Jean Sibelius: The Seven Symphonies – Wiener Philharmoniker, Lorin Maazel (2015) [Qobuz FLAC 24bit/96kHz]

Jean Sibelius – The Seven Symphonies – Wiener Philharmoniker, Lorin Maazel (2015)
FLAC (tracks) 24-bit/96 kHz | Time – 04:05:37 minutes | 4.68 GB | Genre: Classical
Studio Master, Official Digital Download – Source: Q0buz | @ Decca

Sibelius’ reputation rests chiefly on his magnificent symphonies, seven spectacular creations, all with their particular points of grandeur and originality.
Originally released between 1963 and 1968 Maazel’s Sibelius cycle met with critical acclaim. Particularly praised is Maazel’s interpretation of the Fourth Symphony in the Vienna Philharmonic’s only recording of the work.
Decca has gone back to the original tapes to make a definitive transfer and present a set which includes the remastered recordings in 96 kHz, 24-bit – an unprecedented opportunity to hear these legendary recordings in the best possible audio quality.

With the passing of Lorin Maazel, the world of classical music lost one of its strangest yet most talented figures. The man was a cypher. He held just about every major post that it’s possible to get, his discography was huge and duplicative, and given the quantity of records that he made surprisingly few constitute prime recommendations. I am sure he would not have wanted to go to his grave knowing that his reputation rests on the general consensus that he made the best-ever version of Respighi’s Feste Romane, and the truth is that he did leave a decent number of memorable discs, this Sibelius cycle among them. Part of the problem no doubt stemmed from the fact that almost everything he did was also the specialty of someone else with a bigger reputation or, in any event, an artist who got a bigger promotional push, and Maazel’s own public persona wasn’t exactly lovable. But he was a force to be reckoned with, no doubt about that.
As with most of his core repertoire, Maazel re-recorded the Sibelius symphonies later on, in Pittsburgh in this case, and those performances had some good things, one astoundingly fine performance (the Third Symphony), and some perversely slow ones. This earlier effort is largely quick and often exciting. The Fourth, Seventh, and Tapiola (not included here, sadly) were released separately on Decca Legends, deservedly so. They are wonderful, gripping, beautifully paced performances, played with unusual precision by an orchestra not known for its expertise in Sibelius’ music. Indeed, the only controversial interpretation here is that of the Fifth Symphony, which is very fast, especially in the finale, but also very powerful and certainly convincing. The first two symphonies also have plenty of thrust and drive, unlike the remakes, and Maazel’s mastery is nowhere better demonstrated than in the finale of the Second, a movement that so often dies on the vine elsewhere.
Despite his reputation as an orchestral disciplinarian, there are a few scruffy moments in the strings–the finale of the Sixth, for example–but otherwise the Viennese sound surprisingly idiomatic. Maazel may have been emotionally cool (or weird), and he had an amazing baton technique. The man never missed a cue. But he was by no means a literalist, and you never knew what you were going to get with him. Here, at least, he is remarkably consistent and at the top of his form, and that means just about as good as anyone can be. –David Hurwitz, ClassicsToday

Jean Sibelius (1865-1957)
Symphony No.6 in D minor, Op.104
1. 1. Andante, ma non troppo – Allegro energico 10:48
2. 2. Andante (ma non troppo lento) 08:36
3. 3. Scherzo (Allegro) 04:57
4. 4. Finale (Quasi una fantasia) 11:55
Symphony No.2 in D, Op.43
5. 1. Allegretto – Poco allegro – Tranquillo, ma poco a poco… 09:50
6. 2. Tempo andante, ma rubato – Andante sostenuto 13:06
7. 3. Vivacissimo – Lento e suave – Largamente 06:06
8. 4. Finale (Allegro moderato) 14:17
Symphony No.3 in C, Op.52
9. 1. Allegro moderato 09:27
10. 2. Andantino con moto, quasi allegretto 08:16
11. 3. Moderato – Allegro (ma non tanto) 08:47
Symphony No.4 in A minor, Op.63
12. 1. Tempo molto moderato, quasi adagio 10:20
13. 2. Allegro molto vivace 04:05
14. 3. Il tempo largo 09:06
15. 4. Allegro 09:17
Symphony No.5 in E flat, Op.82
16. 1. Tempo molto moderato – Largamente – Allegro moderato 12:06
17. 2. Andante mosso, quasi allegretto 07:14
18. 3. Allegro molto 08:12
Symphony No.6 in D minor, Op.104
19. 1. Allegro molto moderato 08:32
20. 2. Allegretto moderato 04:07
21. 3. Poco vivace 03:06
22. 4. Allegro molto 08:46
Symphony No.7 in C, Op.105
23. Symphony No.7 in C, Op.105 21:24
Karelia Suite, Op.11
24. 1. Intermezzo (Moderato) 03:40
25. 2. Ballade (Tempo di menuetto) 06:30
26. 3. Alla marcia (Moderato) 04:14
Tapiola, Op.112
27. Tapiola, Op.112 19:05

Wiener Philharmoniker
Lorin Maazel, conductor