Sibelius: Symphony No. 3; Symphony No. 6; Symphony No. 7; Violin Concerto; Finlandia; Tapiola; The Swan of Tuonela

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COMPOSERS: Sibelius
LABELS: Philips Duo
WORKS: Symphony No. 3; Symphony No. 6; Symphony No. 7; Violin Concerto; Finlandia; Tapiola; The Swan of Tuonela
PERFORMER: Salvatore Accardo (violin)LSO, Boston SO/Colin Davis
CATALOGUE NO: 446 160-2 ADD (1975-79)
Now that some of the best Sibelius cycles (Rattle on EMI, Ashkenazy on Decca) are available at mid-price, this latest addition, Colin Davis’s Boston Symphony cycle from the Seventies, enters a crowded hall of fame, coming into competition, too, with Davis’s own current LSO cycle-in-progress for RCA.

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The readings of Symphonies Nos 3, 6 and 7 are muscular while lacking the refined earthiness of Ashkenazy and the Philharmonia. On their own terms, Davis’s performances are persuasive, but their sound is somewhat airless, unatmospheric and closely miked, and the rivals mentioned above are on a higher plane all round. Accardo’s fine account of the Violin Concerto and the generous fillers are an added bonus here, though. Matthew Rye