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CD Review

Dvořák / Kodály

Choral Music

Pilar Lorengar
Erszebet Komlóssy
Robert Ilosfalvy
Tom Krause
Ambrosian Singers
London Symphony Orchestra/István Kertész
Decca Legends 468487-2 2CDs
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Kertész's magnificent recording of Dvořák's requiem remains the classic version to have. Pro Czech homegrown enthusiasts may argue that Ančerl runs him close but to my mind, the superior Decca sound and sense of occasion wins the day hands down. From the mysterious opening to the rattling thunderous sounds of the "Dies Irae" and the lovingly paced exuberance of the "Offertorium" and "Hostias", Kertész realizes the work in typical Slav fashion, unfussy yet remarkably direct and passionate. He is aided by a superb team of soloists with Pilar Lorengar on true top form and the others all excellent.

Decca's remastering has brought out clarity at an even greater level so there is much to marvel at in this third incarceration of this 1968 recording. Kertész's Symphonic Variations are a model of restraint throughout with the London Symphony strings particularly dazzling in all quarters. This version is also one of the best around and although Macal (EMI) annd Sejna (Supraphon) may boast authentic Czech credentials, Kertész is still the master of Dvořákian expression.

The "Psalmus Hungaricus" is also brilliantly done with the Hungarian, Lajos Kozma and the Brighton Festival Chorus finding themselves on typically home ground. If you've missed this recording before, now is the time to snap it up.

Copyright © 2001, Gerald Fenech