Boston Symphony Orchestra / Colin Davis

Sibelius: Complete Symphonies; Tone Poems

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Since the beginning of his recording career, Colin Davis has been a champion of the music of Jean Sibelius, and his highly regarded cycle of the seven symphonies has been a mainstay of many LP and CD collections over the years. Recorded between 1975 and 1979 with the Boston Symphony Orchestra, and grouped here with the Violin Concerto and various famous tone poems, such as Finlandia, The Swan of Tuonela, and Tapiola, Davis' set is still a viable contender against other packages on the market, and listeners who want lucid interpretations will be hard pressed to find any that improve on these performances. The BSO deserves much credit for playing the music with sympathetic expression, full sonorities, and technical expertise, because the ensemble had included Sibelius' works in its repertoire for decades under Sergey Koussevitzky. Add to this Davis' understanding of the subtle changes in Sibelius' music, from the ardent Romantic nationalism that informed the early period to the anguished, introspective struggles that made his final works so profound and moving. Decca's recorded sound was exceptional to begin with, so the remastering from analog to digital has preserved all of the originals' richness and luster without artificial enhancements.

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