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What's your 2nd Favourite Dvorak Symphony ?


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Posted on 3 Jan 2014 17:49:17 GMT
Last edited by the author on 3 Jan 2014 17:51:05 GMT
Chris L says:
Thank you for your recommendations !

Have you heard any of Belohlavek's Dvorak symphonies recordings ?

In reply to an earlier post on 3 Jan 2014 20:21:48 GMT
Nick says:
The Pesek cycle divided between his 2 "own" (at the time) orchestras - the Czech PO & the RLPO - was a major disappointment for me. To my ear at least significantly undercharacterised, I infinitely prefer the earlier (analogue) Neumann cycle and any/all of the symphonies Ancerl recorded. Jarvi on Chandos or Suitner on Berlin Classics also preferable. There is an interesting 3 DVD set of major choral works Dvorak Cycle Vol.II [DVD] [2008] - 1 disc each conducted by Belohlavek, Pesek and Altrichter - and seeing them conduct Dvorak very much crystallises their different approaches. Pesek is wonderfully clear in the Stabat Mater but again fails to ignite much passion and the work feels worthy rather than as wonderful as it can. Altrichter (who took over from Pesek in Liverpool) is the most physically animated but lacks precision. Belohlavek seems to find the best balance between the 2 and his is a masterclass in top class conducting and he accompanies the best version of the violin concerto I have ever heard - played by Ivan Zenaty (he appears on the Belohlavek/BBC SO disc of the 2 Foerster concerti too. Foerster - Violin Concertos

Posted on 4 Jan 2014 17:45:31 GMT
Chris L says:
Thank you Nick ,

for posting the comparative descriptions , and I also like the Stabat Mater !
There are two Belohlavek recordings of that , one is a Studio recording for Chandos ,
and the other is a live in Concert. I have heard only the Chandos recording.

I hope this Ivan Zenaty records the Violin Concerto with Belohlavek ,
as to date I see he is playing it only in a DVD with another conductor , but no CD release.

About Suitner's recordings on Berlin Classics ...
... are the Berlin Classics' CDs you have manufactured well , or are their playing surfaces covered in faults ?
... scuff marks ; bumps out from the surface ; pits into the surface { other than the necessary micro-pits for the digital information } ?
Several supposedly NEW Berlin Classics CDs I have seen had so many visible faults I did not buy any of them ,
and now am wary to Order any unseen.

In reply to an earlier post on 4 Jan 2014 20:15:24 GMT
Nick says:
Chris L - to be honest I don't often look at a disc unless it mis-tracks. All the Berlin Classics have played perfectly so I have not looked at the surfaces of any!

Quite why Pesek is so off the boil with the Dvorak cycle is a mystery - his Suk on Virgin with the RLPO is superb - much finer than Neumann and the Czech PO on Supraphon.

One Stabat Mater worth a hearing is from Zdenek Kosler and the Slovak PO - it appears in various sets and compilations - solid soloists and orchestra but a magnificent fervent chorus - one of the best I know Dvorak Requiem Op.98 (the Requiem coupling is good too but not *as* good!). I heard it first in the 40 CD Dvorak Masterworks set - at the time a silly price of less than £1 per disc. Kosler also conduct Symphonies 1-7 and I like them a lot. Not as polished or "brilliant" as some but chock full of character.

Posted on 5 Jan 2014 00:53:30 GMT
Anonymouse says:
Kosler and Belohlavek.

Two of the better conductors. Period.

And I had completely forgotten them. But we were talking about Dvorak, and I know those two better from Janacek and Smetana operas. It's a feeble excuse, but it's the only one I have.

In reply to an earlier post on 5 Jan 2014 04:24:22 GMT
Henry James says:
The 8th was Jimmy Levine's favorite when he conducted the Boston Symphony.

I think the 9th is clearly his most accomplished, though people have heard it so much that an understandable dulling of our collective appreciation of its glories has set in, more in some cases than others of course.

I adore the 7th almost as much as the 8th.

And I fear Dvorak is underrated by certain musical highbrows (like scarecrow?). He sounds too good to be highbrow.

In reply to an earlier post on 5 Jan 2014 09:39:16 GMT
enthusiast says:
Henry - it is always surprising to me when I encounter the old highbrow approach to Dvorak as I think of it as something that died out decades ago. I also had read scarecrow's disdain as a throwback to those old attitudes but had also thought "no, surely not". Certainly, though, Dvorak rarely gives the impression of rigour, of his having worked hard to get the wonderful results he achieves.

Tchaikovsky is another composer who has suffered from highbrow disdain but in his case the disdain is more likely to be still active.

Posted on 5 Jan 2014 09:50:38 GMT
enthusiast says:
It is funny how little consensus there is on which conductors, aside from Kertesz, are the best guides to Dvorak's symphonies. Maybe this is partly because we want to talk of sets rather than individual works and maybe it is partly because many of us may be looking for the authentic (the truly Czech, the idiomatic) rather than the more "central" and Germanic? However it is, we are a small group who usually arrive at a consensus feeling able to - albeit a prejudiced one, I am sure - about matters of who does something well. I have dipped into many of the recommendations mentioned in this thread without always feeling able to agree with their "sponsors". But probably we all know different accounts and so cannot usefully compare them.

Posted on 5 Jan 2014 10:49:25 GMT
Anonymouse says:
enthusiast, I don't think the lack of consensus has its source in the performances or in the talk of sets over individual performances or in a desire for authenticity.

I think the lack of consensus is a normal, human thing that has its source in our natural differences from each other.

I find consensus much more alarming than its lack. When people start agreeing too much, as a marriage counselor of my acquaintance once said (well, once to me, anyway), "If there's too much agreement, then one of you is lying."

In reply to an earlier post on 5 Jan 2014 12:40:40 GMT
enthusiast says:
I agree, of course, Anon. My point was about the rather small group that "meets" on this forum. Most discussions about performances here start with different suggestions but quickly settle down to either "two camps" debating or apparent agreement (with those who disagree staying silent in that thread). Here there is just a wide spectrum of views.

Posted on 7 Jan 2014 12:50:45 GMT
Last edited by the author on 7 Jan 2014 12:51:39 GMT
JayJayDee says:
There appears to be a consensus on this forum that Kertesz got closest to the heart of Dvorak across his whole series and less of a consensus that Ancerl was sometimes even better in the few that he recorded in stereo. I would suspect that the more names that are thrown into the hat the more sampling is attempted. Even if it's only the thirty second tasters on linked Product Pages!

Hopefully any consensus comes across as an exhortation or healthy encouragement for those who haven't bought the whole Kertesz set. And it re-assures those who did, that their money was well-spent!

As for the marriage counsellor story it would appear that over the last fifty years the ability of a massive proportion of the population to lie consistently or effectively has collapsed! Fortunately none of us are obliged to tell a lie on the internet to curry favour?
Or to favour Currie.

Posted on 7 Jan 2014 17:42:54 GMT
Huck Flynn says:
i listen to only a small percentage of classical and realistically am not going to be collecting multiple versions of the great works (even Dvorak) so i'm more than happy with my Kertesz 5,7,8 and 9 - the 9th also on vinyl with copies of 7 (davies) and 8 (can't remember). I accept that for each symphony there may be a version by a different conductor/orchestra that i'd prefer but it is to a great extent subjective. i think i'll just gradually widen my collection, rather than deepen it (if u see what i mean) Just got a copy of Pesek, Liverpool SO and the 3rd Symphony and am looking forward to that.

In reply to an earlier post on 7 Jan 2014 17:50:35 GMT
Last edited by the author on 7 Jan 2014 17:51:10 GMT
Huck: You may have gathered from my postings in the previous thread that I am not a big fan of Symphonies Nos 1 & 2 so if you add Kertesz' recording of No 4 you can't go far wrong. You might also enjoy this - Dvorak: Symphonic Poems / Concert Overtures / Symphonic Variations / Scherzo Capriccioso

In reply to an earlier post on 7 Jan 2014 21:03:23 GMT
Nick says:
Huck - I second Geoffrey's suggestion as a supplement to the Kertesz Symphonies - the symphonic poems are superb

In reply to an earlier post on 8 Jan 2014 16:57:46 GMT
Last edited by the author on 14 Jan 2014 15:26:04 GMT
Huck Flynn says:
Thanks Geoffrey - for once i am ahead of you - i have the Jarvi Poems and they are great. I'm also a huge fan (maybe already said) of the Slavonic Dances - one of the only examples where i have more than one recording !
EDIT - checked last night and it IS the Kertesz Poems that i've got. will have a listen again.

In reply to an earlier post on 11 Jan 2014 19:36:22 GMT
Chris L says:
Thanks Nick ,

for your recommendation of Kosler for the Stabat Mater.
I have his of Martinu's Epic Of Gilgamesh on Naxos , and that I think is good ,
so Kosler can handle large scale Vocals' compositions.

I have Kosler on Naxos in some shorter Dvorak orchestral works ...
... Titles of which have escaped my memory , however I do like the performances ,
so anyone here looking through Naxos catalog for other Dvorak , do consider Kosler's CD there ,
as they are certainly full of character !

I have Ancerl's Deutsche Grammophon recording of Requiem , and I like that ,
if one can actually "like" something so mournful ,
as its almost to the point of suffering by the performers in places.

Sawallisch recorded both the Stabat Mater and the Requiem for Suprahon ...
... any comments by hearers of those recordings ?

In reply to an earlier post on 11 Jan 2014 19:41:23 GMT
Last edited by the author on 11 Jan 2014 19:56:44 GMT
Chris L says:
Hi Huck Flynn ,

as you like Kertesz with 5, 7, 8, 9, I think you will like him with #6 also ,
and as you are buying #3 , you really should hear #6.
If you can't find a Kertez set with #6 , then get the Ancerl recording of it on Supraphon ,
because that is a Great performance !

EDIT:- here is Kertesz with #4 and #6 :
Dvorak: Symphonies 4-6
and here is my primary recommendation for #6 :
Karel Ancerl Gold Edition Vol.19. Dvorįk - Symphony No 6; Carnival, My Home, Hussite Overtures

In reply to an earlier post on 11 Jan 2014 23:09:09 GMT
Nick says:
Chris L - I have both of those Sawallisch recordings. They are pretty good early digital sound with excellent soloists. But I find they lack the drama of either Ancerl or Kosler. I like Kertesz's Requiem too - Dvorįk: Requiem - the Kodaly couplings are very fine too if not the most appropriate things imaginable.

In reply to an earlier post on 13 Jan 2014 11:18:54 GMT
OMG. Until now I had not seen anyone comment on No.5. I thought I was alone. Kudos, Nick!

In reply to an earlier post on 13 Jan 2014 11:25:37 GMT
Last edited by the author on 13 Jan 2014 11:29:11 GMT
Scarecrow, Let me guess... you are more of a Shostakovich type. I happen to enjoy both, especially their fifth symphonies. Come to think of it, Mahler did a great fifth as well. To each his own. Cheers!

In reply to an earlier post on 13 Jan 2014 12:51:41 GMT
Huck Flynn says:
thanks Chris - i think it is inevitable that i'll get one of these, once i've "digested" the 3rd

In reply to an earlier post on 14 Jan 2014 18:14:37 GMT
Chris L says:
Thanks Nick ,
for your comments about the Sawallisch recordings ,
and also for your mention of Kertesz's of the Requiem ,
which I think I may have on a vinyl LP somewhere that I had forgotten about ...
{ ... I have about 2000 vinyl LPs , thus often forget some as most are in storage
till I have time and space available to set up my Turntable after moving home a while ago }.

Also , your mention of "drama" reminded me of Kubelik's recording of the Stabat Mater for Deutsche Grammophon ,
which I do not have , thus if you , or any reader here , have heard it ,
please comment in relation to the other versions mentioned to date ?

In reply to an earlier post on 14 Jan 2014 18:21:19 GMT
Last edited by the author on 14 Jan 2014 18:23:27 GMT
Chris L says:
Andrew Kern ,
you are further from "alone" !

I commented on No.5 , initially in the third paragraph of my long post on Page 1 here-of ,
and twice further down in that post.
It could be my equal favorite along with No.8 ,
though my favorite is mostly determined by which I happen to be in the state of mind to enjoy most ,
and how well the relevant performance is of the music ...
... at least until I hear a better performance of the other one !

In reply to an earlier post on 14 Jan 2014 18:27:22 GMT
Chris: I have the Kubelik DG Stabat Mater but can't really comment. It is not a work I care for and have nothing to compare the performance with. It comes coupled with the Legends which, coincidentally, I listened to yesterday - a fine performance.

In reply to an earlier post on 15 Jan 2014 08:48:28 GMT
Mondoro says:
Geoffrey,

I've had the same problems with the Stabat Mater - too emphatic, too repetitive. The Mass in D is a different matter, with some interesting writing for the choir (it's a pleasant work to sing, from my personal experience), while the Te Deum (often coupled with the Mass on recordings) contains the essence of Dvorak's genius.
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Participants:  18
Total posts:  126
Initial post:  30 Dec 2013
Latest post:  9 Feb 2014

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