Sibelius Orchestral Works
As the symphony’s finale builds to its apotheosis, you’ll have to contend with trumpets (doubling and eventually dominating strings in the second main idea, from 9'32'' track 4) that sound as if they more usually play at wedding parties for The Godfather. But then, a fast and wide vibrato is a general feature of the orchestra’s higher singing voices in the symphony. And this is presumably how Toscanini liked his trumpets (and woodwinds and strings) to sound when singing, just as he liked them to deliver more forceful, rhythmical figures sec and with a vengeance – the ‘vengeance’ perhaps a result of close microphones and/or little evidence of a hall acoustic. All of which means that if your notions of Nordic nobility in the symphony are gathered across the decades from recordings by Kajanus, Collins, Koussevitzky and Karajan, you should probably give Toscanini a wide berth.
If you did, however, you would be depriving yourself of maybe the most dramatically intense and physically exciting performances of the symphony and
Two earlier Toscanini accounts of the symphony either are obtainable (a 1939 NBC performance on dell’Arte) or have been (a generally less successful 1938 BBC Symphony Orchestra performance from EMI – 10/90). And the present Naxos 1940 accounts of the symphony and