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Enesco: Romanian Rhapsody No. 2 / Brahms: Hungarian Dances; Variations on a Theme of Haydn

4.7 out of 5 stars 7 customer reviews

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Audio CD, February 16, 1993
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Editorial Reviews

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This is the finest performance of the complete Hungarian Dances. Antal Dorati, a Hungarian himself and a specialist in dance music, handles each of these jewels with just the right combination of rhythmic control and schmaltz. Brahms orchestrated only a few of them; the remainder were done by friends (Dvorák included) or commissioned by various music publishers to fill out the complete set. In this respect, they are less substantial than Dvorák's two sets of Slavonic Dances, which they in turn inspired. If you know only No. 5, or perhaps No. 1, then you owe it to yourself to hear this delightful collection. --David Hurwitz
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Product Details

  • Orchestra: London Symphony Orchestra
  • Conductor: Antal Dorati
  • Composer: Georges Enescu, Johannes Brahms
  • Audio CD (February 16, 1993)
  • SPARS Code: ADD
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Mercury Living Presence
  • ASIN: B0000057LY
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #64,394 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Audio CD
This conductor gives one the sense, after listening to many of his recordings, that he has that special ability to energize a score. I bought the Mercury Golden Imports LP of these performances knowing I was in for a thrilling ride and I wasn't disappointed. It seemed like ages before the CD finally appeared and it really is one to treasure. Dorati knew that if one were to play this music it should be played for all it is worth. A really fun CD that proves one doesn't have to pay full price to get the best.
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In listening to this CD, I am amazed how crystal clear and dazzling the sound is, in spite of the fact that some of these recorings date from as far back as 1957 (the others are from 1960 and 1965). Kudos to recording engineer C. R. Fine. Dorati is obviously enjoying himself immensely in this music. In particular, he milks the Roumanian Rhapsody #2 for all it's worth. A must-have disc.
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Format: Audio CD
But I don't know what it is, and I own several of the Hungarian Dances. Dorati had a special affinity for the Hungarian Dances which was noted throughout his career, and it shows. The London Symphony is able to move from classically elegant to extremely folksy in the course of two measures, and the use of rubato throughout all of the dances is extraordinary (I can't imagine how one could follow a conductor so well.)
The Enescu 2nd Rhapsody is an extra treat -- one usually only hears the 1st.
The early 1960s "Living Presence" sound is not as atmospheric as one often hears these days, but conveys the immediacy of the music extremely well.
And all of this at a reasonable price, too!
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Dorati was the one of the few of the great Hungarian conductors of the last century to record a sizable chunk of Brahms's Hungarian Dances. Reiner recorded some in Vienna, and Ormandy recorded a few. Dorati just excels in this music. He is very definite as to the pacing he wants in this music. There is plenty of expression, almost too much in fact. The first eight of these numbers were recorded in 1957, and the sound is very good; but the second eight, recorded in 1965, offer absolutely stellar recorded sound, some of the best I've ever heard. As for the Haydn Variations, also recorded in 1957, this is one of the finest versions I've ever heard. Whether it's the sound engineering or Dorati's interpretation, all sorts of details I've never paid attention to before come through clearly in this rendition. The 1960 recording of Enescu's 2nd Romanian Rhapsody is exquisite. I have this track on an analog cassette. The string sound there is somewhat warmer than on the CD, but the CD's detail and dynamic range is just exceptional. This is one of the more treasurable issues in the Mercury Living Presence catalog.
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