Author Topic: Dvorak's Symphonies  (Read 18680 times)

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Mark

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Dvorak's Symphonies
« on: August 31, 2007, 01:56:19 PM »
Okay, I know we've had detailed discussions about these works in the past, but not (I think) on this new forum. So, let's discuss both individual recordings and complete cycles, promote favourites, lambast the worst on record and generally disagree on which versions come out on top. Like we do with all other bodies of work, basically. ;)

In all seriousness, I'm starting this thread because I'm warming to these symphonies (yes, even the early ones) much more than I did the first couple of attempts I had at getting to know them. I have Colin Davis and the LSO to thank for this in part: the not-so-old LSO Live recordings of Symphonies Nos. 6-9 have really made me look anew at the cycle as a whole. I don't currently own any of the sets or singles previously praised as top choices, so I'd be interested to hear your views on which discs you own and, more importantly, enjoy.

Thanks in advance. :)

hornteacher

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Re: Dvorak's Symphonies
« Reply #1 on: August 31, 2007, 03:34:06 PM »
Ding!  Ding!  Ding!  You just hit the jackpot with me.  I've been doing score studies on several Dvorak Symphonies recently and have really started exploring the earlier works.  I stumbled across a cycle which I posted about somewhere else on GMG, but I'll mention it here.

This set by Ivan Anguelov and the Czecho-Slovak Radio Symphony was a real unexpected treat.  A great cycle all the way around, but especially in the first six symphonies.

For individual recordings, I found Levine's CSO recording of the 7th to be outstanding, especially in the brass.

http://www.arkivmusic.com/classical/album.jsp?album_id=4627

For the 8th and 9th, I love Mackerras with the Prague Symphony Orchestra:

http://www.arkivmusic.com/classical/album.jsp?album_id=118764

It's #2 on my list of desert island CDs (just below his Beethoven Cycle).

Dvorak's earlier symphonies don't get nearly as much attention as they should.  The 4th, 5th, and 6th are especially good and should be performed more in my opinion.
« Last Edit: August 31, 2007, 03:36:36 PM by hornteacher »

Offline edward

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Re: Dvorak's Symphonies
« Reply #2 on: August 31, 2007, 05:01:28 PM »
Dvorak's earlier symphonies don't get nearly as much attention as they should.  The 4th, 5th, and 6th are especially good and should be performed more in my opinion.
Can't say I know all that much about recordings of the Dvorak symphonies--so I won't offer an opinion on them--but I'd just like to second this view of the value of the 6th. I know some consider it a "transitional" work but it's my second favourite in the cycle after the 7th.
"I don't at all mind actively disliking a piece of contemporary music, but in order to feel happy about it I must consciously understand why I dislike it. Otherwise it remains in my mind as unfinished business."
 -- Aaron Copland, The Pleasures of Music

mahlertitan

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Re: Dvorak's Symphonies
« Reply #3 on: August 31, 2007, 05:56:16 PM »
My favorite is the 4th, so go have another listen.

hornteacher

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Re: Dvorak's Symphonies
« Reply #4 on: August 31, 2007, 06:20:25 PM »
Can't say I know all that much about recordings of the Dvorak symphonies--so I won't offer an opinion on them--but I'd just like to second this view of the value of the 6th. I know some consider it a "transitional" work but it's my second favourite in the cycle after the 7th.

Yes, and the 6th historically was the most popular of his works until the New World debuted.  Dvorak conducted the 6th on his visits to London and Moscow where in both cities it was a smash hit.  In the case of the London performance, it led to the commission of what became the 7th Symphony.
« Last Edit: August 31, 2007, 06:22:33 PM by hornteacher »

Offline RebLem

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Re: Dvorak's Symphonies
« Reply #5 on: August 31, 2007, 06:36:25 PM »
I recommend the Kubelik/BPO DGG box as a basic reference standard with superb performances of everything.

Supplement it with the Ancerl 6, 8, & 9, the Szell/Cleveland 7, 8, & 9 on Sony, and the Zdenek Macal 9th with the LPO on the budget Classics for Pleasure label.  Other fine 9ths are the Reiner/CSO & the Giulini/CSO.
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BorisG

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Re: Dvorak's Symphonies
« Reply #6 on: August 31, 2007, 06:52:35 PM »
4 & 5 Suitner, 6 & 8 Chung, 7 Bernstein, 9 Harnoncourt.

mahlertitan

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Re: Dvorak's Symphonies
« Reply #7 on: August 31, 2007, 08:32:23 PM »
nobody likes Neumann here?

Offline Daverz

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Re: Dvorak's Symphonies
« Reply #8 on: August 31, 2007, 10:21:35 PM »
nobody likes Neumann here?

I do.  Partcularly for the Czech Philharmonic.

Offline val

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Re: Dvorak's Symphonies
« Reply #9 on: September 01, 2007, 03:54:05 AM »
My favorites:

1 - Rowicki, LSO

2, 3 - Kubelik, BPO

4 - Kertesz, LSO

5 - Karel Sejna, CzPO / Rowicki, LSO / Kertesz LSO.

6 - Kertesz, LSO / Talich, CzPO / Kubelik BPO.

7 - Monteux, LSO / Kubelik, BPO / Dorati, LSO / Giulini, LPO.

8 - Kubelik, BPO / Dorati, LSO / Giulini, Philharmonia

9 - Ancerl, CzPO / Giulini, Philharmonia / Toscanini, NBC

Offline Lethevich

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Re: Dvorak's Symphonies
« Reply #10 on: September 01, 2007, 01:50:12 PM »
It seems that I keep banging on about Neumann/CzPO every time this thread appears, hehe... It's early 80s I think, but sounds VERY good considering the usual poor quality you get on 80s classical recordings and I don't notice its age when listening. The interps are also an effective antidote to some overly slow performances which can be ok (Giulini) or bad (Davis). When I bought the full set it came in 3x wide 2CD cases with 3 syms in each (with one sym split over both discs, unfortunately, but so many ways to get around this issue nowadays), so warning to people with shelf space issues. This also implies that they may be buyable seperately so a person can avoid the one with the first 3 if they don't like them. I consider the newer Supraphon box with Válek a bit of a dud, as it offers nothing better than Neumann, interpretation-wise, and is also piecemeal, studio with a few lives mixed in.
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Offline beclemund

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Re: Dvorak's Symphonies
« Reply #11 on: September 03, 2007, 09:35:37 AM »


I have always enjoyed this recording. I have the Davis LSO 6-9 set and a few Jansons with the Oslo-Filharmonien (5, 7 and 8 ) as well and while it has been some time since I last paid attention to Dvořák's symphonies, I do enjoy the later ones quite a bit. I have not ever heard his early symphonies, however.
"A guilty conscience needs to confess. A work of art is a confession." -- Albert Camus

Michel

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Re: Dvorak's Symphonies
« Reply #12 on: September 03, 2007, 01:32:12 PM »
Don't let anyone recommend you the Kertesz box set, there is a lot better out there.

Ancerl is great, better than Neumann for me on the 'organic' front. Ancerl's 9th is really cool, on Supraphon.

Offline Bonehelm

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Re: Dvorak's Symphonies
« Reply #13 on: September 04, 2007, 12:36:25 AM »
When it comes to the 8th and 9th, no one does it better than Karajan. It's a no brainer-purchase. :)

Hector

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Re: Dvorak's Symphonies
« Reply #14 on: September 04, 2007, 07:17:41 AM »
When it comes to the 8th and 9th, no one does it better than Karajan. It's a no brainer-purchase. :)

I had his 9th.

I'd say boneheaded rather than no-brainer.

Plenty of fine recordings of the 9th including Jarvi pere and Bernstein.

Offline Lethevich

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Re: Dvorak's Symphonies
« Reply #15 on: September 04, 2007, 07:24:31 AM »
Don't let anyone recommend you the Kertesz box set, there is a lot better out there.

Ancerl is great, better than Neumann for me on the 'organic' front. Ancerl's 9th is really cool, on Supraphon.

Hehe, how strange - we both like and dislike the same things. The Kertesz provoked a very negative reaction from me when I heard two discs, for some reason. I really found something repellant about it ??? :-X
Peanut butter, flour and sugar do not make cookies. They make FIRE.

DavidW

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Re: Dvorak's Symphonies
« Reply #16 on: September 05, 2007, 03:56:16 AM »
Don't let anyone recommend you the Kertesz box set, there is a lot better out there.

Ancerl is great, better than Neumann for me on the 'organic' front. Ancerl's 9th is really cool, on Supraphon.

Yeah Ancerl's recordings are the best imo.

Offline Bonehelm

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Re: Dvorak's Symphonies
« Reply #17 on: September 05, 2007, 04:05:32 PM »
I had his 9th.

I'd say boneheaded rather than no-brainer.

Plenty of fine recordings of the 9th including Jarvi pere and Bernstein.

That's just your sad little opinion  ::)

Lilas Pastia

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Re: Dvorak's Symphonies
« Reply #18 on: September 05, 2007, 05:31:03 PM »
Just purchased 6 and 9 with Thomas Dausgaard and the Swedish Chamber Orchestra. On the strength of a review of their Schumann 2 and 4 disc (which I bought as well). What the reviewer mentioned seemed particularly relevant to what I'm looking for in these works. Anybody heard those??

Michel

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Re: Dvorak's Symphonies
« Reply #19 on: September 06, 2007, 09:37:02 AM »
There is nothing special about Karajan's 9th...except the last movement has its good points.

But you've obviously not heard other recordings if you think that Karajan is great here.

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