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Dvorak: Symphony No. 8, Serenade for Strings
Martin Sieghardt, Milan Horvat, Vienna ORF Symphony Orchestra
Dvorak: Symphony No. 8, Serenade for Strings
Genre: Classical
  •  Track Listings (9) - Disc #1


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A great symphony + a great performance & recording = a great
Neil Ford | Sydney, Australia | 09/25/2006
(4 out of 5 stars)

"Dvorak is an underrated 19th century Romantic composer, best known for the New World symphony and his famous "Humoresque". His work is always melodically rich, making him one of the most consistently enjoyable composers, although this quality has resulted in his not always being taken seriously as a major artist. Dvorak's 8th symphony is arguably his best, and is certainly a good entry point for any listener new to this music.

If you are looking for an inexpensive version of this symphony, look no further! While the sound isn't as crisp and clear as the latest digital recordings, it does have the virtue of great warmth. The performance too is warm and gentle in its approach, which is fitting for Dvorak's most "pastoral" symphony, with impeccable, intuitive phrasing, and the musicians are technically beyond reproach. Compared with other bargain CDs, this performance is definitely superior to the version on Naxos, and is also warmer and more engaged than the RPO with Menuhin conducting. (The annoying ritardando sometimes included at the end of the 4th movement is thankfully omitted here.) The string serenade is a delightful companion piece.

(It seems that Point Classics no longer publishes CDs, but I've seen their catalogue reappear under several different labels, so this should still be available elsewhere, albeit without Point Classics' attractive packaging. Watch out for the same disc attributed to slightly different artists. Track times: 10.05, 10.56, 5.57, 9.51; 4.26, 6.41, 5.33, 6.00, 6.19)

Post script: as I hear more performances of this symphony, including renowned versions by Barbirolli and Suitner, the more I regret that Horvat has never had the opportunity to record a complete set of Dvorak's symphonies. This is a tragedy for Dvorak lovers everywhere! A smart producer would get Horvat back in front of the microphones while he is still musically active (or at least gather up the numerous aircheck recordings that must be out there...)."