Customer Review

9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Nelsons gives us a fresh, exuberant "New World" that signifies his rise to greatness, 30 April 2013
This review is from: Dvorak: Symphony No. 9 | A Hero's Song Op. 111 [Andris Nelsons] [BR Klassik: 900116] (Audio CD)
Andris Nelsons is one of our most gifted young conductors, but he has been rather ill represented on disc, releasing a few recordings on Orfeo with the CBSO that haven't gotten much attention. He's possibly the most promising of all the young talents on the map today, leading the Berlin and Vienna Philharmonics regularly, being cited as one of the leading candidates for Berlin in 2018. I was thrilled to see this disc with the Bavarian Radio Symphony, which isn't nearly as expensive as most of his Orfeo discs.

Nelsons studied with Mariss Jansons, but unlike his teacher, his view of the Dvorak 9th isn't laid back, a contrast from Jansons' two recordings with the Oslo Phil and the Concertgebouw that are decidedly cool in temperature. Nelsons is on a much higher plane, finding considerably more ideas. His Dvorak is warm, supple, and carefree, always sensitive without sacrificing excitement. One of the most distinguishing elements in Nelsons' conducting is his energy, which seems to pour out of him effortlessly. It's wonderful to hear this symphony in the hands of a conductor who sees more than a warhorse to be recorded of necessity.

But Nelsons isn't necessarily out to rethink the work in the way that Nikolaus Harnoncourt did on his burnished, mesmerizing reading with the Concertgebouw. Nelsons finds strength in simplicity, letting the music unfold with touching sincerity. What's so attracting is his naturalness, which enables him to build swelling phrases without the slightest trace of self-consciousness. It's hard to describe his music-making for those who haven't heard it. I can't shake off this feeling that he's one of the greats just beginning to rise. The only thing that hints his age is his boundless energy. His ability to find perfect balance, sustaining the line without loitering or letting go too soon, has all the marks of full maturity. In the 2nd movement, for instance, his mood is tender, carefully letting the music bloom with raw emotion--it's nearly heartbreaking. It's hard to summarize the outer movements because while Nelsons stands out for his vitality, there are moments he lets reflection dominate. His genius is his ability to find gentle beauty without draining any of the drama--he heightens it through his lyricism, actually. He leans slightly on the fast side in the 3rd movement and tends towards expansiveness in the 1st and 4th, but this is music-making beyond the usual stereotyping based on tempo. The Bavarian Radio Symphony plays for him with conviction but it's clearly Nelsons' show, unlike the many recordings of this work where a front rank orchestra needs to make up for a dutiful but uninspired conductor.

The Hero's Song is new to me but Nelsons' interpretation has all the hallmarks of greatness. It's the least familiar of his five symphonic poems, often left unrecorded by conductors who record the other four. Whatever the listener's opinion on this work may be, it would be hard not to be fully enraptured by Nelsons' conducting. It's fresh and dripping with expectation that hurls us into a world of ecstasy.

I hope Nelsons continues to grow, but after hearing this disc, it seems he's already arrived. This is fresh, unpretentious conducting of the highest level.
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Tracked by 3 customers

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Showing 1-3 of 3 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 20 Jul 2014 16:32:09 BDT
Hello Andrew,
Certainly this is a very respectable performance.
However, I feel obliged to comment on the sound of the timpani in particular; for example in the opening of the first movement just a few bars in and there it is, the classic CD timpani sound, well more like a garage door being slammed actually. The DG, Karajan of the same work is a good example of that dreadful noise - does no one care?.
There is, in fact only one recording of the Dvorak 9th that exists where the timpani sound clearly demonstrates the sound of wood striking skin, not only that but the sound quality in general is probably the best of any recording of the work.
As to the performance just glance through these extraordinary reviews:
Audiophile Audition
"Engineer and producer Geoffrey Terry has captured Jiří Waldhans at his most colorfully magnanimous, a real cornucopia of sound." [Rating ★★★★]
-Gary Lemco, Audiophile Audition, 26th October 2009

American Record Guide
"The great historical recording of this work [Dvořák] is Talich's from the early 50s. This is as good a performance, and the sound [...] is far superior to the Talich. It has a lightness and clarity that is amazing for its age ... [This disc] is worth buying for both the Dvořák and the Novák."
-Carl Bauman, American Record Guide , July/August 2010
Customer reviews
"These must be the best sounding recordings ever made in this acoustically troubled venue. Everything is bright, clear and rich, and the performances are outstanding. The Dvořák grips from the very opening and has now become my favorite version of the work [...] Highly recommended."
-Don Hansen, San Francisco on the BBC Music Magazine forum, 13th January 2010

"I've listened now twice to the Dvorak 9th on my main hi-fi system, and am pleased to count it as my favourite performance - direct, no putting an `interpretation' on the music, just presenting it as is. Thank you for preserving it, and now presenting it."
-Peter Stanger, conductor and pianist, private correspondence, April 2010
International Record Review
"[Jan Novák's] music has hints of Martinů, but also has real character of its own, and the work is well played here: I know of no other recording of it, and lovers of Czech music should try to hear it."
"...the live sound is excellent..."
-International Record Review, April 2009
"...the Philharmonic Dances are a fine example of [Jan Novák's] work, very well played here. Novák is still badly underrepresented on CD and I am not aware of any other recording of the Philharmonic Dances, so this is all the more welcome ... Again, the live sound is excellent, and this disc is particularly worth seeking out for the Novák."
-Nigel Simeone, International Record Review, June 2012
La Scena Musicale Online
"[Dvořák's 9th Symphony] Why am I listening to a 43-year-old live performance of a symphony I've heard more often than Happy Birthday? Because the Brno Philharmonic in 1966 are a real Czech orchestra, unlike the modern soundalikes, and the conductor Jiří Waldhans is unafraid to let his brass let rip in organic style. This may not be everyone's glass of Pilsner, but I found it marvellously refreshing."
-Norman Lebrecht, La Scena Musicale Online, 19th August 2009

MusicWeb International
"This [Novák] is music of welcome vitality and uninhibited brio."

"The recording quality is certainly first class and has real clarity and natural balance."
-Jonathan Woolf, MusicWeb International, April 2010
"I played Terry's recording of the [Novák] work repeatedly when the CD arrived-it's so full of life, one can't tire of it."
-Martin Anderson (proprietor, Toccata Classics), Fanfare 33:5, May/June 2010

Brno Philharmonic Orchestra Dvorak / Jan Novak / Delius

Posted on 5 Oct 2014 23:12:16 BDT
Hello Andrew (and Geoffrey)

You might enjoy the Andris Nelsons Blu-Ray with the Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra Titled "From The New World" You can hear the performance at 48 kHz Sampling instead of 44.1 and a 24 Bit Word Length Instead of 16 Bit - Major Sonic Improvements! More importantly, you can also see how much Nelsons enjoys conducting "Aus Der Neuen Welt" - He doesn't just Conduct the Music, he Lives It! The other Pieces on the BD are semi-interesting listen-once stuff.

Andris Nelsons was recently appointed Music Director of the Boston Symphony, and there is a delightful Blu-Ray (BD) titled "Tanglewood 75th Anniversary Concert" which is exceptionally well recorded: It includes Anne-Sophie Mutter ("Onnuh-Zophie Mooter") playing Pablo de Sarasate's Carmen Fantasy with the Student Orchestra, with Andris Nelsons at the helm. It'll knock your socks off! There is also a terrific Copland "Fanfare", and some Berstein Dances from "On The Town" all done by the Boston Pops (Best Big Band In The Land!) The BSO itself does a delightful Beethoven "Choral Fantasia" with Peter Serkin on Piano, and a 167 Voice Chorus. The genial Conductor, whose name escapes me, is a Graduate of The Tanglewood Conducting School. Highly Recommended!
Best Wishes.

In reply to an earlier post on 11 May 2015 20:26:20 BDT
Say what you will, I am STILL buying the Andris Nelsons recording, having today heard it played.
It moved me beyond description. I have several recordings of the 9th, none of which come any where near what I heard earlier.
Regards, Linda.
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