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Sibelius: Popular Sibelius - Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, Anthony Collins

Sibelius: Popular Sibelius - Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, Anthony Collins

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This mono disc collects together Collins' EMI ALP (1578 and 1649) recordings. It is effectively a supplement to the Decca LSO/Collins Symphony set. The sound quality is ever so slightly distressed and especially at the treble extreme. The coarse edge which this lends to the sound is especially suitable to Sibelius's music even in this popular fare. Karelia is exciting with hushed tense expectation lovingly conjured. The rush of excitement at 1:20 in the Intermezzo is memorable. The Alla Marcia skips and winks along. The Swan of Tuonela is done in honeyed style by Leonard Brain. En Saga is a recording that deserves to be counted in the same company as Horst Stein's 1970s Suisse Romande anthology. At 3.50 there is a whirled fury of a flourish but the overall atmoshpere of contrasted dazzling icy whiteness and shivering blackness is impressive. The slaty unanimity of the bardic strings at 9.30 and the emotionally supercharged excitiement at 13.24 are moments not to be passed up. It is a pity that the disc ends with a sallow piece: the Romance for strings. Overall then a disc for Sibelians who are ready to be surprised. Highlights: Karelia and En Saga. --MusicWeb International

Finlandia, Op. 26
Karelia Suite, Op. 11
Lemminkäinen Suite, Op. 22: The Swan of Tuonela (No. 2)
En Saga, Op. 9
Romance in C major for strings, Op. 42
Tapiola, Op. 112

Concertgebouw Orchestra of Amsterdam, Eduard van Beinum
Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, Anthony Collins

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