Antonin Dvorak – Symphony No. 2; 3 Slavonic Dances – Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra, Jose Serebrier (2013)
FLAC (tracks) 24 bit/96 kHz | Time – 01:05:21 minutes | 1,2 GB | Genre: Classical
Studio Master, Official Digital Download | Source: Qobuz | Digital Booklet | © Warner Classics
Recorded: Lighthouse, Poole, 3 & 4 June 2013
This recording of Dvorák: Symphony No.2 plus Slavonic Dances from José Serebrier and the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra is the fourth volume in a projected series of Dvorák’s complete symphonies.
Written in a period spanning three decades, Dvorák nine symphonies had their numbering changed some fifty years after his death. The first four symphonies remained unpublished for many years, while the last five had been published during Dvorák‘s lifetime as Nos.1–5. Thus the famous No.9, “From the New World”, first appeared as No.5, and the D major, No.6, was introduced as No.1. These numbers remained in place until the middle of the last century, when the nine symphonies were at last renumbered according to their true chronology.
The Symphony No.2 in B flat major, op.4 was composed by Antonín Dvorák between August and October 1865. Dvorák sent the score to be bound, and the legend goes that he was unable to pay the binder, who thus decided not to return the score. The symphony finally had its world premiere in 1888 — its sole performance during the composer’s lifetime. It was conducted by Adolf Cech, who had previously conducted the premieres of Dvorák’s Symphonies 5 and 6.
The Symphony No. 2/4, of Antonín Dvorák has an opus number even though it really was not published until 1959; the 24-year-old Dvorák reportedly had to abandon the manuscript at the bindery due to lack of funds. It’s one of Dvorák’s least-often-performed works, and it’s a bit surprising to find a new recording on the major Warner Classics label. As it happens, the veteran (76 years old when the album was released in 2013) and independent-minded Uruguayan conductor José Serebrier makes a fine case for the piece, recorded with the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra as part of a planned set of Dvorák’s symphonies. It is a sprawling work, no doubt, even after the cuts to which Dvorák later subjected it, and it often sounds more like Wagner than like Dvorák’s model Brahms. There are few feet-tapping Czech rhythms, too. Yet everywhere there is a sense of a young mind trying to bring form to a vast canvas. Sample the Scherzo (track 6), where the usual dance rhythms are preceded by a harmonically mysterious introduction whose threads are picked up as the movement proceeds. The whole thing requires a real spirit of enthusiasm to bring off, and here Serebrier and the Bournemouth players succeed with a lively, urgent forward arc. In the three Slavonic Dances that open the album, the Bournemouth is not in the smooth league of Europe’s top orchestras, but those who love Dvorák will find his distinctive voice at many places in this sizable work, and it even seems possible that other conductors may find themselves guided anew to it by one of the 20th century’s greats. ~~ AllMusic Review by James Manheim
Antonín Dvořák (1841–1904)
1 Slavonic Dance Op.46 No.3 in A flat major B83: Poco allegro 5.08
2 Slavonic Dance Op.72 No.7 in C major B147: Allegro vivace 3.38
3 Slavonic Dance Op.46 No.6 in D major B83: Allegretto scherzando 5.23
Symphony No.2 in B flat major, Op.4 B12
4 I Allegro con moto 15.14
5 II Poco adagio 13.13
6 III Scherzo: Allegro con brio 11.50
7 IV Finale: Allegro con fuoco 10.56
Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra
José Serebrier, conductor