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Thread: Antonin Dvorak

  1. #256
    Senior Member Janspe's Avatar
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    I feel the deepest admiration and love towards the three concerti of Dvořák - yes, even the little-loved G minor concerto for piano that I try to champion in Dvořák-related discussions whenever I can. It truly is a gem and worthy of careful attention to all lovers of great piano concertos.

    But the violin concerto is the piece that I'm most attracted to. It really is one of the most important pieces by Dvořák - or anyone! - for me. I wonder if there are a lot of people who prefer it to the great cello concerto - which I of course love to bits, but no as much. There's something life-affirming about the violin concerto, and I'm glad to see that it really has managed to resurrect itself back to concert programs and recordings thanks to the efforts of countless great violinists. There are hardly any finales in the standard repertoire that make me - to put it simply - as happy as the finale of Dvořák's violin concerto.

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    Senior Member Olias's Avatar
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    Yeah, with you on that one. The Dvorak VC is my favorite next to Mendelssohn's. I particularly love how the truncated first movement makes all three movements about the same length, (unlike the Brahms or Beethoven which have tremendously long first movements). This approach balances the entire concerto better and puts more attention on the rondo.

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  5. #258
    Senior Member flamencosketches's Avatar
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    Definitely going to seek out recordings of the Dvořák violin and piano concerti... do these have a definitive recording, like Rostropovich/Karajan/Berlin for the Cello Concerto? How's Richter/Kleiber in the piano concerto? Amazing, I'm guessing.

  6. #259
    Senior Member Janspe's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by flamencosketches View Post
    Definitely going to seek out recordings of the Dvořák violin and piano concerti... do these have a definitive recording, like Rostropovich/Karajan/Berlin for the Cello Concerto? How's Richter/Kleiber in the piano concerto? Amazing, I'm guessing.
    These are just personal preferences, but I swear by the following recordings:

    Piano Concerto: András Schiff/Christoph von Dohnányi/Wiener Philharmoniker
    Violin Concerto: Isabelle Faust/Jiří Bělohlávek/The Prague Philharmonia

    Of the violin concerto there are countless recordings by a lot of great violinists. I'm of course obliged to recommend Christian Tetzlaff's relatively recent Ondine release with my home orchestra Helsinki Philharmonic, led by John Storgårds. It's a very nice recording indeed! But so many have recorded it that you're spoilt with choice.

    The piano concerto fares much worse, I really think the Schiff recording is the place to start. The Richter/Kleiber is obviously the best-known, and should be given attention in its own right, but I find Schiff superior. There's also the Aimard/Harnoncourt, not my go-to recording but still worth a listen. The most important thing with the Piano Concerto is to not listen to a recording that uses the infamous revised piano part - an attempt to make the soloist's part more virtuosic and flashy, and definitely not by Dvořák himself. The original is perfect as it is. And by the way, apparently it's a terrifyingly difficult thing to master, even though the audience remains blissfully unaware of this - I think Richter said it's the most difficult piece he has ever learnt. That's quite something...

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  8. #260
    Senior Member flamencosketches's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Janspe View Post
    These are just personal preferences, but I swear by the following recordings:

    Piano Concerto: András Schiff/Christoph von Dohnányi/Wiener Philharmoniker
    Violin Concerto: Isabelle Faust/Jiří Bělohlávek/The Prague Philharmonia

    Of the violin concerto there are countless recordings by a lot of great violinists. I'm of course obliged to recommend Christian Tetzlaff's relatively recent Ondine release with my home orchestra Helsinki Philharmonic, led by John Storgårds. It's a very nice recording indeed! But so many have recorded it that you're spoilt with choice.

    The piano concerto fares much worse, I really think the Schiff recording is the place to start. The Richter/Kleiber is obviously the best-known, and should be given attention in its own right, but I find Schiff superior. There's also the Aimard/Harnoncourt, not my go-to recording but still worth a listen. The most important thing with the Piano Concerto is to not listen to a recording that uses the infamous revised piano part - an attempt to make the soloist's part more virtuosic and flashy, and definitely not by Dvořák himself. The original is perfect as it is. And by the way, apparently it's a terrifyingly difficult thing to master, even though the audience remains blissfully unaware of this - I think Richter said it's the most difficult piece he has ever learnt. That's quite something...
    Thanks! I've heard that the PC is a beast of a concerto. I'll sample both Richter and Schiff. I'm a fan of each, but especially Richter. As for the VC, that Isabelle Faust sounds great, I have a few other records of hers and I am a fan. I'll have to check that one out.

    I'm listening to the cello concerto this morning, the Rostropovich/Karajan/Berlin recording. A very beautiful work! I'm new to appreciating Dvořák's music. I think I had to get really into Brahms first before I could really appreciate Dvořák; different as they are, they just might be two sides of the same coin in my mind. I need to spend more time with this. Eventually, I will get into his symphonies and string quartets, but I think I will focus on the concerti for now.

  9. #261
    Senior Member Janspe's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by flamencosketches View Post
    As for the VC, that Isabelle Faust sounds great, I have a few other records of hers and I am a fan. I'll have to check that one out.
    A little bit off topic - and you might already know this anyway - but! Early next year harmonia mundi shall release Faust's recording of the Schoenberg concerto, coupled with Verklärte Nacht in the sextet version, played by Faust and others! I think I remember you being quite a Schoenberg fan, so this might be interestesting news for you too.

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    Senior Member flamencosketches's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Janspe View Post
    A little bit off topic - and you might already know this anyway - but! Early next year harmonia mundi shall release Faust's recording of the Schoenberg concerto, coupled with Verklärte Nacht in the sextet version, played by Faust and others! I think I remember you being quite a Schoenberg fan, so this might be interestesting news for you too.
    Wow, yeah, that sounds amazing. Good call, I'll be looking out for that one!

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  12. #263
    Senior Member Janspe's Avatar
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    I decided to listen to a random Dvořák quartet just now, as I don't know them nearly as well as I should. You know, just a little bit of listening before continuing on with some household chores...

    ...or that's how it would've gone had I not chosen the monster of a quartet that is the 3rd. How was I not aware that Dvořák wrote a string quartet that runs well over an hour!? The first movement alone is almost half an hour long. I can't say I could grasp or understand this work on first listen, I feel bewildered.

    What do people make of this piece? I'm not surprised at all that this isn't exactly a repertoire piece, it's just so massive and sprawling.

  13. #264
    Senior Member flamencosketches's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Janspe View Post
    I decided to listen to a random Dvořák quartet just now, as I don't know them nearly as well as I should. You know, just a little bit of listening before continuing on with some household chores...

    ...or that's how it would've gone had I not chosen the monster of a quartet that is the 3rd. How was I not aware that Dvořák wrote a string quartet that runs well over an hour!? The first movement alone is almost half an hour long. I can't say I could grasp or understand this work on first listen, I feel bewildered.

    What do people make of this piece? I'm not surprised at all that this isn't exactly a repertoire piece, it's just so massive and sprawling.
    At over an hour, it would seem to beat out Schubert's 15th quartet as definitely the longest string quartet by a major composer (whose name is not Morton Feldman). What did you think? Did the content justify the length?

    More and more I find myself dipping my toes in the water with Dvořák's music, which for a long time I did not like. I like to credit Rafael Kubelik's great recording of the 8th and 9th symphonies with the Berlin Philharmonic for unlocking some of the appeal to this music for me, especially the 8th. What a symphony! The overtures and tone poems are also quite nice. I still have yet to hear the violin concerto in full. The cello and piano concertos are both interesting works in their own ways. I also enjoy the "Dumky" trio.
    Last edited by flamencosketches; Oct-26-2020 at 01:16.

  14. #265
    Senior Member Janspe's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by flamencosketches View Post
    What did you think? Did the content justify the length?
    Hard to say as I've only heard to piece once so far. I did feel very long, though - I do think all the people who call it a bit, ermm, meandering might be on to something. Nevertheless, I must revisit it a few times before I make an assessment. It might just take some time before I have the energy for such a huge chunk of early Dvořák again...

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    It may be worth remembering that String Quartets 1-4 are very early Dvořák indeed, dating from the late 1860s (i.e., contemporary with the first two symphonies), and that he didn't really start to find his characteristic voice until 1873 (the year of the Third Symphony). In fact, rightly or wrongly, it's usually felt that only the last five quartets (10-14) can fairly be set beside the last five symphonies.

    Of course, once he did find his voice... wow!

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  17. #267
    Member Ned Low's Avatar
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    An underrated work would be his 3rd symphony. So Wagnerian especially the 2nd movement Adagio. I love it. Call it Wagner Symphony( sorry Bruckner). He has composed so many other fine works. However' i'm only familiar with some : serenades, songs my mother taught me, cello concerto. I hope i'll get to know this Bohemian genius better in the future.

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    Senior Member Merl's Avatar
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    I rarely play the first 4 quartets, tbh, and the 3rd is ridiculously wayyyyy too long. Furthermore Dvorak (sensibly in my view) totally disowned them and thought he had destroyed them. There's plenty of material to enjoy from 5 onwards but many people think he largely hit his stride from the Slavonic Quartet onwards. I actually really enjoy some moments of SQs 5-10 (8 is an excellent but melancholy quartet).
    Last edited by Merl; Oct-28-2020 at 19:19.

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  20. #269
    Senior Member BlackAdderLXX's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Merl View Post
    I rarely play the first 4 quartets, tbh, and the 3rd is ridiculously wayyyyy too long. Furthermore Dvorak (sensibly in my view) totally disowned them and thought he had destroyed them. There's plenty of material to enjoy from 5 onwards but many people think he largely hit his stride from the Slavonic Quartet onwards. I actually really enjoy some moments of SQs 5-10 (8 is an excellent but melancholy quartet).
    Good to know it's not just me. I've been working through my Panocha box set and the first two so far have not been too inspiring...
    If I had a time machine I'd go back and warn these artists about their album covers

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  22. #270
    Senior Member CnC Bartok's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by flamencosketches View Post
    Definitely going to seek out recordings of the Dvořák violin and piano concerti... do these have a definitive recording, like Rostropovich/Karajan/Berlin for the Cello Concerto? How's Richter/Kleiber in the piano concerto? Amazing, I'm guessing.
    A late response, but who cares...!

    All three concertos are very very well served in the complete symphonies set done on Decca by the Czech Phil and Jiri Belohlavek. Soloists are: Alisa Weilerstein, Frank Peter Zimmermann and Garrick Ohlsson. I reckon Ohlsson does as good a job as anyone (including Richter) in making a decent case out for the Piano Concerto, which - I'm sorry - isn't perfect, certainly not in comparison to the two other concertos.

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