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Symphonies Nos. 5 & 7; Symphon SACD

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Product Details

  • Performer: Boston Symphony Orchestra; Davis
  • Composer: Sibelius Jean
  • Audio CD (April 29 2008)
  • Please Note: Requires SACD-compatible hardware
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Format: SACD
  • Label: Pen
  • ASIN: B0015X6QXG
  • Average Customer Review: Be the first to review this item
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #102,978 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)
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1. Symphony no 5 in E flat major, Op. 82: 1st movement, Tempo molto moderato
2. Symphony no 5 in E flat major, Op. 82: 2nd movement, Andante mosso quasi allegretto
3. Symphony no 5 in E flat major, Op. 82: 3rd movement, Allegro molto
4. Symphony no 7 in C major, Op. 105: 1st movement, Adagio
5. Symphony no 7 in C major, Op. 105: 2nd movement, Vivacissimo
6. Symphony no 7 in C major, Op. 105: 3rd movement, Allegro molto moderato
7. Symphony no 7 in C major, Op. 105: 4th movement, Vivace
8. Symphony no 7 in C major, Op. 105: 5th movement, Affettuoso
9. En saga, Op. 9

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) HASH(0xa27cbe10) out of 5 stars 7 reviews
18 of 18 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0xa27b3f00) out of 5 stars There comes a time in history when something great happens and this was one of them. May 10 2008
By ClassicalMusicLover - Published on
Verified Purchase
This is a review of the SACD surround layer of this disc.

I bought the original vinyl release back in 1976 of this recording. Then this recording of Sibelius' Symphony Nos. 5 and 7 was immediately praised as being a great passionate performance by Colin Davis and the Boston Symphony orchestra and the recording was praised as exceptional. Now Pentatone has re-mastered the original master tapes that were recorded in 4 channels including 2 ambient rear channels and have given us a 4 channel surround SACD. Now for the first time you can hear exactly what the original engineers intended us to hear using the best equipment avialable. Analog Tape hiss has been reduced to an almost negligible amount and once the music starts it becomes inaudible.

Colin Davis' interpretation is controlled yet tense and only when called for does he release the full volume of the Boston brass. The recording in SACD surround reveals even more of Boston Symphony Hall's ambiance which was a hallmark of this recording. Also detail and timbre of the instruments, the beautiful shimmer of the strings, as well as the deep guttural sounds of the bass tuba and string basses are revealed much better in this SACD surround version then in the regular CD version that came out in the late 1980's or early 1990's which I also have. SACDs forte is it's ability to reveal the true timbre of instruments because of it ultra high sampling frequency. SACDs also sound much smoother and more realistic to the ear as is the case in this SACD!!! This surround SACD also reveals the space around the orchestra as well as more of the reverberation from Boston's Symphony Hall. Then after you have listened to Symphonies 5 and 7 and you didn't think it could get any better, it does. The Tone Poem, "En Saga" was recorded in 1980 and is an even a better recording technically then the symphonies. This SACD is as good as the best SACDs being released today.

These recordings and performances of Sibelius' Symphonies and tone poems have gone down in the annals of history as one of the greatest performances and recordings of the 20th century and now we have it as close to the original as possible. Thank God for Pentatone!

Pentatone, please, Please, PLEASE re-master the rest of the Sibelius Symphony and Tone poem cycle on SACD, YES, I'm on my hands and knees begging
9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0xa27b41d4) out of 5 stars Part of the Great Colin Davis/BSO Sibelius Series from 1975 Now in SACD May 26 2008
By J Scott Morrison - Published on
When Colin Davis recorded the complete Sibelius symphony series with the Boston Symphony back in the early-mid 1970s -- Sibelius: The Complete Symphonies 1 & Sibelius: The Complete Symphonies 2 -- it hit the classical music world with the force of a hurricane. Critics fell all over them selves heaping superlatives onto the set. And I was one of those for whom the set became a desert island choice. Since then Colin Davis has re-recorded the entire set with the London Symphony -- Sibelius: Syphonies Nos.1 - 7, Rakastava Op.14, etc.. I read the glowing reports of that set and acquired it, but found myself comparing it unfavorably with the earlier BSO set. The Boston Symphony was, in my opinion, a much superior orchestra to the 1990s LSO and, further, Philips gave it much more realistic sound. I still hold to that opinion.

What I hadn't realized at the time of its 1970s appearance was that the whole set had been recorded on LP in Philips's quadraphonic process, one in which four audio tracks were included. They issued the set in stereo and also in quadraphonic versions back then. I never owned quadraphonic equipment and thus never heard the multitrack version. Now Pentatone, a company founded by ex-Philips engineers, has reissued this CD from the original set in its four-track version, having converted it to SACD format. And it is an unqualified success. This disc of Symphonies 5 & 7 is, as all of Pentatone's are, a hybrid: it can be played on either plain stereo CD systems or by an SACD system. I've listened to it using both layers and it is superb either way.

The disc also includes what many consider Sibelius's finest non-symphonic orchestral work, 'En Saga', which Davis and the BSO recorded in 1980. It, too, sounds great and offers a convincing traversal of this great score.

I cannot recommend this reissue highly enough and can only hope that the entire set of the symphonies will be so reissued.

Scott Morrison
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0xa27b42b8) out of 5 stars Sibelius in surround from a master. Aug. 10 2009
By Dick Schoener - Published on
In the early '70s Colin Davis and the Boston Symphony began to record a Sibelius cycle which was destined to become a benchmark set to which some are still compared today. At that time, Mr. Davis was well-know as a fine interpretor of the great British classics as well as the mostly complete canon of Berlioz works. Few were prepared for the searing intensity and soaring emotional involvement Davis brought to most of these readings. Symphonies # 5 and 7 were the first two to be released in 1975, and to justifiably great acclaim. Over the years, these recordings were released and re-released in stereo and mono on cassette and LP, on stereo CD and now, finally, in discrete quad sound on Hybrid SACD (plays in stereo on standard CD/DVD players)from the Pentatone RQR series. The four-channel recording (No center-channel or sub-woofer channels), derived from original without electronic manipulation to create extra tracks where none originally existed, puts to shame many a more recent recording in full 5.1 channel sound. The balances are superb with the rear channels adding just a hint of natural hall ambience without calling attention to themselves. The playing of the BSO is without reproach, recalling the sonority and sensitivity of the superb early stereo recordings by Ormandy and the Philadelphia on Columbia. Here's hoping that all the recordings in the Davis cycle were recorded in Quad and that some day soon they will all appear in the Pentatone RTR series. Highly recommended. Sibelius: Symphonies Nos. 5 & 7; En Saga [Hybrid SACD]
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0xa27b442c) out of 5 stars Davis' view of Sibelius in the 70s March 8 2009
By Robin Dalziell - Published on
Verified Purchase
Having read many reviews of these performances, here and in various publications I ordered this disc with some interest.
I was loaned a copy of the complete set some time ago and my recollection is of Davis' rugged view of Sibelius. At that time my guide was solely the Karajan versions from DG, which were initially condemned as `arm-chair' Sibelius.
Since then I have acquired versions from Rattle, Davis (LSO), Jarvi Snr, Vanska and Segerstam.
Reacquaintance has confirmed my original view - rugged, imaginative and powerful especially when compared to his RCA and LSO sets. Though some of the latter are gripping performances.
I must agree with Mr Darcy, the sound of the brass is not at all pleasant, something I don't remember from before.
I hope that others in the cycle will be released as I enjoyed the vigor of Davis' approach here.
HASH(0xa27b499c) out of 5 stars Super Audio Sup-Sibelius Nov. 9 2013
By NUC MED TECH - Published on
This is just about the finest recording available of these two great later symphonies of the Finnish national master, from his very productive yet largely unheralded Boston tenure of the early 1970's, when he recorded the cycle plus terrific tone poems for Philips Records. Later , Davis dis another cycle for RCA that largely flopped at the record stores and finally a cycle und the newly created London Symphony label of "LSO Live". This was more successful, but still, these BSO interpretations are more robust and Romantic,+ to me. I have the 4 cd's that comprise the 7 symphonies from Boston, plus poems and the concerto with Elmar Olivera, an ok Violin concerto, IF, that is youy like the Sibelius concerto, I'm not a fan of it---too many double stops, too choppy and too much technique and not enough lyricism. I'll pass on it. But, ah, the symphonies are another matter and the 1st, 2nd, 5th and 7th are his best, in my opinion. The 5th here gets an epic open aired and breezy treatment with little restraint on the wonderful BSO brass, as they roar and surge like a Nordic lion taking long firm strides as he surveys his domain. The chirping of the Boston winds remind one of the birds of the forest and , indeed, this symphony has a nature sound to it, but not tamed, and refined culture of Beethoven's Pastoral, but the deep, mysterious recesses of the never ending Northlands of myth and legend and real latitudes. Sibelius lived in the reality of Finland, but he also found it warming and not a difficult task to travel in his mind's eye to the land of the midnight sun, and the eerie and somehow comforting yet never ending twilight. Many people discover that Alaska a bit more than they bargained for, with it's long "nights," and make their way back home to the lower 48. As a retired Radiology Tech, I've talked with many a patient who thought that Anchorage or Fairbanks was their own little utopia of fresh air, abundant wildlife , endless vistas, and limitless adventure, a retirement at the "end of the rainbow". It is breathtaking I'm sure , but it is also a long, long winter and an all too short summer. I could not see myself doing it, though I do admire those who make it somehow. Sibelius had some help, you might say. He drank. And, he drank a lot. Usually whiskey, bourbon and, of course vodka, lots ! of vodka. Folks who knew him said he was, perhaps , an alcoholic. I don't know. He also had plenty of cigars on hand, but then so did Klemperer and so does Barenboim, oddly, one of his disciples. What has geography to do with a composer? Maybe, it came out in his music. I think it did. There is, undoubtedly, an exspansiveness in his 5th and much more so in his 7th that is difficult to explain with out a breath or two of cold air. Some people look at harsh weather and foreboding environs as prohibitive. Some say they stifle the creative spirit and numb , no pun intended, the senses. I disagree. I think they are largely neutral, but in Sibelius' case, they seem to represent a state of feeling and mind of stalwart sense of purpose and a stoic category of motion. Sibelius is a monolithic figure, towering above ordinary human kind, with a granite edifice for an exterior image and an inner poetic songbird at heart. Some of his very best works are his softest utterances and nuances. They are wispers in the still of the night and kisses in the frigid mornings of the North.

Far from being icy and impersonal, he is congenial, humorous and generous when it comes to affairs of the heart. Sample, if you will, the soaring poetry of Kullervo as he comes to grip with the shame of the realization, that he has made love to his sister in his 1899 epic "Kullervo Symphony." and, keep in mind, he is only 25 years old. 25 years old!!! We should stand and cheer this giant of truthfulness, as true as a glass of icewater, in the face. He wears his heart on his sleeve for this homeland of his, much as Smetana, Dvorak and perhaps Vaughan Williams. I came to Sibelius later than I came to Mahler, Bruckner or Shostakovich, as I paid too much attention to the temperature outside, rather than the fire inside, within the soul of the man. Don't be diverted by exteriors, but rather hear him as though he were an Italian or a Spaniard, with the low sun on his face, then slowly allow your mind to creep northwards. There you will find the rewards of a unique and important voice and a significantly interesting master of the orchestra. Granted, Sibelius is not nearly as varied as say, Mendelssohn or even Prokofiev, but he is a singular voice, and one who deserves to be heard, and often.

These works the 5th and 7th Symphonies , along with a good and rhythmic "En Saga" are well done in Colin Davis' good early years of the 1970's and Pentatone's remastering in Super Audio is welcome as I hope they will keep cranking 'em out. Perhaps, some Nielsen Symphonies? Happy Listening---Tony.