"Suspecting there HAD to be more to Sibelious than Finlandia, I bought this CD, the violin concerto having been recommended by a friend. The concerto is excellent, but the surprise was symphony #2, which, even though played by an obscure (to me anyway) orchestra, was the real gem on this disc. The execution is flawless, with nice dynamic range, and the recording is very crisp and clear. Come for the concerto, stay for the symphony! You won't regret purchasing this one."
Jeremy Starr | Provo, UT | 06/05/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)
"My brother and I are violinists and we love to find fabulous vioin recordings at low prices in obscure places. We have found them in some of the most neglected and overlooked labels and yet again, Seraphim delivers a gem (For other violin recordings on the Seraphim label we have ran into, email me... One of the most prolific characteristics of violin playing today is technical perfection over sound or musicality. Or, in other words, the performer gets 50% of the piece but still doesn't get that other half which requires literally knowing the work with your heart and soul just as much as with you fingers. Thus, the individuality, purity of interpretation and, and appropriate sound become the other 50%. It is disappointing to not find this complete 100% in most modern violinists. Recording becomes more of the goal than playing the work as it was meant to be played. It is truly moving and incredible to hear these 100% performances and this is surely one of them. Gidon Kremer may be relatively unknown to even the classical music buff but it known to most serious violinists. This recording is a wonderful example of his passion and sensitivity to stylistic needs and appropriate interpretation. However, this is more than just another of his private collection, it is an example of total violin playing. He expertly nimbles through the complicated technical labrynth of which is the Sibelius Violin Concerto but obviously does not wish to flaunt his flawless technique. From Gil Shaham to Heifetz, I have heard many recordings of this violin concerto and this one combines a true understanding of the music from the soloist AND the same from the wonderful Berlin Philharmonic, who actually add to the performance, rather than merely accompanying. Honestly, this is my preferred recording of the Sibelius Violin Concerto and definitely worth having in anyone's collection - especially violinists.The second symphony is also played with much heart and well-molded interpretation, a worthy recording for those who do not care to get this CD for the violin concerto. Hats off to Seraphim. :-)"
A totally solid budget choice
Xyp | Cincinnati, OH | 06/04/2007
(4 out of 5 stars)
"The bottom line on this CD is that the performances combined with the price far outstrip any complaints about the sound quality. Speaking of which, reading a couple of the other reviews gives the impression that one can expect to be listening to the performances through a tin can, which couldn't be further from the truth: the disc isn't going to win any awards for sound engineering, to be certain, but it is totally listenable. I'll nitpick over bad sound as right along with the next guy, but this CD just isn't one of those.
Indeed, this disc is an absolute steal for what you're getting, which are great performances at a very good price: the youthful Kremer's violin playing is fairly straight ahead (really something, for him) and exciting and well supported by Muti and the Berliners, and Berglund's Sibelius is also well executed. I wouldn't say that these should be your first or only choice, but novices to either work are well recommended to this disc, as are any fans of the musicians."
Made me become a music Major!
Shopaholic108 | Atlanta, GA | 02/17/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This CD holds my favorite pieces of music of all time. The Symphony is breathtaking, and the violin concerto is sublime (and really hard!). They both contain "music's magical moments" that just make your heart soar. If you need one CD to inspire you to be a musician, this is it!"