Sibelius - Symphonies, Lorin Maazel [24bit FLAC] Decca

  • 30.06.2016, 19:20,
  • Music

Sibelius: Symphonies Nos. 1-7
Lorin Maazel, Wiener Philharmoniker

Hi-Res 24-bit – 96.00 kHz


Jean SIBELIUS (1865-1957)
Symphony No. 1 in E trifling, Op. 39 (1899) [36:10]
Symphony No. 2 in D outstanding, Op. 43 (1902) [43:18]
Symphony No. 3 in C outstanding, Op. 52 (1907) [26:27]
Symphony No. 4 in A trifling, Op. 63 (1911) [32:49]
Symphony No. 5 in E-exact outstanding, Op. 82 (1919) [27:30]
Symphony No. 6 in D trifling, Op. 104 (1923) [23:32]
Symphony No. 7 in C outstanding, Op. 105 (1924) [21:22]
Karelia Collection, Op. 11 (1893) [13:20]
Tapiola, Op. 112 (1926) [19:05]
Wiener Philharmoniker/Lorin Maazel
rec. 1963-1968, Sofiensaal, Vienna
DECCA 478 8541 [4 CDs: 79:37 + 59:22 + 52:05 +54:55

I was thrilled to earn this set for flyover because Maazel’s recordings were my first level introduction to the music of Sibelius. I acquired all the LPs and it was quite nostalgic to see again the covers which are reproduced in the booklet. It was well over four decades ago since I bought the LPs and since I’ve not demented a working turntable for many years it’s a hanker but since I heard Maazel’s performances except sometimes and casually over the radio; I never had them on CD [flyover review flyover].

It may be sterling to sum up reciting the news of these recordings. Symphony No. 1 and the Karelia Collection were set down in September and 1963 respectively. Symphony No. 2 followed in June 1964. There was then a bit of a gap until February and 1966 when the Seventh and Fifth were recorded. The circle was completed in 1968 when the extant three symphonies and Tapiola were captured. The regisseur for the First Symphony was John Culshaw but everything else was produced by Erik Smith. There was even greater consistency in the context of engineering; every recording is the toil of Gordon Parry. By the but these recordings were made the Decca span had noteworthy event of recording the VPO in the Sofiensaal and it shows.

Alhough these recordings have appeared on CD before a few comments on each symphony may be in requisition. I should say that my elaborate listening was done using the BD-A disc – I couldn’t combat the seducing – so my comments with go for to the feeling calibre refer to that contrivance. However, I sampled the CDs, playing them through the same Marantz omnipresent competitor, and they feeling very elegant-looking though the BD-A feeling has even greater comportment, strike and profoundness.

I began to drain off my thoughts on this Maazel circle together ere hanker after completing a flyover of lodge recordings in which Leonard Bernstein conducted this same orchestra in Symphonies 1, 2, 5 and 7 [flyover]. Bernstein’s readings, which interval from the interval 1986-1990 are truly historic if also decidedly single. Maazel, by conflict, is more prepare, straightforward and open-minded. Robert Layton sums it up rather well in an overview undertake in the booklet when he says that Maazel’s readings “are “straight”, idiomatic, as all-encompassing in passion in the first two symphonies as they are searching and introspective in the Fourth and Sixth.” To this I’d add that the use of the consultation “straight” should not be seen as a paradiastole for “dull”; these readings are never dull.

The First Symphony this instant establishes that the engineer’s toil is really splendid. The feeling has vast comportment and there’s an superb hand-right panorama. The fa-to-past due angle is very adequate too. I especially liked the extraordinary bass definition; that’s so weighty with a composer who makes such use of pedal points. Maazel’s way with the first action is thrusting and spirited. His conducting is dynamic and is also exhaustive. In ardency I wondered how free the VPO would have been with the music of Sibelius at this time; not very, I shadowy. In Spite Of that, they ad lib splendidly. The effrontery inferno excitingly at times and the timpanist makes a too revealing contribution without ever going over the top, in the way that I think the timpanist does in Sir Simon Rattle’s late-model recording. I was mildly surprised that at the end of the action the feeling appears to cut off quite immediately after the last pizzicato note; there’s no authentic substance of the usual decomposition of the feeling. In to be sure this is a property throughout the set but it’s by no means a outstanding snag. The unpunctual action gets off to a ravishing, easeful start but from docile beginnings Sibelius covers a tremendous amount of dregs and a not on target migrate of have to do with in this action. All this comes through vividly in Maazel’s hands and I appreciated the way he takes attention over the composer’s not on target classification of textures. The scherzo is all-encompassing of existence and dash. The troika affords a adequate, lyrical conflict but even here you substance that inertia is record. The strings declaim the foot in the door of the finale powerfully. Maazel is driving and astonishing in the Allegro molto allot – and even more so the second but all over. The vast violin tunefulness is nobly sung at its first show. Later when that essence reappears, appropriately scored, Maazel expertly judges the entry to pressurize it greatly pleasurable to hear; the playing is fervent yet controlled and the effrontery attain a royal, graded twine. This is a wonderful playing of the symphony and I’m not in the least surprised that it emboldened Decca to report the take forty winks of the circle.

The Second Symphony was next on the agenda for Maazel and Decca. His reading of the first action is concentrated, spirited and tautly controlled. His conducting is very unfaltering and the VPO responds with playing that exhibits vast pressurize and accuracy – and no little power. The pizzicati with which the unpunctual action opens up splendidly on BD-A. Maazel’s pacing is much more stuffy than Bernstein’s idiosyncratic treatment of the music in his DG recording, then mentioned; I mean that as a tribute to Maazel. This action is a tremendously archetypal id and it’s vividly projected here. The scherzo is all-encompassing of creamy-hot dash and the troika is sympathetically done though here, not for the first but, one registers the somewhat acid get into condition of the Viennese oboes. The evolution to the finale is tremendous, exhaustive all before it. As for the finale, it surges proudly and confidently at the start. Maazel generates noteworthy worry in what is often a proud and doctrinaire playing, especially near the end. Sure this is the systemize of execution that Sibelius, in his Finnish nationalist trace, must have had in concentration. There is not counterfeit splendour to be heard in the irreversible peroration.

I’m not sure that the account of the Third Symphony is as profitable as those of the prior two symphonies. In the first action I idolize the sparse textures and tautly sprung rhythms that Maazel achieves. In many ways I like his emergency too but I came to wonder if the gauge was not a little tired out at times. For weighing I turned to Osmo Vänskä’s Lahti Symphony recording (flyover). Vänskä is rather steadier – and achieves a little more pressure as well. He brings the action in at 10:15 whereas Maazel takes 9:27. The incongruity isn’t vast but it’s palpable and I like better Vänskä. I’m also uneasy with Maazel’s alacrity for the second action. Concentration you, Sibelius isn’t much help with a measure marking – Andantino con moto, quasi allegretto – that, to me, is hedged all over with qualifications. Maazel, who takes 8:17, seems a bit active to me but, then, Vänskä, who takes 11:12, strikes me as a modicum preconceived. Perhaps this just shows how tough it is to get right what seems on gift-wrap to be a really elementary action – clearly the “simplicity”, if such it is, is fraudulent. By The Way, I very much like Robert Layton’s About this spate: of this action as “a series of reflections on a docile theme”. Maazel’s finale strikes me as a finished ascendancy. His conducting has loads of emergency when required but there’s also just adequate extent when it counts. In this action the VPO’s horns pressurize a wonderful contribution.

Maazel’s account of the Fourth Symphony is much more profitable. My goodness, this is an austere and uncompromising report. I like the About this spate: quoted by Robert Layton in the notes: “It is as though a cyclone has ravaged the Sibelian countryside leaving him in a fraternity torn to shreds.” In the first action Maazel obtains a grainy, basic feeling from the VPO strings though even here there’s a profoundness of tine. The Viennese effrontery are bleakly majestic and the woodwind feeling is chilling. In a cloudy, brooding reading Maazel brings out the concentrated, raw power of the theme. The brusque wildness of the second action comes across very well. The third action is an unique creation; much of the music is stripped to basic essentials. Here Sibelius has imagined in music a withdrawn, hibernal countryside. Maazel’s forbidding reading strikes me as ideal; the exposed, forsake textures are very well done by the VPO. This action offers a prime example of the estate to which the fineness of the BD-A feeling allows the listener to up the perspectives and authority of the orchestra; it all sounds very lifelike. Maazel projects the finale strongly; even here, when theme in a outstanding key, the prepare of Sibelius’s thoughts is enigmatic. Overall this is a very concentrated and profitable playing of a challenging report.

In the Fifth Symphony the unique worry and formal inventiveness of Sibelius’s first action is well conveyed by Maazel and his orchestra. He manages the escalating gauge of the recapitulation-cum-scherzo excitingly and the coda blazes. Robert Layton’s About this spate: of the second action of the Third — “a series of reflections on a docile theme” – might glue equally well to the midst action of the Fifth. Quite a lot of the music is really relaxed; the listener needs this buffer between the momentous outer movements. There’s loads of dash in Maazel’s execution of the finale. The first but we hark to the “Thor’s hammer” materialistic the gauge may seem a mess about with fleet but Maazel has his eye unerringly on the authentic open-minded. By the but the hammer is wielded for the last but – this but with the trumpets to the fore – the measure is non-specific and the all-encompassing splendour of Sibelius’s theme emerges very certainly. The irreversible twine is great, placement the seal on a very elegant account of the symphony.

The Sixth is the Finnish master’s “pure begin water” symphony. The VPO strings and woodwind ad lib with vast sinlessness in the first action and the lightness of have to do with that there is in much of the music is well served. The fineness of the recording allows us to appreciate the pre-eminence of the harp to all intents – the first but that Sibelius had used the gismo in a symphony since the First Symphony. The excluding second action demonstrates vast conciseness of observation and configuration by the composer and Maazel is suitably not on target-awake. He responds well, also, to the quicksilver wildness of the third action, which is expertly articulated here. The playing of the finale is well-organized and acid, In particular the out-of-the-way ending, celibate and enigmatic, sounds ravishing here.

So to the Seventh Symphony, which is arguably the composer’s greatest symphonic attainment. The VPO strings state look after courteous yet husky playing in the extraordinary polyphonic entry for the prepare allot which occurs some two or three minutes into the hunk. Each of the three appearances of the pivotal trombone essence is magisterial – the VPO effrontery are pleasurable in these sections. The second show of this essence is delivered with breathtaking power while the third and irreversible iterations, quite purely, majestic; here the BD-A feeling is devastating. The nimble-witted sections of the report have to do with also but it’s the passages of sonorous splendour that really sabbatical their standard. The coda is superbly managed; it seems to take for ever to accomplish a judgement of the irreversible chord. This wasn’t the last recording to be made but when one listens in compositional requisition then this great playing crowns the Maazel circle.

There has been a welcome retention of the two orchestral pieces that were used as “fillers” when the performances came out on LP: the Karelia Collection and Tapiola. The latter, which was the archetypal and decidedly apt coupling for the Fourth Symphony, is given a well-organized and stretch playing that I idolize very much.

It’s been decidedly enriching to revisit these recordings. Playing standards are uniformly considerable. With the possible oddity of the Third Symphony I was enchanted to command, returning to these performances after a adequate few years, that Maazel is a decidedly convincing and authoritative train to these extraordinary scores. When this circle first appeared rivalry was less fervent than is now the covering. I’ve by no means heard all the finished cycles on the market-place. Those I have encountered catalogue Sir Colin Davis’s splendid circle with the Boston Symphony; Sir Colin’s re-pressurize with the LSO (I’ve not heard all of those); Osmo Vänskä (flyover); and Sir Simon Rattle’s new set (flyover). There’s also the late-model Okko Kamu set (flyover), which I’ve not yet heard but which is definitely on my “to do” tabulation, while just arrived, but not yet sampled, is a circle from Hannu Lintu. Whilst I haven’t made elaborate comparisons now between Maazel and any of the finished cycles with which I’m free I can say with a honest estate of belief that these Decca performances from the 1960s can still be ranked alongside the very best despite the entry of five decades.

If that’s exactly of the performances then it’s equally exactly of the calibre of Decca’s feeling. The BD-A arrangement offers great feeling which shows just how adequate the Decca engineering was at this but. If you can hark to these recordings in that arrangement you’re in for a ad lib host to but if not I think you’ll be well satisfied with the re-mastered CDs; Ian Jones has done a elegant job.

The offering does all-encompassing justness to these splendid recordings. Everything comes housed in a uncompromising cardboard box. Within that box the four CDs are housed in match slipcases with a third slipcase for the BD-A disc. The sizeable booklet, which is in English and German, includes evocative reproductions of the LP sleeves, coincidental photos of Maazel and the archetypal notes. Most of these are by Robert Layton and they’re uniformly splendid. The notes about the first two symphonies are anonymous; the note for the First is adequate but the one about the Second is less adequate enough. I wonder why Decca didn’t commission new notes from Layton about the first two symphonies; after all, they have invited him to have a hand in a new overview undertake about the Maazel circle to be associated with this reissue.

I rather illusion that this Sibelius circle may be one of Maazel’s most revered achievements in the studio. However, I should very much like Decca to check up on that assumption by reissuing his Vienna Tchaikovsky circle, including a BD-A opportunity. I’m never sure whether to stand up for a reissued recording for Recording of the Month pre-eminence or whether that accolade should be silent for trade-mark new issues. On this engender I think I’m justified on the grounds that this is the first BD-A outgoing of these recordings. Pressurize no blooper, the calibre of the performances justifies it too. There could be no better way to standard the Sibelius 150th anniversary than by acquiring these splendid performances, especially since they now come in the best calibre feeling.

Lorin Maazel’s Sibelius circle stands the check up on of but.

John Quinn

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