Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
|Antonin Dvorak, Leos Janacek, Jascha Horenstein|
Dvorak: Symphony No. 9 / Janacek: Sinfonietta
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Sublime Dvorak; Enlivening Janacek
Johannes Climacus | Beverly, Massachusetts | 10/09/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I purchased this CD in part because I collect Horenstein recordings, and in part because of the favorable reviews above. I was not disappointed. This is unquestionably one of the finest recorded examples of Horenstein's art. He was a tremendous interpreter of the standard repertoire, infusing new life into old warhorses. In this case not only does he bring Dvorak's thrice-familiar score vividly to life, he gets to the heart of the composer's ambivalent response to his American sojourn. Rarely have I heard such an effective evocation of Dvorak's mingled enthusiasm and regret: enthusiasm for the wide-open skies and possibilities of the New World, and regret at being temporarily displaced from his roots.
Horenstein's distinctive interpretation trades on this ambivalence throughout, but nowhere more effectively than in the famous Largo, which has never in my experience sounded less trite and more moving. It's a rare performance of this movement that can even arouse my interest, much less my emotions--but the sense of quiet rapture, of ineffable peace, which Horenstein conveys at every appearance of the famous cor anglais melody moved me to tears. The other movements are atmospheric and viscerally exciting by turns, but it is the haunting Largo--taken at a daringly slow tempo--that marks this performance as one of the great ones.
The Vienna Symphony--whoever or whatever that might have been on this occasion--plays throughout as if this is the last concert before the Apocalypse. Despite moments of ragged ensemble (very few for an early fifties Vox recording) and raw tone from the winds especially (how did that cor anglais soloist manage to overcome his evident technical deficiencies and play so eloquently in the Largo?), Horenstein manages to secure alert and responsive playing from them, both in the Dvorak and in the Janacek.
Speaking of Janacek, Horenstein's account of the Sinfonietta makes an enjoyable and unconventional discmate for Dvorak's most popular symphony. Once past the stentorian intrada, Horenstein emphasizes the lyrical and pastoral aspects of this work, to telling effect. In fact, his interpretation makes Janacek sound uncommonly like his countryman Dvorak (or is it the other way around?).
The sound? Well, this is Vox and the date is 1952 for the Dvorak (Horenstein's first recording for that label, I believe), and 1955 for the Janacek-- so don't expect audiophile standards. There is plenty of background of swish, a fair amount of hiss, and some overloading at climaxes. But no-one remotely interested in acquiring these unforgettable performances will care overmuch about the sonic limitations. The music is the thing, and Horenstein really delivers the goods here."
A golden oldie
Søren Schou | Roskilde Denmark | 10/04/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)
"The performance of the Dvorak is almost 50 years old by now. When it first appeared it was highly regarded and considered a serious rival to Toscanini's. In its new cd format it is still a staggering experience. The slow movement is deeply considered, heartfelt but devoid of cheap sentimentalism. Some may find the Janacek Sinfonietta too slow, and several new versions are certainly better played. No matter: the Dvorak makes this cd indispensable."