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Discussion: Sibelius: Symphonies Nos. 5 & 7 - Davis

Posts: 44
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Post by threerandot March 22, 2008 (1 of 44)
I am a Sibelius fan and still have no recordings of his symphonies on SA-CD. Does anyone know these performances well? As they are older analogues I'm sure how do they stack up?

Post by Arthur March 22, 2008 (2 of 44)
threerandot said:

I am a Sibelius fan and still have no recordings of his symphonies on SA-CD. Does anyone know these performances well? As they are older analogues I'm sure how do they stack up?

Dear 3...:

In my book, the 5th is good, but the 7th is as good as I've ever heard. Sound is okay, but not spectacular by modern standards. I had the old Philips LP (at the time I thought the recording, sound-wise, couldn't be beat), then the CD, then the SACD from Japan. I intend to add the PentaTone. That in itself is a statement about how strongly I feel about the performance.

Bret

Post by ramesh March 23, 2008 (3 of 44)
I think the sound might be slightly recessed, the way it was for the BSO Sibelius already released on PentaTone, but this is presumably what is on the master tapes. Both performances are splendid. I got the entire box set when it was originally released. Actually, this is the opportunity to tell a true story about New Zealand culture. I obtained these on cassette in a transfer done by Punyversal NZ, and the LAST FIVE CHORDS of Sib 5 were omitted! I returned it, with a complaining note. The replacement also had the same omission, so I sent it back also for a refund. Clearly the transfers were completely flawed, but the record company claimed I was the only person to date who had complained! So to this day, I haven't heard the last five chords of this performance.

Post by terence March 23, 2008 (4 of 44)
agree with ramesh - both performances VG, the 7th one of the finest in stereo (i think of the alternatives i've heard only the maazel/VPO is better). should sound even better in 4.0. for me, a definite purchase. i only hope re-mastering doesn't reveal too much of davis's habitual "grunting"....

Post by threerandot March 23, 2008 (5 of 44)
terence said:

agree with ramesh - both performances VG, the 7th one of the finest in stereo (i think of the alternatives i've heard only the maazel/VPO is better). should sound even better in 4.0. for me, a definite purchase. i only hope re-mastering doesn't reveal too much of davis's habitual "grunting"....

This is something I have not heard before. Davis grunts? Is this akin to Gould's verbalizations at the piano?

Post by terence March 23, 2008 (6 of 44)
very similar in its capacity to annoy, distract and irritate. almost any of his LSO live performances contain liberal examples of it.

type "davis grunting" in the search box at the top of this page and you'll get lots of forum links to this particular topic.

i WILL actually wait till somebody else buys this particular sibelius 5/7 remaster and can tell me how much G-factor there is in the performances.

Post by Windsurfer March 27, 2008 (7 of 44)
I will confess to being relatively unfamiliar with the 7th symphony. I have a number of copies of it yes, and I probably will recognize it when I hear it - but can I sing, hum or whistle (or in anyway bring to mind) any of its themes? No, I can't. It's not that I dislike the music, it's just that this is not one of those things that has grabbed me by the neck and said "listen! - I have something important to tell you!"

The fifth on the other hand is a different kettle of fish. I have loved that work since I first heard it in the sixties on a DG monaural LP with von Karajan. That performance, specifically the second movement where the bassoon creates some amazing color, has been my benchmark for the 5th symphony.

I bought the LP of this performance when it first came out and I was disappointed with that second movement, it just didn't measure up to the von Karajan. Neither did the subsequent von Karjan on EMI!

But there are other aspects of this symphony where each conductor adds ideas of merit and I WILL purchase this one and I will explore it without regard to my preconceptions of how the second movement should sound. I *EXPECT* to appreciate it and to count it as among the finer things I own. (Just like Janowski's Brahms and Franck which have come under critical fire here because these performances like my example of the Sibelius 5th didn't measure up to preconceived notions of what something should sound like.) Flexibility to enjoy the unfamiliar rather than enslavement to entrenched notions is what I preach!

Bruce (as he steps down from the pulpit)

Post by ramesh March 27, 2008 (8 of 44)
Bruce,
Karajan's 1960s Sibelius 5 on DG was reissued last year in Japan in sound which was a cut above the reasonable 'Originals' remastering together with the 7th. His DG 4th and 6th haven't been remastered in Japan to the best of my knowledge. EMI Japan are reissuing all of his Sibelius recordings [ including a mono 7th with the Philharmonia] for them within the next month.

Post by raffells March 28, 2008 (9 of 44)
Windsurfer said:
Bruce,
I know they are on DVDA but have you heard the Abravanal/Utah series of Sibelius symphonies.I think thy are all in surround.
Personally I find these very satisfying,certainly NOT OTT and extremely well recorded in that open accoustic which somehow captures the landscape better than others. Not sure what Edwin makes of them. You will also be able to get them at a reasonable price but have to put up with damn silly oversized cases.Dave

Post by Windsurfer March 28, 2008 (10 of 44)
Interesting! I am still sitting on some kind of fence regarding purchase of an Oppo universal player. Right now I do not have DVD-A capability.

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