This performance of the fiery Fantasy in G minor for violin and orchestra, Op. 24, of Josef Suk, with violinist Christan Tetzlaff catching the full impact of the irregular form with its dramatic opening giving out into a set of variations, is impressive. And Tetzlaff delivers pure warm melody in the popular Romance in F minor, Op. 11, of Dvorák. But the real reason to acquire this beautifully recorded Ondine release is the performance of the Dvorák Violin Concerto in A minor, Op. 53, a work of which there are plenty of recordings, but that has always played second fiddle (if you will) to the Brahms concerto. Tetzlaff and the Helsinki Philharmonic under John Storgårds create a distinctive and absorbing version that can stand with the great Czech recordings of the work. Sample anywhere, but especially the slow movement, where Tetzlaff's precise yet rich sound, reminiscent for those of a certain age of Henryk Szeryng, forms a striking contrast with Storgårds' glassy Nordic strings. In both outer movements as well, Tetzlaff delivers a warm yet controlled performance that is made to stand out sharply.
The Collegium Vocale Gent, the Royal Flemish Philharmonic and Philippe Herreweghe join forces once again for a monument of the sacred choral repertoire: Antonín Dvorák’s Requiem, Op. 89. This work, dating from 1890, is one of those that marked a new phase
Dvorák’s Violin Concerto has been undergoing a renaissance of sorts on disc, one that it entirely deserves. Its critics (starting with Joachim and Brahms) dismissed it for not adopting the usual sonata-form first movement structure, instead welding the truncated opening to the gorgeous slow movement. But really, how many violin concertos are there where you can really say that the best, most characterful and highly developed movement is the finale? And what could possibly be bad about that? Clearly Fischer and Suwanai understand where the music’s going: the performance gathers steam as it proceeds, and really cuts loose in that marvelous last movement. Suwani displays a characteristically polished technique and fine intonational ear (lending a lovely purity of utterance to the slow movement), but she’s not afraid to indulge in some “down and dirty” gypsy fiddling in the finale, or in the two Sarasate items that open the program.
Dvorák's haunting 'Stabat Mater' for solo voices, chorus and orchestra is not only the most famous work of church music by the Bohemian composer - it is also one of the most impressive ever settings of the medieval hymn in which Mary, the mother of Jesus, gives vivid expression to the pain she feels at the sight of her crucified son…
This CD features two quite lovely piano quintets, beautifully played by a quartet of players from the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra with Clifford Curzon at the piano. The first piece is by Antonin Dvorak, who composed two piano quintets. The first of these is a relatively early work that Dvorak composed in 1872 when he was 31. The second of his quintets was composed only 15 years later and remains one of his most popular chamber works. The other piece on the CD is by César Franck and, along with his other major chamber works - the violin sonata and the string quartet - reminds the listener of the atmosphere of Franck's best known work, the symphony in d minor.
Antonin Dvorák's Piano Quartet No. 2 is one of the greatest chamber works of the 19th century (as are many of Dvorák's chamber compositions). Written in 1889 at the request of his publisher Simrock, it is a big, bold work filled with the Czech master's trademark melodic fecundity, harmonic richness, and rhythmic vitality. The first movement is a soaring, outdoor allegro with an assertively optimistic main theme accented by Czech contours and Dvorák's love of mixing major and minor modes. The Lento movement's wistful main theme is played with a perfect mixture of passion and poise by cellist Yo-Yo Ma. The music alternates between passages of drama and delicacy in this, one of Dvorák's finest slow movements in any medium. The Scherzo's stately waltz is contrasted by a lively, up-tempo Czech country dance. The finale is a high-stepping, high-spirited allegro with a strong rhythmic pulse that relaxes for the beautifully lyrical second subject. The development is a satisfying combination of motivic variety and strict structural logic. Dvorák packs a lot of music into this movement that lasts less than seven minutes. Ma and colleagues Isaac Stern, Jaime Laredo, and Emanuel Ax bring the same excitement, virtuosity, and cohesiveness to this work as they did in their recordings of the Brahms piano quartets.