Notes and Editorial Reviews
Dvorák’s distinctive beauty in superb sound: Kreizberg gives us a cracker
It was unfortunate for Yakov Kreizberg during his period as principal conductor in Bournemouth that he never secured a recording contract as Marin Alsop has so successfully done with her Naxos series. This fine Pentatone issue demonstrates what might have been achieved, had some company been more adventurous. Kreizberg here demonstrates what a fine orchestra the Netherlands Phlharmonic is, even rivalling the Royal Concertgebouw in the refinement and precision of the playing. As usual with Pentatone issues the quality of sound is outstanding, depending on the engineering of
technicians formerly with Philips: there is fine separation and clarity which yet allows for a warm overall ensemble, bringing out the distinctive beauty of Dvorák’s orchestration.
Symphony No 6 in D major in many ways reflects Dvorák’s admiration for Brahms’s Second Symphony in the same key. Yet Kreizberg’s reading consistently brings out the fact that not a bar could have been written by any other composer but Dvorák. Though he allows a marked slowing for the second subject in the first movement (tr 1, 3'00"), Kreizberg’s approach is generally to adopt a steady speed and to allow warmly expressive phrasing within that tempo. He observes the exposition repeat, even though that is a controversial point, Dvorák having expressed a dislike of such repeats. With such an excellent performance as this one welcomes that, with no feeling of excessive length.
The second movement is similarly taken steadily, with the violins exceptionally refined in the beautiful first theme. The extreme dynamic contrast with the central minor key episode is then nicely balanced, and the Furiant third movement has keen sharpness of attack. The “travelling theme” of the finale then brings more reminders of Brahms’s finale in the Second Symphony, leading to an exciting coda.
The Water Goblin makes an ideal coupling, the first of the five graphic symphonic poems on folk stories that Dvorák wrote when he returned from his three years in America. It is worth remembering that soon afterwards Dvorák wrote Rusalka, also involving a Water Goblin, and Kreizberg, helped by the engineers, brings out the extra elaboration of the orchestration. Another outstanding disc from the enterprising Pentatone company.
-- Edward Greenfield, Gramophone [10/2008]
Works on This Recording
Water Goblin, Op. 107/B 195 by Antonín Dvorák
Netherlands Philharmonic Orchestra
Written: 1896; Bohemia
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