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Dvorak: Symphonies Nos. 7 and 8


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Audio CD, May 25, 2010
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Listen to Samples and Buy MP3s

Songs from this album are available to purchase as MP3s. Click on "Buy MP3" or view the MP3 Album.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                         

Samples
Song TitleArtist Time Price
listen  1. Symphony No. 7 in D minor, Op. 70, B. 141: I. Allegro maestosoBaltimore Symphony Orchestra10:12Album Only
listen  2. Symphony No. 7 in D minor, Op. 70, B. 141: II. Poco adagioBaltimore Symphony Orchestra10:04Album Only
listen  3. Symphony No. 7 in D minor, Op. 70, B. 141: III. Scherzo: Vivace - Poco meno mossoBaltimore Symphony Orchestra 7:35$0.89  Buy MP3 
listen  4. Symphony No. 7 in D minor, Op. 70, B. 141: IV. Finale: AllegroBaltimore Symphony Orchestra 8:59Album Only
listen  5. Symphony No. 8 in G major, Op. 88, B. 163: I. Allegro con brioBaltimore Symphony Orchestra10:19Album Only
listen  6. Symphony No. 8 in G major, Op. 88, B. 163: II. AdagioBaltimore Symphony Orchestra10:51Album Only
listen  7. Symphony No. 8 in G major, Op. 88, B. 163: III. Allegretto grazioso - Molto vivaceBaltimore Symphony Orchestra 6:10$0.89  Buy MP3 
listen  8. Symphony No. 8 in G major, Op. 88, B. 163: IV. Allegro ma non troppoBaltimore Symphony Orchestra 9:43Album Only

Frequently Bought Together

Dvorak: Symphonies Nos. 7 and 8 + Dvorak: Symphony No. 9; "From The New World" + Mahler: Symphony No 1
Price for all three: $26.75

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Product Details

  • Conductor: Marin Alsop
  • Composer: Antonin Dvorak
  • Audio CD (May 25, 2010)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Naxos
  • ASIN: B003DQWPAG
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #121,608 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Editorial Reviews

Product Description

In these live recordings from Joseph Meyerhoff Symphony Hall in Baltimore, Dvorak's most darkly dramatic and passionate symphony, the Seventh, is coupled with his Eighth, notable for
its dramatic contrasts, Bohemian lyricism, and a seemingly spontaneous flow of thematic ideas.

Review

Marin Alsop became the first female Music Director of a major U.S. orchestra when she signed on with the Baltimore Symphony in 2007. Their latest recording together couples two of Dvorak's great symphonies, the 7th and the 8th. BBC Music Magazine wrote, "It is rare to be able to say that a performance forces one to listen to a work anew but this is exactly what Alsop's reading achieves." Look for Marin Alsop in Santa Cruz beginning this Sunday for the annual Cabrillo Festival of Contemporary Music. -- 102.1 KDFC CD of The Week - June 25, 2010

"...There are, of course, lots and lots of Dvorak recordings, too. Making a major mark in this repertoire isn't the easiest thing for any conductor to do, not with so many distinctive performances already on disc. But Alsop has a genuine affinity for the composer's music and, as the "New World" recording made clear, can deliver the goods.

A side-by-side comparison with some vintage gems from the vaults might not always be favorable to her interpretation. Listen, for example, to the opening of Symphony No. 7 led in the 1960s by Istvan Kertesz with the London Symphony (the Kertesz Dvorak cycle has long been a benchmark) and you'll hear some compelling dynamic accents that add extra tension; Alsop's approach is more even-tempered and, well, a little duller.

That sort of contrast can be heard in other spots as well, but Alsop holds her own in terms of the big picture, leading a performance that ultimately carries substantial expressive weight. Same for Symphony No. 8, which emerges with lots of character and warmth. In both works, the BSO produces a vivid, disciplined sound." - Tim Smith -- The Baltimore Sun - http://weblogs.baltimoresun.com/entertainment/classicalmusic/2010/06/new_baltimore_symphony_marin_alsop_recordings_focus_on_dvorak_gershwin.html

Let's have all the good news at once. The present release features the Baltimore Symphony in top form under their musical director Marin Alsop, performing two of Dvořák's best symphonies on the same disc. The recordings, made live in Joseph Meyerhoff Symphony Hall in 20082009, really sound great. The performances have a nice spontaneity, the ambience is superb, and the recorded sonics are beautifully focused and balanced. At Naxos' budget price, this offering is going to be very, very hard to beat. It compliments the earlier release of Dvořák's "New World" Symphony by this same conductor and orchestra as well as anyone could desire. The bad news? There is none! Observers have often commented on the differences between the two symphonies, No. 7 in D Minor, Op. 70 generally being considered the darker, moodier and more dramatic, while No. 8 in G Major, Op. 88 is usually described as more genial and serene. That comparison is fine as far as it goes, though it ignores the charming interplay of the woodwinds in the second movement, marked Poco Adagio, in the Seventh, just before the dramatic entry of the brass brings us back to the feeling of foreboding drama with which the symphony begins. The Trio of the unusually intense Scherzo also breathes a happy air of serenity. But the general mood of the Seventh is noticeably emphatic, the momentum driven by the remarkable energy of the opening Allegro, marked maestoso, and the speed and resolution of the finale. Not for nothing has this been termed Dvořák's least obviously national, and most Brahmsian, symphony. Under Alsop's direction, the work shows the strength and the strong contour of its themes, and it moves as fluidly as water and as naturally and inevitably as fate. Like its predecessor, the Eighth Symphony makes use of Czech folk elements, especially their national dances, the Furiánt and the Sousedska, though here they typically lead to more genial consequences. There is a rustic, open air quality to much of the music in this symphony, where even the most stirring moments in the opening movement, Allegro con brio, and the finale, marked Allegro ma non troppo, have upbeat, affirmative consequences. The Adagio, which Alsop takes serenely without losing sight of the essential pulse that makes it work, is one of Dvořák's best inspirations. The natural swelling of feeling late in the middle of this movement is wonderful to hear. And the scherzo, a quick and gracious waltz marked Allegretto grazioso, is a pure delight. -- Audio-Video Club of Atlanta/Phil's Classical Reviews

Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars
5 star
44%
4 star
56%
3 star
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See all 9 customer reviews
#1, isa terrific long initial effort by this great composer.
NUC MED TECH
In the seventh, Kovatchev lingers and relishes just a good tad more than Alsop.
drdanfee
The recording is powerful, with a superbly wide dynamic range.
D. Lai

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

8 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Santa Fe Listener HALL OF FAMETOP 1000 REVIEWER on May 26, 2010
Format: Audio CD
Because of her contract with Naxos, Marin Alsop has opportunities to record standard repertoire that even far more famous conductors don't (when did Slatkin, Tilson Thomas, or Levine last make a recording of Dvorak? a complete Brahms cycle?). This CD completes alsop's trio of late Dvorak symphonies, following on a "new World" that I liked a great deal, feeling that it might be her single best recording to date. Of the three last symphonies, the seventh is the most difficult to bring off, thanks to its tricky tempo relationships and ambiguous moods. I must say, Alsop hasn't lost her touch. She finds a natural, flowing style in the first two movements that is tender and expressive. The Scherzo has a very sweet-sounding Trio, but the main Furiant is too low-key. The only real letdown is the finale, however, where she inserts some mannered pauses and fails to find the kind of dramatic intensity that sets great performances apart.

The Eighth is easier to conduct, and with three pastoral movements, it's more suited to Alsop's approach, which favors flow over drama. As one hears in the Adagio, she has the Baltimore strings playing with persuasive precision. As far as virtuosity goes, this isn't a world-class orchestra, but a few soloists stand out, especially the first horn. Alsop brings out the graceful lightness of the Scherzo (it's marked Allegretto grazioso), yet the music needs more emphasis, even so. The finale opens with a brisk fanfare that lacks impact, but the great cello melody is shaped with conviction, and on the whole things proceed with a good momentum to the end.

I didn't find this pairing as impressive as her "New world," but it's amazing to see Naxos grow up into a label noted for good sound, fine orchestras, and major talent on the podium.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By D. Lai on May 27, 2011
Format: Audio CD
I feel like I need to almost be embarrassed for gushing about how much I love this disc. Marin Alsop's direction of the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra on Dvorak's 7th and 8th Symphonies is altogether powerful and delicate, lush and tempered, brassy and smooth. The players are top notch. The recording is powerful, with a superbly wide dynamic range. This is an essential disc for any Dvorak-lover and, I think, for any lover of classical music in general.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Pedant on July 1, 2013
Format: Audio CD
The Alsop/Dvorak symphonies (including no. 9) have received much praise. Jan Smaczny, BBCMusic's Dvorak/Czech specialist, and his colleagues, were enthusiastic. I trust them, even if Alsop's renderings have some, noted, blemishes. But please: Alsop is not the first woman to head a major US orchestra. JoAnn Falletta at Buffalo is.
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Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
Just listening to Marin Alsop and the Baltimore Symphony these days is often a refreshing experience. Baltimore sounds like a USA regional band that is involved-in love with the music they are doing now. Several music directors have been building up the band departments for a while now ... Comissiona, Zinman ... so that current Music Director Alsop can step into a promising situation of musical-institutional growth as a North American music leader. Oh yes, don't forget that, as a woman she is breaking the glass ceiling that has often restrained women conductors from upper echelon posts.

Just pulling out this new disc of Dvorak Symphonies 7 and 8, I thought of the Colorado Symphony. Alsop has led them, too. They have also recorded for Naxos. Who would I rather hear in Dvorak - Colorado? Or, Baltimore? Well, Baltimore, as it happens, at least for now.

Just a while back, Naxos released Alsop in Baltimore doing the venerated-populist Dvorak ninth symphony. From the New World, indeed. No, Alsop and her east coast regional band did not quite capture the Old World sheen and snap that I associate with my existing keeper shelf residents. (Horenstein with the RPO, Giulini in Amsterdam, Sawallisch in Philadelphia, Libor Pesek in Liverpool, Neumann in Prague, Colin Davis in Amsterdam, Kubelik in Berlin)

What Alsop and Baltimore did offer up, handsomely, was an engaged, clean, singing performance - rather in persistent keeping with American manners, focused on the music at hand. One of the winning qualities of that reading of the Dvorak Ninth was how the musical spotlight stayed, right on the composer, rather than becoming an occasion for calling big attention to the conductorial flash-splash. A musical project, then - not a vanity project.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By John J. Puccio TOP 1000 REVIEWER on April 23, 2013
Format: Audio CD
In the Symphony No. 7, the opening movement, it seems to me, should have more strength, more magisterial weight (compare Pesek, Virgin; Davis, Philips; Kertesz, Decca; or Jansons, EMI). The slow second movement goes well enough, if somewhat prosaically. The Scherzo retains its rustic charm amid some tempestuous contrasts, although, again, the conductor's approach seems a bit pedestrian and lacking the last ounce of lilt amongst the danger. Although she does bring the Finale to a suitably momentous close, it's a matter of too little too late. Frankly, I've never much cared for Dvorak's Seventh Symphony, and Ms. Alsop's recording of it does little to persuade me otherwise.

Symphony No. 8 (1889) has almost exactly the same outline and proportions as No. 7, yet Dvorak (and by extension Ms. Alsop) takes us into an entirely different world altogether. Perhaps Ms. Alsop simply feels better attuned to the more freewheeling Bohemian climate of No. 8, because she produces a reading of infinite variety and delight. Some listeners may still think it a tad too perfunctory in parts, but it flows gently and naturally from start to finish and provides a sunny, easygoing musical experience, with an appropriately rousing conclusion.

Recorded live at Joseph Meyerhoff Symphony Hall, Baltimore, in 2008-09, the sound is sometimes thick and slightly clouded, especially in Symphony No. 7. Audience noise is never an issue, and, thank goodness, there is no applause.

John J. Puccio
Classical Candor
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