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Sibelius: Symphonies no 1 & 4 / Colin Davis, London SO

Album Summary

>Sibelius, Jean : Symphony no 1 in E minor, Op. 39
>Sibelius, Jean : Symphony no 4 in A minor, Op. 63
Conductor Ensemble Composer

Notes & Reviews:

"...where his earlier interpretations were strongly conceived dramatic readings with plenty of power and panache, his interpretations here are deeply considered, thoroughly tragic readings. Now, Davis' sees clearly that the First, for all its heroic striving, ultimately ends with the death of its symphonic hero, and the Fourth, for all its grim determination, ultimately ends with the death not only of its symphonic hero but also with the death of all the forces of light and hope. This may sound hyperbolic, but as those who know and love the Fourth recognize, it is no more than that which the work's great performances aspire to. With the virtuoso playing of the LSO at his command, Davis' interpretations are darkly pessimistic and brutally honest." -All Music Guide

Gramophone Magazine
The First is archetypal latter-day Davis, vehemently alive and unafraid to slam on the brakes in the interests of heightened expressivity. The Fourth is even more impressive in its muscular directness, contemplating barren wastelands without the sugar-coating of Romanticism.

Gramophone Classical Music Guide
Sir Colin Davis and the LSO pair the First and Fourth Symphonies as once they did for RCA.

Davis cleaves to the heavier sound and interpretative subjectivity of an earlier age, fiercely engaged and, to some, a tad over-dressed. The First is archetypal latter-day Davis, vehemently alive and unafraid to slam on the brakes in the interests of heightened expressivity. Sir Colin's third commercial recording of this work is taken from live concerts, with the maestro caught humming along to the second movement's languishing Tchaikovskian melody.

The Fourth is even more impressive in its muscular directness, contemplating barren wastelands without the sugar-coating of Romanticism. Sir Colin's slow movement redefines slow, here with an awesome Brucknerian weight and dignity. His finale solves the dilemma posed by Sibelius's ambiguous request for glocken by doubling up on glockenspiel and tubular bells, an unusual effect that will catch the ears of ardent Sibelians. Davis's Boston version of No 4 for Philips was always highly regarded and, although LSO Live's SACD encoding cannot transform the impactful if rather shallow sound stage of the orchestra's home base, this second remake preserves an extraordinary evening.

There are full notes as throughout what has been a distinguished series, well worth its modest asking price.

BBC Music Magazine
These reflective, deeply felt performances are among the most penetrating on disc.



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Works Details

>Sibelius, Jean : Symphony no 1 in E minor, Op. 39
  • Conductor: Colin Davis
  • Ensemble: London Symphony Orchestra
  • Running Time: 38 min. 55 sec.
  • Period Time: Post Romantic
  • Form: Orchestral
  • Written: 1899
  • Studio/Live: Live

>Sibelius, Jean : Symphony no 4 in A minor, Op. 63
  • Conductor: Colin Davis
  • Ensemble: London Symphony Orchestra
  • Running Time: 38 min. 2 sec.
  • Period Time: Post Romantic
  • Form: Orchestral
  • Written: 1910-1911
  • Studio/Live: Live