Notes and Editorial Reviews
When this recording was re-leased in SACD format only by Sony back in the early days of that medium, I had this to say about it:
There’s no such thing as a “definitive” recording, but if there were, this one would come close to that imagined ideal. Its special qualities haven’t dimmed a bit in the four decades since it was recorded, and every interpretive decision comes across with the inevitability of fate itself. First, you get the first-movement exposition repeat (very unusual for its time), then there’s the very slow (but still very flowing) Largo, gorgeously played and far from the trudge-fest that Bernstein would make of it in his lousy later recording for DG (a “CD From Hell”
candidate if ever there was one). The scherzo goes like the wind, the fastest ever, and the finale offers simply the last word in excitement. It all sounds better than ever in SACD stereo: brighter, more present, with a sharper rhythmic kick. If you don’t own this performance in some form, then you don’t know the “New World”.
In the intervening years, I see no reason to revise this opinion. If you’re having only one version of this symphony, then this is the one to get. This Bernstein Century reissue sounds perhaps slightly less fullsome than the pure SACD, but we’re talking very small details that may well be irrelevant on individual sound systems. The Carnival Overture and two Slavonic Dances are nice to have, but don’t make a huge difference either. No, the colossal achievement here is the symphony, and if you listen to the opening of the scherzo in the sound sample below, you’ll hear exactly why. It’s simply breathtaking, and so is the whole performance.
--David Hurwitz, ClassicsToday.com
Works on This Recording
Carnival Overture, Op. 92 by Antonín Dvorák
New York Philharmonic
Written: 1891; USA
Date of Recording: 02/01/1965
Venue: Manhattan Center, New York City
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