I still prefer Neeme Jarvi's tense and well-recorded Seventh to this recording of a live performance by Alsop and the BSO. Jarvi's sound is a bit more present, and he catches the uneasiness of this piece very well. Alsop is certainly alive to it, and I thought her account of the scherzo movement particularly strong, but in the other movements too she shows a willingness to disturb the moments of repose or comfort rather better than, say, Andre Previn does in his lovely-sounding but too genial account on Telarc. Alsop's handling of the transitions into the quiet endings of the first two movements is very well done, leaving us not in suspense exactly, but slightly discomfited. The sound here is present but not particularly refined (in comparison, say to Previn's) but the weight of the lower strings and winds is well caught and is important to the success of Alsop's account.
The Eighth is perhaps Dvorak's most likeable symphony, so replete is it with wonderful melodic material. Alsop's account doesn't lessen my sentimental attachment to Karajan's old Decca Vienna account, which was one of the first classical records I owned about 45 years ago, and Kubelik's Berlin account is lovely too. But the great strength of Alsop's account -- and something I don't remember from earlier ones -- is the Mahlerian touch she brings to the slow movement. It's matter of phrasing, dynamics, and pauses, and it gives the movement the "unheimlich" quality that one associates with Mahler's innocent "Naturlauten." Everything else in the performance is just fine, but that second movement seemed really distinctive to me -- the outstanding feature of this fine CD.