|Review by tream July 8, 2004 (7 of 7 found this review helpful)
|I can comment only on the Sibelius at this time, I haven't spent enough time with the Tubin yet (I have some of his other works by the way, and certainly he composed some good stuff-I just don't know this symphony well enough yet.)
I think this is a good, not great, performance of its type, which is to say that Jarvi sees the Sibelius 2 as a subjective symphony. Lenw in his review, nails the description well - this is a Bernstein-esqe reading, although for me missing some of the line and cumulative tension that Bernstein could bring to a work. Lots of slowish tempos, some obvious building towards climaxes, etc. If you like the way Lenny conducted Schubert's 9th you'll like what Jarvi does with Sibelius 2.
I respond better to a conductor who sees the 2nd as a 20th century classical work (eg., Sibelius as a Finnish Prokofiev, although the analogy is not exact). The leaders in this are Monteux (although I haven't heard it in a long time), Colin Davis, and especially the George Szell recording with the Concertgebouw, which I have owned in one format or another for 30 years(and yes, I like what Szell does with Schubert's 9th). With Jarvi, the work does sound episodic as Lenw points out, with these conductors there is a cumulative line and tension that brings the symphony to its ultimate, glorious conclusion.
The Cincinnati orchestra plays beautifully, although to my ears without the character of the Concertgebouw or the Boston Symphony for Davis, and the recording is excellent in the Telarc fashion, which I would call a little distant - front row balcony circle, well blended, and lots of dynamics (in fact, the dynamics on this recording are stunning - I love the body that the engineers and Jarvi achieve when the orchestra is playing very softly).
I believe Davis is now doing his third Sibelius cycle with LSO Live -it would be a real boon to see these on SACD. I would also love to see Vanska's cycle (or how about a new one in MC sound with the Minnesota Orchestra-well, we can dream, can't we?). I have Vanska's 5th, on BIS, and it is excellent.
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