Sibelius/Nielsen: Symphony No. 5; Symphony No. 4 (Inextinguishable); Pan and Syrinx

Our rating 
5.0 out of 5 star rating 5.0

COMPOSERS: Sibelius/Nielsen
WORKS: Symphony No. 5; Symphony No. 4 (Inextinguishable); Pan and Syrinx
PERFORMER: Philharmonia Orchestra, CBSO/Simon Rattle
CATALOGUE NO: CDM 7 64737 2 DDD (1982/85)
These two symphonies make a wonderful pairing. They both move from uncertainty to light, but the journey isn’t a straight one, and it needs unflagging concentration and commitment from players and conductor to make the goal seem inevitable. They certainly receive both here. But although Rattle always has the end in sight, the detours never seem hurried or forced. The Sibelius is especially fine, better even than Rattle’s recent version with the CBSO. These are outstanding performances, captured in first-rate recordings. Ivan Hewett