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Smetana: Má Vlast

3.8 out of 5 stars 9 customer reviews

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Audio CD, March 10, 1992
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Editorial Reviews

Smetana: Má Vlast by Wiener Philharmoniker [Orchestra]

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Product Details

  • Performer: Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra
  • Orchestra: Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra
  • Conductor: James Levine
  • Composer: Smetana, Bedrich [Composer]
  • Audio CD (March 10, 1992)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Deutsche Grammophon
  • Run Time: 77 minutes
  • ASIN: B000001GEN
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #94,902 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By John Kwok HALL OF FAME on December 17, 2001
Format: Audio CD
James Levine and the Vienna Philharmonic joined forces back in the 1980's to create one of the best recorded versions of Smetana's "Ma Vlast" tone poem cycle. These are fine performances, noted for the warm, vibrant playing of the winds, strings and horns. Unfortunately, this performance isn't nearly as vibrant as any I've heard from Kubelik or Mackerras. Still, if you're most interested in sound quality, then this might be the version to acquire. Certainly Deutsche Grammophon's sound engineers did a splendid job recording this performance.
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James Levine's viennese recording of Smetana's famed masterpiece is one of the best performances of the work around today. With clear, full-bodied digital recording and ripe, rich and opulent playing from the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra, it presents a performance that is as comporable to Kubelik as any other. Despite Levine's roots in the theatre (Metropolitan Opera), he manages to grasp a clear sense of drama in the work, and while some might argue that he is mainly concerned with orchestral effect for its own sake, he certainly does not do this but presents every minute detail in this musical kaliedascopic picture.
The opening harp passage in "Vysherad" sets the tone of the cycle admirably, and in the ensuing moments, one can feel the scene springing forth to life. The various aspects associated with this castle and fortress are vividly brought out, with a sense of elegaic nostalgia at the close of the work. "Moldau (Vltava)" follows hot on the heels of the end of "Vysherad," and there is a sweeping magic in this movement than in any other. The streamlets flow freely into the river, and the scenes of hunting, wedding, nymphs and rapids are brought out admirably. The flutes are crisply articulated, and the warmth of the playing is particularly telling. Sarka, one of the least well-known in the cycle, is given a thrilling performance, and Levine's sense of drama surfaces here perfectly. However, the music takes a lyrical turn with From Bohemia's Woods and Fields. Here, Levine manages to observe every minute detail in presenting this music, and the sounds of nature are nicely evoked. There is also a sense of joy in the proceedings. In the last two movements, Levine is at his very best.
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Format: Audio CD
This recording of Ma Vlast is one of the best intrepretations of the work I have ever heard. From the opening rush of notes on the harp that introduces "Vysherad" to the exhilorating climax of "Blanik" Levine is in utter control of this material. The tempi is very well-chosen and the Viennese players respond excellently to him. Never has a recorded version of this work kept a listener spellbound since Kubelik. Not forgetting the recorded sound, which is from DG's top drawer. If there was only one recording of Ma Vlast that a listener could choose, this is what I would recommend.
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Format: Audio CD
This is a magnificent and glowing performance of Ma Vlast played with Wagnerian grandeur and sense of drama. It might lack earthy quality of Kubelik, but VPO plays with much vigour, sensitivity and glorious string sound. Beautifully recorded too.
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A new piece to me, not because it has not been around, but because I simply was not aware of it. I always love getting a 'new' piece of music and have really enjoyed knowing how Smetana and Dvorak were so similar using their Czech backgrounds.
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