Lovely, intimate, chamber-proportioned versions of the two Dvořák favorites. The Lausanne strings are particularly radiant in the Suite, but the Serenade receives a more delicate, sensitive, and touching interpretation. My only complaint is that the close miking of the ensemble tends to give the violins a somewhat shrill and unpleasant edge. Neumann (when will his wonderful recording be issued on CD?) is more colorful and expressive in the Suite, but this version is enjoyable, if not nearly as idiomatic as the Czech release.
Lombard drains all the might and majesty from Smetana's Moldau, only to replace it with thick and viscous molasses. Talich clocks in at 11:38 in this work; Lombard's deadly version requires 15:56! Too bad that the lovely Strasbourg strings (just listen to the luminous sound they produce in the 'water sprite' section) were wasted on such an incredibly bland reading. The booklet offers full color reproductions of the covers of other rereleases in Erato's Bonsai Collection but not a word about the music or the performers.
Warmly recommended for the Dvořák scores nonetheless.
Copyright © 1996, Tom Godell