I know there's a recordings section, but this S1-2 board is rather dead, and it may be more convenient for newcomers to find such info in this part of the forum. So.... here I try to give my newbie opinions.
Personal ranking of Sibelius Symphony #1
Descending order from best to worst:
Bernstein / Vienna PO (1990)
Berglund / Helsinki PO (1986)
Stokowski / Stokowski's PO (1950)
Colin Davis / LSO (2006)
Sanderling / Berliner SO (1976)
Jarvi / Gothenburg (1982)
Ashkenzaky / Philharmonica Orch (1984)
Segerstam / Danish National SO (1992)
Vanska / Lahti SO (1996)
Maazel / Vienna PO (1963)
Brief newbie views:
In my opinion, S1 should be played in a Heroic / Tragic / Romantic way with beautiful dynamics.
The Bernstein version is cheaply available as boxset everywhere, but I find it greatly delivers what I am expecting from S1. I feel the Power, Energy and Music from this version.
I think Berglund's one is good in terms of musicality; it sings better.
Stokowski's one has transformed the whole piece into a very beautiful fierce storm, which may also be its drawback.
Collins one is powerful but sounds flat without enough beautiful contrasts.
For Sanderling's one, you can easily feel different emotions: tension, excitement, joy. It is very expressive. You sense nothing tragic nor heroic, but glory. The first three movements are especially nice.
Jarvi's version overall gives little sense of heroic or power, but it gives a very smooth, warm and melodic atmosphere in an intended way.
Ashkenzaky's version is okay melodic-wise, but I feel it unable to build the tension it was trying to, and not being expressive enough.
Segerstam's version feels like lack of determination, and sounds like it is getting tired in certain important moments.
Vanska's one has a crazy speed in the first movement, I thought I hit the fast forward button and was like mad listening to it the first time. However, you can feel the musical greatness and the very unique way it is telling the story. The last movement was very wonderful.
Maazel's one sounds like he's in a great hurry, you don't even have time to breathe. Instead of heroic and romantic, you feel rush and messy.
- I'm a Sibelius newbie from somewhere in Southeast Asia, and my opinions do not reflect my great admiration of all these great conductors and orchestras.
- Everyone has different perception and feeling changes every second; my views today do not represent my view yesterday nor tomorrow.
I hope my first ever music review, although very short, would stimulate some nice discussions in the appreciation of Sibelius S1.
I will start an S2 topic later on, but I find S2 more difficult to compare than S1. Haha
Edit: I have added a few versions which I missed, and I forgot to mention that Berstein's was my first recording of S1, so I think I am highly extremely very biased. (Still, his cd brought me to Sibelius... So I think I should give him an honour.)
It is now a day after I posted the ranking, and I find my ranking yesterday ridiculous. But I don't think I am going to make a major update.
Instead, I think I should add a remark that each of the rankings can go plus/minus five positions.