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Dvorák: Symphonies Nos 1-9 Box set

4.5 out of 5 stars 13 customer reviews

Price: £12.99 & FREE Delivery in the UK on orders over £20. Details
Includes FREE MP3 version of this album.
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Product details

  • Orchestra: London Symphony Orchestra
  • Conductor: Istvan Kertesz
  • Composer: Antonín Dvorák
  • Audio CD (5 Nov. 1991)
  • SPARS Code: ADD
  • Number of Discs: 6
  • Format: Box set
  • Label: Decca
  • ASIN: B0000041WV
  • Other Editions: MP3 Download
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 5,410 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)
  • Sample this album Artist (Sample)
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Disc 2
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Disc 3
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5
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Disc 4
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Disc 5
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4
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5
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7
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8
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Disc 6
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4
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6
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7
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Product Description

KERTESZ ISTVAN / LONDON S. O.

Customer Reviews

4.5 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Audio CD
In the early '60s, I developed an interest in the Dvorak symphonies beyond the evergreen "Symphony from the New World" and began acquiring a complete set on the Artia label from Czechoslovakia. These were authoritative, idiomatic performances, but the sound quality – and the lack of stereo on at least a few of them – left me wishing for more.
I had barely finished this Artia set when the first release or two of Istvan Kertész’s performances with the London Symphony, then on London LPs, hit the market. I can't really remember, at this late date, which was the first in the set except that it included a performance of the "Hussite Overture" that literally blew me away. In pretty short order, I soon had a second full set of Dvorak symphonies – the Kertész set – in splendidly up-to-date stereo sound and in performances that sounded, if anything, even more idiomatic than those Artia performances. And, as noted, a large part of the "freshness" to these Kertész performances may well be due to his relaxed approach to what had been for him new repertoire.
I don't know that there's ever been a more melodic composer than Dvorak. Some might opt for Tchaikovsky, but I would differ with them. Even Dvorak's early symphonies – long unknown to concert-goers and record-collectors – have the gift of spontaneous melody, if not the perfection of craft that his later works in the genre did. And his overtures and orchestral scherzi matched the symphonies in melodiousness: the "In Nature's Realm" Overture is downright irresistable in this respect.
This boxed set of the works, remastered for CD, is a splendid bargain.
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Format: Audio CD
This set was one of the first things I bought when I started collecting records in 1970. It was the time when Branson was starting out as a mail-order record retailer.
Everybody knows the "New World", but the familiarity diminishes as one travels backwards through Dvorak's symphonic oeuvre. It is fair to say that the first couple of CDs in this set will rarely leave the sleeve. However, from Number 5 onwards you will play them to death.
The Kertesz "New World" is the one by which others are measured. He is content to allow the music to flow by itself, and it is all the better for it. No over-egging the orchestral pudding here. However, the highlight is Symphony 8. This is a cracking work which deserves much more frequent programming in concert halls. It receives a magisterial performance at the hands of Kertesz. Particularly delightful is the light and tripping way he has with the coda to the third movement, which everybody else seems to plod. Symphony 7 was a re-write of Brahms 3, much as Schubert 9 was a re-write of Beethoven 7. Kertesz was good at Brahms too, he had a reputable set of four out from Decca at the time. He is the finest possible advocate of this lyrical Symphony. Numbers 5 and 6 are not consistently fine all through, but each has the odd superb mevement making them well worth listening to occasionally, especially when played as well as this.
We lost Kertesz tragically young. He would without doubt have gone on to greater things.
A final word about the sound quality. This dates from the era when Decca bankrupted the company in the pursuit of technically perfect classical recordings, most of which never sold enough copies to repay the cost of production. It was just about as good as analogue sound ever got.
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Format: Audio CD
I neither want nor need to add anything about these performances, - the other reviewers are spot on, - they are simply wonderful, life affirming, even. What i would like to comment on is the sound. This is a forty year old set, and had always sounded good. Recently, however, I upgraded from my beloved Castle Howard S3s and Nakamichi amp to Quad ESL63s with twin valve amps and new valve pre-amp. So, as you can imagine, I've been rummaging through my collection, hearing everything afresh. And the amazing discoveries? Several, but this is among the happiest. This forty year old sound is fresh as a daisy, - it has been superbly re-mastered from superb masters and sounds, well, superb. So don't just think you're getting one of the gramophone's most precious performances, you're also getting sound better than you could possibly have expected.
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This is an all round brilliant performance by the London Symphony Orchestra, with Istvan Kertesz at the helm, they are really on form with this "Dvorak" Symphony set. However, who's completely dotty idea was it to split some of the symphonies over two discs when there's other orchestral pieces to make the fill-ups? Antonin Dvorak's Symphonies don't necessarily have to be placed in chronological order and the four extra pieces would have so easily made-up the individual discs. The analogue Decca sound has polished-up a treat with this latest digital remaster. A set of super performances that're well recorded but spoiled by inept compilers!
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Format: Audio CD
Playing: superb. Interpretations: glorious. The works themselves: magical (even the overlong First symphony - but the melting Third? Who could resist that? It is quite unfair to single out the Fifth as the first of the great symphonies). In short, a classic set and at this price - or any for that matter - unbeatable. Have absolutely no worries that the set is forty years old - it sounds like it was recorded yesterday (but in Decca's glory days).
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