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No 6 shows its influences rather more, but it is still Dvorák. The opening recalls Brahms 2nd in the same key [listen -- CD 2 track 1, 0:02-1:10] -- a pity that the exposition is not repeated in this recording for it would have been well worth obeying the score's instruction. The finale also begins with the same Brahms symphony in the background and with a similar drive too [listen -- CD 2 track 4, 0:01-1:11]; but both soon break away into his own symphonic world. In this symphony is the first appearance of the furiant, a fast Bohemian dance in which accents are thrown around frequently and which here is used as a scherzo -- Dvorák at his best [listen -- CD 2 track 3, 0:01-0:57].

The first CD also contains the brilliant Scherzo capriccioso, written soon after the 7th Symphony, and his last orchestral work, Hero's Song, a substantial symphonic poem portraying the 'champion of the spirit', a Slav artist. The recording is of a live London performance of No 6 in May 1999 (already issued that summer with the BBC Music Magazine), and studio recordings of the rest in March last year. It may therefore be for technical reasons that the second CD (No 6) at just over 42' (and without the first movement repeat!) might seem to have had space enough for more Dvorák, missing an opportunity to have Belohlávek performances of a couple of the Erben symphonic poems perhaps, matching the first CD duration of about 78'. But this issue is treasure enough.

Copyright © 28 July 2007 Patric Standford, Wakefield UK


Dvorák Symphonies 5 & 6

2564 63235-2 DDD Stereo FIRST RELEASE (2 CDs) 78'02"/42'27" - TT 120'29" 2006 Warner Classics

BBC Symphony Orchestra; Jirí Belohlávek, conductor

Antonín Dvorák (1841-1904): Symphony No 5 in F Op 76 (Allegro ma non troppo; Andante con moto; Scherzo: Allegro scherzando; Finale: Allegro molto); Scherzo capriccioso Op 66; The Hero's Song Op 111; Symphony No 6 in D Op 60 (Allegro non tanto; Adagio; Scherzo (Furiant): Presto; Finale: Allegro con spirito)


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