Sibelius – Symphonies Nos. 1, 2, 5 & 7

I was living in New York during the Bernstein years when he was the conductor of the New York Philharmonic, and television was pretty new in those days. I recall the excitement when Lenny was on TV, and we all watched his “Young People’s Concerts”. We have not had many conductors who expended so much physical energy on the podium as Leonard Bernstein. There are even fewer conductors today who can convince us of the greatness of their conception of a particular composition.

I found myself spellbound by these recordings of four of Sibelius’ symphonies. The sound is excellent, and the video is quite good. And much of the focus is on the maestro, approaching the end of his life (he died in 1990). These recordings were made during live performances in 1986, 1987, 1988 and 1990 in the days of his work with the Wiener Philharmoniker who play for him like the amazing players that they are.

The four symphonies are:


  • Symphony No. 1 in E minor, Op. 39
  • Symphony No. 2 in D major, Op. 43
  • Symphony No. 5 in E flat major, Op. 82
  • Symphony No. 7 in C major, Op. 105

Performed by the Wiener Philharmoniker, conducted by Leonard Bernstein

Here are some reviews:

Salzburger Nachrichten (Salzburg News):

“Bernstein painted a canvas of late-romantic splendor with the Philharmonic’s sound – the incomparable brilliancy of the strings, the glowing intensity of the brass – in a way that only the greatest conductors can.”

And the Neue Kronenzeitung wrote:

“Bernstein makes this concert to a sensational sound adventure.”

Here is Bernstein conducting the Jean Sibelius Symphony No. 2 in D Major Op. 43



And now here is Sibelius’ Symphony №1 e-flat, Op.39




And now for an encore: Here is Bernstein as a teacher


Tags: Sibelius, symphonies, Leonard Bernstein, Wiener Philharmoniker, Vienna Philharmonic

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