MD&G has issued this delightful Dvořák disc which actually clocks in at just over 80 minutes and featuring four of the composer's most colourful orchestral works.
The sixth Symphony remains my favourite Dvořák symphony along its predecessor and here I have to say that I still retain a deep affection for the 1965 Decca recording with the London Symphony under István Kertész who had a certain knack for this composer's music. However van Steen is definitely one to watch as he brings some beautiful colours out of the first movement although his Finale rather lacks bite especially in the closing stages.
The overtures however are a different ilk and made incredibly enjoyable listening. "In Nature's Realm" is quite a gem of a piece with the lovely string and wind scoring really coming out clearly in the MD&G recording. The zest and boisterous sounds of "Carnival" are well brought out as are the dark and dramatic patches of Othello – definitely my favourite of the lot. My selected comparison was a mid 1980's Chandos tape featuring Vernon Handley and the Ulster Orchestra in these three works – hugely enjoyable but van Steen and his Dortmund players obviously have a slight technical edge.
As I have already indicated, MD&G's recording is of the highest order and the Dortmund Philharmonic really shines in this music. With detailed notes and attractive presentation this disc will surely have many admirers and one hopes for a cycle of the Dvořák symphonies from this source in the future.
Copyright © 2010, Gerald Fenech