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  • Sibelius: Symphonies No. 4 & 5
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Sibelius: Symphonies No. 4 & 5


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Audio CD, March 12, 1996
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Songs from this album are available to purchase as MP3s. Click on "Buy MP3" or view the MP3 Album.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                         

Samples
Song TitleArtist Time Price
listen  1. Symphony No.4 In A Minor, Op.63 - 1. Tempo Molto Moderato, Quasi AdagioBerliner Philharmoniker11:23Album Only
listen  2. Symphony No.4 In A Minor, Op.63 - 2. Allegro Molto VivaceBerliner Philharmoniker 4:57$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen  3. Symphony No.4 In A Minor, Op.63 - 3. Il Tempo LargoBerliner Philharmoniker11:30Album Only
listen  4. Symphony No.4 In A Minor, Op.63 - 4. AllegroBerliner Philharmoniker 9:30$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen  5. Symphony No.5 In E Flat, Op.82 - 1. Tempo Molto Moderato - Largamente - Allegro Modera- ToBerliner Philharmoniker 7:40$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen  6. Symphony No.5 In E Flat, Op.82 - Allegro Moderato - PrestoBerliner Philharmoniker 4:52$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen  7. Symphony No.5 In E Flat, Op.82 - 2. Andante Mosso, Quasi AllegrettoBerliner Philharmoniker 8:11$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen  8. Symphony No.5 In E Flat, Op.82 - 3. Allegro MoltoBerliner Philharmoniker 8:38$0.99  Buy MP3 

Product Details

  • Audio CD (March 12, 1996)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Deutsche Grammophon
  • ASIN: B000001GP7
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #366,862 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Customer Reviews

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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful By "tiberius-claudius" on March 8, 2000
Format: Audio CD
Boy, did this shake me up. After hearing the classic Karajan recordings from the 60's forever, this was a welcome treat. Levine's style of drawing out the long lines, then pulling out the guns for great effect may be considered "crass" by Grammophone snobs, but I love it. These are two great recordings. Excellent sound, also, which will put your hi-fi set to the test. This is a good case for DG's "4D" recording. Thumbs up.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Karl W. Nehring on August 8, 2009
Format: Audio CD
The Sibelius lover has a bounteous crop of sonically splendid releases to choose from, with compelling recordings of the symphonies available from Davis on RCA, Segerstram on Chandos, Berglund on Finlandia, Maazel on Decca, and others. Even in light of this fierce competition, it is worth reporting that the Levine 4 & 5 features the Berlin Philharmonic in 4D sound, an imposing combination. The 5th is one of the most popular of Sibelius's symphonies, but it is the 4th that will make your blood run cold. If you have never heard this symphony, you are missing one of the glories of the symphonic literature, and the Levine recording is a fine rendition in excellent sound.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Jurgen Lawrenz on April 11, 2013
Format: Audio CD
Stepping into your teacher's footsteps can't be easy. Especially if the man is (was) such a giant of accomplishment as Herbert von Karajan. And now you are called upon to conduct music that held a special place in K's repertoire, standing in front of the same orchestra and recording for DG! The mere thought is intimidating.
When Levine produced Symphony 2, he hit upon the expedient of speeding everything up to such an extent that even this fabulous band lost its way a few times and was forced to scramble the ensemble. For No. 4, he decided on a different course, trying to outdo his master in a performance of such pristine beauty that, from the point of view of sheer refinement, it leaves you breathless. An Ode to a Grecian Urn, if you know what I mean; or perhaps a Sibelian Postlude to the Afternoon of a Faun. The delicacy, sophistication and indeed fragility of this beauty must be heard to be believed. A big orchestra is playing, but the sound is so transparent and luminous, and the conducting so manicured and glorying in the sensuality of Sibelius' sonority, that it leaves little room for any other emotions to emerge. No a trace of what some writers have described as the "inner catastrophe", or the "turbulence and tragedy beneath the smooth calm of the water's surface".
No. 5 is made of sterner stuff, more overt, even "worldly" by comparison. Yet Levine, by caressing the music in a similar way to the other symphony, manages to make it sound almost jolly - some parts of it might remind you of Holst's Jupiter. His tempi on the whole are "normal" except for the final Allegro molto, which is definitely a presto; but even here the irruption of brass and the bitterness reflected in the final pages is softened by Levine's distant attitude.
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Format: Audio CD
DG must have had a complete Sibelius cycle in mind for Levine, which got as far as Sym. 2, 4, 5, the Violin Cto., and some occasional pieces. Why did they stop short -- lack of sales, the long shadow of Karajan? It was daunting to follow up that conductor's commanding Sibelius with the same orchestra. This CD of Sym. 4 and 5 dates form 1995 and comes in excellent, clear, detailed sound. But even without Karajan's presence, I don't feel that Levine has much affection for the enigmatic Sibelius Fourth -- the orchestra plays beautifully, and one event follows another, but the conducting approaches the music from the outside, resulting in a certain cool detachment. Tempos are not extraordinarily slow as one reviewer claims but well within the usual range. The esteemed Colin Davis has issued readings that drag by comparison to the clean proficiency we get from Levine.

Ignoring the heroic and romantic sides of Sibelius would be fatal in Sym. #5, where Bernstein's exultant reading with the NY Phil. sets a high standard for drama and excitement. (Oddly, this is one work where Thomas Beecham doesn't have an outstanding reading in the modern era, at least.) The lack of grandeur and intensity in Levine's first movement isn't a good sign. The second movement chirps along somewhat inconsequentially. the pacing picks up in the finale, but here again Levine seems noncommittal at first compared to Karajan and Bernstein. the Nordic forest doesn't roll away to the horizon with sweeping grandeur. Despite some energetic playing, there are also episodes of fussy detailing that lose momentum.

Perhaps there was a good artistic reason to abandon the complete cycle before it was finished.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Moldyoldie on April 11, 2009
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
Under Levine's direction, Sibelius's dark and morose Fourth Symphony begins powerfully and weighty, more akin to Maazel/VPO than Karajan/BPO, the latter whose opening double-basses arise from silence with a more soft-spoken sullenness. Levine traverses the four-movement landscape with a fine feel for where the music needs to go and how to get there; one is hardpressed to notice a musical misstep at any point -- and the orchestra does play splendidly! However, Karajan's Sibelius Fourth (See my review: Sibelius: Symphonies Nos. 4 & 5) is certainly more characterful and overtly dramatic, putting forth one of the most convincing arguments of this great symphony's gravitas and import. The intensity of Karajan's Il tempo largo is well-nigh unmatched, in my opinion. Still, all told, I wouldn't hesitate to suggest Levine's performance as an introduction to the Fourth for the novice listener. Seasoned listeners, too, should appreciate Levine's sheer grasp of this great and mysterious music, rendered in up-close and incredibly vivid recorded sound.

Levine effects the popular Symphony No. 5 in a full-bore forward manner much as he did in his overall ill-measured reading of No. 2 with the same forces (See my review: Sibelius: Finlandia; Valse triste; Symphony No. 2 or Sibelius: Symphony No. 2; Finlandia; Valse triste). However, the first movement here is taken much too fast for effectiveness in the climaxes.
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