Smetana - Má vlast (LSO, Davis) Hybrid SACD
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This sequence of six tone poems from the end of Smetana's life is most famous for its portrait of the River Vltava flowing from its source in rural Bohemia to Prague and beyond...but the whole set offers us a combination of landscape, mythology, history, folk music and passionate nationalism that is defiantly Czech, the composer's love-letter to his homeland if you like. And one of the advantages of hearing the whole cycle like this, recorded in concert, is that you get a joined-up account of Smetana's vision.
Sir Colin Davis's Dvorák is famous, his Smetana just as deeply felt; some of the speeds are on the broad side (especially in Vltava) yet there's a warmth and generous flexibility that works particularly well in the countryside, and the final slaughter in Sarka, or the torrents of the St Johns Rapids in Vltava, are despatched with real violence by the LSO.
It's one of the best recent recordings from the difficult Barbican acoustic I've heard, both in stereo and SACD surround, and there's one last advantage: did you check out the price?
Like This? Try These:
Janácek: Orchestral Music(Czech Philharmonic/Mackerras)
Dvorák: Cello Concerto and Dumky Trio (Jean-Guihen Queyras)
Berlioz: Symphonie Fantastique (LSO/Sir Colin Davis) --Andrew McGregor
Find more music at the BBC This link will take you off Amazon in a new window
Top Customer Reviews
Sir Colin Davis and the LSO play this music with deep understanding and affection. The tempi employed are totally to my taste, and I found memories of a trip to Prague returning as the music progressed.
This is my favourite (so far!) of the recordings from the LSO Live series that I own. Its frequency and dynamic ranges are excellent, and it has managed to combine clarity with enough reverberation, and suppressed audience noise too. Not all of the LSO Live series manage to achieve this result, and some do not have as generous a running time either.
As the harp entry in Vysehrad painted an ideal aural picture, I pessimistically thought that the pleasure wouldn't last, but I was wrong. This is a valued disc in my collection. (SACD hybrid auditioned)