Sibelius: Symphonies 1-7 - Berglund

Sibelius: Symphonies 1-7 - Berglund

Tower Records Definition Serie  TDSA-33/36 (4 discs)

Stereo Hybrid

Classical - Orchestral

Sibelius: 7 Symphonies, Spring Song, The Swan of Tuonela, Karelia Suite, Valse Triste, Serenades* 1 & 2, Humoreske No. 5*, Tapiola, Finlandia

Ida Haendel* (violin)
Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra
Paavo Berglund (conductor)

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Analogue recording
Comments (12)

Comment by Waveform - June 25, 2017 (1 of 12)

My favourite Sibelius cycle on SACD! Looks great! But it's a pity that the quadraphonic recordings to be released in stereo only... When this will be available through Amazon?

Comment by hiredfox - June 25, 2017 (2 of 12)

I had the very great privilege to attend many of these performances live in the 1970's, most assuredly they were analogue recordings. I still have the original vinyl recordings in mint condition and they still sound wonderful Berglund brought an essentially cold "Finnish" quality to these works which in my view has never been matched. As many will know Berglund researched these works painstakingly, making many minor alterations and corrections to the original scores that were subsequently incorporated in his performances.

Of course, the Bournemouth Symphony was not then the force it is today under Karabits and some may find a relative lack of precision and untidiness in the playing a little irksome by today's standards but Berglund was quite the disciplinarian and managed to get their limited best out of his orchestra.

There must be a cautionary note. Subsequently, in the late 1980's the recordings we're released in RBCD format, the sounds of which were frankly dreadful. It must be hoped that these SACD are sourced from the original analogue tapes and not the subsequent 44.1/16 transcriptions. Does anybody have insight on this?

Comment by Waveform - June 26, 2017 (3 of 12)

Thank you for your interesting reply, hiredfox. According to these are 96/24 remasterings using the original analogue tapes as a source.

Here's the tracklist:

Disc 1
Symphonies Nos. 1 & 4

Disc 2
Symphonies Nos. 2 & 5

Disc 3
Symphony No. 3, Spring Song, The Swan of Tuonela, Karelia Suite, Valse Triste, Serenades Nos. 1 & 2, Humoreske No. 5

Disc 4
Symphonies Nos. 6 & 7, Tapiola & Finlandia

Comment by hiredfox - June 27, 2017 (4 of 12)

Thanks Luukas , that is really good news.

Comment by Waveform - June 30, 2017 (5 of 12)

Available at from 9504¥. Any possibilities for link or cheaper price?

Comment by hiredfox - August 8, 2017 (6 of 12)

After years of lobbying my local orchestra - as a long time member and supporter - on the merits of recording in hi-res and SACD, it is pleasing to report that in a new exclusive recording collaboration with Chandos the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra under the baton of Kirill Karabits will release its first SACD disc of recent times in September 2017. A small victory for common sense but what a pity their recent excellent Prokofiev Symphony set was released only as RBCDs on Orfeo.

I make no great claim to having altered the mindset of this orchestra alone, surely many others will have encouraged a change in thinking in the hi res age but naturally it is a move that absolutely delights me. Right now the orchestra is enjoying a new golden age under their Ukrainian maestro and are genuinely approaching world class so we can all look forward to this venture with excitement..

Comment by Dave Billinge - July 31, 2020 (7 of 12)

I've only just signed up but have been using the site for years. The series of comments about this Sibelius set is of particular interest since I noticed hiredfox is obviously a fellow supporter of the BSO and goes back a long way, as do I, to the old Southampton Guildhall recording days for EMI. This is a set I possess partly on vinyl and complete on the old cheap remastered CDs. Is it really worth the cost in audio terms for these SACDs? Yes, my system is well up to reproducing any improvements :-)

As an aside, how do contributors contact each other off-board as can happen on the Audio Asylum?


Comment by hiredfox - August 1, 2020 (8 of 12)

Hi Dave, this site offers little more than a catalogue of SACD releases and a few reviews. There is no forum as such or members list with contact details. The site owner has actively discouraged any further development of the site.

Like you I attended most of Berglund's BSO concerts at The Guildhall, Southampton back in the 1970's and have a full library of BSO recordings on vinyl, CD & SACD. I have stopped short of buying this re-mastered set as some contributors have suggested that it is based on the digital Red Book masters and not the original analogue tapes.

Comment by Dave Billinge - August 2, 2020 (9 of 12)

I'm not easily beaten by such issues - see Hi-Res on Audio Asylum.

Comment by breydon_music - August 2, 2020 (10 of 12)

Hiredfox, here is a Google Translate version of what is written for this release on Tower's website - "For this reproduction, a master digitized at 96kHz/24bit from the original master of the home country was used, and new mastering was performed separately for the SACD layer and the CD layer." I have had this set and the accompanying Haendel disc since they were issued and have derived much pleasure from them - only note that for some reason (I can't believe that it wasn't originally recorded) the central movement of the Karelia suite is omitted from the box. I originally had the vinyl releases but sold them with all of my vinyl collection in the late 1980's and never bought the RBCD issues, so I am not in a position to comparatively assess anything. I do think that the EMI SACD reissues in general, whether via Toshiba, Warner Japan or Tower, have sometimes proved a mixed bag, but then of all the major companies recording in the 60's / 70's I guess that was true of EMI then too. This set, I think, has come up excellently, and if you care about the performances I can't believe that you would be disappointed.

Comment by Athenaeus - August 4, 2020 (11 of 12)

I had a look on Discogs and it seems the Ballade was never recorded by Berglund in Bournemouth. It therefore seems it isn't an omission if only the first and third movement of the Karelia Suite are included in this set.

Comment by Aastroem - August 11, 2020 (12 of 12)

This is a good cycle but I much prefer his later from Helsinki.