Dvorak: Symphonies No 7 & 8 / Ormandy

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*** This title is a reissue of a Japanese release with liner notes in Japanese. ***

Here's another spectacular release from RCA Japan's Ormandy/Philadelphia edition, courtesy of Arkivmusic.com's "on demand" program. These are wonderful, truly Romantic performances featuring amazing playing, string sound that's beyond gorgeous, and interpretations that have a lot more subtlety than Ormandy usually gets credit for. The Seventh is particularly impressive, one of the finest versions available, full of tension in the outer movements, capped by a blazing coda that puts many other, better-known recordings to shame. Listen to the woodwinds cut through the full orchestra in the fortissimo counterstatement of the first movement's main theme without significant orchestral retouching; or notice the exciting transition to the scherzo's main section--there are many such distinctive moments here.

The Eighth is just as fine, and even better recorded, with more presence from the timpani and a bit more air around the instruments. In the first movement it's amazing to hear string playing with such incisive rhythm, particularly at the climaxes, and it's instructive to note how much passion this generates at a basically moderate tempo. The Adagio's exchanges between winds and strings couldn't be better timed; the third-movement waltz is, as you might imagine, the last word in sophisticated phrasing; and the scherzo-variations in the finale is a riot, with bright horn trills and, in the coda, a really vulgar (and totally apt) trumpet smear to cap the festivities. Ormandy also takes the violins up an octave just before the end, between those slashing final chords, arguably a more effective option than the Czech tradition of doubling them with horns. Hearing these performances again is like getting reacquainted with a best friend that you never should have lost touch with over the years.

--David Hurwitz, ClassicsToday.com

Product Description:

  • Catalog Number: RCA38118

  • UPC: 4988017600610

  • Label: RCA

  • Composer: Antonín Dvořák

  • Conductor: Eugene Ormandy

  • Orchestra/Ensemble: Philadelphia Orchestra