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Lorin Maazel & Wiener Philharmoniker / Sibelius Symphony No.1 in E Minor, Op.39 The young Maazel conducting  the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra, sharply and precisely portraying the passionate drama of Sibelius. ESTORERIC’s uncompromising SACD/CD hybridization of these monumental recordings is finally complete. This album has been highly regarded since its initial release, and this hybrid re-master  resurrects these cherished recordings with sound that is even more vibrant and breathtaking.
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Discontinued (July, 2011)

Decca masterpiece collection vol.2

The reissue of this Decca masterpiece series by ESOTERIC has attracted a lot of attention, both for its uncompromising commitment to recreating the original master sound, and for using hybrid Super Audio CD (SACD) technology to improve sound quality. This series marks the first hybrid SACD release of two selections that have been mainstays of the catalog since their initial release on LP, until the present digital age of CD. These new audio versions were created from Decca's original analog master tapes, converted to 96kHz / 24 bit PCM and finally to DSD master.

The stunning brilliance of the razor-sharp Maazel in his early 30s

Though he recently stepped down from his post as Music Director of the New York Philharmonic, Lorin Maazel (born March 6, 1930) is still actively working as a conductor. This album contains Sibelius’s Symphony No. 1 and the “Karelia” suite, both which Maazel recorded in 1963 with the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra when he was only 33 years old. This recording is widely regarded as a masterpiece, for it perfectly captures Maazel’s acute sensitivity and aggressive sense of musical interpretation. Likewise, this is the first recording of Maazel and the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra performing together, and provides a glimpse of recordings the young Maazel did for Decca, the first being with the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra in 1962. From the standpoint of the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra, this record marks the beginning of the only Sibelius symphonic library (recorded in 1961 1968) that Decca has made to date. In addition to Decca, Maazel had already begun recording for Deutsche Grammophon and EMI at the time this performance was recorded. This period signifies the start of his illustrious career, in which he made his debut in 1960 as the youngest conductor to ever perform at the Bayreuther Festspiele. Maazel would later record these works again in 1992, this time with the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra (Sony).

Super Audio CD hybridization achieves the ultimate sound

This recording session was performed in Vienna at the Sofiensaal, the concert hall where Decca was originally based. The collaboration of producer John Culshaw and recording engineer Gordon Parry lively captures the characteristic sound of the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra. As with Dvorák’s “From the New World” conducted by Kertesz, this hybrid SACD vividly depicts the manner in which the youthfully ardent conductor pours his energy into this long-established orchestra and essentially resurrects it. The freshness of the young Maazel is perfectly conveyed by the strong drumming of the timpanis in the “scherzo” 3rd movement, and by the deliberate progression of the climax in the 2nd movement. Along with the Tchaikovsky symphonic library that was recorded during the same period, this recording recreates the dashing conducting style of Maazel in the 1960s.

“One of Maazel痴 masterpieces in his youth”

“The Sibelius symphonic library, which a young Maazel recorded in the 1960s with the renowned Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra, is one of the finest among his many records. In this performance of Symphony No. 1, he works to create music with a fervent passion powered by a relentless drive. So strong is this drive it generates a sharp friction between him and the orchestra, but the friction itself seems to be extremely musical and sufficiently thrilling. There are moments when the sound seems a little close to the microphone, but the commendable quality of this recording still rings true today.”

(Tsuguhiko Yoshii, from “The Record Geijutsu Special Issue: Classical Music Record Book Vol.1 - Symphony”, 1985)
Title and track list
Jean Sibelius (1865-1957)
Symphony No.1 in E Minor, Op.39
1 I. Andante Allegro energico
2 II. Andante
3 III. Scherzo (Allegro)
4 IV. Finale (Quasi una fantasia)
Karelia Suite, Op.11
5 I. Intermezzo (Moderato)
6 II. Ballade
7 III. Alla Marcia
Performance
Wiener Philharmoniker
Conducted by Lorin Maazel
Recording
Producer: John Culshaw
Engineer: Gordon Parry
Location: Sofiensaal, Vienna
Recording September 1963 (Symphony), March 1963 (Suite)
Re-mastering
Producer: Motoaki Ohmachi (ESOTERIC COMPANY)
Mastering Engineer: Kazuie Sugimoto (JVC Mastering Center)
■ Product ID: ESSD-90020
■ Format: SA-CD/CD Hybrid
■ Label: Decca
■ DSD mastering / SA-CD layer: Stereo / CD layer: ADD
■ Deluxe Digipak packaging