Dvorak: Early Symphonies; Vol. 1: Symphony No. 1; Symphony No. 2; Symphony No. 3; Vol. 2: Symphony No. 4; Symphony No. 5; Symphony No. 6; Hussite Overture; My Country

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COMPOSERS: Dvorak
LABELS: Philips Duo
WORKS: Early Symphonies; Vol. 1: Symphony No. 1; Symphony No. 2; Symphony No. 3; Vol. 2: Symphony No. 4; Symphony No. 5; Symphony No. 6; Hussite Overture; My Country
PERFORMER: LSO/Witold Rowicki
CATALOGUE NO: 446 527-2/446 530-2 ADD (1965-72)
Dvorák’s first six symphonies are a rich compendium. Overblown Romanticism in the first two and lyrical clarity in the increasingly popular Fifth and Sixth frame the magnificently confident Third Symphony, a work crying out for a place in the concert hall. When Rowicki’s recordings first appeared they were criticised for focusing on detail at the expense of the architecture. To my mind he makes better sense than anyone of the vast First Symphony and his renditions of the rest are mostly recommendable, especially in this value-for-money series, if not as commanding as Kertész on Decca. Only the Fifth Symphony, with damagingly brisk outer movements, disappoints. The remastered sound is very good, even if it spotlights some slipshod playing. Jan Smaczny

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