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Symphonies 3 & 4 Import

3.7 out of 5 stars 3 customer reviews

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Audio CD, Import, November 26, 2002
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Track Listings

Disc: 1

  1. I. Allegro Espansivo
  2. II. Andante Pastorale - Christian Immler
  3. III. Allegretto Un Poco
  4. IV. Finale: Allegro
  5. I. Allegro
  6. II. Poco Allegretto
  7. III. Poco Adagio Quasi Andante
  8. IV. Allegro


Product Details

  • Audio CD (November 26, 2002)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Format: Import
  • Label: Bis
  • ASIN: B00007E8S9
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #942,349 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By David Saemann VINE VOICE on July 2, 2008
It is very hard not to like this CD, in spite of its drawbacks. The orchestral playing is stunning, the dynamic range of the recording is breathtaking, and the recorded balance is exemplary. I did feel, though, that Vanska's reading of the Third Symphony was a little straitlaced. My first experience of the piece was in Bernstein's recording, which I think was rather more rhapsodic. Nevertheless, this is a rare opportunity to really hear what the score sounds like from top to bottom. Vanska is a superb technician, and the BBC Scottish plays for him even better than his Lahti Symphony. As for the Fourth, my reservations are slight. The tempos are stately, even a little slow on occasion, but the work seems to expand to meet the extra room. The second movement's wind playing is rather subdued--other conductors seem to make it perkier--but Vanska's conception is certainly valid. There are great analog recordings of this symphony by Bernstein, Martinon, and Max Rudolf, but Vanska's is a rare opportunity to hear a fine performance recorded with great clarity and beauty. I think any Nielsen fan will want to hear this disc, no matter what other versions they have.
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I've heard a number of recordings by Vanska that I like, but I think there are many better recordings of Nielsen's 3rd and 4th. In the 4th, Vanska attempts to use fast tempos and a vehement and blustery approach to wring extra drama from the work, but instead only manages to miss the depth, grandeur, and excitement that it naturally conveys under other conductors. The music ends up seeming somewhat trivialized. Likewise, I don't understand why in the 3rd symphony, called the "Expansiva," and in its second movement, called a "pastorale," it is necessary to rush breathlessly through, again missing the "expansiveness" that was surely intended. Vanska's recording of Nielsen's 1st is excellent, making it all the harder to understand why here he just doesn't seem in sympaty with the music. Rozhdestvensky, Chung, Blomstedt, and others do better with it.
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Given Vanska's burgeoning reputation, the raves from New York critics, and his long career with Nordic music, I expected this CD to be an outright winner. It isn't, even though certain parts, especially the joyous opening of the Sinfonia Espansiva, come very close to the ideal represented by Bernstein's famous recording for Sony from the Sixties. Yet elsewhere in the same work Vanska loses concentration and seems to wander almost indifferently. It's strange that he could so perfectly capture the mood of one movement and miss the spirit of another. The BBC Scottish orchestra plays with some boldness, and BIS's sound, although not spectacular, does the job.

In the Inextinguishable Nielsen made a leap into greater complexity and ambition, and it is one of his showcase works, taken up by quite a few major conductors. Bernstein's recording is slightly disappointing because of its coarse sound and a certain raucous roughness on the part of the NY Phil. Salonen strikes me as detached, while Karajan, a great interpreter of sibelius, rounds off the corners too much. Still, all three are major recordings. Vanska doesn't handle the work's cross-currents with as much clarity as I'd like, but his approach is exciting, even combustible. It dates from 2001, a year before the sessions for Sym. #3, and I believe the orchestra took the work on tour. Whatever the reason, this half of the program is the more satisfying. My only complaint, as before, is that the conducting loses focus in softer, more contrapuntal parts.
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