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Santa Fe Listener | 04/02/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)
"In August of 1994, Mariss Jansons and the Oslo Philharmonic recorded the Third and 5th Symphonies of Sibelius. This is an orchestra that has an affinity for Sibelius. You can hear it in the opening of the the Third Symphony...low strings articulate yet robust in tone. This pretty well describes the entire performance of the symphony. It is not an excessively fast performance, but one with a sense of energy and motion. The Oslo Philharmonic is in top form here, with all sections of the orchestra giving their all. The Fifth Symphony is equally well played, with tempi well judged, but the recording seems slightly recessed in comparison with the Third Symphony. Despite this, it makes an attractive coupling, and is well worth having."
The young Jansons and his eager orchestra acquit themselves
Santa Fe Listener | Santa Fe, NM USA | 06/24/2007
(4 out of 5 stars)
"This 1994 coupling of the Sibelius Third and Fifth has now been reissued in a budget two-fer by EMI, along with the Second Sym. All performances are vivid and well played. As the reivewer below says, the Oslo Phil. displays an affinity for this music. They are eager and committed, two things that can't be said for Colin Davis's three cycles with the Boston Sym. (Philips) and the LSO (on rCA and the orchestra's house label, LSO Live), which seem a bit stuffy and over-refined at times. Here the music-making is quite fresh. Jansons' tempos stay on the fast side of conventional, which also helps.
Weaknesses? The orchestra's tone lacks weight, and there is a lack of power at times. And although talented, the young Jansons wasn't the equal of Bernstein when he recorded both works in grand style with the NY Phil. on Sony. Jansons' instincts are conventional; therefore you can't expect the originality or supreme authority displayed by such varied conductors as Bernstein, Karajan, Barbirolli, or Beecham. In the bargain two-fer, however, the issue of price comes up, and for the price, these are fine performances. I'd rank them on a par with Rattle and the CBSO, also on EMI."