Dvorak: Symphonies Nos. 7-9
Number of Discs:
1 Hours 54 Mins.
This title is currently unavailable.
Works on This Recording
Symphony no 7 in D minor, Op. 70/B 141 by Antonín Dvorák
Written: 1884-1885; Bohemia
Venue: Rudolfinum Studio, Prague, Czech Republi
Length: 36 Minutes 8 Secs.
Symphony no 8 in G major, Op. 88/B 163 by Antonín Dvorák
Written: 1889; Bohemia
Date of Recording: 04/20/1982
Venue: Rudolfinum Studio, Prague, Czech Republi
Length: 36 Minutes 14 Secs.
Average Customer Review: ( 1 Customer Review )
Neumann bats 3 For 3, leads the Dvorak League October 25, 2014
By Tony Engleton See All My Reviews
"10-24-2014 Vaclav Neumann and the remarkable Czech Philharmonic here conclude their symphonic traversal of the 9 works of this Bohemian wizard. For most fans of Antonin Dvorak, the choices have always been limited to the last 3 Symphonies, the cello concerto, some overtures and a smattering of tone poems and the string quarto and maybe the A major piano quintet as well. Those beloved pieces remain in the table, but anymore we are seeing an increase in intensity regarding some earlier Symphonies, more quartets, some songs and more miscellaneous works. It seems all things "Antonin" is the rage but this is not a fad based writer, but a serious, step by step cautious, comprehensive author of the music of his country's heart and soul. An artist of real substance, whose career was aided by the attention and gracious assistance of Brahms his was by the Schumanns. These final 3 major works were recorded in Prague in October of 1981 and the 20th of April, 1982. The timings for these 3 are thus #7=36:47, #8=35:59 and the 9th runs out to 40:55. For grand total of just under 74 total minutes of sheer majesty, melody and purity of sound. The sonics on all three of these twin packs is first rate from Supraphon, as it basically has been for my short experiences with them. Neumann appears to be a small fellow, fiery in temperament and a passionate lover of his homeland, as most Eastern citizens are. If they're not on your side in warfare, GOOD LUCK, pal. In my old Chicago area High school, many of my classmates came from that part of the globe, their folks having come to America to work in the heavy industries of steel, oil, and heavy manufacturing. They held their routine festivals, invited everyone, sang, danced, ate, drank and toasted the good old US of A, as sincerely as any other immigrants. Heavily Catholic, great cooks and some of the most jovial folks around they built homes, families, sent their kids to college and took not a farthing for granted. My kind of people! So is their music. With apologies to the city of Dresden, the Czech Phil MAY be the premiere orchestra behind the old "iron curtain," not unlike the Helsinki Phil is in Scandinavian lands, edging out the Royal Swedes, the Finnish national, and the various Norse radio orchestras, of note. Known for their meticulous and discerning view of things, they made some of the best precision weapons in the "Skoda Werks," a coveted prize for the Nazis of WWII's bombing efforts, and Czech undercover intelligence was as good as MI5 or the early US FBI or fledgling CIA. ARTISTIC IMPRESSIONS Many listeners say the 7th is a Brahmsian sounding work, but I'm not so sure. Highly melodic, yes, it is quite tunefully played here by Neumann and the CPO. This is a passionate performance, loaded with zest, fire, drama and that irresistible Bohemian energy. Clearly, Vaclav Neumann loves this composition, written when Dvorak was 44, in 1885 and later revised that same year. Dvorak led the premiere in London that 1885 and it was a success. There is, I admit, some influence from the Brahms F Major #3 Symphony, but I wouldn't make too much of it. The opening Allegro Maestoso" has plenty of slash and zest, like a joust between neighbors in a Czech village festival, again playfully "rough 'n tumble," and all in fun. Neumann's tempo is a tad more than 'Maestoso,' but certainly brisk, sparkling, and highly rhythmic and toe-tapping, as it held my interest greatly, producing a constant smile of satisfaction for it's sheer bright, sunny disposition. This wonderful instrument, the CPO is miked superbly as we can hear every orchestral choir, even with the thundering percussion. As it is a very late hour, I am using my Bose noise-canceling phones, but I get the same results piped through my 7.1 Onkyo 9 speaker set up. I get the impression I am on the podium with such "fish bowl" scrutiny, no flub escapes my ears. There are NO such errors, as this is a perfect ensemble playing with great detail and commitment. The "Scherzo--vivace" is a whirling and pounding dance of sheer delight, light, fleet of foot and not too unlike an early Bruckner style, as in his d-minor #3 Symphony. Whimsical and festive for sure, it is followed by a dramatic, triumphant Finale proudly capping this glowing image of Czech gayety and fun. WOW! The Symphony #8 is in G Major and is perhaps my favorite of the 9. THE recording to own, and a tough one to find is the EMI Cleveland with Szell, I finally located on a "great Conductors of the 20th Century" disk for Szell, on EMI. I have the splendid LP, but on CD, it will last forever, as indeed that reading is TH best of them all. but, Neumann and his Czechs still do a fine job. This 1889 36 minute work is , again, as well recorded from April of 1982, as any of the other 9 in this triple 2 CD sets, covering his complete cycle. The climax of the "Allegro con brio," a favorite tempo of Beethoven's, is an magnificent example of zestful counterpoint, and a textbook sampling at that. The accelerating string figures side by side with the charging upper brass, always sends chills of delight and excitement up my spine. Szell's treatment IS better, yes, but Neumann's is on the Doctor's rear bumper. This thrilling passage runs from 06:25 to 07:01, give it a close listening or two. You will be impressed. The combined inner movements offer us about 16 and a half minutes of gently swaying and n. However the 2nd place "Adagio" is more driven than the truly slow pace it calls for, yet this is the standard tempo all the 8ths use, and it always fits well. The swirling, romantic waltz/landler 3rdwarm melodies of enchanting appeal, I had to cease typing and just listen to this segment as a loving dance for two, full of nostalgic tenderness and eye to eye affection, like a wedding dance for the happy couple, lost in each other's eyes and arms. Whew!! For the finale, a simple but highly effective "Allegro ma non troppo suffices. This 10:17 wrap up starts with a 'bugle-call" from trumpet in what should of been a backstage positioning, but is generally an onstage part. The development resembles the future "New World" Symphony a little. But, whereas the 9th's energy seldom wains, this movement allows for gentler sections, emphasizing lyricism rather than the consistant "charging" inertia the composer intended, thus we get opportunities to catch our breath more often in #8. The blazing CPO brass bring about a rousing final flare, springing the audience to it's feet with bravos, well and entirely earned---Bravo!! I conclude with the entry in the all-time top ten list I carry in my head of THE greatest Symphonies, the e-minor 9th, "From the New World." Written in 1892, while the composer was in America, spending a summer in Spillville Iowa, in a Czech community, and terribly homesick, he poured out his feelings dramatically and sincerely with Bohemian folk songs, rhythms and blended in some American ideas, as well. The famous "Largo" runs 11:31 and is, like the 8th's first movement, a gorgeous example of counter point when the lower strings drop down a note, and the higher strings float over them in a hauntingly rich and deeply felt dirge, that has serenaded more than one funeral, such as those of FDR and JFK, one could say, a precursor to the "Adagio for Strings" of Samuel Barber. In this gorgeous slow movement, it opens with a low brass chorale as an introduction, then the haunting, mournful English Horn enters with it's endearing tune over murmuring strings. This can be found between 00:38 and 02:41. The brilliant counter melody in both the upper and lower strings steps gently to the fore between 02:45 AND 04:29, and this is a true breathtaking segment, I cannot let pass only once. A few seconds to catch their breathes, the orchestra then presents what sounds like a trio, of EH, Oboe and flute weaving in , around and within the gentle orchestra, beginning around the 04:29 spot and fading away a few minutes later, leading to an emotional exclamation point in full mf orchestra, which Neumann endows with a moderate weight, unlike so many conductors who slam down their batons, yielding a shocking and even painful burst in our concentration. The opening chorale is recalled for a closing of depth and reverence and it's on to the jaunty Scherzo. Way back in 1979, we moved to a convent as workers, at which my Uncle Tom was a retired Notre Dame history professor and aging Holy Cross priest. He was, also, my music teacher and mentor, the only one I ever had. He taught me HOW to listen and how to analyze music. We had no real money for a good stereo, so, he bought us one and used the Kertesz Scherzo to the 9th to demonstrate it's performance, along with the Khachaturian "Spartacus" suite. This 8:15 Scherzo is highly rhythmic and another whirling, pounding example Again, not unlike the 1873 Bruckner 3rd. As in the 8th of Dvorak, this finale is a blazer with power packed forte orchestra led by that stunning CPO brass choir, as it dashes to a triumphant victorious conclusion. Immediately, I sensed a ort of Slavic "Pledge of Allegiance" from the forte orchestra introduction. Probably thinking his time near an end, he once again, and with strong voice, proclaims himself a "Czech-American" and proudly and thankfully so. VERY, VERY PROUD AND THANKFUL, indeed!! In closing, this is a must set, BUT, the interruption in the 8th to switch CDs is annoying, and the box set for about $24.00 used and each Symphony appears to have it's own full CD. Also, with the same artists, which is vital. Overall, I award this 7, 8 and 9th, a very well earned and deserved 4.75 Stars and a HIGH,HIGH recommendation. Best wishes, God bless and happy listening! Tony. AMDG!!!"