Fleet, Faceless Dvorák 6th from Orozco-Estrada

Review by: David Hurwitz


Artistic Quality: 6

Sound Quality: 7

Does Andrés Orozco-Estrada really like Dvorak? I’m not so sure. What else explains a performance so lacking in character, played with such a limited range of dynamics, tone and texture? It’s irritating to hear interpretations of this music that treat is as a sort of “Brahms lite,” rather than as the vividly original body of work that it surely is. Orozco-Estrada’s tempos are unusually swift, and there’s nothing wrong with that. So were Rowicki’s. But the Houston Symphony sounds like a string orchestra with other stuff way out back somewhere. Dvorak’s colorful scoring barely registers.

Consider the main theme of the first movement; the counter statement features fortissimo strings answered by forte brass. Is this what we hear, or is it just a generalized mezzo-something-or-other? The quick tempos encourage Orozco-Estrada to clip phrase endings and short-change note values, sometimes to the point (as in the scherzo) where the melody isn’t even articulated cleanly. It’s a bore; granted, a quick bore, but a bore nonetheless. The coupling, two randomly chosen Slavonic Dances, is as unimaginative as the interpretation. Even the sonics sound comparatively dull. Pass on this one.

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Recording Details:

Reference Recording: Kubelik (DG); Rowicki (Philips); Ancerl (Supraphon)

    Symphony No. 6; Two Slavonic Dances (Op. 72, No. 3; Op. 46, No. 8)

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