Jiri Belohlávek, Czech Philharmonic – Dvorak: Complete Symphonies & Concertos (2014) [HDTracks FLAC 24bit/96kHz]

Jiri Belohlávek, Czech Philharmonic – Dvorak: Complete Symphonies & Concertos (2014)
FLAC (tracks) 24 bit/96 kHz | Digital Booklet | 8.62 GB
Genre: Classical | Official Digital Download – Source: HDtracks

A new Dvorák symphony and concerto cycle from the multi-Gramophone-Award-winning conductor and the great Prague-based orchestra. It marks a triumphant return to the orchestra where he trained, the world leading and multi-Gramophone Award-winning maestro Jirí Bìlohlávek records Decca’s first Dvorák cycle since the 1960s. This complete symphonies and concertos set is a pinnacle of brilliant music-making, and the first major cycle to be recorded in high-definition 24bit 96kHz and Mastered for iTunes sound.

Dvorák himself conducted the Czech Philharmonic Orchestra’s first concert in 1896, and the shared Bohemian heritage of composer, conductor and orchestra lends a very special authenticity to these recordings.

Dvorák’s three concertos (violin, cello and piano) feature alongside his nine great Symphonies, with Decca’s leading cellist Alisa Weilerstein, Frank Peter Zimmermann (violin) and Garrick Ohlsson (piano). The Czech PO and Belohlávek will be undertaking major European tours in 2014, including a full Dvorák symphonic cycle in Prague in September. Rhombus Films have also made a fascinating documentary focusing on Belohlávek’s return to Prague as the Czech Philharmonic’s chief conductor.

Composer: Antonín Dvorák
Performer: Alisa Weilerstein, Frank Peter Zimmermann, Garrick Ohlsson
Conductor: Jiri Belohlávek
Orchestra/Ensemble: Czech Philharmonic Orchestra


First, a word of warning. 4 out of five of these discs play for over 80 minutes with the longest being nearly 84! Whilst this is fine on modern equipment there’s the chance that older CD players may reject them.

I have to say that I’ve had a fascinating couple of weeks re-acquainting myself with these wonderful works and I’m sure that this set will do what the Kertesz/LSO recordings did for them in the 60’s. As well as the ever popular seventh, eighth and ninth symphonies, the earlier works are well worth hearing especially in performances as good as these.

Belohlavek and the Czech Philharmonic play these works like no other musicians can. (The Czech Phil. Library still have the orchestral parts that were used for Dvorak!) Rhythms are beautifully pointed, the melodic phrasing is so affectionate and the sheer virtuosity of the players is a thing to behold.

The first three symphonies are probably never going to be heard in concert that often and there is no doubt that they do sprawl a bit showing that Dvorak was finding his feet when it came to writing symphonies. They contain lovely melodies and ideas and are well worth hearing so, if you don’t know these pieces, these are wonderful introductions.

The ‘in between’ works are well served here and if the spirit of Wagner and Brahms linger then it goes to show that a Dvorak was taking inspiration from the masters. The fourth symphony has always been a favourite of mine and no performance I’ve heard on record has reached the heights of this one.

By the time Dvorak wrote his last three symphonies he had ditched the German symphonic model and had found his own feet and voice and these works need no advocacy from me! Again, these are terrific performances and crown this outstanding cycle.

As a bonus, the three concerti are added. They are all played with superb artistry by the soloists although I have to say that Alicia Weilerstein’s performance is simply, IMHO, the best recording of this work EVER and is my recording of the year so far!

Recommended with all enthusiasm.


Symphony No.1 in C minor, Op.3 – “The Bells of Zlonice”
1. 1. Maestoso – Allegro 11:28
2. 2. Adagio di molto 11:44
3. 3. Allegretto 09:16
4. 4. Finale (Allegro animato) 12:25

Cello Concerto in B minor, Op.104
5. 1. Allegro 14:42
6. 2. Adagio ma non troppo 11:23
7. 3. Finale (Allegro moderato) 12:38

Symphony No.2 in B flat, Op.4
8. 1. Allegro con moto 12:43
9. 2. Poco adagio 15:33
10. 3. Scherzo (Allegro con brio) 12:09
11. 4. Finale (Allegro con fuoco) 11:21

Violin Concerto in A minor, Op.53
12. 1. Allegro ma non troppo – Quasi moderato 09:28
13. 2. Adagio, ma non troppo 10:18
14. 3. Finale (Allegro giocoso, ma non troppo) 09:46

Symphony No.3 in E flat, Op.10
15. 1. Allegro moderato 11:01
16. 2. Adagio molto, tempo di marcia 15:31
17. 3. Finale (Allegro vivace) 08:31

Piano Concerto in G minor, Op.33
18. 1. Allegro agitato 19:12
19. 2. Andante sostenuto 08:59
20. 3. Allegro con fuoco 11:40

Symphony No.4 in D minor, Op.13
21. 1. Allegro 12:34
22. 2. Andante sostenuto e molto cantabile 11:40
23. 3. Scherzo (Allegro feroce) 06:41
24. 4. Finale (Allegro con brio) 09:33

Symphony No.5 in F, Op.76
25. 1. Allegro, ma non troppo 13:56
26. 2. Andante con moto 07:25
27. 3. Scherzo. Allegro scherzando 08:36
28. 4. Allegro molto 13:25

Symphony No.6 in D, Op.60
29. 1. Allegro non tanto 13:16
30. 2. Adagio 10:51
31. 3. Scherzo (Furiant: Presto) 08:01
32. 4. Finale (Allegro con spirito) 10:31

Symphony No.7 in D minor, Op.70
33. 1. Allegro maestoso 11:20
34. 2. Poco adagio 09:51
35. 3. Scherzo (Vivace) 07:26
36. 4. Finale (Allegro) 09:22

Symphony No.8 in G, Op.88
37. 1. Allegro con brio 10:02
38. 2. Adagio 10:43
39. 3. Allegretto grazioso – Molto vivace 06:18
40. 4. Allegro ma non troppo 10:36

Symphony No.9 in E minor, Op.95 From the New World
41. 1. Adagio – Allegro molto 09:55
42. 2. Largo 12:45
43. 3. Scherzo (Molto vivace) 08:17
44. 4. Allegro con fuoco 11:53