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Dvorak: Symphonies 5, 7, 8, 9; Smetana: Moldau / Jansons, Oslo PO

Dvorak / Smetana / Opo / Jansons
Release Date: 12/20/2005 
Label:  Brilliant Classics   Catalog #: 92779   Spars Code: DDD 
Composer:  Antonín DvorákBedrich Smetana
Conductor:  Mariss Jansons
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Oslo Philharmonic Orchestra
Number of Discs: 3 
Recorded in: Stereo 
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Notes and Editorial Reviews

If the coupling appeals this box will serve the listener well and deliver a Dvo?ák that is not merely affable but also lyrically urgent.

Strange … or is it? Brilliant Classics issued the exact same set under EMI licence in more basic style only two years ago. They have done well although the three discs have a slightly lop-sided feel with only four of the Dvo?ák Nine. Looking back at the now almost forgotten old numbering they represent numbers 1, 3, 4, and 5. Had Jansons recorded number 6 the symmetry would have been better. However he departed for pastures fresh before EMI could add the Sixth.

Jansons carved out for himself a reputation as a top-rank Tchaikovskian with his Chandos set of
Read more the six numbered symphonies and Manfred. It’s still a premium item after all these years. Jansons then jumped ship to EMI Classics. These Dvo?ák symphonies represent one of his earliest forays with his new host and rank as pretty much of a success.

Jansons chases selected details of the first movement of number 5 with a fiery urgency. Small gestures are given a keen impetuous edge. Yet there is also warmth. The sound is quite gripping.

Othello is superbly done including a lightning sharpness in the little instrumental flurries at the start. Is it my imagination or does Jansons bring out parallels with Tchaikovsky’s Fifth and Hamlet at circa 3.00? The romance of the score sings in ingenuous candour at 5:34 onwards. In the final gestures Jansons again drives an angry edge into the darker material. The Scherzo Capriccioso is a showcase for the warmth of the recording in the baritonal range. As a reading it shows a tendency to slacken the tension although the grateful folk-dance at 6:10 is a delight as Jansons reasserts his grip.

Coupling symphonies 7 and 8 has been a popular move since the earliest days of the compact disc. These are radiant readings with Jansons making much of the lilt of the third movement of No. 7 and its mildly tragic occlusion of mood. He brings to the Eighth much excitement and snap. Even in the pastoral pipings he keeps the momentum going. His engaging way with the Seventh carries over into the Allegretto grazioso of No. 8. The brass distinguish themselves with their rollicking and rolling roar in the finale.

Finally the Ninth. Interesting that, as with Othello, Jansons brings out parallels with Tchaikovsky – this time the Fifth Symphony. Split-second simultaneity of attack and an easeful way with the many lyrical and reflective moments make this memorable.

The Smetana Vltava is another strong contender with much succulent capital made of the effervescent woodwind as well as the opulent string tone.

If the coupling appeals this box will serve the listener well and deliver a Dvo?ák that is not merely affable but also lyrically urgent.

-- Rob Barnett, MusicWeb International
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Works on This Recording

1.
Symphony no 5 in F major, Op. 76/B 54 by Antonín Dvorák
Conductor:  Mariss Jansons
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Oslo Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1875; Bohemia 
Length: 37 Minutes 14 Secs. 
2.
Othello Overture, Op. 93 by Antonín Dvorák
Conductor:  Mariss Jansons
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Oslo Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1891-1892 
Length: 13 Minutes 47 Secs. 
3.
Scherzo capriccioso, Op. 66/B 131 by Antonín Dvorák
Conductor:  Mariss Jansons
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Oslo Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1883; Bohemia 
Length: 12 Minutes 41 Secs. 
4.
Symphony no 7 in D minor, Op. 70/B 141 by Antonín Dvorák
Conductor:  Mariss Jansons
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Oslo Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1884-1885; Bohemia 
Length: 36 Minutes 22 Secs. 
5.
Symphony no 8 in G major, Op. 88/B 163 by Antonín Dvorák
Conductor:  Mariss Jansons
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Oslo Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1889; Bohemia 
Length: 36 Minutes 1 Secs. 
6.
Symphony no 9 in E minor, Op. 95/B 178 "From the New World" by Antonín Dvorák
Conductor:  Mariss Jansons
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Oslo Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1893; USA 
Length: 39 Minutes 56 Secs. 
7.
Má vlast: no 2, Moldau, T 111 by Bedrich Smetana
Conductor:  Mariss Jansons
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Oslo Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1874; Czech Republic 
Length: 12 Minutes 4 Secs. 

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