Dvorak: Symphony No. 9 / Smetana: Die Moldau - Dohnányi
Eloquence 476 7826
Classical - Orchestral
Dvorak: Symphony No. 9 "From the New World", Smetana: The Moldau
The Cleveland Orchestra
Christoph von Dohnányi (conductor)
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Recorded in October 1984 at the Masonic Auditorium, Cleveland, Ohio, United States (Dvorak: Symphony No. 9 & Scherzo capriccioso); in June 1993 (Smetana: Selections from The Bartered Bride) and in January 1995 (Smetana: Moldau) at the Severance Hall, Cleveland, United States, 16/44.1
Produced by Paul Myers
Balance engineer: Colin Moorfoot (Dvorak) & John Pellowe (Smetana)
AMSI II remastered by Götz-Michael Rieth at the Emil Berliner Studios, Berlin, Germany
Review by Graham Williams - December 11, 2005
Christoph von Dohnányi recorded Dvorak’s last four symphonies for Decca during his tenure of the Cleveland Orchestra.
His performance of the New World Symphony was highly regarded in 1986 and perfectly illustrates the quality of his straightforward approach to these symphonies with his superbly disciplined orchestra.
My only caveat is that, like Fritz Reiner on Living Stereo, he omits the exposition repeat in the first movement, which does, to some extent, unbalance the work. Nevertheless, this is a most exciting performance with the Clevelanders on top form and benefiting from Decca’s excellent, if a trifle over-miked, recording quality.
The Scherzo capriccioso, (originally coupled with Symphony No. 8) which follows, is absolutely superb in every respect and alone worth the price of this disc.
The Smetana pieces are taken from a later disc Dohnányi made in 1996. It contained, besides the pieces given here, the overtures to The Kiss, Libuse and the Two Widows. It is a pity that these have gone, but presumably it is because Universal has aimed this disc more at the ‘popular classics’ market.
Vltava and the three excerpts from the Bartered Bride again are superbly played, but with a certain ruthless efficiency that excludes some of the charm often exhibited by native Czech performances of these pieces. Once again the performances do not lack excitement and it comes as quite a surprise when a lusty un-credited chorus, appears in the polka. A nice touch!
The re-mastering for SACD has been very successful. All the recordings are very clear and forward, typical of the Decca sound of the period from Cleveland and, although a touch over-bright at times, have plenty of detail and impact. The surround channels add some depth and bloom to the overall sound without unduly drawing attention to themselves.
It would be hard to resist 78 minutes of wonderful music, wonderfully played and recorded, and offered at budget price. Why not give it a try?
Copyright © 2005 Graham Williams and HRAudio.net