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  • Symphonies 7, 8 And 9, Symphonic Variations (Mackerras)
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Symphonies 7, 8 And 9, Symphonic Variations (Mackerras)


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Product details

  • Conductor: Charles Mackerras
  • Composer: Antonín Dvorák
  • Audio CD (14 Oct. 2002)
  • Number of Discs: 2
  • Label: EMI Classics
  • ASIN: B00006JC6X
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 156,981 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Disc: 1
1. 1. Adagio - Allegro molto
2. Largo
3. 3. Scherzo (molto vivace)
4. 4. Allegro con fuoco
5. 1. Allegro Maestoso
6. 2. Poco Adagio
7. 3. Scherzo (Vivace)
8. 4. Allegro
Disc: 2
1. Romance in F minor
2. 1. Allegro Con Brio
3. 2. Adagio
4. 3. Allegretto grazioso
5. 4. Allegro ma non troppo
6. 1. Theme (Lento e molto tranquillo)
7. 2. Vars. 1-3 (Un poco piu mosso, quasi allegretto)
8. 3. Vars. 4-6 (Piu allegro)
9. 4. Vars. 7-9 (Tempo 1)
10. 5. Vars 10-12 (Vivace - Meno mosso, quasi tempo 1 - Poco andante)
See all 16 tracks on this disc

Product Description

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22 of 22 people found the following review helpful By Mr. Hywel Jenkins on 27 Aug. 2009
There are few musicians alive today who more consistently find the magic in whatever genre they touch than the great Sir Charles Mackerras, forever youthful even in his early eighties. This genius manages to refresh our ears in even in the most familiar repertoire - witness his truly wonderful album of the last four Mozart Symphonies with the Scottish Chamber Orchestra - and his training in Brno gives him a special edge in Slavonic repertoire. This superb album of the last three Dvorak Symphonies and the Symphonic Variations combines that magical Slavonic inflexion which was the special province of Kertesz and Kubelik in the early seventies with excellent recording to spear right to the heart of these works - the dark drama of the first movement of No 7, the serendipity of the scherzos of Nos 7 and 8, the complete abandon of the horns in the finale of No 8 (which even out-Kerteszes Kertesz!) and the wistful final coda of No 9 are all surely pretty much par excellence. In addition there is a sensitive account of the beautiful Violin Romance, Op 11, from Stephanie Gonley. In short, you must have this magical music-making even if you already have these works in other performances, and at the CfP double-album price you can't go wrong!
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23 of 40 people found the following review helpful By maisielane on 20 Aug. 2005
Verified Purchase
Although the quality of this double CD set is very high, for me, Symphony No 9 - from the New World - stands out above all the rest. The famous slow largo in the second movment is widely regarded as being the best melody in classical music, being both moving and relaxing, and the bold militancy of the brass in the 4th movement is always a pleasure when one is in a particularly violent mood.
The other works are good as well, but being broadly of the slow string nature, and lacking in the sheer melodic beauty of the 9th's Largo, don't speak to me as much. Nevertheless, this record is extremely good value - and I would recomend to anyone who has any emotion or sense of Romanticism. For me, Dvorak's 9th Symphony represents the pinacle of mankind's artistic achievement.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 2 reviews
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
A great 2-CD set of Dvorak symphonies and orchestral favorites 5 Nov. 2011
By Kenneth Bergman - Published on Amazon.com
Dvorak: Symphonies 7-9, Symphonic Variations, Romance in f. London Philharmonic Orchestra, Sir Charles Mackerras.

Antonin Dvorak was one of the most colorful composers of the late 19th Century and also one of the most prolific. He's known as a nationalist composer (even though his Bohemian homeland was not independent in his day) because of compositions like his Slavonic Dances, but he composed chamber music, symphonies, other orchestral works, piano pieces, songs, sacred music, and operas, and many of his compositions are more Germanic than Slavic in character. His musical oeuvre resembles Schubert's in many ways, though he was also influenced by the music of Beethoven, Schumann, Brahms, and at one stage Wagner.

This 2-CD set contains Dvorak's last three symphonies along with his Symphonic Variations and the Romance in F-Minor for violin and chamber orchestra. These are some of Dvorak's best-known orchestral works, here grouped together.

Symphony No. 7 (once known as No. 2) in D-minor is probably Dvorak's greatest symphony. The dark, tense opening movement is grand and tragic, and the lyrical second movement (originally longer when first performed) rivals those of Schubert and Brahms. The scherzo has a double theme, and the dramatic final movement has more of a Czech flavor than the other movements.

Symphony No. 8 is a more modest work but one with a lot of melodic appeal. The delightful second movement is tonally unusual. The finale opens with a trumpet fanfare, followed by variations on a somewhat pompous theme. Symphony No. 9. "From the New World," is very well known and widely recorded. It features brilliant orchestration, and the Largo is one of Dvorak's most beautiful movements. But the other movements feature short, repetitious themes. All the themes reappear in the last movement.

The Symphonic Variations, probably inspired by Brahms' Variations on a Theme of Haydn, uses a rather unpromising theme to develop a very original set of variations, ending with a fugal treatment of the theme. The Romance in F-minor was adapted by Dvorak from his own Quartet No. 5 and exists in two versions: violin and piano, and (here) violin and orchestra. It is one of Dvorak's most heartfelt songlike melodies, tingeing on sadness.

The Romance is performed by Stephanie Gonley with the English Chamber Orchestra.
My favorite version is Itzhak Perlman with the Berlin Philharmonic, but Ms Gonley plays very well, and the ECO gives the correct sense of delicacy to this very lyrical music. It was also a favorite of Isaac Stern, but the available recording with the Philadelphia Orchestra has old sound.

For the rest, the London Philharmonic Orchestra performs ably under the baton of Sir Charles Mackerras. In general, the performances tend to be emphatic rather than lyrical, although lyricism is not neglected in the slow movements, such as the famous Largo. My first recording of the Seventh was by Rafael Kubelik and the Vienna Philharmonic, which had slower tempi and more rubato than Mackerras and tended to emphasize Slavic elements. On the other hand, Mackerras takes the "New World" more slowly than Toscanini did in his rapid fire NBC Symphony performance of the 1950's. Overall, Mackerras takes a middle road on tempi.

The sound (from 1992) is quite excellent provided adjustments are made to compensate for some deficiencies. The recording level is rather low, so a higher volume setting is needed. Also, I found that I needed to boost the bass some. With these adjustments, I was really impressed with the clarity and realism of the sound. The recorded sound seems to favor the woodwinds and brass slightly over the strings.

In conclusion, some of Dvorak's finest music is on this CD set at a bargain price. Undoubtedly there are some outstanding individual performances of these works, but as a collection this CD set is hard to beat. If you like Dvorak's music, you will like this set.
4 of 6 people found the following review helpful
Great masterpieces 17 Jun. 2007
By Newton Ooi - Published on Amazon.com
Verified Purchase
Antonin Dvorak was one of the most prolific composers of the Romance period, and probably the most famous to come from the area of Europe now known as the Czech Republic. His most famous works were his last three symphonies, especially number 9. This 2-disc set contains these three symphonies, along with his Symphonic Variations and Romance Concerto. The last two are great orchestral pieces in their own right. Together, they make this set a great buy. Both dics have over an hour of music, and the sound quality and orchestration is flawless on both.
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