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A discussion of the few commercial recordings Altrichter has made for the Czech Supraphon label with the Prague Symphony Orchestra does not really do him complete justice.

A complete Dvorák Slavonic Dances is highly spoken of, although I have not heard it. A performance of Symphony 9, From the New World from the Spanish Hall, Prague Castle on 28 September 1991, is not comparable with his Henry Wood Prom concert interpretation, although the coupling -- Janácek's Suite from The Cunning Little Vixen, from Smetana Hall, Prague in February 1992, is excellent. Music by Josef Suk -- Praga, Dramatic Overture, Meditation on the Old Czech Chorale Saint Wenceslas, Legend of Dead Victors and Towards a New Life, is highly recommended. Largely pictorial, celebratory music from Suk's early to middle years, it suits Altrichter's many-sided emotional qualities.

Two concerto discs also show his collaborative skills. Firstly, Mendelssohn's Violin Concertos in E minor and D minor with Ivan Zenaty, whose playing gave me pleasure during the 1999 Prague Festival (11 1808-2). The other is even more interesting in revealing his individual treatment of Brahms -- Piano Concerto No 1, Violin Concerto, during the 1992 Prague Festival -- where Lazar Berman and his violinist son Pavel were respective soloists. Lazar's huge tonal spans and brilliant virtuosity are superbly supported by split-second, full-blooded playing by the orchestra, whereas Pavel's smaller scaled, lyrical sweetness is finely caught by refined shaping of the orchestral strands, which makes perfect musical sense (11 1832-2).

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Copyright © 12 July 2001 Bill Newman, Edgware, UK




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