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Dvorak Violin Concerto - Atlanta Audio Society

01 November 2005
Atlanta Audio Society
Phil Muse

If you like your Dvorak romantic, radiantly beautiful and emotionally uncomplicated, the program on this Linn hybrid SACD is for you. Joseph Swensen conducts the Scottish Chamber Orchestra in a program of the composer at his most amiable, and the sonics, whether in stereo or in multichannel format, compliment the performances very nicely.

It all begins with Dvorak's Violin Concerto in A Minor, Op. 53, with Swensen himself as the very capable soloist. Hard as it seems, this gorgeous work was slow to make its way into the standard repertoire, probably because there's no opportunity for a first movement cadenza, as the opening movement leads directly into the slow movement by means of a bridge (but what a lovely passage it is!) The slow movement itself, marked Adagio, ma non troppo, moves confidently from soft and pretty to stirring and back again. The exciting finale is reminiscent of the colorful and highly rhythmic world of the composer's Slavonic Dances.

So, too, is the Czech Suite, which follows in the program. It breathes the same heady folk atmosphere as Dvorak's serenades for strings and woodwinds, beginning with the pedal-note imitation of rustic bagpipes in the opening Preludium. Three of the other movements are based on the rhythms of Czech folk dances: a Polka and a Sousedska for movements 2 and 3 and a Furiant for 5. A very sentimental slow movement, marked Romance, precedes the finale.

A charming Nocturne for Strings in B Major and Waltz No. 1 from Two Waltzes, Op. 54 complete a very satisfying program of The Dvorak we all know and love.
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Scottish Chamber OrchestraScottish Chamber Orchestra
Dvorak: Violin Concerto in A minorDvorak: Violin Concerto in A minor