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Dvorak: Symphony No 6; Janacek: Taras Bulba / Dohnanyi

Release Date: 01/24/2008 
Label:  Decca   Catalog #: 430204   Spars Code: DDD 
Composer:  Antonín DvorákLeos Janácek
Conductor:  Christoph von Dohnányi
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Cleveland Orchestra
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Length: 1 Hours 15 Mins. 

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This CD is reissued by ArkivMusic.

Notes and Editorial Reviews

After a gap of four years since his fine readings of the last three symphonies, Dohnanyi here makes a welcome comeback to recording Dvorak in Cleveland, turning to a radiant work that till now has been relatively neglected on CD. This is a superb account of No. 6, if anything even warmer and more passionate than those earlier recordings of the later symphonies, with sound that is equal to Decca's very finest in this venue. With its obvious echoes of the Brahms Symphony No. 2 (also in D major) this is a work which, for all its pastoral overtones, gains from refined playing, and quite apart from the immaculate ensemble, the Cleveland violins play ethereally, as in the melody at the start of the slow movement. Dohnanyi even underlines the Read more likeness with the Brahms No. 2 at the start of the finale, with the opening given a hushed expectancy before blazing out.

Yet in his warmth and freshness he does not miss the earthy qualities of the writing either, and the impact of the performance is greatly enhanced by the fullness and weight of the recording. This now takes precedence over the Jarvi version on Chandos, which for all its rugged strength is less refined and subtly moulded, with less detailed sound. Dohnanyi gains in particular in the second and fourth movements, both with rather more relaxed speeds and more pointed rhythms.

Some will of course prefer Jarvi's rare Dvorak coupling, The noon witch, to Dohnanyi's unexpected—if more generous—makeweight, Taras Bulba. There my comparison has been with another Decca disc, Mackerras's vivid reading with the Vienna Philharmonic. Paradoxically the Cleveland account is the more Viennese in style, more warmly expressive against its opulent background, where Mackerras characterfully persuades his truly Viennese musicians to sound more like Czechs, playing brilliantly with a sharp attack very apt for the composer's music. If Janacek is your first priority, then Mackerras's version, coupled with the Sinfonietta, is the obvious choice, but those who want a radiant account of Dvorak will find comparable joy in the characterful Janacek rhapsody.

-- Edward Greenfield, Gramophone [7/1991]
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Works on This Recording

Symphony no 6 in D major, Op. 60/B 112 by Antonín Dvorák
Conductor:  Christoph von Dohnányi
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Cleveland Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1880; Bohemia 
Date of Recording: 03/1989 
Venue:  Masonic Auditorium, Cleveland, Ohio 
Length: 41 Minutes 47 Secs. 
Taras Bulba by Leos Janácek
Conductor:  Christoph von Dohnányi
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Cleveland Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1915-1918; Brno, Czech Republic 
Date of Recording: 10/1989 
Venue:  Masonic Auditorium, Cleveland, Ohio 
Length: 23 Minutes 44 Secs. 

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