This is excellent in every respect
Alan Majeska | Bad Axe, MI, USA | 11/19/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"George Szell's recordings of Smetana's "The Moldau" and 3 Dances from "The Bartered Bride" + Dvorak's "Carnival" Overture and 4 Slavonic dances are excellent in every respect, and are likely yet to be bettered, even though these recordings were made over 40 years ago. Szell was a native of Hungary, coming to New York in 1940, but during his youth had lived in Prague, so was very familiar with the Czech national feeling and idiom of Czech music. Szell also recorded Dvorak's Symphonies 7, 8 and 9, the complete Slavonic Dances (all of Opus 46 and 72) and Smetana's Overture to the "Bartered Bride" (mono, but very good sound) with the Cleveland Orchestra for Columbia, and they are among the very best recordings of these works even today. Sony released Szell's Dvorak 7,8,9 in a "Masterworks" edition in 1998, and I suggest anyone loving Czech music get that recording, plus this one, even though "Carnival" is in both recordings.
There is a sense of rightness about all these recordings-the Cleveland Orchestra are so precise and the sound is very good: rich and full in all ranges. On my system, this benefits from adding the "Loudness" contour, which emphasizes bass and treble a little. I can't tell you what Szell does in every piece; he just seems to have a certain nuance and confidence that places this among the best recordings.
I've know this recording since 1973; our library had it on an Epic LP, and when the age of CD came along in the 1980s, I bought this. I have years of familiarity with Szell's Smetana and Dvorak, and it has enriched my life alot. I keep coming back to it, like a great book or movie. Highly recommended, and a bargain as well."