Notes and Editorial Reviews
Unlike Colin Davis' disappointing remakes of Dvorák Symphonies 7-9, this Sixth bespeaks the freshness of a new discovery, which (discographically speaking) it is for Davis, if not for the LSO, which has recorded the work twice previously in famous versions by Kertesz and (above all) Rowicki. To his credit, Davis doesn't sound much like either, though like his predecessors he does take the rare first-movement exposition repeat that Dvorák later cancelled (mistakenly in my opinion), and that you will never hear on Czech recordings. Davis also brings numerous spontaneous-sounding interpretive touches that I find very appealing: the jazzed-up first-movement coda, for example, and his take-no-prisoners tempo in the scherzo. The
entire finale sings gloriously as well, leading to a thrilling final peroration.
My only reservation concerns the second-movement Adagio, taken extremely slowly and lacking that flowing, improvisational quality that characterizes all of Dvorák's music at this tempo. That said, and despite Davis' sometimes obtrusive vocalizing, the playing is extremely beautiful, with the solo winds obviously giving their all, the brass rich and robust, and internal balances really excellent... The sonics are (as usual with the Barbican) a touch dry, but very clear and never lacking in cohesion.
Recordings of the this symphony aren't common, at least given its value as a major work, and this newcomer takes its place among the best versions available. I'm not going to play the game of which is "best". Ancerl on Supraphon is essential, as I suppose is Rowicki with this same orchestra on Philips, but if you collect this symphony you will definitely want this version just to hear what Davis brings to the party--and if you haven't heard it and are inclined toward these performers, buy with confidence. It's really exciting and lovely by turns, and the very slow Adagio already has begun to grow on me.
--David Hurwitz, ClassicsToday.com
Works on This Recording
Symphony no 6 in D major, Op. 60/B 112 by Antonín Dvorák
Sir Colin Davis
London Symphony Orchestra
Written: 1880; Bohemia
Date of Recording: 09/2004
Venue: Live Barbican Center, London, England
Length: 46 Minutes 19 Secs.
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