Monday, November 16, 2015

Sibelius at 150 (Part 5): My favorite performances



Today (December 8, 2015) marks the 150th anniversary of the birth of Jean Sibelius (1865-1957). I personally regard Sibelius as one of the greatest composers who ever lived--he is certainly among my very favorites (at least if the sheer number of albums in my collection is anything to judge by). This little compilation reflects my own personal experience as a collector and my own very subjective opinions formed over the past forty years. It is not meant to be exhaustive or even authoritative. I have tried to list those records that have most impressed and moved me over the decades. In the end, my purpose here is twofold; to pay homage and to entertain. 


Complete Symphonies: Integral Sets 
(see overview here)


Colin Davis/Boston SO (Philips 1975-1977) (Decca 478-3696 (2010 re-issue))
Lorin Maazel/Vienna PO (1963-1968) (Decca 430-778-2 (1991) or 478 8451 (2015))
Neeme  Järvi/Gothenburg SO (1984-1986) (BIS CD-622/624 (1994 compilation))
Simon Rattle/City of Birmingham SO (EMI 1984-1987) (Warner 0825646198788 (2015 re-issue))
Osmo Vänskä/Lahti SO (BIS 1286/1288 (2001 compilation))


The Symphonies
(individual performances)



Symphony #1 in e minor Op. 39
Lorin Maazel/Vienna PO (1963) (Decca 430-778-2 (1991) or 478 8451 (2015))
C. Davis/London SO (RCA, 1994) (Sony 88765431352 (2013 compilation)
N. Järvi/Gothenburg SO (BIS CD-221 (1984))
Paavo Berglund/Bournemouth SO (EMI, 1974) (Warner 9 73600-2 (2013))




Symphony #2 in D major Op. 43
N. Järvi/Gothenburg SO (BIS CD-252 (1984))
Eugene Ormandy/Philadelphia Orchestra (CBS, 1957) (Sony 88875108582 (2015 compilation))
C. Davis/London SO (RCA, 1994) (Sony 88765431352 (2013 compilation)





Symphony #3 in C major Op. 52
Simon Rattle/City of Birmingham SO (EMI, 1985) (Warner 0825646198788 (2015 re-issue))
C. Davis/Boston SO (Philips, 1977) (Decca 478-3696 (2010 re-issue))
N. Järvi/Gothenburg SO (BIS CD- 228 (1984))
Leonard Bernstein/New York PO (CBS, 1965) (Sony 88875026142 (2015))




Symphony #4 in a minor Op. 63
C. Davis/Boston SO (Philips 1977) (Decca 478 3696 (2012 compilation)
Maazel/Vienna PO  (1968) (Decca 430-778-2 (1991) or 478 8451 (2015))
Vladimir Ashkenazy/Philharmonia Orchestra (1981) (Decca 473-590-2 (2003))




Symphony #5 in E-flat major Op. 82
Maazel/VPO (1966) (Decca 430-778-2 (1991) or 478 8451 (2015))
Vänskä/Lahti SO (BIS 1286/1288 (2001 compilation))
Bernstein/New York PO (CBS, 1961) (Sony 88875026142 (2015))





Symphony #6 in d minor Op. 104
Berglund/Bournemouth SO (EMI, 1973) Warner 9 73600-2 (2013))
Vänskä/Lahti SO (BIS 1286/1288 (2001 compilation))
Herbert von Karajan/Berlin PO (1968) (DG (Originals) 457 748-2 (n.d.))
C. Davis/Boston SO (Philips, 1977) (Decca 478-3696 (2010 re-issue))





Symphony #7 in C major Op. 105
Ormandy/Philadelphia (CBS, 1960) (Sony 88875108582 (2015 compilation))
Karajan/Berlin PO (1968) (DG (Originals) 457 748-2 (n.d.))
N. Järvi/Gothenburg SO (BIS CD-311 (1986))


The Violin Concerto



Concerto for Violin in d minor Op. 47
Jascha Heifetz/Walter Hendl/Chicago SO (1959) (RCA 82876 66372 2 (SACD re-master) (2005))
Pekka Kuusisto/Segerstam/Helsinki PO (Ondine ODE-878-2 (1996))
David Oistrakh/Ormandy/Philadelphia (1959) (Sony (Originals) 88697858162 (2011))
Dylana Jensen/Ormandy/Philadelphia (1980) (Sony 88875108582 (2015 compilation))


Other Works 
(arranged in order of publication)




Kullervo Op. 7
Vänskä/Lahti SO/Helsinki University Chorus  (BIS CD-1215 (2001)




En Saga Op. 9
Okko Kamu/Helsinki RSO (DG, 1973) (DG (Eloquence) 480 3297 (2010 compilation))
Ormandy/Philadelphia Orchestra (RCA, 1975) (Sony 88875108582 (2015 compilation))




Karelia Suite Op. 11
Kamu/Helsinki RSO (DG, 1976) (DG (Eloquence) 480 3297 (2010 compilation)
Segerstam/Helsinki PO (Ondine ODE-878-2 (1996))
N. Järvi/Gothenburg SO (1996) (DG 00289 477 6654 (2007))
Ormandy/Philadelphia (CBS, 1968) (Sony 88875108582 (2015 compilation))




Sonata for Piano in F major Op. 12
Erik T. Tawaststjerna (Finlandia 0927-41356-2 (2001 compilation))
David Rubinstein (Musicus M1002 (2007 re-issue from MHS (LP) 1218 (1971))




Rakastava (The Lover) Op. 14
(a) chorus with string orchestra
Vänskä/Lahti SO/YL Male Chorus (BIS CD-1433 (2008))
(b) string orchestra
C. Davis/LSO (RCA, 1994) (Sony 88765431352 (2013 compilation))
Neville Marriner/ASMF (Argo, 1978) (Decca 478-2759 (2011 compilation))




Lemminkäinen Suite  (Four Legends from the Kalevala) Op. 22
Kamu/Helsinki RSO (DG, 1976) (DG (Eloquence) 480 3297 (2010 compilation))
Segerstam/ Helsinki PO (Ondine ODE 852-2 (1996)) (see my review here)
N. Järvi/Gothenburg SO (BIS CD-



The Swan of Tuonela (from Op. 22)
Ormandy/Philadelphia (CBS, 1960) (Sony 88875108582 (2015 compilation))
C. Davis/Boston SO (Philips, 1976) (Decca 478 3696 (2012 compilation))
Karajan/Berlin PO (1965) (DG (Originals) 457 748-2 (n.d.))




The Maiden in the Tower (1896)
N. Järvi/Häggander/Hynnenin/Gothenburg SO (BIS CD-250 (1984))
P. Järvi/Kringellborn/Magee/Estonian National SO (Virgin 7243 5 45493 2 (2002))




Finlandia Op. 26
Segerstam/Helsinki PO and Men's Chorus (Ondine ODE 1075-2Q (2006))
Ormandy/Philadelphia (CBS,  ) (Sony 88875108582 (2015 compilation))
Bernstein/NYPO (CBS, 1965) (Sony 88875026142 (2015))




King Christian II (incidental suite) Op. 27
N. Järvi/Gothenburg SO (1996) (DG 00289 477 6654 (2007))

Origin of Fire Op. 32
Vänskä/Lahti SO/YL Male Chorus (BIS CD-1433 (2008))






Pelléas et Melisande (incidental suite) Op. 46
P. Järvi/Estonian National SO (Virgin 7243 5 45493 2 (2002))
Karajan/Berlin PO (DG 410 026-2 (1983))




Pohjola's Daughter Op. 49
John Barbirolli/Halle Orchestra (EMI, 1966) (Warner 50999 9 84706 2 4 (2000))
C. Davis/Boston SO (Philips 1981) (Decca 478 3696 (2012 compilation))




Belshazzar's Feast (incidental suite) Op. 51
N. Järvi/Gothenburg SO (BIS CD-359 (1987))
Segerstam/Helsinki PO (Ondine ODE-878-2 (1996))
Vänskä/Lahti SO/Lahti Chamber Choir et al. (BIS CD-735 (1995))




Night Ride and Sunrise Op. 55
N. Järvi/Gothenburg SO (BIS CD-311 (1986))
Segerstam/Helsinki PO (Ondine ODE-914-2 (1998))
Rattle/Philharmonia Orchestra (EMI, 1981) (Warner 0825646198788 (2015 re-issue))




Quartet for Strings in d minor Op. 56 'Voces Intimae'
Sibelius Academy Quartet (Finlandia 4509-95851-2 (1992 compilation))
Emerson Quartet (DG B0006340-02 (2006))




The Bard Op. 64
Kamu/Helsinki RSO (DG, 1973) (DG (Eloquence) 480 3297 (2010 compilation)




Luonnotar Op. 70 (Tone poem for soprano and orchestra)
Mari Anne Häggander/Jorma Panula/Gothenburg SO (BIS CD-270 (1985))
Phyllis Curtin/Bernstein/New York PO (CBS, 1965) (Sony 88875026142 (2015))
Soile Isokoski/N. Järvi/Gothenburg SO (1996) (DG 00289 477 6654 (2007))
Elisabeth Söderström/Ashkenazy/Philharmonia Orchestra (1981) (Decca 473-590-2 (2003))




The Oceanides Op. 73
Eugen Jochum/Bavarian RSO (DG, 1957) (DG (Eloquence) 480 3297 (2010 compilation)
Segerstam/Helsinki PO (Ondine ODE-914-2 (1998))





Jokamies (Everyman) Incidental Suite Op. 83
Vänskä/Lahti SO/Lahti Chamber Choir et al. (BIS CD-735 (1995))






My Own Land Op. 92 (cantata)
Vänskä/Lahti SO/Jubilate Choir (BIS CD-1906-08 (2007))




The Tempest (incidental suites) Op. 109
Marriner/Academy of St.Martin-in-the-Fields (Hänssler Classics CD 98-353 (2000))
Segerstam/Helsinki PO (Ondine ODE-914-2 (1998))




Tapiola Op. 112
Segerstam/Helsinki PO (Ondine ODE-852-2 (1996))
Colin Davis/Boston SO (Philips, 1977) (Decca 478 3696 (2012 compilation)




Masonic Ritual Music Op. 113 (1946)
Jaako Kuusisto/Lahti SO/YL Male Chorus et al. (BIS CD-1977 (2011))
















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