Marin Alsop shows why she is one of the most sought after conductors of the moment with this splendid new recording of Dvorák's evergreen Ninth. Coming hot on the heels of a well accepted symphony cycle by Brahms, this Baltimore based artist demonstrates that she has the power and élan to go with Dvorák's demanding music and with over a hundred recordings available, hers rises amongst the very top of the pile.
I have to admit that I was weaned on what remain legendary recordings of the Dvorák cycle under the late lamented Istvan Kertesz in stunning 1960s sound which never fails to thrill. But Alsop is certainly an interpreter of the highest quality as is demonstrated by the magical pace used in the Largo with the wind instruments chirpily intervening and creating a ravishing atmosphere.
Listen -- Largo (Dvorák: Symphony No 9)
(track 3, 8:01-9:23) © 2008 Naxos Rights International Ltd
She is no less forceful in the outer movements though, especially in the transition from Adagio to Allegro molto in the First Movement which goes along at just the ideal pace. All in all, this is a recording which will make many friends and at the bargain price offered, it is well-nigh unmissable.
The Symphonic Variations prove to be an ideal filler and here Alsop is again at the top of her game. She treats the theme with caressing ardour, and then the variations burst forth with characteristic and ebullient vitality. Again the Baltimore players produce a wonderful sound which truly creates a piece that is full of that party atmosphere which is so characteristic of Dvorák.
Listen -- Finale (Dvorák: Symphonic Variations)
(track 1, 21:18-22:41) © 2008 Naxos Rights International Ltd
Recording, notes and presentation are of the highest quality throughout. This is indeed a disc to cherish and let's hope for more Dvorák from this excellent source in the not too distant future.
Copyright © 19 July 2008
Gerald Fenech, Malta
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Dvorák: Symphony No 9 'From the New World'
8.570714 DDD Stereo NEW RELEASE 64'44" 2008 Naxos Rights International Ltd
Baltimore Symphony Orchestra; Marin Alsop, conductor
Antonín Dvorák (1841-1904): Symphonic Variations Op 78 (1877) (Theme - Variations 1-27 - Finale); Symphony No 9 in E minor Op 95 'From the New World' (1893) (Adagio - Allegro molto; Largo; Molto vivace; Allegro con fuoco)
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