Notes and Editorial Reviews
Paavo Berglund's 1979 Dresden recording of Smetana's Má Vlast appeared in EMI's double-forte series and is now released by itself on Seraphim. Bargain Má Vlasts don't get better than this. Its sumptuous sonics, for one, bring out all the warmth and evocative textures of Smetena's orchestration. Only the percussion seems undermiked. By contrast, Vysehrad's famous harp opening is overly spotlit in proportion to its surroundings. But who can resist the gilded elegance of the Dresden Staatskapelle's brass section, or its darkly alluring winds (so different from their more tart-sounding Czech Philharmonic counterparts on Supraphon). Berglund lets the burnished strings sing their collective hearts out, yet their rich sonority never cloys.
Sometimes Berglund's tempo changes and transitions lack breathing room and dramatic clarity. At the same time, his direct approach to the cycle's concluding movements prevent the music's nationalist countenance from spilling into jingoism. For a few extra dollars, the more transparent and incisive Dorati/Concertgebouw and Ancerl/Czech Philharmonic versions rank with Kubelik's soulful, valedictory live recording (also with the Czech Philharmonic). At budget price, though, Berglund's beefier traversal is a veritable steal. Go for it.
--Jed Distler, ClassicsToday.com Read less
Works on This Recording
Má vlast by Bedrich Smetana
Written: 1874; Czech Republic
Má vlast (1995 Digital Remaster): Vysehrad, B110 (c1872-74)
Má vlast (1995 Digital Remaster): Vltava, B111 (1874)
Má vlast (1995 Digital Remaster): sárka, B113 (1875)
Má vlast (1995 Digital Remaster): From Bohemia's fields and groves, B114 (1875)
Má vlast (1995 Digital Remaster): Tábor, B120 (1878)
Má vlast (1995 Digital Remaster): Blaník, B121 (1879)
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