Sibelius

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Karajan conducted Gurredlieder twice in 1967 (Christa Ludwig, et al.). His Dvorak is also thin, but he did conduct the 4th Symphony and the Violin Concerto. There are several live Karajan recordings out lately.

On music for string ensemble - he recorded almost 2 dozen such works.

As for the Brahms Concerto #1 -
"Once again, it was conspicuous by its absence. No one knows why K avoided the work; whenever the matter was raised, he always changed the subject, as though the piece was jinxed." - p. 504

Boston S.O - C. Davis - Sibelius

While I can understand (and share to a great extent) your enthusiasm with Ormandy and his unique Philadelphia, Boston S.O. made an exceptional and impressive Sibelius cycle under the late Colin Davis, which I treasure...

Parla

nostalgia

Although I have Karajan 4-7 and maybe some others, my formative experience  was the Sibelius Society volume 2 issued in the 1930's which I just happened to have added to my site. The two symphonies are the 3rd from Kajanus and the LSO together with the 7th from Koussevitskty and the BBCSO ( which necessitated some horrendous record changes as you can imagine). The sound quality is not that great but if these performances were your introduction to part of Sibelius' oeuvre, here they are again!

I would say that most of the orchestral quality on my site is considerably higher than these recordings, for example the two other recent additions: Frederick Riddle as the soloist in Walton's Viola Concerto conducted by the composer and Casals in the Elgar with Sir Adrian Boult. This latter I find to be quite a persuasive performance, reticent, especially compared to his Dvorak, almost an English reserve!   

 

http://www.cliveheathmusic.co.uk/transcriptions_07.php 

clive heath
Sibelius Symphonies

I recently did an in-depth review for myself on this very topic, listened to all the copies I could get my hands on, and I have to say that no-one's complete cycle, not even Vanska's, entirely worked for me.  I mostly listen through headphones, which tend to rule out the more 'hissy' recordings, such as, sadly, Colin Davis or even the earlier Ashkenazy sets.  What I came up with in the end for each symphony was:

1.  Vanska and the Lahti

2. Okku Kamu and the Lahti (tough choice, and I'm keeping Sondergard for sheer verve!)

3. Vanska and the Lahti

4. Blomstedt and the SFO

5. Blomstedt and the SFO (no-one has made this sound more beautiful, I think)

6. Leif Segerstam and the Helsinki

7. Vanska again

 

Like one of the earlier writers in this thread, I have some 'moments' that have to be done well, especially in the 2nd and 5th, and these are the works that I found best fit the bill.  I'm mentioning them because quite a lot (notably the Blomstedt) haven't turned up in this thread before, and I think they're quite superb.

I completely agree

Adrian3 wrote:

Vänskä, for my book, is unbeatable. For a start, the BIS recording, made in an all-wooden hall, is superlative for its warmth and depth. Vänskä gets some breathtaking 'pianissimi' from his orchestra (where appropriate) and I've never heard readings that are more evocative or more likely to convert a doubter to Sibelius. I'm hesitant about Colin Davis's 'LSO Live' series: I would like to get it but the acoustic of the barbican is so dry and boxy.

I am with you on the Vänskä ; my very favourite... I'm trying to like the same Orchestra with Kamu, a high res recording.. while also very fine, it doesn't quite speak with the same sparkle as the Vänskä

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