The March 2010 issue of PC Pro magazine here in the UK carries a positive review of the new version of Sibelius First, and I’m delighted to say that reviewer Ben Pitt has bestowed the software with a PC Pro Recommended award.
Giving Sibelius First the maximum rating of six stars for value for money, Ben says:
There’s little to criticise about this package. That it’s based on such a sophisticated application certainly helps, but just as impressive is how it meets the needs of potential buyers. While it won’t cut the mustard for professionals, by and large it caters amply for composers and arrangers producing conventional scores for small and medium-sized ensembles.
The inclusion of Sibelius 6’s revolutionary Magnetic Layout feature is a key point in Sibelius First’s favour:
It excels at handling page layouts, giving lots of space for complicated passages and adjusting everything to fill pages neatly… [Magnetic Layout] ensures automatic formatting of scores is extremely reliable and, for the rare occasions when the layout could be better, simply dragging objects with the mouse provides a quick fix.
Ben draws attention to some of the limitations that Sibelius First has relative to the full Sibelius 6 program (in particular, early music note durations, Panorama view, cue notes, and the limit of 16 staves per system), but in the end he concludes:
It isn’t as flexible as the full version but the interface and the quality of the results are just as elegant, and at this price it may even encourage some creativity that would otherwise have gone untapped.
If you haven’t checked out Sibelius First yet, you can try out a fully-functional 30-day trial of the product that PC Pro says is “cut-price but not light on features” from the Sibelius web site.
The March 2010 issue of PC Pro magazine is on newsstands now!