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Dvorak: Othello Overture / Symphony No.9
Antonin Dvorak, Claudio Abbado, Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra
Dvorak: Othello Overture / Symphony No.9
Genre: Classical
  •  Track Listings (5) - Disc #1

Odd that Abbado has never recorded the New World symphony until now. While this isn't a life-changing performance, it offers a refreshing, direct approach, with the Berlin Philharmonic leaving no doubt they're still a worl...  more »


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CD Details

All Artists: Antonin Dvorak, Claudio Abbado, Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra
Title: Dvorak: Othello Overture / Symphony No.9
Members Wishing: 0
Total Copies: 0
Label: Dg Imports
Release Date: 2/8/2000
Album Type: Import
Genre: Classical
Style: Symphonies
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaCD Credits: 1
UPC: 028945765129

Odd that Abbado has never recorded the New World symphony until now. While this isn't a life-changing performance, it offers a refreshing, direct approach, with the Berlin Philharmonic leaving no doubt they're still a world-class outfit. Abbado relishes the tensions and contrasts of the opening movement, giving the introduction a timeless lyricism and the dramatic conclusion a real emotional surge. The famous Largo is taken simply and affectingly, with the music's aching nostalgia never lapsing into sentimentality. After a dynamic, pulsating scherzo, the finale launches into action and maintains excitement right until the close--one Ninth Symphony, which you feel the composer had no hang-up about being his last. As a coupling, there's the rarely heard Othello overture, Dvorák's heart-on-sleeve response to Shakespeare's play and not unlike a rerun of Tchaikovsky's Romeo and Juliet--without the tune. Almost contemporary with the symphony, it makes a telling lead-in and enhances the attractions of the disc overall. --Richard Whitehouse

CD Reviews

Best Dvorak 9
(5 out of 5 stars)

"This is an excellent disc. The Othello overture is exciting, and the dynamic range is huge. The end is actually quite spectacular, loud, hard-driven, but perfectly together. The Dvorak 9 has those same qualities. It really is a gripping recording of this symphony, much more emotional than what I'm used to from Abbado. There are also some new details I've never heard before. It is a live recording and the excitement clearly comes across. The orchestra plays magnificently, virtually no technical flaws. I think Abbado has finally gotten the sound he wants from the Berlin Philharmonic. The strings are as powerful and engaging as they have always been, but the brass and woodwinds are more distinct than they are in Karajan's recordings. I have listened to Kubelik's 9th with this orchestra, Solti's with the CSO, Maazel's with the Vienna Phil, and Kertesz with the LSO, and I really believe this new recording is the best."
Fresh Dvorak
Greg Hales | Vacaville, Ca USA | 03/26/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)

"This new Dvorak album from Abbado and the BPO is surperb. It leaves no doubt that the BPO is still the worlds best orchestra. The detail is legion. The strings play effortlessly. The winds and brass are perfect. The low strings are amazing, even by the BPO standards. The english horn player makes the most and more out of the famous 2nd movement solo. This is the best Dvorak 9th in a long time and leaves no doubt about the quality job Abbado has done in his years there. I hope that he might give us more Dvorak Symphonies."
An impressive, outstanding and special digital New World.
Yi-Peng | Singapore | 01/30/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)

"Before I begin, I would just like to point out the unfairness of the Penguin Guide's review of this recording. It unfairly criticised this recording despite its faultlessness and not-so-serious faults. There is excitement and lyricism in the right places, with excitement very plentiful in the symphony, and the hour-long playing-time makes reasonable value for a premium-priced CD like this, so you can be assured of its economic value. Now here is another aspect about which they gripe and grump, so please take my assurance of its value and you will be fine. Here is a review that shows off the true colours of the recording, and I know it can influence your decision on purchasing this CD.The Claudio Abbado recording of the Dvorak New World Symphony has managed to secure itself a place among the top digital versions of this much-recorded work, alongside the Dresden performance of James Levine, also on DG. Taken from live performances in 1997, it shows every sign of spontaniety without any loss of dramatic bite or xxcitement. Abbado makes full use of his theatrical background to bring about this effect both in the symphony and in the welcome, perfectly-chosen fill-up, and elicits peerless and attentively-detailed playing from the Berliners. To top it off, DG provides perfect recorded sound containing the hallmarks of what an ideal digital recording should sound like - fullness, weight, clarity, warmth, transparency and atmosphere.Before the symphony opens, Abbado treats us to a thrilling account of the Othello Overture. This aptly-chosen and welcome fill-up not only serves to increase the playing-time (from 45 minutes to one full hour) and eentual economic attractions to the disc, but to whet the listener's appetite for what's to come because of the powerful and dramatic overtones common to both works. This is especially so when the overture has some small hints of the composition of the main work. Abbado's performance of the overture never fails to thrill, and the sharp contrasts between drama and lyricism are beautifully brought out.The overture is all over in a quarter of an hour, and we are drawn into the more familiar world of the symphony. After a repository opening, Abbado lurches into the first movement with energy and a burst of action to generate keenly-felt tension throughout his performance. There may be tempo fluctuation in the lyrical sections, but Abbado mixes lyricism with drama and excitement engagingly, and he also creates a telling effect in the last few pages of this movement. The Largo is beautifully played, and shows a positively lyrical aspect of this perforance. The string sound shimmers like diamonds, and the wind solos are gorgeously played, especially the celebrated oboe solo. It seems that the music has been considerably freshened, with playing of hushed intensity and an aching sense of wistfulness and nostalgia. Still, in Abbado's hands, the movement never degenerates or loses its concentratino. The performance kicks off again with a sense of toughness in the dynamic and pulsating Scherzo, whose trio section shows a sunny side to this performance with crisply and lightly-articulated flutes to give a light, airy-like character to the Schubertian dance. But in the Finale, where my greatest enthusiasm lies, Abbado crowns his wonderful performance by weaving the separate strands of argumentative thread together with skill and maintains excitement well up to the closing pages. I'm sure that there are some people who may complain about some routine performance here, but this is only a minor problem that does not occur in the other movements, and the peerless playing makes up for it.To sum everything up, this Dvorak New World seems to me one of the few perfect digital recordings to come my way in recent years. As a matter of fact, I have nothing bad to say about this performance, except from the angles of others. So I can heartily recommend it to anybody who loves Dvorak, Claudio Abbado, or an evergreen symphony. To end, the best thing is to congratulate DG and Claudio for an excellent job well done, and to commend the Berliners for living up to their name in giving another glorious performance of the symphony that is fit enough for Karajan, Kubelik and Tennstedt to free their spirits and live again in the sound."