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Dvorak: Symphony 6; Scherzo Capriccioso; Notturno
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Dvorak: Symphony No. 6 - Nocturne - Scherzo capriccioso
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Top Customer Reviews
So, measured against this seemingly overwhelming opposition, how does the Baltimore team fare? I find these performances absolutely delightful, and hope for more recordings of Dvorak's symphonies from them. The sixth symphony is beautifully played, and Ms. Alsop treats us to glorious sounds from the orchestra, yet, it seems to me, she pays great attention to all of the nuances and details that together make this a superb symphony. Similarly, the Nocturne receives a fine performance. The final work on the CD is the Scherzo capriccioso, Op. 66, and here we come to a discussion point - timing vs. performance. Music critic David Hurwitz (whose opinion I generally respect) calls Alsop's performance "dreary." I disagree profoundly. Certainly, at 15:04, Alsop's timing is the longest of several that I checked, yet to my ears the performance does not drag; on the contrary, she begins crisply, which seems correct to me, and again pays attention to details and brings out the work's lyrical sections beautifully. The fastest performance to which I have access is that by Kosler, who takes 12:55, yet that performance begins languidly; speed isn't everything!
Naxos annotator Keith Anderson's program notes are excellent, as usual, and the sound quality is superb; in my opinion, Dvorak fans can hardly go wrong with this budget-priced CD.
Neumann's recording captures the Czech Philharmonic at the peak of its form. The interpretation may be subdued, but the score's brilliant colors have never come through more vividly. Kubelik had the Berlin Philharmonic, but his stodgy reading and the flat, dull DG sound take his disc completely out of the running. Kertesz has all the joy and lyricism that's missing from Kubelik, and his London Symphony sounds nearly as opulent as Neumann's intrepid band.
Alsop follows in the exuberant footsteps of Kertesz and Leonard Slatkin, whose delightful St. Louis Symphony recording was once available in a limited edition set issued by the orchestra. Her allegros sail along, and she always has a smile on her face--rather like her teacher, Leonard Bernstein. Her tempos are invariably well chosen, and every bar sings. The scherzo could be more incisive, but the blazing finale more than compensates for this minor lapse. The bold sound of the brass in the coda will have you jumping to your feet to shout bravo as the performance ends. The strings seem reedy compared to Supraphon (Neumann) and Decca/London (Kertesz), but otherwise the recording is clean and clear.
The "Scherzo capriccioso" is quite similar in style to the Sixth Symphony, alternating joyous outbursts with richly lyrical writing. Alsop's performance is every bit as charming as Neumann's. (Was his delightful Nonesuch LP ever issued on CD?) And her Nocturne is quite touching, if not nearly as languorous or intense as Neumann's heart-rending reading.
Overall, though, this is a splendid introduction to these three great scores at a super bargain price.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I had not heard the Sixth. I have several recordings of the 9th, and wanted to hear an earlier essay by the composer. The Sixth is very Brahmsian and European in outlook. Read morePublished on March 26, 2011 by A reader
I am a Dvorak admirer and I strongly believe his symphonies are energetic, melodic, exciting...I have the complete set with Kertzs(? Read morePublished on February 4, 2011 by J. Cui