morning and I've listened to the 1st and 3rd symphonies so far.

The 1st is, surely, the finest (that is, closest approach to my dream version) I've ever heard. There's no shortage of what I want (ice, cold air, northern skies, windblown pines), and there's also a kind of only-just-controlled wildness - a feeling that the lid is only just being kept on something huge. The sheer weight of the sweeping climaxes is staggering. I very much doubt that I'm going to hear a closer approach to what I seem to have been searching for than this.

The 3rd is very different - not so wild, the sense of control rather tighter. The beginning is like seeing a light through crystal - exquisite. I wondered how he'd tackle that somewhat 'classical' feeling that attaches itself to this symphony in places, and it seems to me that he's bang up to the job. When I got to the closing few minutes I couldn't believe the sheer inexorable mounting pressure. Not wild, in this case - it's the dynamism of the approaching steam train rather than the leaping tiger - but my goodness, the hair on the neck is set a-prickling and no mistake.

This box is unbelievable, and I'm wondering at this point just how much dust my other Sibelius symphonies are going to gather from here on. Thanks Dave, for the recommendation - not the first recommendation of this that I've seen, but the most effective in terms of the end result.
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: Brian on September 23, 2010, 12:51:40 PM
Alan,

That post made me so, so very happy. Your description of those performances corresponds exactly with my own feelings - reading the post was one of those experiences which made me say to myself, "Hey, I feel exactly those same things too - I just didn't have the words." Especially these words...
[No 1] a kind of only-just-controlled wildness - a feeling that the lid is only just being kept on something huge. [No 3] The beginning is like seeing a light through crystal - exquisite. ...When I got to the closing few minutes I couldn't believe the sheer inexorable mounting pressure. ... the dynamism of the approaching steam train

Yes, yes, yes! Yes! That's it! That's what I hear! I'm so glad you hear it too!

And as much as I dread to bring this up so quickly... it sounds to me like you are ready to give No 7 another try.

Approach it (with Segerstam, of course) from exactly the same direction you approach Nos 1 and 3. In this conductor's world, the First, Third, and Seventh are all on the same road; No 7 is just a few blocks down, in a new neighborhood. Actually, it may even be closer than that. The Seventh is the familiar territory of the old symphonies made harder to see, perhaps by the blanket of the night: by the light of the stars, one can sense the shapes of the previous symphonies out there somewhere, in the dark. The fleet heroism and characterful winds of No 3; the slowly mounting despair of No 1; the sleek beauty of No 6's outer edges; the spiritual triumph of No 5. All of them are passed by on Sibelius' little nighttime walk through his own past.

But...

You should of course judge for yourself!   8)

A side note: No 7 was my first Sibelius symphony (!), and initially I found it spectacularly boring; then I found it spiritual in a monastic sort of way, like fasting or praying all day in a cold cell, thanks to Petri Sakari on Naxos; now, thanks to Segerstam (and also Colin Davis on LSO Live), I hear it as a summary of all that came before, a return to Sibelius' old haunts, a nearly-defeated exorcism of all the demons.
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: Brian on September 23, 2010, 01:12:49 PM
As a side note, I am on another of my major Sibelius swings. Approximately three times a year, I go through a "Sibelius phase" where I listen to him almost compulsively, in fact almost exclusively, for a few weeks, then abruptly stop. For the rest of the year, his music goes almost completely unplayed by me. It lies dormant for months; this summer it was very nearly dead. I tried listening a few times and rejected the music each time, not in the mood, not ready, just not in Sibelius' frame of mind. From the outside, his is a strange mind, and one I dread entering. I try to put off the "phase" as long as possible. But that just makes it more intense when it takes me over.

To give you an idea of the intensity of my Sibelius phases, and the droughts in between, I glanced at my listening log.

In the last 12 days, I've listened to Sibelius 15 times. 12 of those listens were in the last 4 days, including the Violin Concerto and three symphonies on 21 September.
In the 120 days before this stretch, I listened to Sibelius 17 times, and that includes a MusicWeb assignment of "Finnish Orchestral Favorites."
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: Elgarian on September 23, 2010, 01:13:20 PM
Yes, yes, yes! Yes! That's it! That's what I hear! I'm so glad you hear it too!
This is what makes a forum like this so valuable. There is no one in my circle of friends (some of whom are great music-lovers) and acquaintances who'd have understood what I was talking about.

Quote
And as much as I dread to bring this up so quickly... it sounds to me like you are ready to give No 7 another try.
You're right, Brian, it's certainly time, especially since I'm on a Sibelian roll, and since I'm willing to sell my soul to this Segerstam guy. I found myself listening to a bit of the 4th, actually, and thought 'hey, this is starting to be something I might be able to get into, at last' - but I'd already been thinking I'd have another go at  the 7th and your comments will reinforce that determination. I'll carry your words (' the 7th is just a few blocks down') in there with me.
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: Brian on September 23, 2010, 01:17:03 PM
And likewise I will carry your words with me into the heart of the Fourth; I listened to the Fourth just a few days ago, for only the second time this year, and it is still a foreign land to me. It's like being trapped inside the belly of a terrifying beast, with a little torch that just lets me see the victims around me. If you'll head down the "street" of No 7, I'll try to make sense of the savage No 4.  :)
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: DavidRoss on September 23, 2010, 07:10:56 PM
Hey, Alan--I'm glad you're getting something out of the music.  And I'm glad that Brian's plugging away at the fourth.  It's well worth it. 

Segerstam/HPO's Tapiola & Lemminkäinen Legends is also a pretty good disc, especially if you like his lush, dramatic style.
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: Elgarian on September 24, 2010, 12:26:51 AM
As a side note, I am on another of my major Sibelius swings. Approximately three times a year, I go through a "Sibelius phase" where I listen to him almost compulsively, in fact almost exclusively, for a few weeks, then abruptly stop. For the rest of the year, his music goes almost completely unplayed by me.
I experience similar swings myself, not just with Sibelius but with everything. My listening progresses in a series of quantum jumps, or something like Kuhn's paradigm shifts, but there's no predicting how long the gaps will be between shifts. If I get started on a Handel phase, then only Handel will do, and if in the meantime my wife sold off my entire collection of Elgar I might not notice for weeks. Or months.

It seems to be the way I'm wired up, so I just go with the flow. It's been years since I last listened to Sibelius. I tried him again some months ago but it generated just a damp squib rather than a real revival. This time it looks more promising, and while I'm sure Segerstam has a big part to play in that, it's interesting that I've had a big revival of Wagner in the meantime. My brain must be in search of more 'Northern-ness'.
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: Elgarian on September 24, 2010, 12:27:56 AM
Segerstam/HPO's Tapiola & Lemminkäinen Legends is also a pretty good disc, especially if you like his lush, dramatic style.
Noted - thanks!
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: Benji on September 24, 2010, 01:11:56 AM
Segerstam/HPO's Tapiola & Lemminkäinen Legends is also a pretty good disc, especially if you like his lush, dramatic style.

Seconded! I love that disc - it is my favourite recording of Tapiola. The Lemminkäinen is also right up there, though maybe edged out by the performance conducted by Mikko Franck, also on the Ondine label. I'd be happy with either disc for Lemminkäinen, but as it happens I wouldn't be without either disc as the Franck disc also has my favourite En Saga (it's a corker!).
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: vandermolen on September 24, 2010, 02:02:45 AM
Seconded! I love that disc - it is my favourite recording of Tapiola. The Lemminkäinen is also right up there, though maybe edged out by the performance conducted by Mikko Franck, also on the Ondine label. I'd be happy with either disc for Lemminkäinen, but as it happens I wouldn't be without either disc as the Franck disc also has my favourite En Saga (it's a corker!).

Actually I was listening to Segerstam's earlier Danish RSO recording of Tapiola this week (Chandos, with Symphony No 3) and I thought that it was the favourite of my multiple copies of Tapiola (my favourite work by Sibelius). The Helsinki version is also terrific
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: Benji on September 24, 2010, 02:40:36 AM
Actually I was listening to Segerstam's earlier Danish RSO recording of Tapiola this week (Chandos, with Symphony No 3) and I thought that it was the favourite of my multiple copies of Tapiola (my favourite work by Sibelius). The Helsinki version is also terrific

The earlier Segerstam set used to be very cheap, but no longer! (it does seem classical discs on Amazon marketplace have increased an awful lot recently, even used. Anyone else noticed this?)

I'll see if they have it on eMusic to download...
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: Scarpia on September 24, 2010, 02:45:56 AM
The earlier Segerstam set used to be very cheap, but no longer! (it does seem classical discs on Amazon marketplace have increased an awful lot recently, even used. Anyone else noticed this?)

You call $14 for a Sibelius symphony cycle expensive?
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: karlhenning on September 24, 2010, 03:55:58 AM
Compared to Ben's initial acquisition of the Blomstedt cycle, none of them is expensive ; )
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: Benji on September 24, 2010, 04:03:48 AM
Compared to Ben's initial acquisition of the Blomstedt cycle, none of them is expensive ; )

 :'(

It still hurts...

(Also the Chandos Segerstam set is £30 on the UK site here - I didn't check Amazon US. At any rate an eMusic subscription is significantly cheaper and more convenient)
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: Brian on September 24, 2010, 04:05:43 AM
Compared to Ben's initial acquisition of the Blomstedt cycle, none of them is expensive ; )

Cross-post from something I wrote in another thread:

Amazon.co.uk has "1 new copy" of the Bernstein NYPO Sibelius cycle for £999.00. The seller's name is, wonderfully, "pridestuff."
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: Scarpia on September 24, 2010, 05:11:57 AM
:'(

It still hurts...

(Also the Chandos Segerstam set is £30 on the UK site here - I didn't check Amazon US. At any rate an eMusic subscription is significantly cheaper and more convenient)

The Chandos cycle is long deleted from the catalog and may be considered a rare item.  The same recordings have been issued by Brilliant classics, and those are quite cheap.
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: Benji on September 24, 2010, 05:57:03 AM
The Chandos cycle is long deleted from the catalog and may be considered a rare item.  The same recordings have been issued by Brilliant classics, and those are quite cheap.

Ohhhhhh yeah, so it has. I see it now - £10 - that's much more like it!

Thanks!  :)
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: DavidRoss on September 24, 2010, 10:18:13 AM
The Lemminkäinen is also right up there, though maybe edged out by the performance conducted by Mikko Franck, also on the Ondine label. I'd be happy with either disc for Lemminkäinen, but as it happens I wouldn't be without either disc as the Franck disc also has my favourite En Saga (it's a corker!).
Ditto!  Best En Saga by far and my favorite Lemminkäinen.  Wish we had more Sibelius from Franck.
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: Elgarian on September 24, 2010, 12:05:38 PM
If you'll head down the "street" of No 7, I'll try to make sense of the savage No 4.  :)
Oh Brian, I am struggling here. I listened to it once this morning, and as always, despite approaching it with optimism, I made almost nothing of it. So this evening I thought: "This is silly. How can a 20 minute piece of music, by a composer I admire so much, be so resistant that even after something approaching 20 listenings over a lifetime, it still defeats me?" So I tried again, and this time I listened in a way that I've never done before, with a piece of paper in front of me, jotting down notes as I listened to see if something coherent would emerge. I abandoned the experiment after 10 minutes, because I couldn't think of anything to write. Since I did make these notes, I'll reproduce them here, but they merely mark out my hopeless failure as a listener.

00.00 Slow sequence of rising notes
00.50 Light tune with pastoral flavour
01.20 Getting more serious. Growing in urgency.
02.00 Simple 4-note pattern begins
02.30 Hymn-like tune begins on strings. Intensity building up.
03.55 Strange fade-out?
04.00 More powerful again
04.20 And slackens off. Seems just like doodling.
04.45 Getting really good. Going somewhere at last!
05.00 Big climax. Really good.
05.30 Powerful strings
05.45 Drum! What's this?
06.00 6-note pattern on brass
06.20 More doodling
06.40 Building up again. But comes to nought
07.00 Folksy bit. Is this new movement? Doodling.
07.30 Big noise. Fades off.
08.00 Fast woodwind passages. Or is this start of next movement?
08.45 Where's this going?
09.00 Zithery stuff. Is this angry?
10.00 Give up.

I just can't hear any coherence here apart from sounds of a vaguely Sibelian character making fleeting statements that evaporate as soon as they're made. I can't detect any connection between any given passage and any other passage. I just don't know what to do. I think I don't have whatever perceptive equipment is needed to get anything out of this.

Gosh Brian, I hope you had better luck with the 4th. This has certainly taken the wind out of my sails!

Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: Brian on September 24, 2010, 12:51:57 PM
Do you know, Alan, now I can hear the Seventh your way! Well, that's disingenuous: I'm not actually listening to it but playing it through in my head. It's not disjointed, but it is - darn, what's the word - well, I'll just start the sentence over. It's only got one theme, and that one theme appears only three and a half times, and only as a sort of bookend to the sections of the piece. And the sections... those flutes at 00.50, they come back at the very end, but that's it; the ascending figure of the beginning only really matters in that it hints at the fact that the big tune is also ascending; the hymn never comes back; you didn't even get to the most contained part, the very clearly defined scherzo. Hmmm.

The Fourth...

I can "get" and even admire the first four minutes of the first movement. It presages Gorecki or Metamorphosen, this insistent, depressive harping on the same thing over and over, building to a climax. But then the movement just sort of wanders. The scherzo wanders, even. The slow movement is as shapeless and tuneless and "home"-less as the high modernists. The finale wanders but "I get it": he's trying to make some sense of the first three movements, but he just can't.

I do think I've made a bit of headway. First, I recognize some continuities: solo cello bits all around, for instance. But then there's the solo oboe in the last minute of the piece, that has nothing to do with anything else.

The headway is this. Seems to me that previous composers all expressed confusion and desolation and frustration by taking a nice minor-key tune, developing it, and using it to wring the life out of you. Tchaikovsky Six. Sibelius here is making you feel all those adjectives, by writing music that is confused and frustrated, and confusing and frustrating. It's like Lost in Translation, where Sofia Coppola tries to convey how bored Bill Murray is by making the whole movie really boring.

So maybe the headway is that I'm starting to figure out what the strategy is. It's a broken jigsaw puzzle of a symphony. But then, I didn't like Lost in Translation either.
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: Elgarian on September 24, 2010, 01:01:54 PM
the hymn never comes back;
That's a shame - I knew it didn't, and thought it was a shame. Seems like a waste of a really good hymn.
Quote
you didn't even get to the most contained part, the very clearly defined scherzo. Hmmm.
I did this morning, of course - but this evening I stopped my note-writing before I got there.

Quote
The Fourth...
I do think I've made a bit of headway. First, I recognize some continuities: solo cello bits all around, for instance. But then there's the solo oboe in the last minute of the piece, that has nothing to do with anything else.

The headway is this. Seems to me that previous composers all expressed confusion and desolation and frustration by taking a nice minor-key tune, developing it, and using it to wring the life out of you. Tchaikovsky Six. Sibelius here is making you feel all those adjectives, by writing music that is confused and frustrated, and confusing and frustrating. It's like Lost in Translation, where Sofia Coppola tries to convey how bored Bill Murray is by making the whole movie really boring.
Believe it or not, I find it quite encouraging seeing you struggle like this! Not because I want you to struggle, but because your description makes me feel I don't need to beat myself with a stick quite so hard. And furthermore, I sympathise with you over Lost in Translation.

Anyway, I'm going to try the 4th myself, next. I can't guarantee that I'll write notes as I go along, but I will report back.
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: CD on September 24, 2010, 01:44:22 PM
Huh, odd that two of my favorite pieces ever seem so incomprehensible to some — but that's the wonderful and often frustrating thing about perception: nobody hears the same piece.

I was talking earlier today with a conductor friend and told her I didn't really get Bruckner. She described his appeal as alike to taking part in a ritual, as in a religious rite. Now I feel ready to reapproach Bruckner's music with that in mind.

With Sibelius I hear his music as a flow. I don't question what it is he's trying to do, or why he is doing it, but merely consider myself as along for the ride. Like being on a train heading for an unknown destination, but taking time to see the sights along the way.
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: Benji on September 24, 2010, 02:51:33 PM
Huh, odd that two of my favorite pieces ever seem so incomprehensible to some — but that's the wonderful and often frustrating thing about perception: nobody hears the same piece.

I was talking earlier today with a conductor friend and told her I didn't really get Bruckner. She described his appeal as alike to taking part in a ritual, as in a religious rite. Now I feel ready to reapproach Bruckner's music with that in mind.

With Sibelius I hear his music as a flow. I don't question what it is he's trying to do, or why he is doing it, but merely consider myself as along for the ride. Like being on a train heading for an unknown destination, but taking time to see the sights along the way.

That's a wonderful way to appreciate Sibelius, or any composer really.

The 4th is a difficult nut to crack - I can sympathise with Brian. It wasn't until I heard Blomstedt conduct it that it I began to 'feel' it. It is a dark and painful work, written at a time of much doubt and trepidation for the composer. If you read up on what Sibelius was going through at the time, it may help to understand the intensity of the emotion he poured into the work. I think of your journey comment, Corey, and I think of the 3rd movement in particular - there is definitely a journey of discovery in the movement, as the austere theme is introduced on the clarinet, developed and expanded in what seems an almost improvisatory way, as if Sibelius is discovering it for himself. The word 'organic' is often used to describe Sibelius's compositional method and I think this movement is a good example. The powerful climax of the movement, the final and full expansion of that seed of a theme from the beginning, seems like it aught to be a resolution, but the closing bars quickly discount that I feel.

There is an enlightening and very thorough musical analysis of the 4th here: http://www.sibelius.fi/english/musiikki/ork_sinf_04.htm  (http://www.sibelius.fi/english/musiikki/ork_sinf_04.htm).

The 4th is my favourite of Sibelius' symphonies, though perhaps the least frequently listened to. It has a powerful effect on me, especially if my mood is sympathetic to it - a sort of musical resonance effect.
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: Drasko on September 25, 2010, 02:25:10 AM
With Sibelius I hear his music as a flow. I don't question what it is he's trying to do, or why he is doing it, but merely consider myself as along for the ride. Like being on a train heading for an unknown destination, but taking time to see the sights along the way.

My feelings exactly, specially for 7th. I believe Sibelius originally titled it symphonic fantasy and likened it to a river. For me it best works if you just relax and float downstream on swelling of those crescendos/decrescendos, tempo and mood changes with the recurring trombone theme as something of an anchor point. Without dwelling too much on trying to discern formal structure. And sing along, I always sing along with 7th.
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: Elgarian on September 25, 2010, 07:14:27 AM
My feelings exactly, specially for 7th. I believe Sibelius originally titled it symphonic fantasy and likened it to a river. For me it best works if you just relax and float downstream on swelling of those crescendos/decrescendos, tempo and mood changes with the recurring trombone theme as something of an anchor point. Without dwelling too much on trying to discern formal structure.
In one sense I think that sounds very sensible, and my perception of it as something that might be titled 'A Doodle for Orchestra' seems to fit with that. But it's described as a symphony - and that means one is invited to approach it in a certain kind of frame of mind, looking for something structural, a sense of interconnected unity. I think if he'd actually called it an orchestral doodle, I'd have been able to listen a few times, decide it wasn't my cup of tea, and move on. But precisely because it calls itself a symphony, I assume that there really is a structure there that I'm missing. So I'm looking for an interwoven tapestry, but only finding a sequence of bits tied together along a length of string.

But there's another troubling aspect to this. It's not just described as a symphony: it's spoken of as a triumph of economical symphonic structure - a single-movement symphony. Other composers take at least half an hour and four separate chunks, but Sibelius the symphonic wizard wraps it all up in 20 minutes without a break and we all get home early for tea. So this makes me even more troubled that I listen and listen for some identifiable pattern, but still the tapestry eludes me, and still I hear only the sequence of doodles along the length of the string. I must emphasise that I'm perfectly happy to accept that I'm a rubbish listener, that there is an ingenious structure there; and that I'm too dim to hear it. But if it were to turn out that there's just the string of doodles after all, and that all I need do is lay back and feel the flow, then I'd feel very hard done by, after all these years of trying.


Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: Scarpia on September 25, 2010, 07:32:22 AM
There must be some mid-ground between a Symphony and a "doodle."   ;D

I find the 7th and Tapiola to be similar in their mode of construction.   They are symphonic fantasies which have a definite organic structure to them which does not fit with "standard" symphonic construction.  I admire both, but find that they require a certain mood (in me) to make a satisfying impression.
 
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: Drasko on September 25, 2010, 07:34:28 AM
But there's another troubling aspect to this. It's not just described as a symphony: it's spoken of as a triumph of economical symphonic structure - a single-movement symphony. Other composers take at least half an hour and four separate chunks, but Sibelius the symphonic wizard wraps it all up in 20 minutes without a break and we all get home early for tea. So this makes me even more troubled that I listen and listen for some identifiable pattern, but still the tapestry eludes me, and still I hear only the sequence of doodles along the length of the string. I must emphasise that I'm perfectly happy to accept that I'm a rubbish listener, that there is an ingenious structure there; and that I'm too dim to hear it. But if it were to turn out that there's just the string of doodles after all, and that all I need do is lay back and feel the flow, then I'd feel very hard done by, after all these years of trying.

I'm not sure it's just string of doodles, unity, which there is, is just not achieved traditionally by thematic development or sonata form. I'm sure someone with more musical knowledge could explain it much better than me, but here's something I dug out for starters:

Quote
The form of the Seventh symphony is startlingly original. Since the time of Joseph Haydn, a movement in a symphony would typically be unified by an approximately constant beat and would attain variety by use of contrasting themes in different keys. Sibelius turned this scheme on its head. The Seventh symphony is unified by the key of C (every significant passage in the work is in C major or C minor), and variety is achieved by an almost constantly-changing tempo, as well as by contrasts of mode, articulation and texture.
Barnett, Andrew (2007), Sibelius
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: Elgarian on September 25, 2010, 09:47:45 AM
I'm not sure it's just string of doodles, unity, which there is, is just not achieved traditionally by thematic development or sonata form. I'm sure someone with more musical knowledge could explain it much better than me, but here's something I dug out for starters:
Quote
The Seventh symphony is unified by the key of C (every significant passage in the work is in C major or C minor), and variety is achieved by an almost constantly-changing tempo, as well as by contrasts of mode, articulation and texture
I'm worried here that I'll start to sound like a nit-picking grumbler - but the truth is that I don't understand, and I never did, and I want to. I'm not knocking the symphony itself, but expressing my concern about my perception of it.

Let's take the two parts of that quotation -

(1) It achieves unity because everything is in the key of C? But .. but ... so does almost any pop song. Where is the great symphonic breakthrough in achieving unity by sticking to the key of C?
(2) It achieves variety by changing tempo, mode, articulation and texture? Well yes - I don't have any trouble perceiving the variety. But if all that the bits have in common is the key of C, then ... is it surprising that it sounds like a string of variously different doodles? Doodles in C?

Surely there must be more to it than this?
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: Scarpia on September 25, 2010, 10:26:19 AM
(1) It achieves unity because everything is in the key of C? But .. but ... so does almost any pop song. Where is the great symphonic breakthrough in achieving unity by sticking to the key of C?

Very little of it is literally in the key of C.  The claim is that it achieves unity by returning to the key of C at key moments, notably when the big trombone theme returns. 

I don't necessarily agree that the "C" thing is such a great insight.  I think of the piece as a succession of moods, of associations, that make reference to common element (the trombone theme).
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: Elgarian on September 25, 2010, 10:55:51 AM
I think of the piece as a succession of moods, of associations, that make reference to common element (the trombone theme).
I see that. But what makes it a symphony?

So far, it's as if someone were to claim a poetic breakthrough in sonnet form by writing a new 'economical' sonnet of 9 lines in free verse. It might be a good poem, but why would anyone call it a sonnet?
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: CD on September 25, 2010, 10:56:46 AM
It's okay to admit that you just don't enjoy it.
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: Elgarian on September 25, 2010, 10:59:50 AM
It's okay to admit that you just just don't enjoy it.
No, no ... surely it's clear from my posts that that isn't the issue at all?
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: Scarpia on September 25, 2010, 11:17:24 AM
I see that. But what makes it a symphony?

So far, it's as if someone were to claim a poetic breakthrough in sonnet form by writing a new 'economical' sonnet of 9 lines in free verse. It might be a good poem, but why would anyone call it a sonnet?

Who gets the right to define the word "symphony?"  At first it was applied to brief instrumental interludes in baroque operas, cantatas or oratorios.  In early Haydn it could be anything with no singing.  By the time Haydn and Mozart were done and Beethoven was starting it was a four movement affair.  Then it got applied to monstrous things like Mahler's 8th.  I would define it for modern purposes as an extended piece of music in which form (long range organization) and thematic development play a central role.  I think Sibelius 7 qualified.  Sibelius' idea was to make the "form" a flexible thing that suited the musical purpose, rather than a pre-conceived set of rules.  I think he achieved that in the 7th, although it is not really a symphony by 19th century standards. 
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: Brian on September 25, 2010, 11:24:03 AM
I see that. But what makes it a symphony?

I. Introduction -
II. Theme -
III. Adagio (pastorale) -
IV. Theme, in turbulent mood -
V. Scherzo -
VI. Theme, building to climax -
VII. Introduction (reprise) and apotheosis, with reminders of theme

For me the part of the symphony which could have been "tightened up" the most is III. A lot of times that little slow movement leaves me waiting for the rest of the piece.

Does anybody know where on the forum M forever (or someone of similar bent) argued that Every Conductor Conducts the Seventh Wrong? He was referring to the very last bars, where an important violin phrase goes unheard in every extant recording because of orchestral balances. If you know where that discussion is, please let me know. Heck, maybe it's in this thread. It's important to my conception of the "tightness" of the structure of the Seventh. I am partially responsible for leaving Alan in the fog because I view the symphony as quite concise, have said so in the past, and have not explained exactly what concise elements I'm going on about.
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: Elgarian on September 25, 2010, 11:49:21 AM
I am partially responsible for leaving Alan in the fog because I view the symphony as quite concise, have said so in the past, and have not explained exactly what concise elements I'm going on about.
At last, someone I can blame!!!

Seriously though ... thanks Brian for that sequence. Would it - bearing in mind that you are dealing with someone who seems to be wired up all wrong for this work - would it be possible for you to give a rough timing for those sections? (This may sound like a puerile request, but I can imagine sitting here becoming traumatised about whether I'm still in IV, or have made it to V.)
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: Brian on September 25, 2010, 12:07:32 PM
At last, someone I can blame!!!

Seriously though ... thanks Brian for that sequence. Would it - bearing in mind that you are dealing with someone who seems to be wired up all wrong for this work - would it be possible for you to give a rough timing for those sections? (This may sound like a puerile request, but I can imagine sitting here becoming traumatised about whether I'm still in IV, or have made it to V.)

I was thinking of listening to it again later tonight - this will give me something to do.  8)
I tried your notation system while listening to the Fourth yesterday, but it's just too intensive! I have to applaud you for the concentrated listening it took to write down all those notes on the exact timings of new figures; all I could muster was "Okay, we're around minute five now, I think"!
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: Elgarian on September 25, 2010, 12:14:39 PM
I have to applaud you for the concentrated listening it took to write down all those notes on the exact timings of new figures;
You're suffering under the delusion that I knew what I was doing, Brian. Those were the jottings of a drowning man.

Seriously though .... I mentioned in an earlier post how valuable this forum can be - and I have some hopes that your proposed structure is going to help me get my bearings. Many thanks for this.
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: Brian on September 25, 2010, 01:56:19 PM
I'm afraid I've divided the work into very few sections. I added one to those listed above, though, and created a few other cues.

My own introduction to the work, and still an extremely good one, is this essay (http://inkpot.com/classical/sibsym7.html) which helps explain some of the history as well as supplying a sort of "narrative."

"It is often thought that the essence of a symphony lies in its form, but this is certainly not the case. The content is always the primary factor, while form is secondary, the music itself determining its outward form." - Sibelius

[Segerstam/Helsinki]
00.00 I. Introduction -
04.56 II. Theme -
05.42 III. Adagio (pastorale with bumps) -
08.52 [transition to IV.] -
09.07 IV. Scherzo I (without trio)
10.00 V. Theme, absent confidence but with development -
11.37 [recollections of what had gone before] -
12.00 VI. Scherzo II (with nod to hymn theme at 12.14*) -
14.21 [second 'turn' of Scherzo - development in lieu of trio - it may be useful to think of the form of Beethoven VI.iii, in which the opening material comes round three times each with different results] -
15.06 [recap of Scherzo] -
16.10 [do the downward scales presage catastrophe? Yes: Remember the upward scale of the opening]
16.38 VII. Theme, building to climax -
17.36 [the material from 5.42 again] -
18.13 [climax]** -
19.22 [next-to-last appearance of the theme] -
19.40 VIII. Introduction (reprise) and apotheosis, with reminders of theme
20.41 [listen for the first notes of the theme, played by oboe and others]
The last two notes: ascending to C. What the scale at the opening failed to do.

*or possibly not. This was the first time I'd ever heard it.
**oh god. Now I am hearing echoes the hymn in the violin writing here. Don't strain your ears, though: it took me this many years...  ;D
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: Brian on September 25, 2010, 02:10:30 PM
Reading over the essay I linked to, he doesn't say what the "one motif" of the symphony is. Somebody a few posts above said it was the key of C. Not true: I think, if anything, it is the note of C. The ascending scale at the beginning fails to reach C, stopping at A flat. The hymn makes it: da-da-daaa, da-da-C-etc (although after this it avoids C resolutely). The Theme makes it: it starts off D-C. I think it also avoids C for the rest of its course. I don't have a score, just my memory playing over the piece in my head, so somebody smarter, jump in. Scherzo II makes it: da, da da! da-da-C. But its second phrase also hangs in midair on a note that doesn't resolve things. This enables the countermelody, in the violins, which does reach C at the very end (and begins much like the hymn). And, of course, there are the final chords, after the flutes reprise their little birdcall (which I think leaves out C - the birds never "land").

The reason I was wondering where some argument had once happened on GMG, is that the last two notes are actually half of the picture. Immediately before them, behind the big scary trombone/timpani wall, the violins are playing D-C: the opening notes of the Theme. What got M Forever eternally pissed off was that most conductors had the trombones cut in at the very end so loudly and distractingly, that nobody ever heard the D-C. He used to insist that the end was two matching, interlocking phrases: first the strings play D-C, then the thing we all hear them play, the very last two notes: B-C. Two ways to get home.

Taking this way beyond any accepted musicology (which actually I left days ago  ;D ), I view the fixation on C, and the "quest for C" motivating so much of the musical material, as Sibelius' response to modernism. I think he deliberately picked the key to celebrate the tonal idiom and affirm his loyalty to it. He knew he was being left behind by his contemporaries, in fact he had been left behind while he was writing No 5, and with the Seventh I think he sort of defiantly spat back: look, I can write something grand and bold and daring and distinctly modern using the "classic" key of the olden days, using the classic form, using everything you think old-fashioned to fashion something new.

Of course, I also said he was expelling personal demons a few pages ago. I think a lot of crazy things.
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: karlhenning on September 25, 2010, 03:40:37 PM
. . . I think a lot of crazy things.

That's all right; we all need material to pass through the filtration ; )

Thanks for your posts, Brian . . . at some point I should have some additive contribution . . . .
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: Elgarian on September 26, 2010, 12:13:35 AM
@Brian

Those posts are fresh bread to a starving man.

I've printed out your list and the recommended essay, and will return to the fray with new hope. It may take a while to absorb all this, and maybe several listenings, but I'll be back with a progress report eventually. Thank you.
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: Guido on September 26, 2010, 12:28:49 AM
No, I've given up on 4, 6 and 7. I've tried them so many times over the years, really really wanting to get into them; but they leave me feeling bad-tempered and dissatisfied. I just can't hear any proper tunes.

I'm absolutely staggered by this discussion - these three have been my favourites (most of all no.7) since I first heard them - I sort of assumed that most people approximately thought that these three were the best ones (though all are incomparably valuable). The seventh is for me one of the most satisfying listening experiences in all of music, and I remember having the rare experience when I first heard it of a masterpiece of the highest order unfurling its glowing tendrils before my eyes... the return at the end of the horns and brass where the piece seems to come back into focus in a completely unexpected and totally satisfying way is a miracle every time I hear it.

Barber of coursed partially based his beautiful first symphony on Sibelius' 7th, and wrote himself a little analysis which I'll try and dig out. I'm sorry that I can't myself be more helpful to enjoying these wonderful pieces.
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: Guido on September 26, 2010, 12:44:17 AM
Here it is - I'm not sure how much sense you might make of it, but what it appears to be doing is tracing the development of these mottos (if not quite themes).

Barber is more economical in a sense in his symphony, in that everything stems from the single opening theme - its a sort of four in one structure, the opening Allegro ma non troppo theme becoming the scherzo theme with the same note order but different rhythms. Again, the same is true of the ravishing adagio that follows, which goes straight into the passacaglia finale, with you guessed it, the same theme as the passacaglia bass line, now hugely stretched out on the cellos and basses. I love this symphony, but it's not as superlative as the Sibelius of course.
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: Sergeant Rock on September 26, 2010, 01:13:42 AM
Does anybody know where on the forum M forever (or someone of similar bent) argued that Every Conductor Conducts the Seventh Wrong? He was referring to the very last bars, where an important violin phrase goes unheard in every extant recording because of orchestral balances. If you know where that discussion is, please let me know.

The discussion is in the "Sibelius' tricky 7th Symphony" thread in the Great Recordings and Review section:

http://www.good-music-guide.com/community/index.php/topic,5210.msg126624.html#msg126624


Sarge
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: Sergeant Rock on September 26, 2010, 02:02:33 AM

My own introduction to the work, and still an extremely good one, is this essay (http://inkpot.com/classical/sibsym7.html) which helps explain some of the history as well as supplying a sort of "narrative."

Thanks for the link, Brian. The Inkspot Sibelius Nutcase and I have something in common:

"This [Berglund/Bournemouth] is my top recommendation...of the full cycle, bar none."

Sarge
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: Elgarian on September 26, 2010, 10:19:07 AM
Brian, I've just listened again with your list in front of me. I've still got a long way to go, but I can already say that I got more from this one listening that all the previous 20 listenings spread over the last lord-knows-how-many years. Most particularly, this is the first time ever that I've understood the ending.
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: Scarpia on September 26, 2010, 10:23:49 AM
Brian, I've just listened again with your list in front of me. I've still got a long way to go, but I can already say that I got more from this one listening that all the previous 20 listenings spread over the last lord-knows-how-many years. Most particularly, this is the first time ever that I've understood the ending.

I've always enjoyed the 7th, but I think I will have Brian's sketch in from of me for the next listen as well.
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: Elgarian on September 26, 2010, 10:57:57 AM
Perhaps it was foolish to listen yet again so quickly, but in terms of the result, I think not. This time I read the essay before listening, and then listened again with your list in front of me. Blimey. Brian, you've given me a huge leg up here: I 've never come close to getting this much from this music before, and I think from here on, I might even be able to resolve some of my remaining puzzles myself on further listens, having now acquired some firm base camps, as it were. By the way, there were two or three moments when I thought I caught transient quotations from the earlier symphonies - is that just me being over-imaginative, or are they really there?

But OK, OK, for the first time I'm getting some sort of grip on the structure of this, and I can hardly express the difference it's making.
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: Elgarian on September 26, 2010, 11:00:29 AM
I've always enjoyed the 7th, but I think I will have Brian's sketch in from of me for the next listen as well.
The essay is worth reading too. The combination of Brian's sketch plus essay is particularly helpful. But of course I'm coming from Nowhereville, so the difference on arriving at Somewhereville is really pretty striking!
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: DavidRoss on September 26, 2010, 11:47:30 AM
Wow!  Delightful to see the interest displayed in the past couple of days.  The 4th & the 7th repay the effort (as do they all), but there may be such a thing as trying too hard.  For me the 4th vies with the 5th as my fave, but that's not to slight the 7th, 6th, or 3rd.  Perhaps my favorite 4th is Berglund's latest, with the COE.

Notes that may be of interest on symphony 4:
http://www.sibelius.fi/english/musiikki/ork_sinf_04.htm
http://www.sfsymphony.org/music/ProgramNotes.aspx?id=38634

& re. symphony 7:
http://www.sibelius.fi/english/musiikki/ork_sinf_07.htm

and here's the NPR Performance Today series on Sibelius with commentary on each of the symphonies from Michael Steinberg:
http://www.npr.org/programs/pt/features/sibeliussym.html
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: Brian on September 26, 2010, 12:09:20 PM
I've always enjoyed the 7th, but I think I will have Brian's sketch in from of me for the next listen as well.

The essay is worth reading too. The combination of Brian's sketch plus essay is particularly helpful. But of course I'm coming from Nowhereville, so the difference on arriving at Somewhereville is really pretty striking!

I do strongly encourage you guys to read the link Sergeant Rock kindly posted above, too: especially, do read the two posts by M Forever on that page, and then if you like, the discussion on the following page between M, Eyeresist, and Jezetha. As you will see  ;D , that discussion was hugely helpful to my own scaling of the mountain - it was my base camp, to use Alan's words. :)

Perhaps it was foolish to listen yet again so quickly, but in terms of the result, I think not. This time I read the essay before listening, and then listened again with your list in front of me. Blimey. Brian, you've given me a huge leg up here: I 've never come close to getting this much from this music before, and I think from here on, I might even be able to resolve some of my remaining puzzles myself on further listens, having now acquired some firm base camps, as it were. By the way, there were two or three moments when I thought I caught transient quotations from the earlier symphonies - is that just me being over-imaginative, or are they really there?

But OK, OK, for the first time I'm getting some sort of grip on the structure of this, and I can hardly express the difference it's making.

So so glad to read this! I definitely think there are quotations from and allusions to the earlier symphonies (and the violin concerto). Last night while writing the notes, I heard a new one, though I can't remember where. As I've mentioned, the Seventh was my first Sibelius symphony (my first Sibelius anything!), and when I heard my second Sibelius symphony - No 5 - for the first time, I spent the whole first and second movements thinking, "This sounds like notes for the Seventh. That's just a rough draft version of X moment in the Seventh, the slow movement is notes for the pastorale...[etc.]" Then the swan hymn came up and my rational brain ceased functioning entirely.

This thread's made me very happy. I feel like it's one of the best most interesting discussions I've had on GMG. Will give the Fourth a few days before trying again - aided by DavidRoss' two exceptionally helpful links.

Oh, actually the essay David posted about the Seventh is really interesting. Now I'm starting to hear that opening ascending scale and flute tune all over the symphony.  :o  Oooh, and the comparison to the Third Symphony is really interesting. Thanks, Dave! This just keeps getting better!
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: Elgarian on September 27, 2010, 09:42:20 AM
What an entirely facinating journey this is proving to be. Forgive me if I ramble too much in my attempt to make sense of it.

Today I did two new things. I read the essay at Dave's link (most interesting - let's call it Essay X); and listened to Vanska's recording instead of Segerstam's, with Essay X in front of me. The result demonstrates just what a fragile beast this is that I'm grasping, here.

First, Vanska's timings are substantially different, so Brian's sketch becomes harder to follow. Second, with the timings up the creek, I found myself frequently losing the connection between what I was reading in Essay X, and what I was hearing in the music. Now I did not panic. No sir. Because now, you see, I have my base camps. If I got into a muddle, I just waited to arrive at the next base camp to sort things out. But so often I got lost, in between the camps. I arrived at the end feeling vaguely dissatisfied; Vanska seems to be a cool customer compared to Segerstam, and while I sometimes felt that Segerstam was showing me the mysteries of the universe, Vanska seemed to be telling me a theory about them. I exaggerate, to try to express the really quite subtle differences in feeling. Incidentally, I only hear the two notes at the end. I can't hear the other two that are mentioned in the M Forever discussion.

So next time I'm going to go back to Segerstam. But my main point in this interim ramble is just to express how insecure it all feels. Do you know what this experience reminds me of? Learning how to look at Cezanne. It's not hard to 'learn' how to look at Impressionist paintings, and when we come to Cezanne many of the same techniques are there: the fragmented colour; the use of clearly visible separate brushstrokes; the feeling of an enveloppe of atmospheric character. And yet, in Cezanne all these things are used to very different purpose and if we insist on looking at him through an Impressionist lens, we get it all wrong, and feel frustrated because there's so much there with which we feel familiar. It's like that with this Sibelius 7th. It has Sibelius written all over it. It has all his characteristic touches. But he's telling the tale in a completely different way, and it's taken me all this time to realise that it's no use listening to it as if it were 'old' Sibelius, even though superficially it sounds as if I might be able to. Hence the frustration. What a great lesson to learn. Well, partly learned, anyway. I fancy this is not a short road I'm on.

Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: Benji on September 27, 2010, 02:48:19 PM
For anyone who wants to take a wee break from this fascinating seriousness...

http://www.therestisnoise.com/2010/09/sibelius-jean-sibelius.html (http://www.therestisnoise.com/2010/09/sibelius-jean-sibelius.html)

*tee hee*
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: karlhenning on September 27, 2010, 02:56:08 PM
Oh.
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: Sergeant Rock on September 28, 2010, 02:06:48 AM
Incidentally, I only hear the two notes at the end. I can't hear the other two that are mentioned in the M Forever discussion.

I've been methodically listening to all my Sevenths (19 on CD...yeah, I know, I'm a sick boy) and so far the only recording where I can actually hear the strings D-C is the Järvi/Gothenburg. Searching, too, for a recording that doesn't stretch the final B-C beyond the note values. Vänskä comes closest to playing it as written.

Sarge
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: DavidRoss on September 28, 2010, 09:12:22 AM
I've been methodically listening to all my Sevenths (19 on CD...yeah, I know, I'm a sick boy) and so far the only recording where I can actually hear the strings D-C is the Järvi/Gothenburg. Searching, too, for a recording that doesn't stretch the final B-C beyond the note values. Vänskä comes closest to playing it as written.

Sarge
19! My, you are over the edge, dude!  My count, not including duplicates between single issues and box sets, is...19! Off the cuff I'd say my fave is probably Vänskä, but Berglund and Blomstedt sure beckon--and so does Maazel/WP, which I've not heard in quite some time so will remedy post haste!
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: Scarpia on September 28, 2010, 09:31:51 AM
19! My, you are over the edge, dude!  My count, not including duplicates between single issues and box sets, is...19! Off the cuff I'd say my fave is probably Vänskä, but Berglund and Blomstedt sure beckon--and so does Maazel/WP, which I've not heard in quite some time so will remedy post haste!

Having only 12 on the shelf, I certainly feel like a bush leaguer.   :(
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: Brian on September 28, 2010, 10:20:26 AM
8. I'm definitely still an amateur.
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: Brian on September 28, 2010, 10:21:59 AM
I've been methodically listening to all my Sevenths (19 on CD...yeah, I know, I'm a sick boy) and so far the only recording where I can actually hear the strings D-C is the Järvi/Gothenburg. Searching, too, for a recording that doesn't stretch the final B-C beyond the note values. Vänskä comes closest to playing it as written.

Sarge

If you strain your ears, you can hear the violins play D-C behind the brass intermittently, like a view from a train window that comes and goes between the trees, on the Sakari/Iceland recording.
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: Scarpia on September 28, 2010, 10:39:39 AM
If you strain your ears, you can hear the violins play D-C behind the brass intermittently, like a view from a train window that comes and goes between the trees, on the Sakari/Iceland recording.

After the big discussion of this issue (driven by the former M forever) I remember listening for it and I didn't find it difficult to hear in any of the couple of recordings I tried, although it was often played in a way that seemed to assume that it was something you were not supposed to explicitly notice.
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: Elgarian on September 28, 2010, 11:11:17 AM
4 (plus one given away) and a fifth on order. Pitiful.
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: DavidRoss on September 28, 2010, 01:54:59 PM
Having only 12 on the shelf, I certainly feel like a bush leaguer.   :(
8. I'm definitely still an amateur.
4 (plus one given away) and a fifth on order. Pitiful.
Nah--you guys just aren't certifiable nutcases like some of us, at least where Sibelius is concerned.  Bear in mind that some folks have collections of Beethoven sonatas or Bach's Goldbergs that make us all look like pikers...and that we used to have a fellow around here with 120+ recordings of the Rach 2!

Regarding M's point about the last four bars of the 7th: I'm not sure that I've ever heard it played quite the way I think it should be played, which happily coincides with the way it's written, having that final drawn-out B to C in the strings expanding from forte to fortissimo, and stopped cleanly at the very end to make what M calls a "musical exclamation point!"  I'm with M all the way on this, seeing the ending as an emphatic affirmation of order and beauty rather than the half-hearted, ragged, giving-up-and-fading-into-the-ozone that most conductors offer us.  Bernstein, bless his soul, got it as nearly right as anyone in his first recording with the NYPO.  Few others even come close. 

For Alan: perhaps it would help if you were to open your attention to the organic, cellular nature of the work.  Sibelius wasn't imposing a predetermined structure on his material, forcing it to fit his or anyone else's idea of how it should look or sound, but rather he worked to clear away extraneous impediments and let the material create its own essential form--like snowmelt dripping from sun-kissed firs trickling through the underbrush forms rivulets and then streams that join other waterways gliding inexorably down the mountain slopes until they meet in a mighty river that inevitably opens into the infinite depths of the sea.

Remember the old Beatles song, Tomorrow Never Knows?  "Turn off your mind, relax, and float downstream...."
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: Elgarian on September 28, 2010, 02:08:38 PM
For Alan: perhaps it would help if you were to open your attention to the organic, cellular nature of the work.  Sibelius wasn't imposing a predetermined structure on his material, forcing it to fit his or anyone else's idea of how it should look or sound, but rather he worked to clear away extraneous impediments and let the material create its own essential form--like snowmelt dripping from sun-kissed firs trickling through the underbrush forms rivulets and then streams that join other waterways gliding inexorably down the mountain slopes until they meet in a mighty river that inevitably opens into the infinite depths of the sea.
That last half is indeed a remarkably good evocation of aspects of the Sibelius Experience, regardless of which symphony one listens to!

I think I might be more able to do that drifting downstream, now. That's pretty much what I tried to do initially, and failed spectacularly, over years (I never needed to work hard at 1,2,3 and 5, you see - they just soaked into my bones, so 4, 6 and 7 always seemed so puzzlingly remote). Then at some point I started desperately looking for structure but couldn't find any. That was the (abandoned) state of play before Brian stepped in. Now that I actually have my base camps in place, I think I can afford to be more flexible in my approach. 

 
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: Brian on September 28, 2010, 02:16:57 PM
David - so thankful for your spot-on description of the ending (and your recommendation of Bernstein). A lot of people on the forum (like the respected M) write that the last bars are like a weary, defeated man clutching a last twig of hope, but for me the ending of the symphony is one of enormous affirmation - not of triumph, because Sibelius was always too subtle for triumph (No 2 isn't even quite there), but of spiritual peace, at least. I really need to hear Lenny now. (And I will very gladly buy more and more recordings - this is one of those works, like the LvB symphonies, where I could imagine myself collecting obsessively.)

4, 6 and 7 always seemed so puzzlingly remote). Then at some point I started desperately looking for structure but couldn't find any.

Now for my next task, apparently - because I have always thought of the Sixth as the most traditionally, classically structured of all the symphonies.

But it's past midnight, I have class in the morning, and that'll have to wait.  :D
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: Elgarian on September 28, 2010, 02:44:16 PM
Now for my next task, apparently - because I have always thought of the Sixth as the most traditionally, classically structured of all the symphonies.
Oh no, sorry Brian - my post wasn't clear. I was talking about my general lack of progress with the 4th, 6th and 7th, but my reference to the search for structure was only referring to the 7th. My problem with 4 was that it's so damn miserable, and my problem with 6 was that I couldn't (can't) find any decent tunes in it. I want tunes in my Sibelius!
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: Benji on September 28, 2010, 02:49:22 PM
Oh no, sorry Brian - my post wasn't clear. I was talking about my general lack of progress with the 4th, 6th and 7th, but my reference to the search for structure was only referring to the 7th. My problem with 4 was that it's so damn miserable, and my problem with 6 was that I couldn't (can't) find any decent tunes in it. I want tunes in my Sibelius!

I think the sixth is pretty tuneful. I could whistle a few of the best ones off the top of my head. The poco vivace has a great wee tune; totally memorable! 8)
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: Elgarian on September 28, 2010, 02:56:28 PM
I think the sixth is pretty tuneful.
Depends on our personal wiring. Hence a conversation I had with a friend many years ago, which went something like this:
Him: What are you listening to these days?
Me: Wagner. I'm hooked on the Ring.
Him: Good grief! But there aren't any decent tunes in Wagner.
Me: Oh come on, it's jam-packed full of brilliant tunes. What are you listening to, then?
Him: Verdi.
Me: Verdi? But I can't hear any decent tunes in Verdi....

Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: Benji on September 28, 2010, 03:13:14 PM
Depends on our personal wiring. Hence a conversation I had with a friend many years ago, which went something like this:
Him: What are you listening to these days?
Me: Wagner. I'm hooked on the Ring.
Him: Good grief! But there aren't any decent tunes in Wagner.
Me: Oh come on, it's jam-packed full of brilliant tunes. What are you listening to, then?
Him: Verdi.
Me: Verdi? But I can't hear any decent tunes in Verdi....

Well whether there any decent tunes is a matter of opinion, I agree. Maybe if you heard them isolated you could hear them when put back in to context. Get skype and i'll whistle them for you haha  ;)
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: DavidRoss on September 28, 2010, 03:23:41 PM
Oh no, sorry Brian - my post wasn't clear. I was talking about my general lack of progress with the 4th, 6th and 7th, but my reference to the search for structure was only referring to the 7th. My problem with 4 was that it's so damn miserable, and my problem with 6 was that I couldn't (can't) find any decent tunes in it. I want tunes in my Sibelius!
Ah...no wonder you're having trouble.  The first and especially the second symphonies set you up for big, gushing tune-fests.  He continued that--to some extent--with his symphonic poems and theatre music, but went another way entirely with the symphonies.  The third is already veering off the romantic path and the fourth goes off-piste completely.  (For some perverse reason I just imagined Jack Nicholson in that famous scene on the witness stand in A Few Good Men saying, "Tunes?  You want the tunes?  You can't handle the tunes!")

I don't see the fourth as miserable at all.  Dark in parts, yes, but not unremitting, not without beauty, grace, and joy.  Grappling with mysteries and the great unknown, perhaps, with no real resolution of the ultimate uncertainty, but nevertheless finding peace in the acceptance of that uncertainty. Probing, indeed, but bleak and terrifying?  Hardly!

As for the 6th--it's just so damned pleasant and effortless and sweetly melodic that it hardly seems possible for it be a great symphony.  Where's the angst? The grand gestures? The sweeping themes?  It just bubbles along, so perky yet well-mannered that it's easy to forget that it didn't just spring full-grown like Athena from the head of Zeus, but rather was honed and crafted by a master 'til no evidence of the sculptor's chisel remains.
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: The new erato on September 28, 2010, 11:09:11 PM
……1,2,3 and 5, you see - they just soaked into my bones, so 4, 6 and 7 always seemed so puzzlingly remote).
While i like 1,2,3 and 5 I always found them reasonably conventional. My favroties have been; and this from early on in my Sibelius listening,  4, 6 and 7, because of their "mystery" and ability to let your own mind fill in the blanks; and these symphonies provides plenty of hooks upon which you can let your own mind expand....really mindblowing music - and occasionally very frightening as well, few works are able to scare the hell out of me when I'm in that mood like these!
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: Elgarian on September 28, 2010, 11:52:55 PM
I don't see the fourth as miserable at all.  Dark in parts, yes, but not unremitting, not without beauty, grace, and joy.  Grappling with mysteries and the great unknown, perhaps, with no real resolution of the ultimate uncertainty, but nevertheless finding peace in the acceptance of that uncertainty.
I'm ahead of myself here, because I intend to go back to the 4th with my new ears and I don't want to prejudge the result. But I've never experienced the peace you mention, here. The overall result seems disturbing and restless, and (of course) there's a significant tune problem too. Always after listening to the 4th I've emerged gloomy, puzzled, dissatisfied, and bad tempered - and that's a discouraging result as far as future listenings are concerned.

Quote
As for the 6th--it's just so damned pleasant and effortless and sweetly melodic that it hardly seems possible for it be a great symphony.  Where's the angst? The grand gestures? The sweeping themes?  It just bubbles along, so perky yet well-mannered that it's easy to forget that it didn't just spring full-grown like Athena from the head of Zeus, but rather was honed and crafted by a master 'til no evidence of the sculptor's chisel remains.
Again, I intend to go back to it and see what I can find, though I feel as if I'll be doing it more from duty than pleasure. I can't help it. I want my Sibelius BIG. And I want his big tunes.
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: Elgarian on September 28, 2010, 11:59:02 PM
While i like 1,2,3 and 5 I always found them reasonably conventional.
Since I was sixteen, Sibelius has always stuck out like a great beacon among composers, for me, so that while I appreciate that those symphonies (1,2,3,5) may be described as formally conventional, I've always found them unique. (People talk about the influence of Tchaikovsky, particularly in the 1st, but while I can hear that, Tchaikovsky never composed anything that blew my head off in the way Sibelius did.)

So whether they're conventional or not doesn't feature in my regard for them. I've never been able to find any other composer who could show me the things he shows me in 1,2,3 and 5, and that's enough, really.
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: Brian on September 29, 2010, 12:26:23 AM
Alan, what recordings of the Sixth do you have?

while I appreciate that those symphonies (1,2,3,5) may be described as formally conventional

The irony of this, of course, being that none of those symphonies are really formally conventional at all. There is the first, with its catastrophic "misfiring" ending (it obeys the letter of the Tchaikovskian law but loudly defies the spirit), the second with its bizarre first movement (six themes, none of them tunes), the third with its interrupted tempest of a finale, and the fifth, in which two of the movements are cast in forms of the composer's invention...  ;) (I agree entirely with your second paragraph, by the way: Sibelius, even at his most "normal," does things nobody else even comes close to doing.)

~

This discussion is so good that I feel badly about not replying to everything. I have to go to class, but rest assured I'm containing a flood of words over here!
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: Elgarian on September 29, 2010, 01:26:54 AM
Alan, what recordings of the Sixth do you have?
Same as the others - I just have 4 box sets: Sakari, Barbirolli, Vanska and Segerstam (Helsinki). Rozhdestvensky is on the way to join them, but MDT are waiting for new stock.

Quote
The irony of this, of course, being that none of those symphonies are really formally conventional at all.
I can't really determine this for myself - I'm just quoting people who often seem to say it (with mildly disapproving Tchaikovsky references).
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: karlhenning on September 29, 2010, 02:24:36 PM
Remember the old Beatles song, Tomorrow Never Knows?  "Turn off your mind, relax, and float downstream...."

I forget just whence, but not long ago I read that Lennon copped that practically verbatim from something he was reading at the time.

Oh! And I remember what book to check to confirm that . . . .
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: CD on September 29, 2010, 03:56:51 PM
Tibetan Book of the Dead innit?
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: Brian on September 30, 2010, 12:17:09 PM
(http://cdn.naxosmusiclibrary.com/sharedfiles/images/cds/hires/8.572305.jpg)

I've just listened to the first volume of Pietari Inkinen's new Sibelius cycle. I had mixed impressions. The First Symphony will not rank among my favorites: it is a little slow and soft-edged; the opening clarinet solo sounded a little too 'bright' (or at least not brooding enough), and then, once the strings get into a major key a few moments into the main allegro, they turn soft and Tchaikovskian with surprising ease. It's a general indicator of a performance that's not nearly as exciting as Segerstam, bleak as Berglund, or - well, you get the idea. It's one of the slowest performances I know: the scherzo's at 5:43 vs. 5:17 for Segerstam and Elder, 5:20 for Davis in Boston, and 5:01 for Berglund in Helsinki. The finale hits 13:00. I like slow, of course, but this didn't suit me.

Inkinen's Third is another story, though. It's very well-managed, with a first movement that hits all the right buttons, a wonderfully paced slow movement (9:50), and a finale which does indulge the Big Tune somewhat on its first arrival, but then hustles to the ending quite efficiently and with more than a little excitement.

It's all in terrific sound and I really cannot fault anything the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra does (except for the big clarinet solo in the First, and lower brass in the Third's final variations which don't make as big an impact as they could). I don't think the First had enough energy, and the Third was good but not necessarily individual or distinctive.

Somebody asked me if they thought this would be a lush, romantic cycle in contrast to Petri Sakari's chillier set, also on Naxos. The answer is "N/A." If by "romantic" you mean "slow," then yes, this first volume does tend towards the romantic side of things. But if by "romantic" you mean "impassioned," then the answer is "intermittently." I will listen again soon. Hopefully I'll like it better. I mean, I did like it. But I liked it passively, rather than enthusiastically.

EDIT: In defense of Inkinen's First, I should point out that in the first movement, the "outro" theme from the exposition (you know - the minor-key wind tune that leads back to the development/coda) is very sensitively played by the NZ winds, over those Sorcerer's Apprentice-like bassoons. (When the clarinets get the accompaniment they don't conjure up Mickey Mouse quite so easily...)
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: vandermolen on September 30, 2010, 01:10:16 PM
Just listened to Symphony No 2 in the new Melodiya Rozhdestvensky Moscow RSO box and thought it absolutely terrific - with braying soviet horns etc. This is by no means my favourite Sibelius symphony but this performance had me on the edge of my seat.
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: Archaic Torso of Apollo on October 01, 2010, 05:09:59 AM
Just listened to Symphony No 2 in the new Melodiya Rozhdestvensky Moscow RSO box and thought it absolutely terrific - with braying soviet horns etc. This is by no means my favourite Sibelius symphony but this performance had me on the edge of my seat.

Hey another convert  :) I've been stuck on that set for over 2 weeks now. The 2nd Symphony isn't my favorite either, but they make the most of it.
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: Brian on October 13, 2010, 11:04:31 PM
(http://cdn.naxosmusiclibrary.com/sharedfiles/images/cds/hires/8.572305.jpg)

I've just listened to the first volume of Pietari Inkinen's new Sibelius cycle. I had mixed impressions. The First Symphony will not rank among my favorites: it is a little slow and soft-edged; the opening clarinet solo sounded a little too 'bright' (or at least not brooding enough), and then, once the strings get into a major key a few moments into the main allegro, they turn soft and Tchaikovskian with surprising ease. It's a general indicator of a performance that's not nearly as exciting as Segerstam, bleak as Berglund, or - well, you get the idea. It's one of the slowest performances I know: the scherzo's at 5:43 vs. 5:17 for Segerstam and Elder, 5:20 for Davis in Boston, and 5:01 for Berglund in Helsinki. The finale hits 13:00. I like slow, of course, but this didn't suit me.

Inkinen's Third is another story, though. It's very well-managed, with a first movement that hits all the right buttons, a wonderfully paced slow movement (9:50), and a finale which does indulge the Big Tune somewhat on its first arrival, but then hustles to the ending quite efficiently and with more than a little excitement.

It's all in terrific sound and I really cannot fault anything the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra does (except for the big clarinet solo in the First, and lower brass in the Third's final variations which don't make as big an impact as they could). I don't think the First had enough energy, and the Third was good but not necessarily individual or distinctive.

Somebody asked me if they thought this would be a lush, romantic cycle in contrast to Petri Sakari's chillier set, also on Naxos. The answer is "N/A." If by "romantic" you mean "slow," then yes, this first volume does tend towards the romantic side of things. But if by "romantic" you mean "impassioned," then the answer is "intermittently." I will listen again soon. Hopefully I'll like it better. I mean, I did like it. But I liked it passively, rather than enthusiastically.

EDIT: In defense of Inkinen's First, I should point out that in the first movement, the "outro" theme from the exposition (you know - the minor-key wind tune that leads back to the development/coda) is very sensitively played by the NZ winds, over those Sorcerer's Apprentice-like bassoons. (When the clarinets get the accompaniment they don't conjure up Mickey Mouse quite so easily...)

I only just requested this CD for a MusicWeb assignment, when David Hurwitz at ClassicsToday posted a review which agrees with mine in nearly every assessment. Alas! This is a difficult assignment: to write an opinion when you've already written it on GMG, and somebody else has already written it on another website...
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: jlaurson on October 14, 2010, 12:37:08 AM
I only just requested this CD for a MusicWeb assignment, when David Hurwitz at ClassicsToday posted a review which agrees with mine in nearly every assessment. Alas! This is a difficult assignment: to write an opinion when you've already written it on GMG, and somebody else has already written it on another website...

Difficult? It's called self-plagiarism, and it works like a charm. Required: Pen. (Keyboard). Confidence. A minimal modicum of writing ability. And shameless self-referentialism.
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: Brian on October 14, 2010, 01:01:35 AM
Difficult? It's called self-plagiarism, and it works like a charm. Required: Pen. (Keyboard). Confidence. A minimal modicum of writing ability. And shameless self-referentialism.

Well my main concern is the mischievous temptation to write a PS saying "I know I said exactly the same things as Dave Hurwitz, but here's a link proving that I said them all first."  ;D
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: Benji on October 14, 2010, 01:38:31 AM
Well my main concern is the mischievous temptation to write a PS saying "I know I said exactly the same things as Dave Hurwitz, but here's a link proving that I said them all first."  ;D

Or maybe you're..... pause for suspense.... the same person!

If I disappear now and forever, let it be known that I uncovered the shocking truth!  :o
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: karlhenning on October 14, 2010, 03:53:32 AM
Ben? Ben? You still there? . . .
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: Benji on October 14, 2010, 05:06:35 AM
Ben? Ben? You still there? . . .

Whether or not I am 'all there' is a matter for debate, but I am most definitely present. For now.  :-X
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: Brian on October 14, 2010, 06:06:16 AM
Or maybe you're..... pause for suspense.... the same person!

Based on our taste, I am very similar to D.H., but with less irrational mania for quasi-Mahlerian post-romantics. On the other hand, I AM the same person as Roger Ebert. When I was a film critic for my university paper, I always had to read Roger's review before submitting mine, to make sure that I hadn't come up with exactly the same opinions, insights, stresses, and jokes he had!
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: jlaurson on October 14, 2010, 09:17:52 AM
Based on our taste, I am very similar to D.H., but with less irrational mania for quasi-Mahlerian post-romantics. On the other hand, I AM the same person as Roger Ebert. When I was a film critic for my university paper, I always had to read Roger's review before submitting mine, to make sure that I hadn't come up with exactly the same opinions, insights, stresses, and jokes he had!

You don't want to compare yourself to D.H., in any way. Trust me. You don't deserve that... no one does.
On the other hand you don't deserve to compare yourself to Roger Ebert. Yet. We'll talk in 20 years, after
a career's worth of Ebert-like insights, grace, wit, and skill.  ;D
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: Brian on October 14, 2010, 09:25:32 AM
You don't want to compare yourself to D.H., in any way. Trust me. You don't deserve that... no one does.
On the other hand you don't deserve to compare yourself to Roger Ebert. Yet. We'll talk in 20 years, after
a career's worth of Ebert-like insights, grace, wit, and skill.  ;D

I just said that I agree with them in varying (but very large) percentages of cases, or that we have similar taste. You don't need insights, grace, wit or skill to like, say, Philip Seymour Hoffman better than Steven Seagal (though you probably need insight to like Berglund's Sibelius better than Inkinen's, or whatnot).
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: Brian on October 14, 2010, 09:35:37 AM
I'm crossposting this relevant post from the Listening Thread.

Today's listening log - as you can see, I have broken my week-long Sibelius fast (just 2 listens in the last 11 days) with a binge.

Sibelius: Symphony No 1. Helsinki Philharmonic Orchestra; Leif Segerstam
Sibelius: Symphony No 2. Boston Symphony Orchestra; Colin Davis
Sibelius: Symphony No 3. Helsinki Festival Orchestra; Olli Mustonen
Sibelius: Symphony No 4. Helsinki Philharmonic Orchestra; Paavo Berglund
Sibelius: Symphony No 5. Iceland Symphony Orchestra; Petri Sakari
Sibelius: Symphony No 6. Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra; Lorin Maazel
Sibelius: Symphony No 7. Royal Philharmonic Orchestra; Thomas Beecham

A different conductor for each symphony - and not a dud in the lot! I'll have to write more later, but the significant discoveries are: I'm warming to Mustonen's eccentric Third, Sakari's reading is a shock new contender in my Quest for the Perfect Fifth, and I finally, finally enjoyed the Fourth Symphony for the first time today. Whew!

It's been an illuminating marathon. Maybe after dinner I should plunge into the tone poems. Or (I can't believe I'm saying this!) listen to the Fourth again.
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: DavidRoss on October 16, 2010, 07:27:21 PM
Sakari's reading is a shock new contender in my Quest for the Perfect Fifth
Interesting.

...and I finally, finally enjoyed the Fourth Symphony for the first time today. Whew!
I'm very, very happy for you. ;D  8)
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: jlaurson on October 16, 2010, 10:38:46 PM

heard a very ungainly 5th with the vienna so under fabio luisi. no wonder the composer continues to baffle continental audiences.
wonder how it might have been if mikko franck had conducted, as originally scheduled. was luisi's first time with the work, and from the sound of it, the orchestra's, too.
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: Scarpia on October 17, 2010, 02:57:36 PM
Listened to Segerstam's 7th with Helsinki (Ondine) today.  A worthy performance, but sound which is a little too bright and forward for my taste.  One of those recordings which allows you to hear every voice, but doesn't let all of the voices blend into a whole the way to would in a fine concert hall.  Still, I enjoyed it quite a bit. 

Listened to the piece twice in a row, and it is characteristic of Sibelius that more pleasure came from the second listening than the first.  The structure of the music is complex from every point of view, and novelty is not necessary for pleasure.  With Bax, for instance, I find the opposite is true.  When I have listened to a piece of his twice in a row the effects that seem very deep the first time lose some of their luster on a second hearing.  I'm far less familiar with Bax, so I will reserve judgement until I feel more confident that I am appreciating the music more fully.

Back to the Sibelius 7, at this point the two recordings that stand out in my mind are the recent Vanska on BIS and Karajan's wonderful recording from the 70s.  The first is probably channeling the spirit of Sibelius more directly, but Karajan's recording was the first that allowed me to make sense of the music, and finds so many splendid sonorities in Sibelius' score. 
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: DavidRoss on October 18, 2010, 06:15:44 AM
Reposted here from the "What's spinning now" thread:

Sibelius is not something you can try and get... it gets you. It's like a zombie. I spend months at a time not listening to Sibelius at all, and even not liking it, and thinking it's tacky and fake, and then it comes up behind me and bites me in the neck and I stagger around drunkenly for a month looking like the guy in the attached picture. I think what did it was that I saw No 5 live in concert knowing nothing about it or what to expect, and the finale sent my brain into the stratosphere and I've been trying to find that same level of rapture ever since and can't find it anywhere else. In other words, Sibelius is like crack.  ;D
Much like my experience.  Only in my case it took decades for me to appreciate him.  I partly blame the music history idiots who don't get him and so call him a "nationalist" composer and offer Finlandia as representative.  I didn't care for the jingoistic Finlandia and it gave me the wrong idea right off the bat.

I never heard him in concert and only rarely heard something on the radio that almost always seemed soporific.  Somehow I bought Ormandy's 2nd and 5th and never warmed to them.  They languished unplayed for years. 

When our younger son fell in love with classical music, I started building a CD collection that would expose him to its breadth.  Some folks I respected had so much admiration for Sibelius that I figured he should be included.  I also figured there was a good chance that I was the one missing something.  I bought Maazel's WP box set--mostly because it was cheap--and listened to the cycle several times over the next few weeks.

It began to get under my skin.  Passages in the 4th, the 5th, the 6th, and the 7th especially began to haunt me.  I pulled out the old Ormandy LPs and in the 5th I began to recognize the strange cellular buildup and to see in him the roots of minimalism.  I started listening differently and wondered what else I was missing. 

Because the later symphonies were the ones that began to bewitch me, I bought the Sony Royal Edition Bernstein/NYPO box of 4,5,6,& 7.  The 5th gave me goosebumps...again and again, setting something in my soul astir that no other music had ever reached.  I was hooked.

Crack is an apt analogy.  Over the next few years I bought recording after recording, seeking the holy grail: that perfect set guaranteed to produce epiphanies every time I popped it into the CD player.  I haven't found it...or maybe I've found several.

Your tale of hearing the 5th live reminds me of the last time I heard it, with the Pittsburgh (who had been schooled in it by Maazel) under Andrew Davis.  It was a terrific performance, and after the last chord faded and Davis turned to the audience, my wife and I and a couple of dozen other folks jumped to our feet and applauded wildly while most of the people sitting nearby just looked at us strangely while applauding politely.  I think they didn't get it, and I'm not surprised, since it took me so long to get it, too.
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: Benji on October 18, 2010, 06:28:01 AM
Crack is an apt analogy.  Over the next few years I bought recording after recording, seeking the holy grail: that perfect set guaranteed to produce epiphanies every time I popped it into the CD player.  I haven't found it...or maybe I've found several.

Oh, didn't see that coming! Is it really apt? haha Are you selling your belongings and those of others. Are you stealing from your family to buy more Sibelius? Are we to look out for your book What's eating David Ross?

There is help available! ;)
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: karlhenning on October 18, 2010, 06:32:45 AM
(* chortle *)

And, Ben: check PM!
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: DavidRoss on October 18, 2010, 06:47:52 AM
Oh, didn't see that coming! Is it really apt? haha Are you selling your belongings and those of others. Are you stealing from your family to buy more Sibelius? Are we to look out for your book What's eating David Ross?

There is help available! ;)
Ha!  From one fellow Sibelius junkie to another... ;D 8) :-* . 

"And in a related story, today in Minneapolis a gang of crazed Sibelius junkies held Osmo Vänskä and the Minnesota Orchestra hostage for several hours, forcing them to play through the entire symphony cycle under threat of being forced to watch Lady Gaga videos."
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: Scarpia on October 19, 2010, 04:44:22 PM
Listened today to Segerstam's recording of Sibelius 1 (Ondine).  This is a performance I have basically no reservations about, he seems to have hit the nail on the head at every juncture.  The awe-inspiring sonorities at the very end of the finale are gorgeously performed, and quite a bit slower than I am accustomed, I think.

One contrast that stands out, having listened to the first symphony soon after having listened to the 7th, his how much more grand the gestures in the first symphony are, compared with the 7th.  The 7th features continuously evolving themes, where the first symphony has themes that are introduced at well defined stages in the progression of the music.  The first also has very striking harmonies, but often coming in a dramatic, sudden or unexpected transition.   The thing that strikes me about harmonic progressions in the 7th is that the different voices or sections of the orchestra seem to come to them as though independently and discordantly, the scope of the event becoming clear only after the transition has rippled through the orchestra.   Sibelius wrote wonderful music at every stage of his career, but the range of his development is impressive, and it is clear that the brilliant colors of his earlier music had to be sacrificed to create the more subtle hues of his late music.
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: DavidRoss on October 26, 2010, 06:41:34 AM
(http://cdn.naxosmusiclibrary.com/sharedfiles/images/cds/hires/8.572305.jpg)
Thanks for the review, Brian.  Doesn't seem like a likely acquisition for me, but who knows?
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: jlaurson on October 26, 2010, 07:00:43 AM
Symphonies 1 & 3, now Symphony 2 from this set:

(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51aCTh-UO0L._SL500_AA300_.jpg)
J. Sibelius
Symphonies & Kullervo
Petri Sakari, Iceland SO
Naxos Wite Box (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B00005QISF/goodmusicguide-20)

Still a few available for a good price (better than the clunky 4-disc version, actually!) on Amazon.
The slim White Box (with full booklet) is so much neater than the jewel-case mess. And the Kullervo not half bad.

Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: DavidRoss on October 26, 2010, 07:17:15 AM
Symphonies 1 & 3, now Symphony 2 from this set:

(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51aCTh-UO0L._SL500_AA300_.jpg)
J. Sibelius
Symphonies & Kullervo
Petri Sakari, Iceland SO
Naxos Wite Box (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B00005QISF/goodmusicguide-20)

Still a few available for a good price (better than the clunky 4-disc version, actually!) on Amazon.
The slim White Box (with full booklet) is so much neater than the jewel-case mess. And the Kullervo not half bad.
Underrated, methinks.  One of my faves.  More characterful than most, with a rugged rusticity that seems appropriate given JS's love for ancient epics and nature's sublimity.
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: Brian on October 26, 2010, 07:22:27 AM
Underrated, methinks.  One of my faves.  More characterful than most, with a rugged rusticity that seems appropriate given JS's love for ancient epics and nature's sublimity.

The Kullervo or the whole set? I have Sakari's 4-7.
And as a side note which I also posted in the listening thread, for the Inkinen release's booklet, Keith Anderson simply copy-and-pasted his notes for Sakari, including a grammar mistake and a possible factual error (he claims Symphony No 8 was completed and destroyed in 1929). To his credit, there are two sentences of new material listing the instruments in each symphony.  :P
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: DavidRoss on October 26, 2010, 01:30:35 PM
The whole set.
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: karlhenning on October 26, 2010, 01:53:12 PM
Is that the same Kullervo which was one of the very first wave of Naxos recordings?  I should revisit it . . . I really don't think I've listened to it since that year I first bought it.
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: Brian on October 26, 2010, 02:05:15 PM
(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51MycKLMGRL._SL500_AA300_.jpg)

Released in 1997 and so not strictly in "the very first wave"...

DavidRoss: my physical copy of Sakari's 4/5 has arrived, so I'll now play No 5 in CD sound quality and see if it still stacks up as a "contender."
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: karlhenning on October 26, 2010, 03:12:29 PM
(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51MycKLMGRL._SL500_AA300_.jpg)

Released in 1997 and so not strictly in "the very first wave"...

Well, one of my first ever Naxos purchases, anyway : )
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: Scarpia on November 07, 2010, 09:57:35 AM
Listened to Sibelius Symphony No 6 today (Segerstam's Helsinki recording on Ondine, but that is the subject of a different post).  I was just reminded of what a wonderful work this is, and how the movements do not stand on their own, but contribute to a greater whole.   The metaphor that came to mind is the symphony is like a railroad journey where each leg of the trip leaves you on a deserted station, waiting for the next train to come and take you to the next stop on your way.  You are not at ease until all four legs of the symphonic journey are complete.

The first movement  is really one of my favorite pieces in the symphonic repertoire.  It begins with that marvelous counterpoint among the high strings, later joined by reeds and lower strings.  But rather than building to the rich, sensuous  climax you might expect if you were listening to something by Brahms, it is interrupted by more lively music, both happy and sad at the same time, that leads to those odd, repetitive figures on strings, tossing the same phrase back and forth, back and forth.  It seems puzzling until strains of legato melody start to waft in and tie it all together.  The end of the movement seems to be building to a dramatic finish, which becomes surprisingly halting, punctuated with mysterious silences.   And the end, we are at a different place than when we started, but not "home" by any means.  The next two movements are similar, in that they make me feel that we have gone to a different place, but that we are not at a resting place.  Only the finale brings (ironically quiet) resolution.

In the end, the piece gives that wonderful feeling that "it doesn't get any better than this."
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: Brian on December 05, 2010, 03:42:57 PM
If you have M forever's email address, do PM it to me. I've only just today realized that the Seventh Symphony is built on a quote from Beethoven's Fifth and, although he has probably known this since he was 6, I want to share the excitement of discovery with him.
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: Scarpia on December 05, 2010, 06:56:20 PM
If you have M forever's email address, do PM it to me. I've only just today realized that the Seventh Symphony is built on a quote from Beethoven's Fifth and, although he has probably known this since he was 6, I want to share the excitement of discovery with him.

It is?
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: Brian on December 06, 2010, 02:00:40 AM
It is?

This morning I am having doubts. I heard it clearly at the Philharmonia last night (No 5 w/ Dohnanyi) but now I'm going to have to examine the scores to make sure it's not just a coincidence and there is enough evidence to back the claim up. More precisely, I know there is one quotation in the Seventh at a critical juncture which M discussed on this board (the final bars), but I would like to break down the basic themes and search for Beethoven links in each, because if they are not there, then it is likely to be a coincidental resemblance.
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: Brian on January 19, 2011, 04:56:27 AM
It's time to play who said that?

Who said this?

“An incalculable store of what is past proves immanently to be inadequate, though in its own time and for the consciousness of its own period this may not have been the case. It is the course of time that unmasks these deficiencies, yet they are objective in quality and not a matter of shifting taste. –Only the most advanced art of any period has any chance against the decay wrought by time. In the afterlife of works, however, qualitative differences become apparent ... Hopes for renaissances of Pfitzner and Sibelius, Carossa or Hans Thoma, say more about those who cherish the hope than about the enduring value of the works of such souls.”
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: jlaurson on January 19, 2011, 05:02:25 AM
It's time to play who said that?

Who said this?

“... Hopes for renaissances of Pfitzner and Sibelius, Carossa or Hans Thoma, say more about those who cherish the hope than about the enduring value of the works of such souls.”

a bit too easy; pretty obviously from the same man who called Sibelius "the world's worst composer", no?
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: Brian on January 19, 2011, 05:13:09 AM
a bit too easy; pretty obviously from the same man who called Sibelius "the world's worst composer", no?

No, but a fellow whom that man knew well, at least intellectually.
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: Brian on January 19, 2011, 05:16:49 AM
It is my understanding that the mystery man in question also said, though I don't have the direct quote, that Sibelius' symphonies were composed on the level of an amateur who refused to take music lessons.
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: Sergeant Rock on January 19, 2011, 05:22:23 AM
Who said this?

Theodore Adorno

Sarge
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: Brian on January 19, 2011, 05:35:03 AM
Theodore Adorno

Sarge

(http://www.wnff.net/Smileys/wnff/icon_thumbup.gif) From Aesthetic Theory.

Does anybody know of an English translation of Rene Leibowitz' book "Sibelius, the Worst Composer in the World"? The original French work is right here at the British Library, but I may not be the world's best translator.
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: jlaurson on January 19, 2011, 07:12:11 AM
(http://www.wnff.net/Smileys/wnff/icon_thumbup.gif) From Aesthetic Theory.

Does anybody know of an English translation of Rene Leibowitz' book "Sibelius, the Worst Composer in the World"? The original French work is right here at the British Library, but I may not be the world's best translator.

Oops. Meant Adorno. Quoted Leibowitz. It's been so long that I've seen someone quote Adorno to project intellectual prowess, I was completely thrown off. His writings on music must be my most disdained books on my shelves. A reasonably above-average intellect with a style unreasonably beyond-redemption. By the time you get to the modest kernel of meaning of any one of his obtuse sentences, you're so exhausted that you forget to question how insightful (or not) that very sentence just was. In any case, Adorno's opinion about Sibelius is as inane and childish as Gould's about Mozart. But at least Gould didn't damage Mozart (apart from his recordings. Ha!). Adorno's moronic statement probably plays some part in the reluctance of the continent to even consider Sibelius as a worthy composer. Even Karajan couldn't pierce the mantle of ignorance that still hangs over the ears of these audiences with regards to the great Finn.
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: Jaakko Keskinen on February 06, 2011, 10:19:12 PM
Along with most of his chamber music and piano music, unfortunately there is also breath-taking Snöfrid op.29 what tends to be in shadows. Great orchestral colors and awesome singing!
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: Mirror Image on February 06, 2011, 10:29:41 PM
(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51MycKLMGRL._SL500_AA300_.jpg)

Released in 1997 and so not strictly in "the very first wave"...

DavidRoss: my physical copy of Sakari's 4/5 has arrived, so I'll now play No 5 in CD sound quality and see if it still stacks up as a "contender."

This is not a good quality Kullervo to my ears. Here is one my favorite recordings of this massive work:



I also enjoyed Segerstam's recording on Ondine and Vanska's on BIS. Of course, Paavo Berglund blazed trails with his epic performance, so this shouldn't go without being mentioned.
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: Jaakko Keskinen on February 06, 2011, 10:50:31 PM
I want tunes in my Sibelius!

You don't notice tunes in 6th?  :o What about tremendously bursting main theme of the finale?
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: Brian on February 07, 2011, 06:21:24 AM
Oops. Meant Adorno. Quoted Leibowitz. It's been so long that I've seen someone quote Adorno to project intellectual prowess, I was completely thrown off. His writings on music must be my most disdained books on my shelves. A reasonably above-average intellect with a style unreasonably beyond-redemption. By the time you get to the modest kernel of meaning of any one of his obtuse sentences, you're so exhausted that you forget to question how insightful (or not) that very sentence just was. In any case, Adorno's opinion about Sibelius is as inane and childish as Gould's about Mozart. But at least Gould didn't damage Mozart (apart from his recordings. Ha!). Adorno's moronic statement probably plays some part in the reluctance of the continent to even consider Sibelius as a worthy composer. Even Karajan couldn't pierce the mantle of ignorance that still hangs over the ears of these audiences with regards to the great Finn.

It sounds like our experiences with him are similar. I was led to read Adorno by a quotation somewhere suggesting he held exactly the opposite views from mine, and digging through Aesthetic Theory the suspicion was confirmed. We disagree on everything; his arguments take on an obtuse, foggy hocus-pocus of professedly irrefutable logic which nevertheless seems quite clearly wrong: in other words, I haven't seen anything quite like Adorno outside of religious apologetics. As for his style, it seems to snap in and out of focus: every page or so there will be a moment where he sums up all his strength and explains his ideas in short, aphoristic sentences, and then things will blow out of control again and he will return to near-incomprehensibility. I'm not sure which is worse, because the excessive verbiage is more philosophically precise, but the best-written sentences are plagued with dubious metaphors and irrational generalizations.

Of course, your dismissive remark about "someone quot[ing] Adorno to project intellectual prowess" is not appreciated; I was reading his book and taking notes, like I occasionally do when I think it useful to know my enemies, and just cut-and-pasted that quote from the Word file to GMG.

That said, my original question still stands. Does anyone know of an English-language copy of Rene Leibowitz' book "Sibelius, the Worst Composer in the World"? The original French work is right here at the British Library, and if no English version exists I may have to translate it myself with the aid of my Parisian flatmate.
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: karlhenning on February 07, 2011, 06:58:00 AM
I worry about Leibowitz, that he would go to the length of writing a book of that title . . . I thought it was just a remark . . . .

The Sibelius Fifth is on at Symphony this coming weekend!
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: Brian on February 07, 2011, 08:10:48 AM
I worry about Leibowitz, that he would go to the length of writing a book of that title . . . I thought it was just a remark . . . .

The Sibelius Fifth is on at Symphony this coming weekend!


Envy, Karl, envy!

Also, reassurance: I now hold "Sibelius le plus mauvais compositeur du monde" in my hands, and it is not a book, as commonly reported, but rather a pamphlet. It's No 37 in a series of pamphlets called "Brimborions," or roughly, bonbons, useless bits, things of no value. Thankfully for my planned translation attempt, the text runs to a mere two pages in length.
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: DavidRoss on February 07, 2011, 08:32:24 AM
http://www.antonin-serviere.com/site/Texts_files/Sibelius-Reception.pdf
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: Brian on February 07, 2011, 08:55:11 AM
http://www.antonin-serviere.com/site/Texts_files/Sibelius-Reception.pdf

Thanks, David, that's an interesting article, although I'm now sad to have missed the Sibelius Conference 2010 by a matter of weeks. :(

The word count on Leibowitz' pamphlet is a mere 695, of which the easiest to translate are possibly: "ces thèmes répparaissent, sans rime ni raison"  ;D
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: mjwal on February 07, 2011, 09:44:53 AM
Thank you for this pdf, very interesting, as is the Sibelius-Adorno thread. The author's suggestion (in A's defence, one must assume) that Adorno's comments were "clearly incidental" and "should not have been taken maybe so seriously"  is however not very convincing - Adorno hated the way Sibelius was idolised in the USA (where he lived during the emigration) to the detriment of other more radical composers like Schoenberg, and later did everything he could to damage the composer's standing in Germany*, where   another greater writer, artist and man, Busoni, had championed the Finnish composer in concerts back in the days of the Weimar Republic - as he did Bartoḱ's work, which Adorno considered promising but limited by folkloristic tendencies and thus compromised, which is similar to Leibowitz's criticism of the Hungarian composer.. The piece in which he dismissed Sibelius' whole oeuvre also cunningly chooses to concentrate on what may be S's most critically praised work, the 4th symphony, describing it as technically inept ant repetitive - hardly what one might consider an "incidental" criticism.  Adorno's famous attack on jazz (""Life in the late capitalist era is a constant initiation rite. Everyone must show that he wholly identifies himself with the power which is belaboring him. This occurs in the principle of jazz syncopation, which simultaneously derides stumbling and makes it a rule") was also intended to shame music-lovers into shunning such music, as were his attacks on Stravinsky as "regressive". With respect to the latter, there is a revealing anecdote told by a contemporary witness whose name I have unfortunately forgotten: the latter was sitting at a concert some time in the 50s and realised that Adorno was in the next seat clapping enthusiastically after a performance of Stravinsky's Piano Concerto. He then asked Adorno, with whom he was acquainted, what had happened since his famous philippic against Stravinsky's work in The Philosophy of New Music - the latter said that such polemics were unnecessary now, since the imminent danger that he might supplant Schoenberg had passed, in other words serialism ruled OK...In any case, I can report that in the 60s and after there was almost complete ignorance of Sibelius among music lovers in Germany, where I have lived on and off since 1965, that the only two renowned German conductors to perform/record his work after WW2 were Karajan and Rosbaud - and  that a leading music critic whom I know is still totally impervious to any criticism of his hero, Adorno...
*He also wished to discredit Sibelius for having lent his name to the Goebbels-organised artistic collaboration between Germany and other nations, I believe.
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: jlaurson on February 07, 2011, 10:21:08 AM
Of course, your dismissive remark about "someone quot[ing] Adorno to project intellectual prowess" is not appreciated; I was reading his book and taking notes...
;D

Well, it's heartening (and appreciated) that you didn't seem to take it in too bad a spirit.  :)

Cheerio from Westminster,

jfl
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: Florestan on February 09, 2011, 01:59:44 AM
As a prominent member of the Frankfurt School, Adorno had an ideological axe to grind --- and to the totalitarian narrow-mindedness which is the inherent mark of any ideology fell victim not only Sibelius and Stravinsky, but also his own prose, as Brian testifies.  His opinion on these composers has the same level of authority as Schopenhauer's rejection of Wagner in the name of Mozart and Rossini: none at all. They are however instructive about how even some of the finest minds can display a considerable and lamentable obtuseness.
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: jlaurson on February 09, 2011, 03:35:17 AM
...His opinion on these composers has the same level of authority as Schopenhauer's rejection of Wagner in the name of Mozart and Rossini: none at all...

The difference being: Schopenhauer is a pleasure to read. (Incidentally: where does Schopenhauer reject Wagner? I don't think I've read *that* part. He wouldn't have likely heard more than Rienzi, Flying D-Man, and Tannhaeuser, would he?)
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: Florestan on February 09, 2011, 03:58:00 AM
The difference being: Schopenhauer is a pleasure to read.

Indeed, his prose is superb.

Quote
(Incidentally: where does Schopenhauer reject Wagner? I don't think I've read *that* part. He wouldn't have likely heard more than Rienzi, Flying D-Man, and Tannhaeuser, would he?)

(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51ZFMM80E9L._BO2,204,203,200_PIsitb-sticker-arrow-click,TopRight,35,-76_AA300_SH20_OU03_.jpg)

This very informative and well-written biography quotes from a Schopenhauer's letter to Wagner, written after the latter had sent the former the score of one of his works --- can't remember off the top of my head which one, but given the exchange took place around Schopenhauer's death in 1860, it could have been "Das Rheingold", "Die Walkure" or even "Tristan und Isolde". Schopenhauer wrote something to the effect that he thanked Wagner for sending his music but he remained faithful to the old masters, nominating Rossini and Mozart.

Will check the book these days and give you more details.

EDIT: It appears it's time to re-read that excellent biography --- I was wrong: Schopenhauer never replied personally to Wagner, but he did make very dismissive comments about The Ring, and did prefer Rossini and Mozart over it.

See here (http://books.google.ro/books?id=ddmA12K0M3oC&pg=PA180&lpg=PA180&dq=schopenhauer+wagner+rossini&source=bl&ots=O2h3yJn7i3&sig=fM9fE2aFf0TTSnan5IuXacZHAQs&hl=ro&ei=HYhSTeScMM2q8APv9IjVCw&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=8&ved=0CEkQ6AEwBw#v=onepage&q=schopenhauer%20wagner%20rossini&f=false) and here (http://www.wagnersite.nl/Schopenhauer/Arthur.htm).

Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: DavidRoss on February 09, 2011, 12:31:26 PM
As a prominent member of the Frankfurt School, Adorno had an ideological axe to grind --- and to the totalitarian narrow-mindedness which is the inherent mark of any ideology fell victim not only Sibelius and Stravinsky, but also his own prose, as Brian testifies.  His opinion on these composers has the same level of authority as Schopenhauer's rejection of Wagner in the name of Mozart and Rossini: none at all. They are however instructive about how even some of the finest minds can display a considerable and lamentable obtuseness.
QFT  ;D
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: karlhenning on February 09, 2011, 01:12:13 PM
And if that be true of even some of the finest minds . . . .
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: mjwal on February 09, 2011, 01:17:27 PM
I think, though, despite my own disparaging remarks anent Adorno's polemical obduracy, that his writing cannot be easily dismissed as unreadable - and indeed (in German, at any rate) can offer both pleasure and instruction: I am thinking particularly of Dialektik der Aufklärung, Minima Moralia, the Mahler and Berg monographs and the long essays on Bach and Schoenberg. "Totalitarian" strikes me as a particularly obtuse epithet, applying as it does to state control or coercion; even if the term is understood metaphorically (not a good idea), Adorno doesn't usually  make it easy for his reader to understand his thought whereas totalitarian government makes it perfectly clear what is prohibited or demanded, thus a fortiori the analogy is misplaced. My annoyance at Adorno's wilful crotchets does not permit me to write him off.
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: Scarpia on February 09, 2011, 01:20:19 PM
I guess I'm lost, looking for the Sibelius thread.
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: Mirror Image on February 09, 2011, 01:26:21 PM
I guess I'm lost, looking for the Sibelius thread.

Lol...yeah really wish this thread would get back on topic. F*** Adorno!
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: mjwal on February 09, 2011, 01:28:53 PM
I do admire the polished courtesy with which you are wont to broadcast your opinion.
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: DavidRoss on February 09, 2011, 01:57:44 PM
Some of Sibelius's little known yet lovely works are included on this disc, which is overdue for another hearing:



Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: Dancing Divertimentian on February 09, 2011, 02:05:27 PM
I do admire the polished courtesy with which you are wont to broadcast your opinion.

Never mind the Bolsheviks. 8) I started this tread and I see nothing wrong with how it's evolved lately. Now, if the thread had been lost in a "Revolutionizing The Sugar Substitute Industry" tangent, well, then there would be a problem. 

But no such threat as I see it. So, feel free to carry on...


Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: Mirror Image on February 09, 2011, 05:18:50 PM
Some of Sibelius's little known yet lovely works are included on this disc, which is overdue for another hearing:



That's a great recording. I picked this one up many months ago and have enjoyed it.
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: DavidRoss on February 10, 2011, 09:08:20 AM
Listened last night to Sibelius's first symphony and was again struck by how radical and original that plaintive clarinet opening seems.  Are there antecedents, or was this extraordinarily daring for a young composer from a backwater duchy of a second-rate European power? 
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: Sadko on February 25, 2011, 05:44:57 PM
Hello Sibelians,

The "Bi-weekly Listening and Appreciation" thread gave me the idea to dive a bit deeper into Sibelius, and I would like to share a few short impressions of some interpretation comparisons of the first symphony:

1. Rozhdestvensky/Moscow RTVSO

I remember not liking it much, but I forgot the details. Also I might have been a bit tired while listening.


2. Barbirolli/Hallé Orchestra

Beautiful moments, atmospheric, but not convincing as a whole. Has the most beautiful realisation of what I call for myself the "seagulls floating downwards"-motif (track 1, 7:14). I think emotionally this interpretation for me is most "in tune" with the symphony.


3. Paavo Berglund/Helsinki PhO

Atmospheric, but a bit boneless and unclear to me.


4. Bernstein/NYPh

Strange! A totally different Sibelius, almost lighthearted, sometimes makes me think of a film soundtrack, quick tempi, miking focusing on detail rather than merging the sound into one, sounds nice and is pleasantly clear, but is it right for this symphony? For me the other interpretations above had a "blue", cold colour, "nature", outside. Bernstein's made me think of a warm brown, of (Gustav) Mahler, of "inside", psyche rather than nature. Intersting, but not matching in my opinion, also lacking depth, maybe?


5. Segerstam/Helsinki PhO

Instantly a feeling of "this is all making sense". But no beauty. No landscape painting, but meaningful and somehow feeling "true". Also more feeling "brown" than "blue" to me.


To find the position of the Barbirolli "seagulls" I listend to a bit again, and I liked the beauty and emotional appeal. I'd like to have the stuctured cohesion of Segerstam with some of the appealing skin of Barbirolli :)

There are still two more versions on my list: Colin Davis and Blomstedt, but I needed to write a bit down of what I thought so far.
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: jlaurson on February 27, 2011, 04:19:59 AM
 Ashkenazy Sibelius cycle on Exton is finnish(ed), too! But the discs can be difficult to to get outside Japan.
Rozhdestvensky seems now (spottily) available in the West on Melodiya. (Thanks, Elgarian)

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51GiQiFqadL._SL500_AA240_.jpg) (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B00008CLIG/goodmusicguide-20)
V. Ashkenazy I,
Philharmonia
Decca ~$40,- (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B00008CLIG/goodmusicguide-20)
(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/41AP9WJHSPL._SL500_AA240_.jpg) (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B0000041BV/goodmusicguide-20)
C. Davis I,
Boston SO
Philips v.1 ~$18,- (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B0000041BV/goodmusicguide-20)
(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/21CAP78YVWL._SL500_AA130_.jpg) (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B000000A9D/goodmusicguide-20)
A. Gibson,
Royal ScO
Chandos (oop) (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B000000A9D/goodmusicguide-20)
(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/513gkv4W8EL._SL500_AA240_.jpg) (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B0010SU4UW/goodmusicguide-20)
L. Segerstam I,
Danish NSO
Chandos/Brilliant ~$46,- (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B0010SU4UW/goodmusicguide-20)
(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/21V3F35G0BL._SL500_AA132_.jpg) (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B0000016JY/goodmusicguide-20)
N. Jaervi I,
Gothenburg SO
BIS ~$62,- (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B0000016JY/goodmusicguide-20)
(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/5185H-P2E4L._SL500_AA240_.jpg) (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B000NDFKDQ/goodmusicguide-20)
A. Collins,
LSO
Decca (Japan) ~$44,- (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B000NDFKDQ/goodmusicguide-20)
(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/41l23NQzgQL._SL500_AA240_.jpg) (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B00006OA66/goodmusicguide-20)
L. Maazel II,
Pittsburg SO
Sony ~$25,-

 (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B00006OA66/goodmusicguide-20)
(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51X8447B7VL._SL500_AA240_.jpg) (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B000CQNVSU/goodmusicguide-20)
L. Segerstam II,
Helsinki PO
Ondine ~$54,- (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B000CQNVSU/goodmusicguide-20)
(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/4154NWJFSBL._SL500_AA240_.jpg) (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B0000041BW/goodmusicguide-20)
C. Davis I,
Boston SO
Philips v.2 ~$18,- (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B0000041BW/goodmusicguide-20)
(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/31HRVE76QBL._SL500_AA240_.jpg) (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B00008CLIG/goodmusicguide-20)
H.v. Karajan / Kamu,
Berlin Phil
DG ~$24,- (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B00008CLIG/goodmusicguide-20)
(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/41KWV2RBDQL._SL500_AA240_.jpg) (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B00008PW43/nectarandambr-20)
L. Bernstein,
NY Phil
Sony ~$50,- (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B00008PW43/goodmusicguide-20)
(http://g-ecx.images-amazon.com/images/G/01/ciu/c2/fb/a11db220dca044c269049010._AA190_.L.jpg) (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B00000IGLH/goodmusicguide-20)
P. Berglund I,
Bournemouth SO
Royal Classics (oop) (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B00000IGLH/goodmusicguide-20)
(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/61MGV75JENL._SL500_AA240_.jpg) (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B000009L6O/goodmusicguide-20)
J.P. Saraste,
Finnish RSO
Finlandia (oop) ~$60,- (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B000009L6O/goodmusicguide-20)
(http://images.amazon.com/images/P/B003GT37LG.01.L.jpg) (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B003GT37LG/goodmusicguide-20)
G. Rozhdestvensky,
Moscow RSO
Melodyi. ~$45,-
(http://www.hmv.co.jp/product/detail/1424517)
(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/212K0QHVRAL._SL500_AA130_.jpg) (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B00005Q450/goodmusicguide-20)
O. Vanska,
Lahti SO
BIS ~$65,- (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B00005Q450/goodmusicguide-20)
(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/41qB4N9j12L._SL500_AA240_.jpg) (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B0000041Z3/goodmusicguide-20)
L. Maazel,
Vienna Phil.
Decca ~$24,- (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B0000041Z3/goodmusicguide-20)
(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/21YBXARJNCL._SL500_AA130_.jpg) (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B0000035OJ/goodmusicguide-20)
K. Sanderling,
Berlin
Berlin Cl. ~$33,- (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B0000035OJ/goodmusicguide-20)
(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/414Y1JM39XL._SL500_AA240_.jpg) (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B00003ZKRM/goodmusicguide-20)
Sir J. Barbirolli,
Hallé Orchestra
EMI ~$35,- (sale) (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B00003ZKRM/goodmusicguide-20)
(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51NQ1JMEBEL._SL500_AA240_.jpg) (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B00005MIZT/goodmusicguide-20)
P. Berglund II,
Helsinki PO
EMI ~$35,- (sale) (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B00005MIZT/goodmusicguide-20)
(http://images.amazon.com/images/P/B002LTJ30G.01.L.jpg) (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B002LTJ30G/goodmusicguide-20)
C. Davis III,
LSO v.1 (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B0001HK2AK/nectarandambr-20)-v.2 (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B00026KGX8/goodmusicguide-20)-v.3 (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B000O78IWQ/nectarandambr-20)-v.4 (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B001IC59JG/nectarandambr-20)
LSO live (4 à ~$16,-)
(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/4127TXBJV9L._SL500_AA240_.jpg) (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B0000SYABW/nectarandambr-21)
S. Oramo,
CoBirm.O

Erato ~£30,-
(http://www.amazon.co.uk/exec/obidos/ASIN/B0000SYABW/nectarandambr-21)
(http://images.amazon.com/images/P/B000FOQ1EA.01.L.jpg) (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B000FOQ1EA/goodmusicguide-20)
H. Blomstedt,
S.F.SO
Decca ~$31,- (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B000FOQ1EA/goodmusicguide-20)
(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51aCTh-UO0L._SL500_AA240_.jpg) (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B00005QISF/goodmusicguide-20)
P. Sakari,
Iceland SO
Naxos ~$36,- (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B00005QISF/goodmusicguide-20)
(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/41xDPCRN07L._SL500_AA240_.jpg) (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B000SSPL2Q/goodmusicguide-20)
N. Järvi II,
Gothenburg SO
DG ~$56,- (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B000SSPL2Q/goodmusicguide-20)
(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51vOXxcZpHL._SL500_AA240_.jpg) (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B000UPQFEA/goodmusicguide-20)
P. Rattle,
Birmingh.SO
EMI ~$34,- (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B000UPQFEA/goodmusicguide-20)
(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/31TE3rEBl%2BL._SL500_AA240_.jpg) (http://www.amazon.de/exec/obidos/ASIN/B00002472T/nectarandambr-21)
P. Berglund III,
Chamber OoE

Finlandia ~$40,-
(Germany only)
(http://www.amazon.de/exec/obidos/ASIN/B00002472T/nectarandambr-21)
(http://images.amazon.com/images/P/B00011KOF4.01.L.jpg) (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B00011KOF4/goodmusicguide-20)
C. Davis II,
LSO

RCA ~$41,- (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B00011KOF4/goodmusicguide-20)
(http://img.hmv.co.jp/image/jacket/190/25/4/0/725.jpg) (http://www.hmv.co.jp/product/detail/2540725)
A. Watanabe,
Japan PhilO

(Japan only)
Denon ~$31,-
(http://www.hmv.co.jp/product/detail/2540725)

Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: The new erato on February 27, 2011, 06:26:01 AM
The Segerstam/Ondine set is available at 18 Euros on amazon.de.

Just ordered one. :D
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: Sadko on February 27, 2011, 09:35:21 PM
Ashkenazy Sibelius cycle on Exton is finnish(ed), too! But the discs can be difficult to to get outside Japan.
Rozhdestvensky seems now (spottily) available in the West on Melodiya. (Thanks, Elgarian)

...


Thank you very much for this market survey :)

Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: Szykneij on March 01, 2011, 03:29:11 PM
I have tickets to see Thomas Adès conduct the Boston Symphony in a few weeks and Sibelius' "The Tempest" (Suite No. 1) is on the program. I picked up a copy of the EMI Beecham/Royal Philharmonic CD to familiarize myself with the work and I'm enjoying it thoroughly. Any recommendations for other recordings? I understand the order of these short pieces varies from recording to recording. This one seems to have movements from Suite 1 and Suite 2 interspersed somewhat randomly.
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: DavidRoss on March 01, 2011, 04:27:34 PM
I have tickets to see Thomas Adès conduct the Boston Symphony in a few weeks and Sibelius' "The Tempest" (Suite No. 1) is on the program. I picked up a copy of the EMI Beecham/Royal Philharmonic CD to familiarize myself with the work and I'm enjoying it thoroughly. Any recommendations for other recordings? I understand the order of these short pieces varies from recording to recording. This one seems to have movements from Suite 1 and Suite 2 interspersed somewhat randomly.
For the suites, Segerstam/HPO, for the complete incidental music, Saraste/FRSO.
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: Brian on March 07, 2011, 04:07:26 AM
I'm undergoing a severe Sibelius drought so far this year. The last period of explosive activity in this thread, back when Elgarian and I conquered our fears of the Seventh and Fourth, respectively, was my last Sibelius "kick." I listened to the Fourth a couple times for the listening club, and saw the Fifth live yesterday - Philharmonia & Susanna Malkki - a wonderful experience! - but Nos 4 and 5 are the only Sibelius works I've heard at all in 2011. Averaging one listen to his music per week.

It feels really bizarre to go through such pronounced phases with a composer. In about 6 weeks, if the trend holds true, I'll be listening to him obsessively again.
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: Mirror Image on March 09, 2011, 04:18:22 PM
I'm undergoing a severe Sibelius drought so far this year. The last period of explosive activity in this thread, back when Elgarian and I conquered our fears of the Seventh and Fourth, respectively, was my last Sibelius "kick." I listened to the Fourth a couple times for the listening club, and saw the Fifth live yesterday - Philharmonia & Susanna Malkki - a wonderful experience! - but Nos 4 and 5 are the only Sibelius works I've heard at all in 2011. Averaging one listen to his music per week.

It feels really bizarre to go through such pronounced phases with a composer. In about 6 weeks, if the trend holds true, I'll be listening to him obsessively again.

My patterns aren't so erratic as yours, but I try to make time for the composers that I love at least every month. This month is Stravinsky, Bartok, and Villa-Lobos month for me so far. I think in April I'm going to try to catch up with some Sibelius, but I'm not going to listen to any of the symphonies, as much as I love them, but I have already explored them from top to bottom, inside and out. I'm going to focus my attention on the tone poems, choral works, and the incidental music he composed.
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: Jaakko Keskinen on March 10, 2011, 02:49:43 AM
My patterns aren't so erratic as yours, but I try to make time for the composers that I love at least every month. This month is Stravinsky, Bartok, and Villa-Lobos month for me so far. I think in April I'm going to try to catch up with some Sibelius, but I'm not going to listen to any of the symphonies, as much as I love them, but I have already explored them from top to bottom, inside and out. I'm going to focus my attention on the tone poems, choral works, and the incidental music he composed.

Don't forget Voces intimae! And much of his less known chamber music for larger ensembles or violin/piano is really worth of listening and most of them are totally underrated.

Sorry, when it's about Sibelius's more less known compositions I can rarely keep my trap shut.  ::)
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: TheGSMoeller on July 31, 2011, 04:46:39 PM
The Grant Park Orchestra & Chorus performed Sibelius's Kullervo the other night and got some great write ups from locals.
Thought I would share these two reviews.  :)

http://www.chicagotribune.com/entertainment/music/ct-ent-0801-lintu-review-20110731,0,3217023.column

http://chicagoclassicalreview.com/2011/07/sibelius%E2%80%99s-%E2%80%9Ckullervo%E2%80%9D-given-a-rousing-performance-by-lintu-grant-park-orchestra/
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: North Star on August 01, 2011, 03:30:18 AM
My patterns aren't so erratic as yours, but I try to make time for the composers that I love at least every month. This month is Stravinsky, Bartok, and Villa-Lobos month for me so far. I think in April I'm going to try to catch up with some Sibelius, but I'm not going to listen to any of the symphonies, as much as I love them, but I have already explored them from top to bottom, inside and out. I'm going to focus my attention on the tone poems, choral works, and the incidental music he composed.

For the male choir pieces, I recommend this excellent album



The pronunciation is going to be atrocious if you get the works performed by non-Finnish choirs, I guarantee that. Then again, you might not notice it.
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: Mirror Image on August 01, 2011, 02:59:13 PM
For the male choir pieces, I recommend this excellent album



The pronunciation is going to be atrocious if you get the works performed by non-Finnish choirs, I guarantee that. Then again, you might not notice it.

I'll have to check but if I'm not mistaken I already have this recording which is included in the Essential Sibelius 15-CD BIS set I bought a year or so ago. I think it's out-of-print now.
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: North Star on August 02, 2011, 07:59:34 PM
I'll have to check but if I'm not mistaken I already have this recording which is included in the Essential Sibelius 15-CD BIS set I bought a year or so ago. I think it's out-of-print now.
Yes, it very probably is, perhaps there are even two (not too well filled ones, though) CD's.
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: Mirror Image on August 02, 2011, 08:09:59 PM
Yes, it very probably is, perhaps there are even two (not too well filled ones, though) CD's.

Well choral work has never been that big of interest me when discussing Sibelius. His best work, in my opinion, are the symphonies and tone poems, though he has written some lovely pieces for violin/orchestra as well as some incidental music, but this is fairly minor Sibelius.

Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: kishnevi on August 02, 2011, 08:18:37 PM
For the male choir pieces, I recommend this excellent album



The pronunciation is going to be atrocious if you get the works performed by non-Finnish choirs, I guarantee that. Then again, you might not notice it.

Nota bene:  this group is the chorus on the Segerstam/Helsinki Philharmonic performance of Kullervo issued by Ondine.
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: North Star on August 04, 2011, 03:58:01 AM
Yes, YL (Ylioppilaskunnan Laulajat; Singers of the Students' Union) is the finest male choir in Finland, and is probably on every recording of Sibelius with a Finnish orchestra.
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: Amfortas on August 08, 2011, 09:26:42 AM
Here are a few examples. I hope others will "chime" in with other performances:


Glockenspiel

Maazel/Vienna
Ashkenazy/Philharmonia
Berglund/COE
Vänskä/Lahti SO
Karajan/Berlin Phil (DG)
Karajan/Berlin Phil (EMI)
Segerstam/Helsinki
Beecham/RPO
Barbirolli/Hallé
Sakari/Iceland
Kegel/Dresden

Tubular Bells

Bernstein/NY Phil
Ormandy/Philadelphia
Blomstedt/San Francisco
Stokowski

Glockenspiel and Tubular Bells

Maazel/Pittsburgh
Davis/LSO (RCA)
Davis/Boston
Järvi/Gothenburg

Szell and Reiner began with the glockenspiel, then added tubular bells, and ended with just bells.

I think the combination of instruments is the most effective. Davis, for example, begins with glockenspiel, uses bells only in the central climax, and has both appear near the symphony's end, which make those bars sound even more chaotic and disturbing than usual.

Sarge

Chiming in that Ernest Ansermet is 'totally tubular' (as the California surfers used to say) in his version with L'Orchestre de la Suisse Romande. And it creates a strange and beautiful effect, in my opinion.
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: Est.1965 on August 08, 2011, 09:45:34 AM
Well choral work has never been that big of interest me when discussing Sibelius. His best work, in my opinion, are the symphonies and tone poems, though he has written some lovely pieces for violin/orchestra as well as some incidental music, but this is fairly minor Sibelius.

Have you hear his Snofrid?  It is in my top 5 favourite Sibelius works.
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: MishaK on August 08, 2011, 10:06:45 AM
If one were toying with the idea of getting either the Blomstedt or the Maazel/Pitts cycle, what are the considerations that should push one in either direction?
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: Sergeant Rock on August 08, 2011, 10:25:51 AM
Chiming in that Ernest Ansermet is 'totally tubular' (as the California surfers used to say) in his version with L'Orchestre de la Suisse Romande. And it creates a strange and beautiful effect, in my opinion.

Cool. I haven't heard Ansermet. I'll add it to the list.

Sarge
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: Renfield on August 10, 2011, 03:20:32 PM
Chiming in that Ernest Ansermet is 'totally tubular' (as the California surfers used to say) in his version with L'Orchestre de la Suisse Romande. And it creates a strange and beautiful effect, in my opinion.

Ansermet's 4th (if that's indeed the one you're discussing) is pretty great, indeed.

'Strange and beautiful' might well apply for the whole performance.


Also, cross-posting from the Melodiya thread, regarding something I picked up this year:

Speaking of which, should you find the Rozhdestvensky Sibelius cycle of offer, or even at a reasonable price, and you like Sibelius at all, it's one of those unexpected 24-carat diamonds of the Melodiya catalogue; or even the Sibelius catalogue.

Short of Vänskä's uber-'authentic' cycle, I can't think of any (complete) cycle I would have before Rozhdestvensky's, much to my surprise when I acquired it. No allowances for being 'Russian-style': it's just great Sibelius, including the best 3rd I know!

I can't remember the last time I was so floored over an entire cycle of someone's symphonies. The 1st is good, but not mind-blowing; and then you get to the second... And then that third. :o And then... Even the 6th!

It's as awe-inspiring as Svetlanov's Mahler, only more normal.
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: Lethevich on August 10, 2011, 03:26:25 PM
Have you hear his Snofrid?  It is in my top 5 favourite Sibelius works.

Seconded - such an ernest little cantata-thingy, and with enough big tunes to save the day.
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: Renfield on August 10, 2011, 03:37:48 PM
Seconded - such an ernest little cantata-thingy, and with enough big tunes to save the day.

That sounds like most of pre-symphonic Sibelius: an earnest little cantata/tone-poem thing, plus nice tunes. ;D

Sibelius really is one of those cases where one can definitely feel the difference, once he started getting serious about his music as a formal venture, vs. 'nice things that describe Finland'. Not to say the nice things that describe Finland were bad music; however, I can never quite get over the compositional gulf between them and the late symphonies.
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: Lethevich on August 10, 2011, 03:45:06 PM
That sounds like most of pre-symphonic Sibelius: an earnest little cantata/tone-poem thing, plus nice tunes. ;D

Sibelius really is one of those cases where one can really feel the difference, once he started getting serious about his music as a formal venture, vs. 'nice things that describe Finland'. Not to say the nice things that describe Finland were bad music, however. Still, I can never quite get over the compositional gulf between them and the late symphonies.

Indeedie - I don't have much time for the minor/very early works, and Snöfrid is dangerously thin on material, but really grabs my attention. I like Sibelius' early maturity (Lemminkäinen Suite through Symphony No.3) as much as his later works - I always feel bad about that :P Even a few of the even earlier works like En Saga I find pretty essential, although I am pre-disposed to the tone poem medium.
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: Renfield on August 10, 2011, 03:48:51 PM
Indeedie - I don't have much time for the minor/very early works, and Snöfrid is dangerously thin on material, but really grabs my attention. I like Sibelius' early maturity (Lemminkäinen Suite through Symphony No.3) as much as his later works - I always feel bad about that :P Even a few of the even earlier works like En Saga I find pretty essential, although I am pre-disposed to the tone poem medium.

I like parts of the Lemminkäinen Suite lots, and Rozhdestvensky (see above) really gave me a new perspective on the power of the 3rd symphony. But the moment I put on the 4th symphony, it's like it all fades away. :D

I suppose Sibelius would be happy.
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: DavidRoss on August 10, 2011, 04:16:05 PM
I like parts of the Lemminkäinen Suite lots, and Rozhdestvensky (see above) really gave me a new perspective on the power of the 3rd symphony. But the moment I put on the 4th symphony, it's like it all fades away. :D

I suppose Sibelius would be happy.
Does this mean that your enjoyment of Sibelius fades away with the 4th?  Or that the 4th makes earlier Sibelius pale in comparison for you?
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: Renfield on August 10, 2011, 05:53:09 PM
Does this mean that your enjoyment of Sibelius fades away with the 4th?  Or that the 4th makes earlier Sibelius pale in comparison for you?

The latter. It's like going from Aristotle's logic to Frege.
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: Archaic Torso of Apollo on August 11, 2011, 12:58:29 AM
I can't remember the last time I was so floored over an entire cycle of someone's symphonies. The 1st is good, but not mind-blowing; and then you get to the second... And then that third. :o And then... Even the 6th!

It's as awe-inspiring as Svetlanov's Mahler, only more normal.

Yay, someone on my wavelength...Rozhdestvensky's Sibelius was my single best purchase of 2010. We had a thread on it last year:

http://www.good-music-guide.com/community/index.php/topic,16723.msg424480.html#msg424480
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: Brian on August 11, 2011, 01:15:52 AM
What are the timings for Rozh's Second? I really want to hear someone do a mad charge through that piece and strip it of its cushy romantic flab.
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: Archaic Torso of Apollo on August 11, 2011, 07:09:52 AM
What are the timings for Rozh's Second?

9:36, 15:00, 5:52, 14:30
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: Brian on August 11, 2011, 12:46:05 PM
9:36, 15:00, 5:52, 14:30

Darn. I'm hoping to hear something closer to 7:30, 12:30, 6:00, 13:00. I think the music could take it if only someone would try. The outer movements would sound a lot like the Third Symphony.
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: eyeresist on August 11, 2011, 06:26:03 PM
Just searched Amazon MP3s for shortest Symphony 2 first movements:

8.25 Kajanus
8.51 Beecham
8.52 Berglund/Helsinki
8.56 Neeme Jarvi
8.58 Valek
9.10 Jansons
 
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: Archaic Torso of Apollo on August 11, 2011, 10:08:20 PM
Darn. I'm hoping to hear something closer to 7:30, 12:30, 6:00, 13:00. I think the music could take it if only someone would try. The outer movements would sound a lot like the Third Symphony.

Why would you want it to sound like that? If Sibelius ever wrote a big-boned Late Romantic symphony, it was the 2nd.
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: eyeresist on August 11, 2011, 10:59:08 PM

I wonder if Brian is looking to the precedent of Collins's 1st, which is very invigorating and I believe the fastest on record.
 
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: Renfield on August 13, 2011, 09:40:25 PM
Yay, someone on my wavelength...Rozhdestvensky's Sibelius was my single best purchase of 2010. We had a thread on it last year:

http://www.good-music-guide.com/community/index.php/topic,16723.msg424480.html#msg424480

:D

Amusingly, up until fairly recently I thought Rozhdestvensky was dead. It's a shame he doesn't seem to record much now.
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: Archaic Torso of Apollo on August 13, 2011, 10:56:17 PM
Amusingly, up until fairly recently I thought Rozhdestvensky was dead. It's a shame he doesn't seem to record much now.

He's alive and well and still giving concerts, though not as frequently as I would like him to.
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: eyeresist on August 14, 2011, 02:38:22 AM
The guy turned 80 this year - give him a break!
 
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: Brahmsian on August 14, 2011, 04:19:58 AM
I thought Rozhdestvensky was dead.

So did I.   :o   Glad to hear he isn't!    :)
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: Renfield on August 14, 2011, 05:43:43 AM
The guy turned 80 this year - give him a break!

When I found out he was still alive, I commented something along the lines of "he must be a lich (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lich) by now!"

However, he is indeed 'only' 80. And yes, he probably deserves a break.
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: Elgarian on August 15, 2011, 09:43:21 AM
Also, cross-posting from the Melodiya thread, regarding something I picked up this year: "Speaking of which, should you find the Rozhdestvensky Sibelius cycle of offer, or even at a reasonable price, and you like Sibelius at all, it's one of those unexpected 24-carat diamonds of the Melodiya catalogue; or even the Sibelius catalogue.

Short of Vänskä's uber-'authentic' cycle, I can't think of any (complete) cycle I would have before Rozhdestvensky's, much to my surprise when I acquired it. No allowances for being 'Russian-style': it's just great Sibelius, including the best 3rd I know!"

I can't remember the last time I was so floored over an entire cycle of someone's symphonies.

I could say similar things myself. I thought I'd reached Sibelius nirvana when I bought the Segerstam set and at last thought I'd found the performance of the first symphony I'd been seeking for decades. The telling thing is, though, in a way it merely reinforced my existing Sibelius conditioning. I didn't actually make any progress to somewhere new.

But when I got the Rozhdestvensky box, mysterious things began to happen. At first I thought it was excitingly different - but probably offering no more than a quirky second string to my mainly Segerstamian bow. But then suddenly, the 4th and the 6th (which I'd never managed to get into, in decades of listening - suddenly I say, I was listening to these with fascination; at times significantly moved; hearing aspects of them that I'd never heard before. I listened to the 4th on three successive days, keen to get at the heart of it: responding to it now as chiefly tragic, where once I'd found it merely dull and bleak. That would have been unthinkable without this Rozhdestvensky performance to lure me on.

I've been trying to understand what the big difference is - what caused the breakthrough. It must have something to do with the Russian-ness of it perhaps. But there's a kind of beautiful but dangerous raw crispness to the soundscape of it. The music sounds as if it were born from splintered ice. I think Ruskin's valuable term, 'savageness' (which describes the kind of imperfection one gets when art is operating at its limits, perhaps even hovering close to failure) might be helpful here. When I listen to my revered Segerstam after Rozhdestvensky, he sounds imprecise, blowsy, opulent, rounded off by comparison.

I can't think of a better bit of evidence for why it's worth seeking out multiple recordings of works that have never quite kicked in for us. Immerseel did it for me with Beethoven's symphonies. Rozhdestvensky's now done it for me with Sibelius 4 and 6. Listening to them now is an entirely different experience compared to the frustratingly disappointing listenings that have punctuated most of my adult life.

Brian'll be interested in this - I bet he's got a set by now - have you Brian?
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: Opus106 on August 15, 2011, 09:53:38 AM
I didn't notice your return proper, Alan, apart from a 'sighting' reported by Sara. It's good to have you back. :)
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: Elgarian on August 15, 2011, 10:02:04 AM
I didn't notice your return proper, Alan, apart from a 'sighting' reported by Sara. It's good to have you back. :)

What a kind thing to say. Thanks Navneeth.
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: karlhenning on August 15, 2011, 10:35:25 AM
I slung a Welcome back on some thread or other, Alan : )
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: DavidW on August 15, 2011, 10:41:25 AM
I've heard yet another Sibelius symphony on the radio, and I'm thinking that I really want to finally buy the Vanska cycle. :)
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: Brian on August 15, 2011, 10:53:33 AM
Brian'll be interested in this - I bet he's got a set by now - have you Brian?

 ;D ;D ;D
I think I mentioned somewhere else that I was seriously considering it - added it to my shopping cart at MDT - put it back on my wishlist - read your post and when you got to the description of the Fourth started thinking "oh man, really need to hear this," and then when you ask this at the end I laughed. You bet I'm interested.  ;D Was put off by a couple initial reports that the set was "just" blaring Soviet loudness but yours is a very hearty rebuttal.
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: Elgarian on August 15, 2011, 12:03:48 PM
I slung a Welcome back on some thread or other, Alan : )

I got it Karl, and I slung some sort of thanks back at you, there. (Wherever it was.)
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: Elgarian on August 15, 2011, 12:26:27 PM
I think I mentioned somewhere else that I was seriously considering it - added it to my shopping cart at MDT - put it back on my wishlist - read your post and when you got to the description of the Fourth started thinking "oh man, really need to hear this," and then when you ask this at the end I laughed. You bet I'm interested.  ;D Was put off by a couple initial reports that the set was "just" blaring Soviet loudness but yours is a very hearty rebuttal.

I can see why those reports would be made. When I first got it, and listened to the first, there were indeed moments when I wondered if the excitement was really just the result of blaringness (let's adopt the word as ours, just for the thrill of discarding it as not useful here), but those doubts fell away the more symphonies I listened to, and the more often I listened. The point is - doesn't matter which symphony I choose, I hear more detail, more nuance, more power subtly held in check. Tell you what it's like - one of those great Venetian painters - Veronese or Titian or someone like that. They could lay a brushstroke with immense power at a single stroke, and yet with, simultaneously, the utmost sparkling delicacy. These recordings give the same sort of feel.

In the 1st movement of the fourth there's a little four-note motif that turns up now and then, and for the very first time, with Rozhdestvensky, I recognised that it's the same four-note motif that Elgar uses to begin one of his 'Windflower' tunes (first four notes of the lower example in my avatar). You can tell me it's not quite the same if you like - it might be so, and I don't mind - the point is it gave me a way in. It's a plaintive little rising sequence that seems to require an answer. And knowing how Elgar answers it, with a kind of wistful sigh (see my avatar again for the remaining three notes) makes for a fabulous comparison with the way Sibelius tackles it - utterly, utterly different. Darker. Emphatic. Even with a hint of blaringness!

I mean, seriously Brian, I never thought there'd be a day when I would listen to the 4th with this degree of fascinated attentiveness. Shoot down all this stuff in flames if you like, and call it fanciful - doesn't matter. I'm in there digging, now, with everything admittedly provisional, but with everything to play for.
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: Brahmsian on August 15, 2011, 12:29:19 PM

I mean, seriously Brian, I never thought there's be a day when I would listen to the 4th with this degree of fascinated attentiveness. Shoot down all this stuff in flames if you like, and call it fanciful - doesn't matter. I'm in there digging, now, with everything admittedly provisional, but with everything to play for.

Lately, I just keep listening repeatedly to the 4th, and the 1st (disc 1 of Maazel/WP).  Can't get enough of it!  The only symphony on that set that I skip is the 7th (I don't find Maazel/WP do it justice).  For this, I go to Davis/BSO's blistering rendition of the 7th.
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: Brian on August 15, 2011, 12:55:31 PM
I mean, seriously Brian, I never thought there'd be a day when I would listen to the 4th with this degree of fascinated attentiveness. Shoot down all this stuff in flames if you like, and call it fanciful - doesn't matter. I'm in there digging, now, with everything admittedly provisional, but with everything to play for.

I'm not going to shoot it all down in flames and call it fanciful until I know you're back for good and can't be scared off. ;) Nah, no need to of course; since this thread was last bustling (again mostly your doing! That's why we needed you back), I've been slowly discovering the Fourth for myself, even listen absolutely gripped by it sometimes (Maazel/Pittsburgh, though I suspect his performance is not actually the best but just the one that's caught my fancy). I really want to hear how Rozhdestvensky does it; when finally coming around to the piece a few months ago it seemed that the more dramatic (faster, but coincidentally?) readings helped dissolve the clouded gloom and clarify the tragedy of the symphony, just as you say.
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: DavidRoss on August 15, 2011, 02:40:08 PM
My goodness!  Alan's back.  ;D  And folks are discussing Sibelius again.  8)  And Brian, Alan, and Ray are all digging the 4th.  Way  8) !

Dave, I've never regretted purchasing any of Vänskä's Sibelius recordings.  His symphony set is one of my faves--and damn near the polar opposite of Rozhdestvensky's.
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: DavidW on August 15, 2011, 02:55:39 PM
My goodness!  Alan's back.  ;D  And folks are discussing Sibelius again.  8)  And Brian, Alan, and Ray are all digging the 4th.  Way  8) !

Dave, I've never regretted purchasing any of Vänskä's Sibelius recordings.  His symphony set is one of my faves--and damn near the polar opposite of Rozhdestvensky's.

Awesome Dave!  I think I'll pull the trigger. :)
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: eyeresist on August 15, 2011, 04:50:43 PM
But when I got the Rozhdestvensky box, mysterious things began to happen. At first I thought it was excitingly different - but probably offering no more than a quirky second string to my mainly Segerstamian bow. But then suddenly, the 4th and the 6th (which I'd never managed to get into, in decades of listening - suddenly I say, I was listening to these with fascination; at times significantly moved; hearing aspects of them that I'd never heard before. I listened to the 4th on three successive days, keen to get at the heart of it: responding to it now as chiefly tragic, where once I'd found it merely dull and bleak. That would have been unthinkable without this Rozhdestvensky performance to lure me on.

Wow, I must get this now!
 
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: Dancing Divertimentian on August 15, 2011, 06:10:18 PM
Awesome Dave!  I think I'll pull the trigger. :)

It's my favorite set, too, Dave. Pull it! ;D


Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: Mirror Image on August 15, 2011, 06:35:00 PM
I've heard yet another Sibelius symphony on the radio, and I'm thinking that I really want to finally buy the Vanska cycle. :)

The Vanska cycle is outstanding. This cycle came in the 15-CD set on BIS I bought a year or so ago called The Essential Sibelius. At the time it was cheaper to buy this 15-CD set than to buy the set separately. Go figure. ???
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: Elgarian on August 15, 2011, 11:53:22 PM
Isn't it interesting to see this variety of response to the various available recordings? I wonder what it is about Sibelius that generates such strong polarisations? It's easy to see why it happens - there's such a marked difference from one set of performances of the symphonies to another, that there are horses for every course. But quite how this variety of interpretation comes about is a mystery to me. To recap, so far my own journey during the last 10 years has taken me as follows:

1. Sakari and the Icelanders Lively and generally OK, but missing the heights.

2. Colin Davis/LSO on RCA. Never heard Sibelius sound so tedious. Gave the set away (and apologised to the recipient).

3. Barbirolli/Halle Again, generally OK but somehow not so sparkling as I'd hoped it would be.

4. Vanska/Lahti in the BIS Essentials box. I thought at first that this was going to be the best I could get. Precise and sparkling, and yet, and yet, somewhere inside I knew I was secretly hoping for something more.

5. Segerstam/Helsinki POW! I thought THIS was IT! Blew me away. Vast, sweeping, and huge, built upon caves of ice!

But all these responses were based on a lifelong love of the 1st, 2nd. 3rd, and 5th, and a lifelong failure to come to grips with the 4th, 6th, and (to a lesser extent thanks to Brian's recent help, the 7th). That's where Rozhdestvensky's cavalry comes in, brass blaring, to change all that. I can't ask more of a conductor than to reverse my perception of music that I'd largely given up on.

But looking back at that list, and thinking about the scale of the differences, I suppose it's not surprising that we get such variety of recommendation in this area.
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: Archaic Torso of Apollo on August 16, 2011, 12:55:11 AM
I've been trying to understand what the big difference is - what caused the breakthrough. It must have something to do with the Russian-ness of it perhaps. But there's a kind of beautiful but dangerous raw crispness to the soundscape of it. The music sounds as if it were born from splintered ice. I think Ruskin's valuable term, 'savageness' (which describes the kind of imperfection one gets when art is operating at its limits, perhaps even hovering close to failure) might be helpful here. When I listen to my revered Segerstam after Rozhdestvensky, he sounds imprecise, blowsy, opulent, rounded off by comparison.

With respect to the 4th and 6th specifically, one thing Rozh does with these symphonies is get the various tempi and their relationships right so that they hang together properly. Two problematic movements are the slow mvt. of the 4th and the finale of the 6th. Often they seem disjointed or episodic, but with Rozh at the helm they flow convincing from one episode to another and add up to a convincing whole. My mind doesn't wander during these mvts. as it often does under other conductors.

Otherwise, what you call "savageness" is something that strikes me as rusticity or a down-to-earth feeling, something that reminds me of Finno-Ugric folk music. Listen to 3/ii in Rozh's account, esp. the pizzicato strings: virtually the sound of the kantele expressed in orchestration.
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: Renfield on August 16, 2011, 03:41:49 AM
Hello Alan!

As everyone's said, it's good to have you back. I have myself just returned from a long absence, and it's nice to see another familiar 'face': particularly as your characteristically passionate advocacy for the Rozhdestvensky far surpassed my efforts. :D


Regarding tempi and their relationships - what I primarily refer to when I say 'form', in music, as in 'Vänskä is a formalist conductor' - I think Velimir identifies the 'Rozh effect' quite accurately: much like Giulini, he maintains his underlying tempi very precisely, like an iron scaffold; or a cake mold, that the musicians can then fill with all the gusto they can muster, without distorting the structure. This way, you get the best of both worlds: a very well-defined reading guiding (vs. competing with) a powerful performance from the orchestra from start to finish, in manner that feels entirely natural.

Clearly - again much like Giulini in his Brahms, Beethoven and Bruckner - there are drawbacks to this, as even this kind of 'sneakily monolithic' (vs. 'Klemperer monolithic' - a big old block of shapely sound) approach robs the music of that last ounce of mercurial fluidity that Vänskä, to name the most prominent example, imbues Sibelius with. And there's less mystique, less wavering: Rozhdestvensky's 4th feels noticeably less suffocating than, say, Karajan's. But like I suggested above, it remains a great performance, becoming a gateway into the symphony for people who don't desire symphonic suffocation.
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: DavidW on August 16, 2011, 03:51:39 AM
Don, John ;D thanks I'll be sure to tell you what I think of Vanska when I listen.

Alan, Segerstam was a wow moment for me too, passionate performances!  I think I liked the Barbirolli more than you did, but for the older performances I liked the Bernstein cycle on columbia.

Have not heard Rozhdestvensky but I like his Shostakovich and recently got to hear his Enescu which I thought was also first rate.
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: Opus106 on August 16, 2011, 04:07:22 AM
Don, John ;D

A subject that Sibelius never took up. Did he?

Moving on...
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: Brian on August 16, 2011, 04:13:37 AM
4. Vanska/Lahti in the BIS Essentials box. I thought at first that this was going to be the best I could get. Precise and sparkling, and yet, and yet, somewhere inside I knew I was secretly hoping for something more.

I'd agree with your opinion of the Vanska set. The Fifth seems to embody my reaction to the whole cycle: it's extremely well-done, avoids every single mistake on my pitifully long check-list of reasons to consign a Fifth to the bin, and puts together a rousing finale, yet for some reason after it's finished a little part of me still says it wasn't satisfied. "Secretly hoping for more" expresses that. Of course, I feel exactly the same way about Vanska's Beethoven: my critical brain keeps saying, "good...good...correct" but my heart never joins in the chorus.

I felt the same way about The King's Speech too, so I might just be a heartless bastard.  ;D

Alan, Segerstam was a wow moment for me too, passionate performances!  I think I liked the Barbirolli more than you did, but for the older performances I liked the Bernstein cycle on columbia.

I haven't had a Sibelius binge since the last time Alan was 'round, but Segerstam is still my top choice in 1, 3, and 7. I'm really looking forward to hearing Rozhdestvensky's Third based on Renfield's comment and an electrifying 30-second clip over at Presto. It sounds like the extraordinary, rhythmically unstoppable Mustonen reading, but at a more sensible/mainstream tempo.
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: Sergeant Rock on August 16, 2011, 05:45:30 AM
....I might just be a heartless bastard.  ;D

Me too. I admire more than I love the Vänskä cycle.

Sarge
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: Brahmsian on August 16, 2011, 06:47:47 AM
Is there anyone else who loves Davis/BSO, especially in 7th?  Good grief, I should just succomb to the pressure and be a hater of Davis/Sibelius, Rattle/anything, Emerson SQ/everything and Quartetto Italiano/Beethoven SQs, Jochum/Bruckner.

Join the hate club Ray, join it.

My other unpopular choice is this:  Couldn't stand Segerstam's Sibelius' 3rd.  I found it duller than dishwasher.  Shoot me.  Bite me!
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: Sergeant Rock on August 16, 2011, 06:57:43 AM
Is there anyone else who loves Davis/BSO, especially in 7th?  Good grief, I should just succomb to the pressure and be a hater of Davis/Sibelius, Rattle/anything, Emerson SQ/everything and Quartetto Italiano/Beethoven SQs, Jochum/Bruckner.

Having a bad day, Ray? If it helps, I love Davis in Sibelius (even the much maligned RCA cycle) but especially the Boston 3, 6, and 7. And I love the Emerson Quartet (especially their magnificent Op.135 which does attain cosmic significance in the last movement). And the Italiano...such gorgeous playing; no one quite like them (I heard them live shortly before they disbanded...still the best chamber concert I've ever heard).

And Jochum/Bruckner....well, he does suck  ;D  ;)

Sarge
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: Renfield on August 16, 2011, 07:03:11 AM
I, too, like Davis' Sibelius. My order of preference would be Philips, RCA, LSO Live.

(And, er, Jochum's Bruckner. ;D His DG 7th in particular.)
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: Brahmsian on August 16, 2011, 07:06:46 AM
Having a bad day, Ray?

 :D  Yeah, that about sums it up.  :)
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: Brahmsian on August 16, 2011, 07:07:33 AM

And Jochum/Bruckner....well, he does suck  ;D  ;)

Sarge

 ;D 8)
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: Sergeant Rock on August 16, 2011, 07:09:49 AM
;D 8)

Actually I love Jochum's 2 (DG), 4 and 9 (EMI) and 5 (Tahra). And those Masses!!!

Sarge
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: Brian on August 16, 2011, 07:10:56 AM
And the Italiano...such gorgeous playing; no one quite like them (I heard them live shortly before they disbanded...still the best chamber concert I've ever heard).


I'll admit I don't follow the Beethoven SQ thread, but I'd never seen anyone here criticize the Italiano.

If you ever see the Pavel Haas Quartet live, your heart will flutter... though it may not be the music.  ;)
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: Sergeant Rock on August 16, 2011, 07:14:02 AM
If you ever see the Pavel Haas Quartet live, your heart will flutter... though it may not be the music.  ;)

 ;D  ...I know what you mean.

Sarge
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: Brahmsian on August 16, 2011, 07:21:08 AM
;D  ...I know what you mean.

Sarge

Oh, just checked Google images.  Me too.  :D
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: karlhenning on August 16, 2011, 08:04:11 AM
I should check out Davis/BSO . . . .
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: Brahmsian on August 16, 2011, 08:13:17 AM
I should check out Davis/BSO . . . .

Don't Karl.  It's total crap.  Trust me, you are way out of your element here.   ;D
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: karlhenning on August 16, 2011, 08:14:10 AM
Pfft!
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: Brahmsian on August 16, 2011, 08:16:21 AM
Pfft!

 :D  Retarded chimps could have done a better job with Sibelius than that 'chump' Davis.   :D
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: Mirror Image on August 16, 2011, 08:17:27 AM
I should check out Davis/BSO . . . .

Before you do, what Sibelius symphony cycles have you heard?
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: karlhenning on August 16, 2011, 08:53:59 AM
Maazel/Wiener Philharmoniker
Blomstedt/SFSO
Berglund/Helsinki Phil (I think)
Bernstein/NY Phil
Bernstein/Wiener Philharmoniker (incomplete)

 
Anyway, I shall literally check the Davis/BSO out, for the CDs are available at the Boston Public Library . . . risk-free listening.
Title: Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
Post by: Mirror Image on August 16, 2011, 08:57:09 AM
Maazel/Wiener Philharmoniker
Blomstedt/SFSO
Berglund/Helsinki Phil (I think)
Bernstein/NY Phil
Bernstein/Wiener Philharmoniker (incomplete)

 
Anyway, I shall literally check the Davis/BSO out, for the CDs are available at the Boston Public