on 18 May 2011
You may be considering buying this CD because you like the piece(s), the composer, the orchestra, the conductor, and/or the price. Well, whatever your reason for reading this, you have hit on an absolute stunner!
The partnership of Mariss Jansons and the Oslo Philharmonic is the stuff of modern musical legend, and rightly so: it is up there with Szell and the Cleveland, Karajan and the Berlin, Haitink and the Concertgebouw, and even (and this is hallowed ground for me...) Barbirolli and the Halle. Not just an excellent orchestra and conductor, but a pairing that produces real magic!
Dvorak's 5th is full of opportunities for an orchestra to be put through its paces. I cannot honestly say but that they excel in every note of every bar. The EMI recording from 1990 (D-D-D) reveals every subtle detail including the bowing of the strings and the tiny woodwind twinkles you never knew were there. It achieves this without sounding overly close-miked which is a pet hate of mine.
The reverb time is more apparent in the overture Othello after a particularly loud tutti followed by a moment's near-silence, and the piece as a whole is breathtaking!
The wonderfully lyrical Scherzo Capriccioso is a welcome addition to the playlist, and here the players project not only great craftsmanship but a visceral enthusiasm for the music (also present throughout the other pieces, but here exceptionally so). I would have preferred the cymbals a little more prominent, but that is my only criticism.
I regret that I do not have the entire collection of CD's from this sublime coupling, but on this showing I am resolved to begin to seek them out and hear all of them!