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The Czech Philharmonic, Sir Charles Mackerras.

Antonin Dvorak

Slavonic Dances op. 46, op. 72

The Czech Philharmonic, Sir Charles Mackerras. Production: Petr Vit. Text: Eng., Ger., Fr., Cz. Recorded: 8.-11.4. 1999, The Dvorak Hall of the Rudolfinu, Prague. Released: 2005. TT: 71:13. DDD. 1 CD Supraphon SU 3808-2.


Now six years old, this recording of both series of Dvorak's Slavonic Dances, with Sir Charles Mackerras conducting the Czech Phlharmonic, still has a great deal to offer listeners. First and foremost Mackerras deserves praise for his work with rhythm and tempo, since Dvorak demands quite frequent variability that must however remain "orderly" in dance style. Mackerras's not just technically but above all artistically excellent treatment is captivating for the complete clarity of the interpretation; governed by order and precision (the orchestra faultlessly respects Dvorak's accents and dynamic and tempo instructions), but nevertheless enormous charm. It is clear that the conductor himself gets a great deal of pleasure and delight out of working with Dvorak's music, as is evident for example from his imaginative work with the musical structure, in which Mackerras finds ever new melodic lines that he emphasises with great musical ingenuity--the canon-style entries of the themes are particularly successful. The orchestra finishes melodic phrases with great sensitivity, but still play Dvorak's music with pure "Slavonic" understanding, which here shows its worth compared to affectations that communicate nothing. The recording will definitely thrill both the critics and more tolerant lovers of Dvorak's music, since it is brimming with the true qualities of professional musicianship and it is all to the good that it is being published again. What needs to be corrected, however, is some of the information in the booklet. On the 1st of August 1878 Dvorak was not at Spilberk, but on "Spicberk" (i.e. the Mountain Spicak in the Sumava), as is clearly written in the first folio of Dvorak's autograph of his seventh Slavonic Dance op. 46. I hope that this small comment will challenge the listener who enlivens his CD collection with this recording, not just to listen to the superb performance of Dvorak's music, but also to read through the accompanying and otherwise very sensitively written attached text on the history of the composition of the work.
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Title Annotation:Slavonic Dances
Author:Kibicova, Tereza
Publication:Czech Music
Article Type:Sound recording review
Date:Oct 1, 2006
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