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  Sony Classical -
  SS 06393
  Dvorak: Symphony No. 9 - NYPO/Bernstein
  Dvorak: Symphony No. 9

New York Philharmonic
Leonard Bernstein (conductor)
Track listing:
  Classical - Orchestral
  Single Layer
Recording type:
Recording info:
  SRGR708 in Japan.

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Reviews: 1

Review by vonwegen May 14, 2004 (2 of 2 found this review helpful)
Performance:   Sonics:
Judging from the reviews, this is a rather controversial interpretation of "The New World Symphony". Leonard Bernstein 'painted' his renditions with broad, emotional strokes, and this is no exception. The quiet sections are really well done, while the loudest climatic intervals are... really a bit overdone... to the point of melodrama, IMHO. If you like John Williams' "Star Wars" soundtracks, then you'll probably like this as well.

Musically, Dvorak's 9th is a sometimes odd-sounding juxtoposition of his Czech musical background set against passages that sound like they were taken straight out of a John Wayne western (but of course the opposite is very likely true...). For all the liner notes' hype about "Negro American gospel melodies", I don't really hear that influence nearly as much as the Bohemian folk music that dominates the Largo and Scherzo sections.

This is a 1962-vintage recording, which likely means to a 3-track recorder, with not huge numbers of microphones, because multichannel mixers weren't really around back then, and wouldn't be until 1965, when Columbia Studios in L.A. bought the first 8-track multichannel tape console in existence (which was then commandeered by Brian Wilson to make "Pet Sounds", but that's another story...). There's a fair amount of tape hiss, as might be expected from recordings of this era, although the fact that my SA-CD of this is the Japanese release might be a factor, as I've read they had 1st or later gen copies of the mixdown masters to many American releases.

The loud sections sound very full, with a real wallop especially at the end of Allegro con fuoco. The quiet setions are VERY intimate, so much so that you can actually hear the performers turning the pages of their sheet music and the woodwind players inhale between extended passages of the Largo.

All in all, I would have preferred a less dramatic rendition, because here, Bernstein sometimes nudges the barrier into kitsch.

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Works: 1  

Antonin Dvorak - Symphony No. 9 in E minor, B. 178 Op. 95 "From the New World"