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Sibelius: Symphony No 2, Finlandia / Levi, Cleveland Orch

Release Date: 10/25/1990 
Label:  Telarc   Catalog #: 80095   Spars Code: DDD 
Composer:  Jean Sibelius
Conductor:  Yoel Levi
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Cleveland Orchestra
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Length: 0 Hours 48 Mins. 

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Notes and Editorial Reviews

I’ve recently been sent three Telarc reissues for review, all conducted by Yoel Levi - this excellent Sibelius 2; an enjoyable Mussorgsky collection, including Ravel’s orchestration of Pictures at an Exhibition (CD-80296); and a superb Mahler 6 (CD-80444). Following hard on the heals of Peter Hill’s listing, on BBC Radio 3’s ‘Record Review’, of Levi’s Sacre du printemps as the No 1 recording (CD-80266) of Stravinsky’s premier league test-piece it’s good to be reminded of Levi’s impressive credentials and achievements.

Dating from the early digital era, this disc was recorded with the Cleveland Orchestra, before Levi took up his post in Atlanta. But you’d never know, such is the maturity of the music-making; and the warmth,
Read more clarity and weight of the recording. I use the word ‘maturity’ here advisedly, because you’d never guess that a young man was at the helm. Everything is impeccably judged, and nothing is overstated. In the finale in particular, he avoids any suggestion of excess or vulgarity. And yet only those accustomed to top-gear performances could possibly be disappointed.

The recording is admirably faithful. No wonder Telarc’s early CDs quickly acquired a reputation for genuinely high fidelity. The strings in the opening bars have a lovely, velvety tone, whereas the woodwinds’ chattering phrases have a crystalline clarity and the sense of front-to-rear perspective heightens the contrasts in Sibelius’ material. In the haunting second movement, the multi-dimensional nature of the recording illuminates the scoring of the walking bass (shared between cellos and double-basses) beautifully. To crown it all, the closing pages have a tremendous depth and weight. In terms of sound, this is second to none in the catalogue.

Levi is one of that rare breed of artists who give you what the composer wrote, without any intrusive ‘interpretation’. This is a performance to live with - a disc of the Second Symphony, not the Second Symphony seen through the eyes of X, Y or Z.

-- Peter J Lawson, MusicWeb International
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Works on This Recording

Finlandia, Op. 26 by Jean Sibelius
Conductor:  Yoel Levi
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Cleveland Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: Finland 
Date of Recording: 04/1984 
Venue:  Masonic Auditorium, Cleveland 
Length: 7 Minutes 43 Secs. 
Notes: Composition written: Finland (1899 - 1900). 
Symphony no 2 in D major, Op. 43 by Jean Sibelius
Conductor:  Yoel Levi
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Cleveland Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1901-1902; Finland 
Date of Recording: 04/1984 
Venue:  Masonic Auditorium, Cleveland 
Length: 39 Minutes 54 Secs. 

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