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Antonin Dvorak: Symphonic Poems

Album Summary

>Dvorak, Antonin : Water Goblin, Op. 107/B 195
>Dvorak, Antonin : Noon Witch, Op. 108/B 196
>Dvorak, Antonin : Golden Spinning Wheel, Op. 109
>Dvorak, Antonin : Wood Dove, Op. 110/B 198
Conductor Ensemble
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Composer

Notes & Reviews:

Dvorak composed his Symphonic Poems shortly after the American triumph of his "New World Symphony" and after completing his beautiful final string quartets (Opp. 105 and 106). The first three poems were first performed in 1896 in London, while 'The Wild Dove' was premiered in March 1898 in Brno by Leos Janacek. The recordings on this CD are interpreted by the Czech Philharmonic, conducted by Sir Charles Mackerras, a paramount musician and connoisseur and champion of Czech music. The poems round off his legacy in Dvorak's symphonic oeuvre, from which he has recorded for Supraphon Symphonies, Slavonic Dances and Symphonic Variations.

"Premonitions of Janácek abound in these wonderful pieces and Sir Charles Mackerras, like Sir Simon Rattle on his opulent and vividly played Berlin recording (EMI), seems to acknowledge the fact in performance, most particularly at 7'44" or thereabouts into The Wild Dove, which could easily have hailed from a first draft for Taras Bulba. Sir Charles also marks the Mendelssohnian drift of the big string theme in The Golden Spinning-Wheel, a performance full of warmth and vitality, very realistically recorded and surely the highlight of the disc. His performing style in this music often reminds me of his one-time teacher Václav Talich, the way dance rhythms are underlined but never overstated (the opening of The Water Goblin), the solidity of the playing and what seems like an intuitive understanding of the music's extraordinarily strong atmosphere, for example the palpable premonitions of late Mahler at around 6'21" into The Water Goblin.

The one problem, such as it is, is in a significant and charismatic rival (aside that is from the ever-verdant but by now "vintage" Kubelík on DG), namely Nikolaus Harnoncourt (Warner), whose recordings of all four tone-poems have a distinctiveness about them that at times upstages even Rattle. Put on the motorised opening of The Golden Spinning-Wheel with its thudding bass drum, or listen to the way Harnoncourt attends to the subtler aspects of Dvorák's scoring, and his love for the music's unique sound world is abundantly clear. Where Mackerras captures atmosphere, Harnoncourt relishes the music's mix of rustic dance forms and colouristic innovation. Mackerras offers the straighter option, which, good as it is, doesn't conjure quite the same degree of eerie magic, although his version does have the advantage of fitting onto just one CD." -Gramophone Awards, 2010 / Orchestral winner

Dvorák composed his Symphonic Poems shortly after the American triumph of his "New World Symphony" and after completing his beautiful final string quartets (Opp. 105 and 106). The first three poems were first performed in 1896 in London, while The Wild Dove was premiered in March 1898 in Brno by Leo Janácek. The recordings on this CD are interpreted by the Czech Philharmonic, Conducted by Sir Charles Mackerras, a paramount musician and connoisseur and champion of Czech music. The poems round off his legacy in Dvorák's symphonic oeuvre, from which he has recorded for Supraphon, for example, Symphonies nos. 6, 8 and 9, Slavonic Dances and Symphonic Variations.

Sir Charles's performance of Dvorák's works interweaves the splendid Talich tradition and profound knowledge of the composer's work. The live recordings of The Noon Witch and The Water Goblin reflect the warmly poignant atmostphere of the conductor's parting with the Prague audience. The triumphant recording of Martinu's "Three Frgaments" from the opera "Juliette" (Gramophone Award 2009) was made at the same valedictory concert. The studio recording of The Wild Dove is the culmination of the l long-term collaboration between Sir Charles and the Czech Philharmonic Orchestra.

Notes & Reviews:

Recording information: Rudolfinum, Prague.



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Works Details

>Antonin Dvorák (1841 - 1904) : Water Goblin, Op. 107/B 195
  • Conductor: Charles Mackerras
  • Notes: Rudolfinum, Prague (12/11/2008-12/12/2008)
  • Running Time: 20 min. 26 sec.
  • Period Time: Romantic
  • Form: Orchestral
  • Studio/Live: Live

>Antonin Dvorák (1841 - 1904) : Noon Witch, Op. 108/B 196
  • Conductor: Charles Mackerras
  • Notes: Rudolfinum, Prague (12/11/2008-12/12/2008)
  • Running Time: 13 min. 57 sec.
  • Period Time: Romantic
  • Form: Orchestral
  • Studio/Live: Live

>Antonin Dvorák (1841 - 1904) : Golden Spinning Wheel, Op. 109
  • Conductor: Charles Mackerras
  • Running Time: 25 min. 45 sec.
  • Period Time: Romantic
  • Form: Orchestral

>Antonin Dvorák (1841 - 1904) : Wood Dove, Op. 110/B 198
  • Conductor: Charles Mackerras
  • Notes: Rudolfinum, Prague (09/09/2009-09/10/2009)
  • Running Time: 19 min. 34 sec.
  • Period Time: Romantic
  • Form: Orchestral