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Sibelius: Symphonies Nos. 1, 2, 5, 7 / Weiner Philharmoniker, Bernstein [2 DVD]

Album Summary

>Sibelius, Jean : Symphony no 1 in E minor, Op. 39
>Sibelius, Jean : Symphony no 2 in D major, Op. 43
>Sibelius, Jean : Symphony no 5 in E flat major, Op. 82
>Sibelius, Jean : Symphony no 7 in C major, Op. 105
Conductor Ensemble Composer

Notes & Reviews:

In the mid-1980s, Unitel began recording a complete cycle of Sibelius symphonies with Leonard Bernstein and the Vienna Philharmonic. Bernstein's death in 1990 unfortunately cut short this project after the release of Symphonies Nos. 1, 2, 5 and 7. Recorded live at Vienna's Musikvereinssaal, these ecstatic performances were the object of stellar reviews. On this double-disc set, Bernstein's unique and by now legendary interpretations of Sibelius are released for the first time on DVD.

"This Bernstein set of four Sibelius symphonies is certainly compelling enough for the conductor's many admirers to acquire. Also, those listeners interested in a more detailed and epic approach to these Sibelius symphonies than is usually encountered won't be disappointed. Recommended." -Classical.net

Ritmo
There is "nothing new" to say except to rediscover that miraculous second input of the trombone, with a unique preparation of the rope, or the endless coda, where Bernstein, as we see while we melt the heart, seeks to find the charred Eighth.

Notes & Reviews:

Run Time: 166 min.
Region: All
Picture Format: NTSC, 4:3, Color
Sound Format(s): LPCM Stereo, DTS 5.1 Surround



Reviews

Bernstein's Sibelius
When these majestic, elemental performances were issued on CD two decades ago by Deutsche Grammophone, the critics had a field day. “Self-indulgent” they cried. Not up to the standard set by Bernstein’s earlier New York Philharmonic recordings of the Sibelius Symphonies, and clear evidence of the old man’s failing powers. Listening to them again now--while seeing the maestro in action--is an exhilarating experience. Lenny’s interpretations are of course larger than life and totally subjective. Slows are exceptionally slow, but never ponderous or static. The allegros fly like the wind--so brisk that even the legendary Vienna Philharmonic has a difficult time keeping up with their leader. Also much in evidence is Bernstein’s uncanny ability to carry a musical line across vast silences, especially in Symphony 2, where Sibelius adds fermatas to the longest rests. How Bernstein manages such wizardry is still beyond me, even after watching these videos with the utmost care. But that’s hardly the only magic on display here. From the hushed mystery of the opening bars of First to the searing dissonance of the winds in the middle movement of the Fifth to the ecstatic, nearly overwhelming climax at the end of the Seventh, Bernstein consistently rivets our attention. Just as mesmerizing is the opportunity to watch Bernstein at work. He conducts with his eyes nearly as much as with his hands, and his facial expressions further help convey the meaning of the music to the players. Here he gently reminds the violins to use more bow; there he slashes the air violently with his baton--and is visibly moved by the ensemble’s hair-trigger response. He cajoles, coaxes, and in the climactic moments leaps nimbly into the air. Some critics still abhor Bernstein’s podium antics, but I find that they invariably enhance and intensify his interpretation of the music. The playing of the Vienna Philharmonic under Bernstein is as close to perfection as we are ever likely to hear on this earth. The sound on these Unitel DVDs is exceptionally vivid and richly detailed. The video editing is occasionally distracting as we jump across the stage from one solo instrument to another, sometimes during a single bar of music. For the most part, however, producer Humphrey Burton draws our attention to the most interesting musical effects and allows the camera to linger lovingly on his photogenic maestro. If you love the Sibelius symphonies, by all means seek out the more sedate and orderly complete CD sets by John Barbirolli or Colin Davis. But don’t miss these highly personal, life-affirming, and life-changing DVDs. After listening to Bernstein, you’ll never quite hear this music the same way again.
Submitted on 06/19/10 by Tom Godell 
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Works Details

>Sibelius, Jean : Symphony no 1 in E minor, Op. 39
  • Conductor: Leonard Bernstein
  • Ensemble: Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra
  • Period Time: Post Romantic
  • Form: Orchestral
  • Written: 1899

>Sibelius, Jean : Symphony no 2 in D major, Op. 43
  • Conductor: Leonard Bernstein
  • Ensemble: Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra
  • Period Time: Post Romantic
  • Form: Orchestral
  • Written: 1901-1902

>Sibelius, Jean : Symphony no 5 in E flat major, Op. 82
  • Conductor: Leonard Bernstein
  • Ensemble: Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra
  • Period Time: Post Romantic
  • Form: Orchestral
  • Written: 1919

>Sibelius, Jean : Symphony no 7 in C major, Op. 105
  • Conductor: Leonard Bernstein
  • Ensemble: Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra
  • Period Time: Post Romantic
  • Form: Orchestral
  • Written: 1924