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Dvorak: Symphonies No 3 & 7 / Chung, Vienna Philharmonic


Release Date: 02/03/1997 
Label:  Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog #: 449207   Spars Code: DDD 
Composer:  Antonín Dvorák
Conductor:  Myung-Whun Chung
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Length: 1 Hours 11 Mins. 

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This CD is reissued by ArkivMusic.

Notes and Editorial Reviews

An impressive (and, I think, unique) coupling. Like Rowicki and Suitner (reviewed above) before him, Myung-Whun Chung takes an affectionately fleet-of-foot view of the Third Symphony. With the Vienna Philharmonic on their toes throughout (and audibly enjoying themselves), Chung’s reading is notable for its newly minted freshness and intelligent sense of proportion. So we find that the opening Allegro moderato emerges in shapely, sensitive fashion, yet with no lack of cumulative intensity at its close. In the ideally flowing slow movement Chung locates both dignity and drama. Again, phrasing is always imaginative and thoughtful, while the stately central processional has never sounded more luminously refined in my experience. (Chung’s Read more consummate control of texture here will come as no surprise to anyone who bought his superb DG selection from Prokofiev’s Romeo and Juliet with the Royal Concertgebouw, 10/94). Few, if any grumbles about the finale, either, for these wonderfully accomplished artists bring genuine fire and exhilarating spring to Dvorak’s vernal inspiration. Truth to tell, both my chosen comparative rivals extract just that crucial bit extra feeling of triumphant resolution in the coda. On the whole, though, this DG newcomer is as compelling as any version I know.

Fortunately, the performance of the Seventh shows a marked advance on Chung’s own 1987 recording with the Gothenburg SO. This is an interpretation of red-blooded fervour and rugged contrasts, whose dramatic impact is greatly heightened by the burnished glow of the VPO’s contribution, to say nothing of DG’s enormously ripe, close-knit sound. In Chung’s pungently characterful, ever flexible hands, the first movement progresses with pleasing dignity and purpose, nowhere more striking than in the coda where his decision not to press ahead too soon pays handsome dividends (the clinching final climax blazes to devastating effect). Equally, Chung sees to it that the sublime second subject really takes wing both times round – here is the Viennese warmth and charm which was entirely absent from Maazel’s chilly 1983 recording with the same orchestra.

The succeeding Poco adagio is distinctive, possessing an almost Brucknerian hush and concentration that put me in mind of Sir Colin Davis’s similarly noble 1975 Amsterdam account. Whatever Chung’s Scherzo slightly lacks in home-grown, idiomatic lilt, the arresting vigour and clean-limbed transparency of the playing provide fair compensation. What’s more, as in Belohlavek’s excellent Chandos account from last year, the anxious Trio is voiced with unusual clarity, its many subtle details set in bold relief. The storm-tossed finale is magnificent, a conception of irresistible rigour and muscular conviction (listen to the VPO strings really dig into that stamping subsidiary idea at 1'19''). Contrast, if you will, the felicitously voiced second subject with the sinewy toughness of the ensuing development section. In fact, Chung’s is as gripping a view of this movement I’ve come across since Dorati, Kubelik and Rowicki (the latter’s memorably taut 1971 Philips version with the LSO is temporarily unavailable). One tiny grumble, though: I could have done without those extra trumpets in the truculent final bars (they add a jarring, sensational gloss out of keeping with a display of such profound musicality). Otherwise, Dvorak releases don’t come much more stimulating than this. Do try and hear it.'

-- Andrew Achenbach, Gramophone [5/1997]
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Works on This Recording

1.
Symphony no 3 in E flat major, Op. 10/B 34 by Antonín Dvorák
Conductor:  Myung-Whun Chung
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1873; Bohemia 
2.
Symphony no 7 in D minor, Op. 70/B 141 by Antonín Dvorák
Conductor:  Myung-Whun Chung
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1884-1885; Bohemia 

Customer Reviews

Average Customer Review:  1 Customer Review )
 Great performances, but sad sonics August 3, 2012 By BARRON H. (Austin, TX) See All My Reviews "I have one other of these discs with Chung and my beloved WPO. I love the performances, and really think the maestro treats Dvorak with the kind of intense yet supple strength he deserves.

My only beef with the recording of the 3rd and 7th is the sound: it doesnt have the ring of the Musikverein! The miking is so close up that you cant hear the hall. I dont understand why the engineers dont come up with a formula that works and keep it that way - especially within what appears to be a cycle: same conductor, same orchestra and hall, same basic setup, right?

I had been looking for a rendering of the 7th for a long time that had what I felt to be a really powerful and splendid performance of the final coda and the end of the fourth movement: and Mr. Chung delivers. Too bad the DG engineers cant make up their mind on how to place those mikes!"
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