WGBH Radio WGBH Radio theclassicalstation.org

Sibelius: Symphonies No 4 & 5 / Herbert Von Karajan, Et Al


Release Date: 02/12/2008 
Label:  Emi Classics   Catalog #: 09027   Spars Code: ADD 
Composer:  Jean Sibelius
Conductor:  Herbert von Karajan
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
CD not available: This title is currently only available as an MP3 download.  

Notes and Editorial Reviews

Almost alone among Austrian conductors, Herbert von Karajan championed the symphonies of Jean Sibelius in German-speaking countries. His mid-'50s recordings with the Philharmonia for EMI were urgent, powerful readings that argued for the inherent greatness of the music. His mid-'60s recordings with the Berliner Philharmoniker for DG were ineluctable, irresistible accounts that many critics and listeners still call the best non-Finnish recordings since the war. And then there are his mid-'70s performances again with the Berlin orchestra but this time for EMI, performances that are among the most beautifully played and masterfully conducted ever recorded. Part of it is EMI's warmer stereo sound that makes the Berlin seem bigger and rounder Read more than in the DG's cleaner stereo sound. But most of it, of course, is Karajan's imperious will and overriding determination to achieve absolute sonic perfection. Using the most virtuosic orchestra in the world as his instrument, Karajan sculpts interpretations of Sibelius' Fourth and Fifth symphonies that are exquisitely refined, exceedingly elegant, and almost unbearably beautiful. Both scores, the anguished Fourth and the exultant Fifth, are realized as supremely polished works of musical modernism with no flaw to mar their immaculate surfaces. Some listeners have questioned the appropriateness of this approach when it comes to the music of Sibelius. Those who favor the abrupt transitions, knottier textures, sharper dynamics, and craggier structures of Finnish interpreters may find Karajan's approach anathema. But listeners with more catholic tastes have always found much to enjoy in Karajan's smoother, more overtly romantic Sibelius.

- James Leonard, AllMusic Guide Read less

Works on This Recording

1.
Symphony no 4 in A minor, Op. 63 by Jean Sibelius
Conductor:  Herbert von Karajan
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1911; Finland 
2.
Symphony no 5 in E flat major, Op. 82 by Jean Sibelius
Conductor:  Herbert von Karajan
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1915/1919; Finland 

Sound Samples

Symphony No. 4 in A minor Op. 63 (1985 Digital Remaster): I. Tempo molto moderato, quasi adagio
Symphony No. 4 in A minor Op. 63 (1985 Digital Remaster): II. Allegro molto vivace
Symphony No. 4 in A minor Op. 63 (1985 Digital Remaster): III. Il tempo largo
Symphony No. 4 in A minor Op. 63 (1985 Digital Remaster): IV. Allegro
Symphony No. 5 in E flat Op. 82: I. Tempo molto moderato - Allegro moderato - Presto
Symphony No. 5 in E flat Op. 82: II. Andante mosso, quasi allegretto
Symphony No. 5 in E flat Op. 82: III. Allegro molto - Un pochettino largamente

Customer Reviews

Be the first to review this title
Review This Title
Review This Title Share on Facebook




YOU MUST BE A SUBSCRIBER TO LISTEN - TRY IT FREE!
Listen to all your favorite classical music for only $20/month.
Sign up for your monthly subscription service and get unlimited access to the most comprehensive digital catalog of classical music in the world - new releases. bestsellers, advanced releases and more.
Aleady a subscriber? Sign In