Notes and Editorial Reviews
Dvorák’s Symphony No. 8 is probably the happiest symphony ever composed, a notion supported by this engaging new recording by Mariss Jansons and the Bavarian Radio Symphony. Jansons leads a warm and buoyant rendition marked by high spirits and lyrical beauty. While these same qualities can be found in many recordings of this work (Dvorák’s Eighth has been unusually lucky on disc, with Szell, Neumann, Kértesz, and Dohnányi among the finest), Jansons reveals normally unheard rhythmic details in woodwinds and brass (such as the flute’s two quick 8th-note E-flats, usually heard as one quarter note, near the beginning of the first movement’s development) in moments too numerous to catalog here, which gives the music a
feeling of freshness. Add to this the Bavarian musicians’ energized and impeccable playing that really revs-up the outer movements.
The Suk Serenade is an unusual and especially attractive coupling. Josef Suk, student and later son-in-law of Dvorák, became a formidable composer in his own right. Although his early Serenade was clearly influenced by his teacher’s, Suk’s distinct melodic style is already apparent, especially in the lovely and beguiling Adagio. Jansons and the Bavarian strings render this work with real charm and panache.
The program ends with a surprisingly ordinary performance of Dvorák’s Carnival Overture that comes nowhere near the excitement generated by Szell or Pešek. The live recording, while a little lacking in spaciousness and dynamic range, vividly conveys the performance. Recommended.
– ClassicsToday (Victor Carr Jr.) Read less
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