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Dvorak: Symphony No. 9 | A Hero's Song Op. 111 [Andris Nelsons] [BR Klassik: 900116] CD

4.5 out of 5 stars 2 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Conductor: Andris Nelsons
  • Composer: Antonin Dvorak
  • Audio CD (2 April 2013)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Format: CD
  • Label: BR Klassik
  • ASIN: B00BJSEF7Q
  • Other Editions: MP3 Download
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 197,988 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Product Description

Product Description

Andris Nelsons is a private student of Mariss Jansons. Andris is one of the most highly regarded young conductors and is under serious consideration as a potential successor to several blue-ribbon chief conductor positions.

This release presents a live recording of Dvořák’s Symphony No. 9 from the Munich Herkulessaal and Dvořák's A Hero’s Song, Op. 111 from the Philharmonie im Gasteig, recorded in 2010 and 2012.

Review

Andris Nelsons has made no secret of the help he received in the early years of his conducting career from Mariss Jansons, and he now appears regularly as a guest with Jansons' current orchestras, the Royal Concertgebouw in Amsterdam and the Bavarian Radio Symphony in Munich. This pairing of Dvo ák's best-known symphony with the least-often heard of his symphonic poems, composed four years later, is taken from concerts in Munich in 2010 and 2012. Both performances convey a great deal of what is so special about Nelsons as an interpreter, and of the excitement he can generate on the podium. It's quite something to bring such freshness to the New World Symphony, whether it's in the sense of wonder with which he phrases the first movement's second subject, or the edge-of-seat drama he brings to the finale. A Hero's Song lacks a detailed literary programme, though it follows the outline of a symphony, with a funeral march as its slow movement. Musically, it's not as striking as Dvo ák's other four symphonic poems, either, but it is superbly well played by one of Europe's great orchestras, and Nelsons makes sure its coda generates just the right kind of triumphant peroration. --Guardian, 04/04/13

'The Symphony especially comes close to capturing what makes Nelsons so magnetic in live performance, illuminating and keeping up he tension in a work many listeners can hum by heart...The orchestra is splendid throughout.' --Auditorium Magazine, May 2013

Andris Nelson's New World has a novelty as well as integrity 5* --BBC Music Magazine, Recording of the Month, Jan Smaczny

[this release] finds Andris Nelsons drawing the most sumptuosly refined, pungently characterful and bracingly alert response from the Bavarian RSO. His is a no-holds-barred conception of powerful expressive scope, intrepid incident and obvious affection. --Gramophone, Andrew Achenbach

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Format: 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.
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Format: Audio CD
The retirement and death of Karajan augured in an "age of iron and rust" for the Berlin Philharmonic. The Klang is deader than Elvis. Nowadays it sounds like any other first-class outfit and tensionless at that. Who would have thought that the day would come when an entire Beethoven cycle, besotted with dullness, would be withdrawn from sale by DG? This ignominy befell Uncle Claudio who nevertheless limped on to sink his toothless gums into other hapless composers. In some circles, Andris Nelsons has been acclaimed as an aspirant to the purple. While I have yet to hear him in music that matters - say, Haydn, Mozart and Bruckner - the New World Symphony is a good test. Here, I'm impressed. At long last, a contemporary imparts expectancy and tension to this music. There's excitement aplenty and cutaneous it ain't. Nelsons has a good ear for sonority - notice how the cellos billow out in the introduction - and the growl of double-basses at the close of the slow movement took me by surprise. Innigkeit is evident throughout. In way of critique, the finale is not the last word in valediction and the bass-line - where it all starts - is weak. In response, I reached for my copy of Oswald Kabasta - 1943/44 Broadcasts - it's the most badass version known to me (and no wonder it passed for a Furtwangler performance for many a year); truth to tell, Nelsons ain't far from the pin. A Hero's Song (such as it is) receives the same royal treatment. The recording is superlative.

Enjoyable though it be, this disc is not overly important in itself. I would not mention it in the same breath as Dvorak: Symphony No. 9 "From the New World" / Smetana: Die Moldau. Is it promissory? Time will tell.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 4.5 out of 5 stars 6 reviews
15 of 16 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
By Andrew R. Barnard - Published on Amazon.com
Verified Purchase
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.

P.S. May 21: It was announced a few days ago that Nelsons is the Boston Symphony's new conductor. There's good reason for high expectations. It would be wonderful to see him and the orchestra get a good record contract, though that's probably unlikely.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars **** 1/2 Not quite an instant classic but a fine "New World" on its own terms 8 May 2013
By Santa Fe Listener - Published on Amazon.com
Among the world's premier orchestras, the Bavarian Radio SO is the least known to Americans - they rarely seem to tour here - but besides a beautiful European sound to rival Dresden's, this orchestra has consistently released great sounding CDs on the house label; I can't think of anyone who is doing better. Expect this Dvorak "New World" Sym. to meet all the standards of a studio recording.

I try out many new releases at various download sites, and it's unfortunate that some labels don't participate, especially Orfeo, who have released the bulk of andris Nelsons' recordings with his regular Birmingham orchestra. EMI should have stepped up and remained loyal to the CBSO after Rattle's departure; he must have earned them enough profits. At the moment rumor has it that the Boston Sym. may hire Nelsons as the next music director (the opinion of the musicians is split, apparently). The 34-year-old conductor has benefited in his quick rise from being the protege of fellow Latvian Mariss Jansons.

Does he deserve to lead a world-class orchestra at such a young age? This new recording offers some clues. So far as stick technique goes, there's not much to judge buy, since the orchestra could play the New World quite superbly if the conductor fainted in mid performance or ordered out for a caffe macchiato. that leaves interpretation as the main concern, and Nelsons impressively phrases this thrice-familiar symphony. His general approach is prpulsive and alert to micro-shifts from measure to measure - not so much that he sounds fussy but not the imperial sweep of Karajan's stunning DG recording with the Vienna Phil., either.

Karajan was showing off when he took the famous Largo as slowly as he does, and it's nice that Nelsons doesn't solemnize the big tune. The line sings naturally, as it was meant to, I'm sure. Slow music also allows us to pay attention to voicing and balance - they are both handled beautifully. The Scherzo races along; it's one of the fastest and most vibrant I've heard in a long time. My touchstone for the finale is Fricsay's gripping tension, and Nelsons thinks in the same vein even if the mood isn't as bracing. An experienced listener will notice that this reading sweeps along, driven by pace rather than details.

That's fine with me, and since I attended Nelsons' London performance of this score with his home orchestra, I know that audiences respond enthusiastically. This new recording doesn't displace Tennstedt and Fricsay for drama, Karajan for splendor, or Reiner and the Chicago Sym. for sheer virtuosity, but it's a decided success on its own terms.

At 27 min., the all but unknown symphonic poem, "A Hero's Song," sends everyone running for Wikipedia, where we discover that Mahler himself premiered the work in Vienna in 1898, when the composer, established in his fame, was 58. Unlike is four other late symphonic poems, A Her's Song isn't based on a grisly fairy tale. Maybe it needed to be. Although the Wiki article suggests that this is Dvorak's Ein Heldenleben, there's little evidence of sadness, struggle, or doubt. As a master melodist, Dvorak supplies various tunes, some sweeping, some bublbing. The end result is a nice listen as the score huffs and puffs to the end, even if the material isn't top drawer, as British critics say.
5.0 out of 5 stars A sizzling 'New World' Symphony from the young and talented conductor 28 April 2015
By Poincare - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
A sizzling, high voltage 'New World' Symphony from the young and talented Andris Nelsons. In my opinion, Nelsons is shoed in for the new music director of Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra.

I have yet to be disappointed by Nelsons; the live concerts of Wagner, Bruckner, Mahler, Strauss, Sibelius, and Shostakovich I have heard him doing thus far are electrifying and revelatory in ways many other young conductors of today are not.
1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Balt of Destiny? 14 Oct. 2014
By Bernard Michael O'Hanlon - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
The retirement and death of Karajan augured in an "age of iron and rust" for the Berlin Philharmonic. The Klang is deader than Elvis. Nowadays it sounds like any other first-class outfit and tensionless at that. Who would have thought that the day would come when an entire Beethoven cycle, besotted with dullness, would be withdrawn from sale by DG? This ignominy befell Uncle Claudio who nevertheless limped on to sink his toothless gums into other hapless composers. In some circles, Andris Nelsons has been acclaimed as an aspirant to the purple. While I have yet to hear him in music that matters - say, Haydn, Mozart and Bruckner - the New World Symphony is a good test. Here, I'm impressed. At long last, a contemporary imparts expectancy and tension to this music. There's excitement aplenty and cutaneous it ain't. Nelsons has a good ear for sonority - notice how the cellos billow out in the introduction - and the growl of double-basses at the close of the slow movement took me by surprise. Innigkeit is evident throughout. In way of critique, the finale is not the last word in valediction and the bass-line - where it all starts - is weak. In response, I reached for my copy of Oswald Kabasta - 1943/44 Broadcasts - it's the most badass version known to me (and no wonder it passed for a Furtwangler performance for many a year); truth to tell, Nelsons ain't far from the pin. A Hero's Song (such as it is) receives the same royal treatment. The recording is superlative.

Enjoyable though it be, this disc is not overly important in itself. I would not mention it in the same breath as Dvorak: Symphony No. 9 "From the New World" / Smetana: Die Moldau. Is it promissory? Time will tell.
0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Vibrant, Vital and Musical Too 26 Sept. 2013
By Robert B. Lamm - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
I'm not all that familiar with Dvorak or with this evidently up-and-coming conductor, but this seemed like a good place to start in both respects. And it was. As the title of this review suggests, this is a performance full of vitality and energy, but it is well paced and builds beautifully throughout; the piece never gets away from Nelsons. In addition, the orchestra plays with great musicality and, well, just sheer beauty. I also should note that the sound quality is superb.

I will be on the lookout for more recordings with this conductor, and if they are also by Dvorak, all the better.
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