The Second volume of the first complete cycle of Dvorák symphonies on Warner Classics conducted by José Serebrier and featuring the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra.
Recorded at the Lighthouse, Poole, 21-22nd September 2011 by producer and engineer Phil Rowlands.
On Classic FM radio:
David Mellor Recommends - 25 February David's CD of the Week is a wonderful recording of Dvorak from the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra conducted by José Serebrier.
" ...His understanding of the structure is secure; he trusts his players and knows when to give them their head, with the violas and in the solos for the second oboe and third horn as much as when it is the turn of the principals. After the dark forcefulness with which he plays the openig theme, its return gently on horns in the movement's closing bard has its touchingly conclusive effect. The recording is exceptionally quick in catching all these nuances, which are not merely decorative but are an essential part of the invention."
International Record Review March 2012
From CLASSICAL SOURCE
Volume Two of José Serebrier's very welcome survey of the nine symphonies of Antonín Dvorák brings us the great Seventh as well as the equally wonderful In Nature's Realm and Scherzo capriccioso. The collection begins with an unforced and swinging account of the ultimate Slavonic Dance from the Opus 46 collection.
The Seventh Symphony receives an exhilarating and moving performance (tension maintained through the use of minimal pauses between movements), lovingly detailed, wonderfully expressive (this is music of glorious lyricism) and given with a purpose that sweeps the listener along, the music's recesses fully explored and its emotional demonstration given a powerful outing by an orchestra and conductor that have forged a significant partnership.
In Nature's Realm and Scherzo capriccioso are both inimitable masterpieces and here receive renditions of notable outgoingness as well as displaying many subtleties and thrills. The former piece is full of wonderment at the world's beauties, the composer at his most rapturous. The Scherzo, beginning with an arresting motif heard from the horns, is a sort of large-scale Slavonic Dance, and essentially vital, but the trio (its repeat rightly observed by Serebrier) is appreciably tinged by the recent death of Dvoøák's mother, a deeply-felt melody of infinite sadness given to cor anglais.
Serebrier and the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra have the memorable measure of this great music and the recording faithfully captures the lively acoustic. The next volume is keenly awaited.
The opening salvo in José Serebrier’s new Dvořák symphony cycle for Warner Classics proved a genuine tonic, featuring as it did one of the most endearingly communicative and beamingly affectionate accounts of the New World to have come my way in many a moon.
I’m happy to report that its successor boasts comparable virtues, the Uruguayan maestro presiding over music-making that is at once alive, compassionate and wise – ‘old-school’ conducting of the most exalted order, in fact, and a real treat to encounter in this day and age.
Serebrier’s reading of the lofty Seventh Symphony is immensely personable, songful and (with one exception in the coda) magnificently faithful to the composer’s intentions. Above all, the performance radiates a wholly entrancing freshness that stems in no small measure from Serebrier’s beguiling fluidity of pulse and intensely warm-hearted shaping of melody, combined with an intimate knowledge of the symphony’s inner workings – middle voices are attended to with particular care (and, in turn, the Bournemouth clarinets, horns and violas cover themselves in glory).
At the same time, there’s absolutely no want of symphonic rigor.In the opening movement Dvořák’s gripping argument unfolds with splendid sweep and inevitability, while the finale evinces an indomitable sureness of purpose that not even some spurious re-jigging of the parts in the majestic apotheosis can undermine. Elsewhere, the slow movement has both enviable concentration and nobility of tone to commend it.
The scherzo, too, is memorable, brimful of infectious rhythmic swagger, those subtly variegated textures in the poignant trio section sifted with exceptional skill; moreover, Serebrier sees to it that the violas’ “superbly tragic cry” (in John Clapham’s eloquent description) at 6’29” is as touchingly expressive as one could ever hope to hear. Make no mistake, this is a Seventh to cherish.
The delights continue in the three remaining items on the programme. The exuberance of the G minor Slavonic Dance is tempered with a nostalgic glow that is very appealing. In Serebrier’s watchful hands, In Nature’s Realm really does sound newly-minted – an enchantingly spontaneous display, this, illuminated by orchestral playing of disarming grace and application.
The marvellous Scherzo capriccioso is just as impressive, its heaven-sent second subject lilting to joyous perfection (I defy you not to smile!) and capped by a properly exhilarating dash to the finish. In fact, my sole niggle of note concerns the rather washy acoustic, though it’s also fair to state that the sound is otherwise vivid, truthful in timbre and wide-ranging.
Andrew Achenbach (Classical Review)