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Dvorak: Complete Symphonies, Orchestral Works

Dvorak / Berlin / Suitner / Janacek Pco / Farrer
Release Date: 06/25/2013 
Label:  Brilliant Classics   Catalog #: 94671   Spars Code: DDD 
Composer:  Antonín Dvorák
Conductor:  Otmar SuitnerTheodore KucharJohn Farrer
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Berlin Staatskapelle OrchestraOstrava Janácek Philharmonic OrchestraRoyal Philharmonic Orchestra
Number of Discs: 9 
Recorded in: Stereo 
In Stock: Usually ships in 24 hours.  

Notes and Editorial Reviews

Spread over nine CDs, this release represents a treasure trove of works by Dvorák, dedicated to and featuring the best of his orchestral music. The composer stands as the most popular of the Czech nationalist movement, one who despite German influences (Dvorák counted Brahms and Wagner among his inspirations) became a byword in the assimilation of folk roots into serious musical composition. Not only did he use existing melodies, but he composed his own folk-based themes too.

Apart from the nine symphonies, which of course include the enduringly popular 'New World', written during the composer's sojourn in America, the compilation also features a series of overtures (such as the famous Carnival Overture, an
Read more exuberant celebration of human life at its best), tone poems (A Hero's Song, which is a sort of Czech equivalent to Strauss's somewhat later Ein Heldenleben, and four gruesome folk ballads which represent the composer's Indian Summer, among others), the famous Czech Suite which has a Mozart Serenade quality about it, and the two sets of Slavonic Dances -- the first of which represents a tribute from the younger composer to Brahms's own Hungarian Dances and firmly established Dvorák as a leader of the new Czech national school.

Performing these works is a trio of great ensembles: the Staatskapelle Berlin under their esteemed director of 26 years, Otmar Suitner; The Janácek Philharmonic Orchestra -- natural experts in this type of repertoire; and the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, performing under the baton of John Farrer. The edition is an excellent addition to the Brilliant Classics orchestral catalogue and records a crucial facet of the output of one of Europe's most famous composers.

Other information:
- Recorded in 1979--2004.
- An excellent bargain set in the best Brilliant Classics tradition: the complete symphonies, symphonic poems, overtures and Slavonic Dances of Antonin Dvorák.
- The set contains all the symphonic works which made Dvorak one of the best and universally loved romantic composers (and who knew how to write a good tune!): the 9-th symphony "From the New World" (one of the most popular symphonies ever written), the charming Czech Suite, haunting symphonic poems (Noon Witch, the Water Goblin) and the exhilarating complete Slavonic Dances. Music pouring from a warm and fiercely beating heart, in which the folklore music of Dvorák's home country is never far away.
- Excellent performances by the Berlin Staatskapelle/Otmar Suitner, the Janacek Philharmonic/Theodore Kuchar and the Royal Philharmonic/John Farrer.
- Contains notes on the composer and the music.

R E V I E W:

This Brilliant Classics box combines three different sets: Otmar Suitner’s excellent cycle of the complete symphonies (originally on Berlin Classics); Theodore Kuchar’s very good series of tone poems and overtures (Brilliant Classics); and John Farrer’s noisy and vulgar Slavonic Dances (originally on ASV). Aside from the unidiomatic set of dances, the set is well worth owning. Suitner’s versions of the symphonies came as a big and really happy surprise. Sample the vitality and freshness Suitner brings to the scherzo of the Second Symphony (first sound clip), or the dramatic power at the climax of the Seventh’s first movement (second clip). The performances are all of a piece: vibrant, propulsive, wonderfully played, without a single dead spot or interpretive misstep. They belong in any serious Dvorák collection.

Kuchar’s collection of the five late tone poems plus all of the major concert overtures, the Czech Suite, and the Symphonic Variations, is also impressive, particularly this latter work, which receives arguably its most exciting performance on disc (third clip). The only down side is the sometimes rough playing of the Janácek Philharmonic Orchestra. It’s never less than good, and sometimes (Variations and Czech Suite) much better than that, but this is obviously an orchestra of second calibre, and the interpretations would have really left their mark had they been blessed with a truly top-notch ensemble.

The engineering in the symphonies is excellent, save for a creaking chair in the Fourth Symphony that is quite annoying. Kuchar’s set has an odd balance or two, but otherwise gets the job done sonically. Farrer’s Dances are excessively bright and favor the percussion, to the music’s misfortune. The rating ignores the Dances in favor of the eight other discs of wholly positive music making.

-- David Hurwitz, ClassicsToday.com
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Works on This Recording

1.
Symphony no 1 in C minor, B 9 "The Bells of Zlonice" by Antonín Dvorák
Conductor:  Otmar Suitner
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Berlin Staatskapelle Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1869; Bohemia 
2.
Symphony no 2 in B flat major, Op. 4/B 12 by Antonín Dvorák
Conductor:  Otmar Suitner
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Berlin Staatskapelle Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1865; Bohemia 
3.
Symphony no 3 in E flat major, Op. 10/B 34 by Antonín Dvorák
Conductor:  Otmar Suitner
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Berlin Staatskapelle Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1873; Bohemia 
4.
Symphony no 4 in D minor, Op. 13/B 41 by Antonín Dvorák
Conductor:  Otmar Suitner
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Berlin Staatskapelle Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1874; Bohemia 
5.
Symphony no 5 in F major, Op. 76/B 54 by Antonín Dvorák
Conductor:  Otmar Suitner
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Berlin Staatskapelle Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1875; Bohemia 
6.
Symphony no 6 in D major, Op. 60/B 112 by Antonín Dvorák
Conductor:  Otmar Suitner
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Berlin Staatskapelle Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1880; Bohemia 
7.
Symphony no 7 in D minor, Op. 70/B 141 by Antonín Dvorák
Conductor:  Otmar Suitner
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Berlin Staatskapelle Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1884-1885; Bohemia 
8.
Symphony no 8 in G major, Op. 88/B 163 by Antonín Dvorák
Conductor:  Otmar Suitner
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Berlin Staatskapelle Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1889; Bohemia 
9.
Symphony no 9 in E minor, Op. 95/B 178 "From the New World" by Antonín Dvorák
Conductor:  Otmar Suitner
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Berlin Staatskapelle Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1893; USA 
10.
Czech Suite in D major, Op. 39/B 93 by Antonín Dvorák
Conductor:  Theodore Kuchar
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Ostrava Janácek Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1879; Bohemia 
Venue:  Ostrava, Czech Republic 
Length: 21 Minutes 49 Secs. 
11.
My Home Overture, Op. 62/B 125a by Antonín Dvorák
Conductor:  Theodore Kuchar
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Ostrava Janácek Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1882; Bohemia 
Venue:  Ostrava, Czech Republic 
Length: 8 Minutes 57 Secs. 
12.
Hussite Overture, Op. 67/B 132 by Antonín Dvorák
Conductor:  Theodore Kuchar
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Ostrava Janácek Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1883; Bohemia 
Venue:  Ostrava, Czech Republic 
Length: 12 Minutes 28 Secs. 
13.
In Nature's Realm Overture, Op. 91 by Antonín Dvorák
Conductor:  Theodore Kuchar
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Ostrava Janácek Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1891; USA 
Venue:  Ostrava, Czech Republic 
Length: 13 Minutes 40 Secs. 
14.
Othello Overture, Op. 93 by Antonín Dvorák
Conductor:  Theodore Kuchar
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Ostrava Janácek Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1891-1892 
Venue:  Ostrava, Czech Republic 
Length: 14 Minutes 8 Secs. 
15.
Symphonic Variations for Orchestra, Op. 78/B 70 by Antonín Dvorák
Conductor:  Theodore Kuchar
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Ostrava Janácek Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1877; Bohemia 
Venue:  Ostrava, Czech Republic 
Length: 20 Minutes 26 Secs. 
16.
Carnival Overture, Op. 92 by Antonín Dvorák
Conductor:  Theodore Kuchar
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Ostrava Janácek Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1891; USA 
Venue:  Ostrava, Czech Republic 
Length: 8 Minutes 47 Secs. 
17.
Water Goblin, Op. 107/B 195 by Antonín Dvorák
Conductor:  Theodore Kuchar
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Ostrava Janácek Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1896; Bohemia 
Venue:  Ostrava, Czech Republic 
Length: 20 Minutes 0 Secs. 
18.
Noon Witch, Op. 108/B 196 by Antonín Dvorák
Conductor:  Theodore Kuchar
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Ostrava Janácek Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1896; Bohemia 
Venue:  Ostrava, Czech Republic 
Length: 13 Minutes 38 Secs. 
19.
Golden Spinning Wheel, Op. 109 by Antonín Dvorák
Conductor:  Theodore Kuchar
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Ostrava Janácek Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1896; Bohemia 
Venue:  Ostrava, Czech Republic 
Length: 26 Minutes 11 Secs. 
20.
Wood Dove, Op. 110/B 198 by Antonín Dvorák
Conductor:  Theodore Kuchar
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Ostrava Janácek Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1896; Bohemia 
Venue:  Ostrava, Czech Republic 
Length: 20 Minutes 2 Secs. 
21.
Heroic Song for Orchestra, Op. 111/B 199 by Antonín Dvorák
Conductor:  Theodore Kuchar
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Ostrava Janácek Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1897; Bohemia 
Venue:  Ostrava, Czech Republic 
Length: 19 Minutes 44 Secs. 
22.
Slavonic Dances (8) for Orchestra, Op. 46/B 83 by Antonín Dvorák
Conductor:  John Farrer
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Royal Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1878; Bohemia 
23.
Slavonic Dances (8) for Orchestra, Op. 72/B 147 by Antonín Dvorák
Conductor:  John Farrer
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Royal Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1886-1887; Bohemia 

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