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Sibelius: Symphonies No 5 & 7, Etc / Sir Colin Davis, Bso

Release Date: 04/29/2008 
Label:  Pentatone   Catalog #: 5186177   Spars Code: n/a 
Composer:  Jean Sibelius
Conductor:  Sir Colin Davis
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Boston Symphony Orchestra
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Multi 
Length: 1 Hours 11 Mins. 

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Notes and Editorial Reviews

This is a hybrid Super Audio CD playable on both regular and Super Audio CD players.

If Colin Davis had had the self-discipline to quit while he was ahead, with this Sibelius cycle, I have no doubt he would have been considered one of the great Sibelius conductors in recorded history. Alas, he went on to remake the entire cycle disastrously with the LSO for RCA, and then again, much improved but still somewhat patchy, with the LSO for the orchestra's own label. This leads us to ask the musical question: How much of the credit for the excellence of these performances should go to the conductor, and how much to an orchestra that since the days of Koussevitsky has always been an outstanding exponent of this music? I leave it to
Read more you to decide.

Certainly, Davis does not deserve recognition for the incomparable timpani playing that makes the coda of the Fifth's first movement the finest ever recorded. Nor does the sterling work of the woodwind section require any encouragement from him. On the other hand, I'm more than happy to acknowledge the effortless sense of flow that he brings to both works--from the transition between sections in the Fifth's first movement, to the organic unfolding of the Seventh's various sections, to the really exciting climaxes of En Saga (with a juicy bass drum and nicely gnarly brass). So maybe it's a 50/50 collaboration, and wonderful by any definition. The SACD multichannel sonics work surprisingly well. They don't sacrifice impact, nor do they put too much information into the rear channels. In short, this is terrific on its own, but also a troubling reminder of the oddly spotty podium career of an undeniably talented conductor. [4/24/2008]

--David Hurwitz, ClassicsToday.com
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Works on This Recording

En saga, Op. 9 by Jean Sibelius
Conductor:  Sir Colin Davis
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Boston Symphony Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1892/1902; Finland 
Length: 17 Minutes 53 Secs. 
Symphony no 5 in E flat major, Op. 82 by Jean Sibelius
Conductor:  Sir Colin Davis
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Boston Symphony Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1915/1919; Finland 
Symphony no 7 in C major, Op. 105 by Jean Sibelius
Conductor:  Sir Colin Davis
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Boston Symphony Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1924; Finland 

Customer Reviews

Average Customer Review:  1 Customer Review )
 ...I THINK I HAVE A DARK SIDE... September 1, 2014 By Zita Carno (Tampa, FL) See All My Reviews "A few weeks ago I was ready to get up out of bed, but then the Classical Masterpieces station on my TV started "En Saga"---and it just got me. I couldn't move; I was riveted to my bed and just lay there and listened. I didn't know which recording it was, but a week later it happened---this time it was the BSO recording with Sir Colin Davis, same piece, and again I was held there where I was. I started thinking about the second of the Lemminkainen Legends, and then there was a passage in the first movement of the Fifth Symphony where there's a mournful, sinister bassoon solo above the strings. I couldn't get it out of my head, and it has continued to stay with me. I'm now awaiting the arrival of the CD that includes the Fifth and Seventh Symphonies, and I'm embarking on an exploration of the many elements of Sibelius' music. Let's face it---I think I have a dark side, and I embrace it. I have become a Sibelian!! Additional thoughts about this piece, which I just heard for the third time on the Classical Masterpiece station..."En Saga" is the Swedish rather than the Finnish title, and it translates as "a fairy tale". Some call it just a saga. I for one don't see or hear anything fairy-tale about it, and I would prefer to call it a legend---a dark, ominous, even sinister one, which is closer to the second of the Lemminkainen legends and even closer to the Fifth Symphony, which by the way is simply gorgeous. The legend I envision is that of a protagonist who is really up against it, facing all kinds of dangers and who must call on all his resources to overcome those dangers. The composer was more right than he thought when he speculated on this, especially one motive that recurs several times in what I believe to be three trombones. I think he must have been thinking about the Kalevala when he wrote it. In any event, I now have the disc and will be listening repeatedly not only to this but also to the two symphonies. Thank you again...Here we go again. Wednesday morning, shortly after 11, and my favorite Classical Masterpieces channel played it again. Fourth time, and here I am battling back spasms, so I listened and zeroed in on the motive of menace (for so I call it) as played by three trombones. They played it six times, and the last time was even softer and more menacing. That one gets me every time. One of my favorite pieces. And now that I've got a disc to clean up the CD receptacle I can play the entire disc. Beautiful...Ah! My morning Sibelius! This is Saturday, Nov. 1, and shortly after 10 AM I heard the 7th symphony on Classical Masterpieces! I'm home with a stomach-ache, but this sort of took the edge off. As I've said in an earlier post, I now have all seven of the symphonies, and I'm one happy Sibelian camper. The other day they played two bits and snippets---one of the Serenades for violin and orchestra, I have both of them on one disc, and the other was the brief symphonic poem The Dryad---as interpreted by a Russian conductor who couldn't seem to make sense of it. A dryad is a wood nymph, right? Well, it was played sort of wooden. I have the piece on a couple of discs containing all the tone poems except for the Lemminkainen cycle, and they come off far better. Now---when's the next Sibelius? Perhaps the 6th symphony?" Report Abuse
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