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Jean Sibelius – Complete Symphonies (Ashkenazy)

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Jean Sibelius – The Symphonies (Ashkenazy)

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Symphony no.1 in E minor, op.39
1. Andante ma non troppo - Allegr energico
2. Andante (ma non troppo lento)
3. Scherzo Allegro
4. Finale (quasi una fantasia)

5. Symphony no.7 in C major, op.105

Symphony No. 2 in D major, op. 43
1. Alegretto
2. Tempo Andante ma rubato
3. Vivacissimo
4. Finale

Symphony no.3 in C major, op.52
1. Allegro moderato
2. Andantino con moto, quasi allegretto
3. Moderato - Allegro (ma non tanto)

Symphony no.6 in D minor, op.104
4. Allegro molto moderato
5. Allegretto moderato
6. Poco vivace
7. Allegro molto

Symphony No.4 in A minor Op.63
1. Tempo molto
2. Allegro molto
3. Il tempo
4. Allegro

Symphony No.5 in Eb Op.82
5. Tempo molto mode
6. Andante mosso
7. Allegro molto

Philharmonia Orchestra
Vladimir Askenazy - conductor


Vladimir Ashkenazy is a brave man to contribute another complete Sibelius cycle to a market in which there are already many fine full sets. His first cycle, for Decca (1978-1983), came at the dawn of the digital age, and the new cycle in DSD was set down in 2006-2007 (Ashkenazy was 70 in 2007). More or less the same set of tone poems and fillers are included as in the original set, which is still available at bargain price and is very well-regarded for interpretation, superb playing of the Philharmonia and its (then) state-of-the-art recording.

There's little point in buying individual Sibelius symphonies (there'sonly seven, and none are especially long) - much better to pick up a boxof the entire cycle. So what's to recommend this one? The only realcompetition, I think, is Lorin Maazel's excellent set (also on Decca).However, I personally think that Ashkenazy, more than any other conductor,has the keenest understanding of the weird power Sibelius' music exerts -and the sound recording here is much superior too. True, the Maazel set ismuch cheaper - but you only get the symphonies. With this box, you get anadditional ten orchestral pieces, including Finlandia, Tapiola, and theKarelia Suite - all of which are outstanding, and essential listening fora full appreciation of this unique composer. So basically, for the priceof two CDs, this Ashkenazy set gives you five CDs containing well over sixhours of outstanding music, a booklet with decent liner notes, and a boxwith a nice picture of a tranquil seascape. If you've only heard a little Sibelius and like it, dig in. This has to beone of the best Classical bargains to be had.

download: CD1 CD2 CD3 CD4


Last Updated (Monday, 12 March 2012 16:53)


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