Jean Sibelius, the great Finnish composer, wrote magnificent symphonies. We are celebrating Finland´s 100th Anniversary and Sibelius´ music as well. Please tell your favorite analog recordings of his best work, I really would appreciate.
One of mine is the Lorin Maazel ´s 60´s symphonies on Decca label.
Sibelius reputation rests chiefly on his great symphonies, seven spectacular creations, all with their particular points of grandeur and originality.
Originally released between 1963 and 1968 Maazel´ s Sibelius cycle met with critical acclaim. Particularly praised is Maazel´s interpretation of the Fourth Symphony in the Vienna Philharmonics only recording of the work.
Much as I also like the Maazel you really do need to check out Paavo Berglund and the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra on EMI. The original single disc issues are the best available although a little pricy as a set. The Greensleeve reissues are readily available and dirt cheap so give a good intro to the performances and recordings while you seek out the original Angels
of course I assume you already own the RCA Living Stereo Gibson Symph #5, Monteux #2 and the Heifetz Violin Concerto as these are old hi-fi chestnuts, but still very good! I rate the Classic records 45rpm issues as best
My very favourite analogue Sibelius symphony recording is Symphony #2 by von Karajan conducting the Philharmonia Orchestra on EMI, recorded in 1960.
Of course, if you were to ask about digital recordings, there are many to consider as well--including the splendid complete Sibelius symphony cycle by Sir Colin Davis conducting the LSO on RCA, now available in an inexpensive 7 CD box set put out by Sony Music.
It's been years since I've heard them, but I liked Sir Thomas Beecham's Sibelius recordings on EMI. I'm speaking in terms of music, not sound. But that area of Classical is not my forte, so my opinion is not of much worth!
Some excellent recommendations. I especially like the Maazel recommendation by the OP. I am typically not a fan of Maazel's interpretations and conducting style, but his Sibelius cycle (first ever stereo Sibelius recordings, btw) is wonderful with my favorite orchestra the Vienna Phil. Recordings not mentioned and which in my opinion are particularly interesting are the early (early 1930's) recordings by Robert Kajanus and the London Symphony. Kajanus was a composer/conductor and close friend of Sibelius and these recordings are probably the closest thing to the composer's own vision for these works. Although reissued on lp in the 70's I have only been able to find the cd versions. These analog (obviously) recordings are not audiophile material but give a particularly interesting and beautiful view of this wonderful music.
If you really want to hear Sibelius as should be the current BIS recordings with Osmo Vanska leading the Minnesota Orch . are to die for. The rhythm is spot-on as is the up through the bass line approach needed in these symphonies , best Conductor and Band for Sibelius extant . The clarity of Sibelius is there in every note . Reviews in Finland and all through Europe are off the charts .
Between vinyl and CD I've got around eight versions of SIbelius' Symphony No. 2 and my hands-down go-to version is The Royal Philharmonic under Barbiolli on Chesky Records (CR3). IMO, it's the one of the most emotionally engaging LPs I own.
Schubert, I'll be sure to check out the Vanska/Minnesota recordings. I generally find something special about conductors' interpretations of the music of compatriots. Vanska has without a doubt elevated the Minnesota to a very high level; he is a very fine musician. I don't know how much playing he is doing currently, but he is also a very fine clarinetist. Btw, I agree with your (disappearing) comments about Maazel; all the more reason that I found his Sibelius recordings such a pleasant surprise. I played under Maazel a few times over the years and I can tell you that he was a remarkable technician with an almost incredible ability to conduct complex meters with great clarity; but, often cold and machine like. He would micro manage beat patterns with unnecessary subdivisions as if to say "look what I can do with a baton"; while seeming to lose sight of the big picture. Still, good Sibelius.
I heard him play a Brahms clarinet piece , I believe he could get a 1st job in Berlin or Vienna , perhaps even with the greatest German O., the Leipzig Gewandhaus .
Erased as a bit cheeky. My all-time fav, which nobody agrees with, is Kurt Masur . He saw the big picture enough to view the Brahms 4 as 4 parts of one symphony . Made a good case for it too . In the heart of the German Symphony from Mendelssohn to Brahms he batted 750 every time . Several times my wife and I heard him day after Karajan,, a revelation to hear, and see, players respond to an honest man who they loved compared to puppets on strings pulled by a man they did not . Critics often seem to see him as a "kappelmeister" which is just plain stupid IMO . . Also, there is a video of him walking alone in a great crowd in Leipzig, days before the wall fell, for hours telling people to remain calm and refrain from violence . A great man still much beloved in Leipzig . May his soul rest forever in peace .
People think in their native language which affects every thing you do to include playing, hearing or writing music . In fact you can not think without language , and tend to think in same MANNER as those who share their native tongue . Goes double for languages that are not related to most common ones and/or little studied elsewhere such as Finnish, Hungarian and Czech , all of which are very musical cultures .
@schubert I wish I said what you did! Tchaikovsky under Mravinsky is The Only one for me! The only contender is the vision of Pierre Monteaux: the beauty without mental breakdown... Sibelius 2nd under Monteaux on King Super Analog is my favorite, but, as you said, my genes frame me!...
My single recommendation is Dylana Jensen playing the Violin Concerto with Ormandy conducting. RCA label. Her magnum opus. Actually everything about this is recording is great; Her instrument (a violin on loan - sad story about that for another day), Ormandy's tempo's, engineering balance between soloist and orchestra.
In fact you can not think without language , and tend to think in same MANNER as those who share their native tongue .
Disagree. You can prove this to yourself by doing some mental arithmetic or calculating a few moves ahead in chess. Playing squash is fast tempo and 3 dimensional - you wont get going if you are verbalising.
I strongly agree with Schubert’s premise re the connection between the spoken language of a culture and its music and music making. This is something that is well documented and analyzed in musicology. Of course (and only as one example) an American conductor can bring certain interpretative elements to Russian music that render it great or even "perfect" to a given listener. However, there is no doubt in my mind that in many cases (not all, obviously) a Russian (again, only as an example) conductor can sometimes bring something to the music that eludes conductors who don’t have the depth of understanding of the culture and language that the Russian conductor might. Just two examples based on personal experience (for whatever it may worth):
As an orchestral saxophonist I have played Mussorgsky’s (Ravel) "Pictures At An Exibition" and Rachmaninov’s "Symphonic Dances" more times than I can remember; including the Rachmaninov with the American orchestra that the work was written for and who premiered it. There have been several fine and memorable performances of the two works. However, it wasn’t until I had the privilege of playing "Pictures" under Gergiev and "Symphonic Dances" with the St. Petersburg under Temirkanov that I "got" those works and understood what had been missing in the somewhat sanitized renditions that I had either heard or been part of with American orchestras and conductors. There were stylistic and phrasing details that got to the core of the music in very convincing ways; the music made sense on a deeper level.
Case # 1 for music is difference between French and German classical music which been expounded upon for a least a century. I’ve read several times that some conductors won’t touch "Symphonic Dances" for that reason . I'd like to hear JoAnn Falletta give it a shot myself .
Not a few think part of reason that Sibelius is so beloved by Finns ( what other composers birthday is a National Holiday) is that his native tongue was Swedish, and as a perfectionist, he studied Finnish in a way few Finns ever did. He said he knew he was a true Finn when he started to dream in it .
From my childhood years of piano lessons I still remember the joy of that moment when I could play without thinking or looking at the score! Verbalizing while sparring with your carate-class buddy is a quick road to a knock-out. But. Interpreting great music takes more than basic/learned reflexes and logical half of the brain. If chess were an art form then Kasparov would have never been beaten by an old computer. It is a miracle that good chess players can remember infinite variations of the first 8-10 moves. Miracle for the feeble brains like mine, but not Art
You’re missing the point sevs, if you brain could not verbalize you never would have got past your high-chair stage . Most of what humans do is done in our sub-conscious. the brain is talking like crazy, you just don't know it .
I have a personal fondness for Ormandy/Philadelphia Orchestra recordings of Sibelius. In part because they were early champions of Sibelius' work. In part because when I lived in Philadelphia I attended live performances monthly - if not more often. There is something about connecting with the same performers live and via their recordings.
Schubert & Frogman, 8th December we were celebrating Sibelius and Finnish music. I revisited many Finnish music records such as Piirpauke´s two first albums. And my Berglund´s Sibelius complete which is in SQ format. Superb set. What a pity I don´t have quadraphonic stereo system. I read some history of early performances and recordings of Robert Kajanus, a conductor and a close friend of Sibelius. Indeed the early recordings of Kajanus with LSO are the most interesting, close to Sibelius´ time. And as said they are not the best audiophile quality but I really don´t care, the music itself and how it is performed matters. I´m just a music lover first, an audiophile second. And yes indeed the Vänskä/Minnesota recordings are very very interesting because he is working his compatriot´ s music.
Without your guidance I may have never found these gems to search for because my preference is classic Progressive Rock, mid 60´s - early 70´s to be exact. My second is classical.
Btw, I ordered Maria Kalaniemi´s "Bellow Poetry" CD.
The best thing at here A´gon is that one can find new musical horizons :)