The best performance of the "New World" symphony ever.
(5 out of 5 stars)
"The Chicago Symphony Orchestra shines in this recording under the direction of Sir Georg Solti. From the delicate second movement to the robust finale, the Chicago Symphony Orchestra shows its musical dexterity, performing every note with the greatest musical sensibility. Simply the best interpretation of Dvorak's 9th symphony in recent years, this performance is a must have for serious music lovers."
Pure, raw magic. Powerful. Splendid. SOLTI at his BEST.
Ramon Kranzkuper | Gainesville, FL | 07/06/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I rarely borrow other reviewers' words - but here, the others who have reviewed this CD before me have used very apt phrases, and I agree completely. Here's a summary of what the others have been saying in praise of Solti's magnificent performance of Dvorak's New World Symphony:"Interpertations like these make for musical moments of pure pleasure ... intensely dramatic ... he seems to emphasize the raw emotional power of Dvorak's score ... sound ... is surprisingly first rate for an early digital recording ... Solti's trademark driving intensity is very much in evidence ... the climaxes in the first, third and final movements (are) absolutely hair-raising ... a good performance that revels in the sheer power of this music ... the first CD I have to replace due to over-playing ... Absolutely amazing ... Simply the best interpretation of Dvorak's 9th symphony in recent years ... a must have for serious music lovers ..."Perhaps the only thing lacking here are some subtleties of interpretation, and for a truly "classic" interpretation one might need to listen to Kubelik's version. But the intensity and fire of Solti's version more than, repeat, more than, makes up for that lack of subtlety in places. I listened to Kubelik long before I listened to Solti's version, of course, and it's RARE INDEED for me to change a preference from the "first" recording to a later one.Solti works pure, raw magic with this recording. Writing a review for this CD, I only feel like heaping adjective upon adjective, all of them positive. Granted that Dvorak does not rank "up there" with Beethoven and Schubert, but the New World is certainly his greatest work - and in those magnificent movements, the first, second, and fourth movements of the New World, Dvorak comes as close as anyone ever did to the Masters. And Solti knows what it is that makes us love Dvorak and the New World, and he exploits the power of the CSO to its fullest.I remember, as a teenager, listening to the climax of the first movement, - the hair would literally stand on end! - the heart would pound, the fists would clench - the raw animal AND the most sublime within me would awaken at the same time! - this, this is music at its finest, I would feel.No-one but Solti made the New World sound so good. I do not say that this is the finest recording of the New World ever done, or that it is the most authoritative interpretation; I say that this is the most rousing, most powerful, most splendid New World ever done.It may seem perverted to single out "moments in music" that have had the most lasting impression on the ear, heart and soul; but if I were to do that - if I were to single out some of those finest moments, the climax of the first Allegro of the New World, by Solti and the CSO, would rank right up there with some of Mozart's, Schubert's and Beethoven's finest. I seldom listen to this CD, for fear that I will explode."
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This will probably be the first CD I have to replace due to over-playing. This is a must own CD for anyone who enjoys music. I first heard this particular recording in college and spent the next year hunting down this disc. Absolutely amazing!"
No Homesick Symphony, This
M. C. Passarella | Lawrenceville, GA | 09/03/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Any great piece of music lends itself to different, sometimes radically different, interpretations. Dvorak's "New World" is a case in point, but especially so since music critics and others in the know have differing perspectives on the work. I've heard it called by some "the homesick symphony"; this, of course, implies that despite the use of native American musical material, the symphony doesn't really depart from the approach Dvorak took in his other eight symphonies. Basically, this is Czech music "on holiday." A conductor who feels this way about the work might, then, emphasize the nostalgic mood of the symphony, a strain that's evident in Dvorak's late compositions, such as the Cello Concerto. Most Czech conductors I've heard seem to approach the piece from this angle.
For Solti, though, the "New World" is about the New World as imagined by an Old World composer. I don't say "as seen by an Old World composer" because Dvorak seems to want to convey the sense of awe inspired by being in a country the vast spaces and majestic vistas of which he was to see only parts. But I think the striking cover illustration is to the point: this is a symphony of the imagination as much as of the eyes and ears. That sweeping first movement clearly captures the imagined grandeur of the New World--both natural and man-made--and Solti is the perfect tour guide, choosing tempi that are uniformly fast though not breakneck and of course powering the movements by dint of that great Chicago brass section. Yes, in spots the effect is "hair-raising," but so, too, must have been the experience of rail travel from teaming New York City west to Iowa over the Appalachians and the Great Plains.
The magnificent Scherzo, Dvorak's tribute (I think) to Beethoven's Ninth, has never sounded more vibrant--here, it is Czech furiant meets American barn dance. Yet the slow movement is not lacking in poignancy. On the contrary, this is one of the more moving interpretations I've heard. Solti shows that nostalgia and dynamic energy can coexist in a single work.
Alas, as in Dvorak's Eighth Symphony, the last movement is the least inspired, but Solti does as much as anybody can with it. And the Decca engineers turn in one of their best jobs out of Chicago. The sound is big and punchy, of course, but not without a sense of the hall, which is sorely lacking in some Chicago recordings.
I've loved this peformance for a long time and hope others will treat themselves to it, even if they already have two or three recordings of Dvorak's most famous symphony."
Thrilling but flawed
Brian E Bragg | Summit, NJ United States | 11/17/2000
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Solti's trademark driving intensity is very much in evidence on this recording. The huge dynamic range makes the climaxes in the first, third and final movements absolutely hair-raising with powerful brass playing throughout. However, the second movement is a low point as the woodwinds are glaringly out of tune with the rest of the orchestra. It's rather amazing that this flub was not noticed by Solti. On the whole, this is a good performance that revels in the sheer power of this music, while perhaps glossing over some of its subtlety."