Author Topic: Dvorak Symphonies: Complete Sets & Singles  (Read 9201 times)

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Offline TheGSMoeller

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Dvorak Symphonies: Complete Sets & Singles
« on: September 21, 2013, 04:11:22 PM »
I'm interested in exploring all of Dvorak's symphonies, I could whistle and hum the entire Nos. 8 and 9, and even the opening theme to No. 1 "The Bells of Zlonice" (which is a pretty awesome theme), but really want to know the others just as well. I would like to get a complete set if there is one that is affordable, or complete it with single discs.
And please include your favorite recordings of Nos. 8 & 9, I would like to expand my collection of these two also.

Thanks, friends.  ;D

Offline Todd

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Re: Dvorak Symphonies: Complete Sets & Singles
« Reply #1 on: September 21, 2013, 04:17:37 PM »
For complete sets, I rather fancy Kubelik and Suitner.  Additional 8ths of note for me are Szell, Mackerras, and Chung.  For the 9th, I still enjoy Bernstein's CBS/Sony, Szell, Mackerras, Ancerl, and Giulini's DG recording, which has string playing of almost unmatched beauty.  (The recording is clearly multi-miked, but this is a case where more is definitely more.)

May I also mention Ancerl's Sixth, and Chung's, for that matter.  Well, I did.
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Offline TheGSMoeller

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Re: Dvorak Symphonies: Complete Sets & Singles
« Reply #2 on: September 21, 2013, 04:19:18 PM »
For complete sets, I rather fancy Kubelik and Suitner.  Additional 8ths of note for me are Szell, Mackerras, and Chung.  For the 9th, I still enjoy Bernstein's CBS/Sony, Szell, Mackerras, Ancerl, and Giulini's DG recording, which has string playing of almost unmatched beauty.  (The recording is clearly multi-miked, but this is a case where more is definitely more.)

May I also mention Ancerl's Sixth, and Chung's, for that matter.  Well, I did.

Which Mackerras 8th, Todd? I think I've seen a few including a live one from LPO that I really enjoyed.

Thanks!

Offline Todd

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Re: Dvorak Symphonies: Complete Sets & Singles
« Reply #3 on: September 21, 2013, 04:20:43 PM »
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Online North Star

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Re: Dvorak Symphonies: Complete Sets & Singles
« Reply #4 on: September 21, 2013, 04:22:31 PM »
My favourite 9th is probably this one,  Neumann & CzPO from 1994 on Denon, available at Symphonyshare. The new Andris Nelsons recording isn't too bad either, though..

Quote
Dvorak 9, Vaclav Neumann, Czech Philharmonic Orchestra rec 11-12
December 1993 Rudolfinum Dvorak Hall, Prague (Live recording at the
concert in celebration of the centenary of the first performance of
the New World Symphony).  DENON CO-75968.  Recorded by single stereo-
pair microphone technique.
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kyjo

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Re: Dvorak Symphonies: Complete Sets & Singles
« Reply #5 on: September 21, 2013, 04:29:46 PM »
Hard to beat Kertesz and the LSO in the Dvorak symphonies IMO. Such idiomatic performances:



I also hold high regard for Suitner's underrated cycle, as well as Rowicki's free-flowing, natural-sounding interpretations and Neumann's spirited performances. Just be aware that the sound quality on the Neumann set isn't quite up to modern standards.

   

   



If you just want one cycle, though, go with the Kertesz. You won't be sorry. :)

Parsifal

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Re: Dvorak Symphonies: Complete Sets & Singles
« Reply #6 on: September 21, 2013, 05:39:55 PM »
My favorite cycle would be the Rowicki, London Symphony on Philips (now marked as Decca).  For individual discs, I love the Dorati 7th on Mercury Living Presence, the Karajan BPO on EMI (a very dark reading of the work) and Karajan, WPO, on Decca.

DavidW

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Re: Dvorak Symphonies: Complete Sets & Singles
« Reply #7 on: September 21, 2013, 06:01:09 PM »
Rowicki for a complete set.  I like the other Neumann recordings for individual ones (I think he did them twice), as well as Dohnanyi. 

Offline Daverz

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Re: Dvorak Symphonies: Complete Sets & Singles
« Reply #8 on: September 21, 2013, 06:02:55 PM »
Szell for 7 and Rowicki for 4-6.

Offline Brian

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Re: Dvorak Symphonies: Complete Sets & Singles
« Reply #9 on: September 21, 2013, 06:32:40 PM »
My home turf, Greg!! I own almost every cycle out there (all but Kubelik, basically), although I haven't yet heard Kertesz all the way through (recent acquisition).

Top choices per symphony.

1: no choice here; not a big fan of this work. For what it's worth, Kubelik publicly expressed a dislike of this work as well, which suggests you maybe shouldn't listen to his recording.
2: the "back half" of this symphony is where Dvorak really comes into his own and starts to show off his mature musical language. The scherzo and finale are as chipper, Czech, and vibrantly scored as the Slavonic Dances; the big difference between this and 7-9 comes in emotional weight. I'm a big fan of the recordings that are rhythmically sharpest and "dance-iest": Suitner, Anguelov, Neumann, and Gunzenhauser, although Suitner has some minor cuts. (Neumann might too.) Anguelov may well rank #1 here.
3: look for slow movements lasting 15+ minutes for maximum dramatic impact. I'm a huge fan of Neumann and Rowicki in this symphony and those are the two top picks; shout out to Suitner as well.
4: another strong point for Neumann and one of the best parts of Gunzenhauser's cycle, although it's coupled with Gunz's 8th, which might be the dullest 8th ever recorded.
5: at first I disliked Rowicki here but I've become a big fan. Suitner, Neumann, Kertesz, and Anguelov are also meritorious.
6: another win for Rowicki, but the grand prize is a tie between the gorgeous Suitner and Mackerras readings. Well, and this is also a Kubelik specialty. Ancerl's terrific. The recent Alsop is the only Alsop Dvorak worth having (that is to say, it is worth having, but maybe as a fourth or fifth recording). It's also a rare high point for Gunzenhauser, who takes the first movement very quickly (12 minutes).
7: goodness gracious. My #1 favorite since Day 1 has been the relatively slow but disturbingly dark Bernstein/NYPO (!), but there are also classic accounts by Szell, Suitner, and Kubelik and they are all glorious. I think I remember Neumann being a success too. Alsop is a square, too-Brahmsian failure here, but Gunzenhauser is worst of all. Mackerras/Philharmonia is sadly underwhelming.
8: Mackerras/Prague SO (Todd's rec) is pretty darn good, and so's Szell, but for my ears nothing has ever matched Suitner, with his extra-piquant winds and a first-movement coda that's super-thrilling because he doubles the tempo.
9: Andris Nelsons stormed on the field earlier this year and ran away with my "favorite recording" trophy, leaving the very worthy Kubelik and Suitner empty-handed. If you're in Half Price Books sometime, you'll almost certainly see Gunzenhauser's disc, which is far, far better than it should be and (along with 2 and 6) one of the high points of his cycle. Avoid the unsubtle, angry Karajan (EMI digital).

Top cycle picks:* Neumann and Suitner
*again, bearing in mind I've only heard Kubelik 6-9 and parts of Kertesz
Supplement those with: Rowicki 4-6, Mackerras 6, Kubelik 7-9, Szell 7-9, Bernstein 7, Nelsons 9
Anguelov is only available as a box, but if you can download his 2-4, do so. His whole cycle is actually better than anybody would expect.

[EDITED to add in Mackerras' 6th after Sarge pointed out I forgot it.]
« Last Edit: September 22, 2013, 05:26:34 AM by Brian »

kyjo

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Re: Dvorak Symphonies: Complete Sets & Singles
« Reply #10 on: September 21, 2013, 06:48:38 PM »
For nos. 7-9, it doesn't get much better than Szell:



Absolutely thrilling performances!

Offline Brian

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Re: Dvorak Symphonies: Complete Sets & Singles
« Reply #11 on: September 21, 2013, 06:55:09 PM »
By the way, the Smetana Quartet orchestrated by Szell himself is a HUGE bonus, like having a tenth symphony.

kyjo

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Re: Dvorak Symphonies: Complete Sets & Singles
« Reply #12 on: September 21, 2013, 07:17:51 PM »
By the way, the Smetana Quartet orchestrated by Szell himself is a HUGE bonus, like having a tenth symphony.

I totally agree! Szell really gave this work a new dimension in his orchestration.

Offline mc ukrneal

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Re: Dvorak Symphonies: Complete Sets & Singles
« Reply #13 on: September 21, 2013, 09:05:42 PM »
6: another win for Rowicki, but the grand prize has to go to the gorgeous Suitner reading. Well, and this is also a Kubelik specialty. Ancerl's terrific. The recent Alsop is the only Alsop Dvorak worth having (that is to say, it is worth having, but maybe as a fourth or fifth recording). It's also a rare high point for Gunzenhauser, who takes the first movement very quickly (12 minutes).
Have you heard Dohnanyi/Cleveland in this one? He's an absolute must. Jansons is pretty good in #5.

I like the Rowicki - it has a number of strong contenders, particularly the early and middle symphonies. Suitner has gotten a lot of attention at GMG as well.
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Offline Peregrine

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Re: Dvorak Symphonies: Complete Sets & Singles
« Reply #14 on: September 22, 2013, 12:22:52 AM »
My favourite 9th is probably this one,  Neumann & CzPO from 1994 on Denon, available at Symphonyshare. The new Andris Nelsons recording isn't too bad either, though..


gorgeous performance.
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Drasko

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Re: Dvorak Symphonies: Complete Sets & Singles
« Reply #15 on: September 22, 2013, 12:55:14 AM »
For complete set Neumann's analogue CzPO (the purple box). I was very taken by it, idiomatic, unforced, singing, detailed with orchestral balances very precise and beautifully judged (one of Neumann's stronger suits).

As for some singles, I like:

5th-6th-7th - Karel Sejna/CzPO - Supraphon
6th - Kubelik/BRSO - Orfeo
7th - Ivan Fischer/BFO - Channel Classics
8th & 9th - Talich/CzPO (50s recordings) - Supraphon 
9th - Harnoncourt/Concertgebouw - Teldec

Offline TheGSMoeller

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Re: Dvorak Symphonies: Complete Sets & Singles
« Reply #16 on: September 22, 2013, 02:03:26 AM »
Ahh! So much to chew on, thank you all for participating.  ;D

But don't quit, keep the discussions going!

Offline k a rl h e nn i ng

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Re: Dvorak Symphonies: Complete Sets & Singles
« Reply #17 on: September 22, 2013, 03:07:37 AM »
Very much enjoying this thread.
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Offline Henk

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Re: Dvorak Symphonies: Complete Sets & Singles
« Reply #18 on: September 22, 2013, 03:11:20 AM »
Very much enjoying this thread.

There should be definitely a Jansons in it! ;)
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Offline Henk

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Re: Dvorak Symphonies: Complete Sets & Singles
« Reply #19 on: September 22, 2013, 03:24:59 AM »
Sounds good, Annie!
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