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The package includes a generous two-CD set containing 22 musical excerpts. Since Hurwitz argues so strenuously for versatility, I've selected tracks for listening based primarily on variety and infrequency of performance. It isn't easy, for example, to put together a Czech-speaking cast for the marvelous opera Rusalka. Listen to a portion of 'Song to the Moon' to see if you are a potential convert [CD1 track 10, 3:29-5:06].

Here's an excerpt from Dvorák's Humoresques for piano [listen -- CD2 track 2, 1:32-2:11].

The Requiem too is relatively neglected. It is a beautiful and powerful piece [listen -- CD2 track 6, 10:17-11:51].

I likewise agree that some of Dvorák's infrequently performed symphonies should be heard more often. Try this from the scherzo of the 6th [listen -- CD1 track 2, 6:20-8:07].

I am convinced of Dvorák's exceptional versatility, less certain he was a first-rank genius in every form. But it doesn't matter. He wrote an extraordinary amount of music that is worth listening to without deciding whether it is 'better' or 'worse' than that of Brahms or Shostakovich. If you are not familiar with the breadth and quality of his output, let Hurwitz lead the way. He is a knowledgeable and entertaining guide.

Copyright © 1 February 2007 Ron Bierman, California USA


Unlocking the Masters Series
Dvorák - Romantic Music's Most Versatile Genius

David Hurwitz

Amadeus Press, 2005
ISBN10 1-57467-106-5
180 pages, paperback
Includes two full-length Supraphon CDs


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