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  LSO Live -
  Sibelius: Symphony No. 2 - Davis
  Sibelius: Symphony No. 2, Pohjola's Daughter

London Symphony Orchestra
Sir Colin Davis (conductor)
Track listing:
  Classical - Orchestral
Recording type:
Recording info:

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Related titles: 2

Reviews: 2

Review by Edvin April 13, 2007 (3 of 5 found this review helpful)
Performance:   Sonics:  
This easily outshines any competition on SACD. We all know that Sir Colin is an expert Sibelius interpreter and that the LSO will follow him like a man/woman. In this, his third traversal of the seven Davis reaches new heights and I love his handling of the great second. But first, Pohjola´s Daughter. Some very steep tempo changes, but a firm grip of the whole. Davis knows this music inside out and I haven´t appreciated a performance of this piece this much since Barbirolli.

The symphony. Maestro Davis has mellowed since his Boston cycle with some rough edges smoothed. But funnily enough all the timings are very close to that performance. I haven´t kept the RCA cycle since it was a disappointment on all counts.

A steady pace introduces the symphony, broad strokes. Davis´is a lyrical view of the piece, an organic growth from bar one to finish. Not much cragginesh here. The orchestra plays marvellously and the symphony is more a venture of sounds and surprises than a structured four movement work. But then, isn´t that the right way to approach this piece. Four rather rhapsodic movements put together. For me, this is the least coherent of the seven. Why is this a symphony and why isn´t the Lemminkäinen suite one? Sibelius treats the material in a similar manner. Always concentrated and concise.

And this huge second movement that is all over the place. One outburst after the other. A slow introduction, perfectly paced by Davis. A bit eerie, the dark woods lurking. More lyrical passages phrased so lovely, so intense. This is Sibelius at his most granite, rock hard.

The Scherzo is furious, blistering. A moderate tempo though, accents are heavy. The lead in to the finale is formed by a master and the releasing melody is really liberating. A perfect tempo for the finale with Davis´ sense of the whole bringing a great climax. The conductor finds a fine balance between the more grandiose passages and the rather melancholy bits, and he reaches a true Sibelian conclusion.

The sound is full and warm. The rears a bit too loud perhaps, but I bet you have never heard Sibelius with this wide a spectrum. I love this SACD and this cycle. Please LSO Live, give us Nos 5 & 6 in surround.

This cycle will be one of the greatest ever, probably the greatest.

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Review by Luukas January 22, 2014 (2 of 3 found this review helpful)
Performance:   Sonics:    
I think that Sir Colin Davis' Sibelius cycle with London Symphony Orchestra is the best what you can find on SACD. These live performances are full of energy and very passionately. This release contains Pohjola's Daughter and Symphony No. 2. I like Pohjola's Daughter, but Second Symphony is marvelous!
First movement: Strings voice is deep and natural, and woodwinds happy theme is very attractive. Horns beautiful melody is also very good. Orchestra's virtuosity is breathtaking. Recording balance is very good. Davis' tempi are lightly.
Second movement: Timpani's tremolo is good. Violoncellos' and Contrabasso' pizzicatos are well articulated. Movement's dramatic sections and beautiful moments are stunning. Recording balance is little humming, but still very good.
Third movement: This short scherzo is excellent; Oboe's beautiful thema (G flat major) is bright: there sounds Finland's dark forests and bright lakes. I like this movement very much.
Fourth movement: The third and fourth movements are attacca, no break between movements. The symphony's finale is great musical battle: the heartfelt melody in the beginning and dark second theme in the middle and the end of the movement. Davis sings and groans when he directs, and symphony's end is very solemnly and strongly. The recording balance is very good.
By the way, excellent Sibelius disc and maybe the best performance of Sibelius' Second Symphony. LSO Live's 5.1 multichannel recording is outstanding and London Symphony Orchestra plays beautifully. This is real Sibelian performance, highly recommended!

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Works: 2  

Jean Sibelius - Pohjola's Daughter - Symphonic Fantasy, Op. 49
Jean Sibelius - Symphony No. 2 in D major, Op. 43