Sibelius: Symphony No. 2; Symphony No. 5

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5.0 out of 5 star rating 5.0

WORKS: Symphony No. 2; Symphony No. 5
PERFORMER: Philharmonia Orchestra/Herbert von Karajan
CATALOGUE NO: CDM 5 66599 2 ADD 1961
These recordings were among Karajan’s last sessions with the Philharmonia. (His later Sibelius – both for EMI and DG – was made with the Berlin Philharmonic.) The performances are gripping from start to finish, with Karajan firmly in control of the music’s sweep and grandeur, and an atmosphere of intensity that seldom flags. After nearly 40 years, the Kingsway Hall sound stands up remarkably well, if its somewhat gritty quality tends to exaggerate the nasal quality of the Philharmonia’s oboes. Recommended. Misha Donat