Recording of September 1966: Sibelius: Symphonies Nos.4 & 5

Sibelius: Symphonies Nos.4 & 5, The Swan of Tuonela, Tapiola
Berlin Philharmonic, Herbert von Karajan
Deutsche-Grammophon 138 974 (LP, Symphony 4). Both symphonies reissued on CD (Deutsche Grammophon 457 748 2)

Magnificent, musically natural recordings with some of the deepest, fattest bass and richest, warmest orchestral sound that's been committed to recordings for many years. The discs are a shade more lucid than the tapes, but not much. Take your pick.—J. Gordon Holt

Anton's picture

Still sounds great, and reminds one of how great our Hi Fi gear sounded back in the day, too!

Plus, they captured all that beauty and detail with 'vintage' gear.

I don't think I get anything more out of it now than I did then.

Bogolu Haranath's picture

"Can't Stop The Feeling" ........... Justin Timberlake :-) ...........

Robin Landseadel's picture

Great recordings but please note that the cover displayed is of the 2 CD reissue, not the original LPs. The sound, by DGG standards of the 1960s is pretty good, better than HvK's recordings to follow.

Those interested in different and more idiomatic performances of Sibelius should check out Osmo Vänskä's recordings. I have yet to hear his re-recordings with the Minnesota Orchestra. The Lahti Symphony Orchestra recording of Symphonies 6, 7 and Tapiola is a wonder, in great sound. There's a lot more Tchikovsky in HvK's multiple recordings, more of that arctic air in Vänskä's.

woodford's picture

I like these, but prefer HvK's slightly later remakes on EMI/Angel, also with the BPO.

volvic's picture

The fifth and fourth that he recorded with Legge were well liked by the Finnish composer. HvK recorded these works several times over his long career, all are very special. Given his clout and stature it is not unfair to say that it was Karajan that revitalized Sibelius’ music in the second half of the 20th century. I think the fourth was one of his first performances when he took over the BPO from Furtwangler. For some reason he never recorded the third, guess he never warmed to it.

volvic's picture

Apparently Universal Music will be celebrating their iconic label with much fanfare this year including re-releasing HvK’s Beethoven cycle on vinyl as well as 120 Ann CD box sets. Be interesting to see what else they release.