Dvorák/Gershwin: Symphony; Rhapsody

Review by: David Hurwitz

Artistic Quality: 6

Sound Quality: 6

Needless to say, this release is a mixed bag. The Dvorák is quite good. After a slightly soggy opening, Václav Smetácek turns in a terrific central funeral march, and one of the best finales on disc. The Glazunov saxophone concerto also is well played by both the soloist and the orchestra, but it’s a weak work and its presence isn’t going to make a difference to most listeners. And so we come to the Gershwin.

I have to confess that I am a fan of (potentially) unidiomatic European performances of American music, particularly those originating from behind the old Iron Curtain–but everything has its limits. Jan Panenka handles the solo part respectfully and tastefully, but the conducting has to be some of the stiffest and least alluring in the history of humankind. In these dull, heavy surroundings the prominent banjo sounds positively embarrassing. You already know if you want this.



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Recording Details:

Reference Recording: Third Symphony: Rowicki (Philips)

ANTONIN DVORÁK - Symphony No. 3
ALEXANDER GLAZUNOV - Saxophone Concerto
GEORGE GERSHWIN - Rhapsody in Blue


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