96kHz/24-bit FLAC, BIS-SACD-1996 (supplied by www.eclassical.com)

With Vol.1 in this new cycle [HFN May ’12] I concluded that Vänskä’s earlier BIS versions of Symphonies 2 and 5 were by no means superseded. Compare Nos 1 and 4 with the Lahti SO from 1996/7 [BIS-CD-861] and it’s not so clear-cut a choice, although the sound has more transparency and tonal accuracy with the new recordings from Orchestra Hall – same producer, Robert Suff. (For valid comparisons I also listened to a down-res CD-R.) In the intervening period Vänskä has found more economic means of expression, eg, in the way he now times the final coda of No.1. He certainly peers more deeply into the gloom of the Fourth Symphony (I intend a compliment: it is a magificent if bleak work). And Vänskä’s Minneapolis realisation pretty well defies criticism. The principal cellist gets a well deserved booklet credit. CB

Sound Quality: 85%

Hi-Fi News Lab Report

We have seen a few LPCM downsamples of classical SACDs making their way onto these pages, but this is not one of them. A native 96kHz file, this digital recording enjoys very low levels of noise and the 24-bit dynamic range is well used. PM