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4.3 out of 5 stars10
4.3 out of 5 stars
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on 27 August 2009
These four Dvorak Symphonies from Istvan Kertesz - whose early, accidental death was a tragedy - were pretty much the bees'-knees in the early seventies, give or take the odd Kubelik. At that time nobody quite found the slavonic inflexion as well as these two, and the LSO's playing and Decca's ffss sound made Kertesz's complete set the must-have. Just listen to the flamboyance of the horns in the finale of the Eighth Symphony. It's a pity that this double album leapfrogs the delicious Sixth, but the Fifth is great too. These days the sound feels slightly leaner in comparison with, say, Mackerras, who matches Kertesz in every other respect too and for me is the present must-have, but anyone wanting the Dvorak Symphonies at their best - and economically - can scarcely do better than this and the complementary volumes from Kertesz.
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on 10 August 2014
These two very well filled CDs contain four of Dvorak's symphonies in performances that are amongst best ever committed to disc. Tempi and phrasing are so very well chosen - not rushed like some - and the overall orchestral balance is excellent, with woodwind solos being clearly heard - so vital in several movements such as the 3rd movement of the 8th. The cellos are wonderfully heard in the 9th. It is very easy to see why they have stood the test of time - they seem absolutely right to me. In many cases they seem to 'work' for me, when others have failed.

In comparison with at least one box set of all the symphonies from Decca and the same performers, none of this set of four symphonies is split across discs - which was what clinched this set for me. The recordings all date from around the middle part of the 1960s, so there is a little tape hiss audible, and in just one or two places I noticed a merest hint of very slight overload just starting to creep in and one slightly obvious tape edit. The stereo recordings really do convey a very realistic orchestral sound - such as might be heard in a live concert.

I have no hesitation in recommending these two discs - and at such a bargain price!
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on 14 January 2016
Better than Kubelik, Gunzenhauser, Pesek and Jarvi (although the Chandos recordings are the best). They are all good but Kertesz and the LSO were on top form and for their age are amazing. For me they shade Mackeras as well.

There may be better 9ths (I love Kondrashin) but not many and I have not heard a better 5th or 8th. The 7th is almost as good. Each symphony is a 5 star performance. There is little doubt these are the best four symphonies so this is the place to start for new Dvorakians.

Most listeners know the last 3 symphonies but if you are looking for versions of all of them you should get this set as the 5th is on the same level - not as mature or as fully developed - but with fantastic melodies. And if you like these, try the 3rd and 4th next, the 6th is more Brahms than Dvorak and the 1st and 2nd lower inspiration.

I listen to these symphonies more than the Tchaikovsky ones (the most obvious comparison) so lovers of those who only know the New World should not hesitate. A wonderful set.
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on 1 May 2009
Glorious inspired playing, the LSO surpassed themselves with these Dvorak recordings. Decca provided some of the most detailed Dvorak recordings ever and a fabulous acoustic too. Exposition repeats played where indicated most notably in the New World.
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on 19 August 2011
Whilst most of us are familiar with Dvorak's 9th (The New World Symphony) it seems to me that his other great symphonic works are far less familiar, and that is really a great pity. I can only hope that this double CD in some way will help to put this right. This is all truly great music, and needs to be heard and analysed.
The only criticism is that the first movement of the 9th is taken rather slowly, but all in all a wonderful rendering of all four works.
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on 9 January 2016
There was a cd missing from the package.The sleeve only contained symphonies 8 and 9.The disc containing symphonies 5 and 7 was missing
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on 16 July 2015
Beautiful music. Very easy to listen to!
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on 6 September 2013
Superb performances of all these symphonies. I have enjoyed them for many years, and personally prefer them to the Mackerras versions, which I find too idiosyncratic at times.
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on 13 June 2013
As advertised, very happy with it
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on 25 February 2013
Some of these recordings still have a rather 'old-fashioned' sound and the quality varies from movement to movement. Still a good purchase though.
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