Notes and Editorial Reviews
There is no shortage of fine recordings of these two wonderful symphonies, and Charles Mackerras has recorded them both before (in the case of the 8th, more than once). Still, when the music-making is this fine, it's impossible to complain. Mackerras has a gift: he knows how to impart interpretive ideas without ever losing the spontaneity that makes both the music and his performances of it sound perennially fresh. Just listen to the way he shapes the opening of the Eighth's slow movement, or to the tempo adjustments in the raucous coda. Consider the way he avoids any trace of stiffness in the finale of the Seventh but still phrases its opening motive with ear-catching character. Revel in the rush of excitement at the climax of the same
work's first movement, the syncopated rhythm of trumpets and timpani, and that last lick from the horns touched in with effortless clarity. I could go on, but there's no need. This is simply great conducting by a master musician, and the Philharmonia Orchestra gives him exactly what he demands. The live sonics are good, the audience quiet, its enthusiastic applause at the end wholly justified. If you love Dvorák you can't afford to miss this release.
--David Hurwitz, ClassicsToday.com
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