Better than expected
Larry VanDeSande | Mason, Michigan United States | 08/10/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Not many people would rank Otmar Suitner up there with the great conductors, but on the basis of this CD, he should be included in that company.
These are wonderful dramatic accounts of the Dvorak Symphonies No. 6 and 7, with many kudos to the sterling playing of the Berlin Stattkapelle, which translates loosely to the Berlin State Choir (Berlin state opera orchestra). This is not the Berlin Philharmonic but it is a crack ensemble whose woodwind and horn soloists rise to the occasion when their moments arrive and deliver the goods with perfect pitch and in clear, bel canto style.
Compared to a more recent DG recording of the Dvorak Symphonies 6 and 8 led by Myung Whun-Chung -- that received numerous critical plaudits -- this CD should be gold. In direct comparison on the 6th Symphony, Suitner is more dramatic, maintains the tension better, coaxes better playing from his orchestra than Myung gets from the Vienna Philharmonic, and is recorded better. His sense of pace, drama and musical expansion is unerring throughout the course of the two symphonies.
The very Brahmsian 7th Symphony is likewise delivered in dramatic fashion, again with outstanding playing from the sweet-sounding Berlin strings and the first chair soloists.
The sound recording for this CD, which was recorded in the 1980s, is clear, deep and realistic without being technicolor. You hear everything the way you would hear it in the concert hall, only the woodwinds are probably sweeter than you will hear them anywhere.
This is an outstanding issue from a veteran European conductor in a musical pairing that doesn't come around often. If you like Dvorak warm, liquid, well played and by turn dramatic, you will love this CD.
Little need to buy this when you can get the entire Dvorak cycle by Suitner for about the price of this disk and $5, however. Search "Suitner Dvorak" under classical music and you'll find this gem for about $17 new."