These are fine, polished yet ultimately unsatisfying recordings of some of Dvořák's best music.
Mackerras' view of the Symphonic variations is rather earthbound, none of the exhilaration of Kertész (unsurpassed) or Sejna who really knows this music inside out. The CPO also play with some detachment that shows their occasional non-deference to their conductor's views. The scherzo capriccioso is buoyant and colourful enough yet, once again there are other versions who have found more mystery and lyricism, most notably Berglund with the Staatskapelle Dresden (EMI Forte coupled with a sensational Ma Vlast). The Legends are beautifully done however, all ten of them miraculous tone poems of great beauty especially the 3rd and 6th.
Supraphon's recording is a model of clarity and balance between instruments is quite superb. You may be a fan of Mackerras and want this disc for his Czech credentials but there are more illuminating versions around for a lesser outlay to boot.
Copyright © 2002, Gerald Fenech