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Customer Review

37 of 41 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Superb cycle of this cycle of joyous symphonies., 18 July 2014
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This review is from: Dvorįk: Complete Symphonies & Concertos (Audio CD)
First, a word of warning. 4 out of five of these discs play for over 80 minutes with the longest being nearly 84! Whilst this is fine on modern equipment there's the chance that older CD players may reject them.

I have to say that I've had a fascinating couple of weeks re-acquainting myself with these wonderful works and I'm sure that this set will do what the Kertesz/LSO recordings did for them in the 60's. As well as the ever popular seventh, eighth and ninth symphonies, the earlier works are well worth hearing especially in performances as good as these.

Belohlavek and the Czech Philharmonic play these works like no other musicians can. (The Czech Phil. Library still have the orchestral parts that were used for Dvorak!) Rhythms are beautifully pointed, the melodic phrasing is so affectionate and the sheer virtuosity of the players is a thing to behold.

The first three symphonies are probably never going to be heard in concert that often and there is no doubt that they do sprawl a bit showing that Dvorak was finding his feet when it came to writing symphonies. They contain lovely melodies and ideas and are well worth hearing so, if you don't know these pieces, these are wonderful introductions.

The 'in between' works are well served here and if the spirit of Wagner and Brahms linger then it goes to show that a Dvorak was taking inspiration from the masters. The fourth symphony has always been a favourite of mine and no performance I've heard on record has reached the heights of this one.

By the time Dvorak wrote his last three symphonies he had ditched the German symphonic model and had found his own feet and voice and these works need no advocacy from me! Again, these are terrific performances and crown this outstanding cycle.

As a bonus, the three concerti are added. They are all played with superb artistry by the soloists although I have to say that Alicia Weilerstein's performance is simply, IMHO, the best recording of this work EVER and is my recording of the year so far!

Recommended with all enthusiasm.
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Showing 1-3 of 3 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 16 Sep 2014 18:30:13 BDT
Elpenor says:
I have Belohlavek's earlier recordings of Dvorak's 5th, 6th and 7th symphonies with the Czech Philharmonic and enjoy them very much (the 6th in particular is especially fine). I was lucky enough to see them live this year at the Proms (great Dvorak Concerto with Weilerstein), but was relatively disappointed by the somewhat shrill sound of the violins in loud passages. Is this a feature of the recording at all in your opinion?

In reply to an earlier post on 16 Sep 2014 18:59:35 BDT
Robert Roy says:
Hi. Many thanks for your question. I have the earlier recording of the 5th and yes, it's very good. It's difficult to comment on a recorded sound since I suppose a lot depends on what equipment is listening on. I would hazard the opinion that today's Czech Philharmonic is better today than on these earlier discs. However, the violins on this new Decca set sound very good indeed on my system.

My wife and I heard the Czech Phil. in the Usher Hall the night before the Proms concert and, IMHO, the violins sounded terrific. They played Martinu, Janacek and Korngold and were equally impressive in all repertoire.

I would recommend these discs highly. Please let me know if you buy them and what you think. Best, Robert.

Posted on 25 Nov 2015 15:28:01 GMT
Last edited by the author on 25 Nov 2015 15:29:06 GMT
Penperlleni says:
You have probably convinced a procrastinating Dvorak Society member to buy this set at last. I am surprised at your comments on 3 and 4. 3 in three movements is quite concise and has always been a favourite of mine. 4 on the other hand is fine until you get to the finale when that
Dum dum dumty dum
Dum dum dumty dum
theme just loses me. I shall be interested to hear if Belohlavek has worked some sort of magic here.
I also tend to part company with you on the 7th which I have always thought of as maybe the best symphony Brahms didn't write.
Like another reviewer I am not generally keen on Dvorak conducted by Czechs. My favourite cycles are also Rowicki and Suitner plus 5 6 and 7 under Sejna who was Czech!
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Location: Edinburgh, Scotland United Kingdom

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