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Dvorak: Symphony No 8, Etc; Smetana / Bruno Walter

Dvorak / Smetana / Npco / Walter
Release Date: 02/27/2007 
Label:  Idi   Catalog #: 6509  
Composer:  Antonín DvorákBedrich Smetana
Conductor:  Bruno Walter
Orchestra/Ensemble:  New York PhilharmonicLondon Symphony Orchestra
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Mono 
Length: 0 Hours 53 Mins. 

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Notes and Editorial Reviews

DVO?ÁK Symphony No. 8. Slavonic Dance, op. 46/1. SMETANA The Moldau. The Bartered Bride: Overture 1 Bruno Walter, cond; New York P; London SO 1 ISTITUTO DISCOGRAFICO ITALIANO 6509 (53:28)

Traditionally, performances of the Dvo?ák Eighth take one of two approaches. Either the conductor Read more regards it as a pastoral idyll between the serious matters of the Seventh and Ninth, meant to be lingered over, lyrically; or the symphony is seen as part of that same continuum, dramatic in character and assertive in treatment. Walter gives us the latter, in spades.

It is a crisply played 1947 reading by the New York Philharmonic in fine form, tightly focused, with tempos on the fast side. Despite its momentum, sufficient flexibility remains in the pulse to keep it from sounding mechanical, and to permit Walter to decelerate occasionally—midway through the finale, for example, right before the return of the main theme. Phrasing is precise, yet singing when required.

The Slavonic Dance from 1941 is spacious and well judged in concept, if slightly ragged in playing. Much the same can be said of The Moldau , which never loses sight of the bass line under the main theme for even a second, unlike more than a few other recorded readings. The central section is slightly slower than average, with a slightly subdued but lyrical air, giving it more weight than is usually the case. Finally, the Overture to The Bartered Bride (from 1938) is again somewhat leisurely in tempo but attentive to detail.

The Symphony No. 8 would appear to originate in a Japanese Sony CD or Educational Media Associates LP without credit provided, given the expert edit of a jumped groove in the Symphony’s finale. (IDI doesn’t do edits. It’s one of those minimalist “give us a source and we’ll issue it” operations.) High frequencies are constricted and the venue as recorded sounds a bit airless, but surfaces are clean, and breakup is minimal. The others are equally good, except for the Overture, which suffers from poor equalization, displaying as a result both high frequency hiss and a slight hum in the bass. Slender notes with a potted history of Bruno Walter’s conducting career are included.

Nice as the other material is to have available once more, the only reason to get this relatively short album is the Symphony. It’s difficult to find other reissues of it in the US, and despite the sound, it gives credence to that old cliché about riveting performances. As an example of Walter in a fiery mood, it’s one of the best.

FANFARE: Barry Brenesal
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Works on This Recording

Symphony no 8 in G major, Op. 88/B 163 by Antonín Dvorák
Conductor:  Bruno Walter
Orchestra/Ensemble:  New York Philharmonic
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1889; Bohemia 
Date of Recording: 1947 
Slavonic Dances (8) for Orchestra, Op. 46/B 83: no 1 in C major, Furiant by Antonín Dvorák
Conductor:  Bruno Walter
Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Symphony Orchestra,  New York Philharmonic
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1878; Bohemia 
Date of Recording: 1941 
Bartered Bride, B 143/T 93: Overture by Bedrich Smetana
Conductor:  Bruno Walter
Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Symphony Orchestra,  New York Philharmonic
Written: 1866 
Date of Recording: 1938 
Má vlast: no 2, Moldau, T 111 by Bedrich Smetana
Conductor:  Bruno Walter
Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Symphony Orchestra,  New York Philharmonic
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1874; Czech Republic 

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