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Antonín DVOŘÁK (1841-1904)
Mazurka for violin and orchestra Op.49 B90 (1879)
Rondo for cello and orchestra Op.94 B181 (1893 arranged piano1881)
Silent Woods (Klid) for cello and orchestra Op.68 No.5 B182 (1884)
Seven Interludes for small orchestra B15 (1867)
Polonaise in E flat major B100 (1879)
Nocturne in B major Op.40 B48 (1875)
Suite in A major American (1894 arranged orchestra 1895)
Five Prague Waltzes B99 (1879)
Polka in B flat major Op.53A/1 B114
Dmitry Yablonsky (cello)
Alexander Trostianski (violin)
Russian Philharmonic Orchestra/Dmitry Yablonsky
Recorded in Studio 5, Radio House, Moscow, October 2003
NAXOS 8.557352 [78.42]

 

This is an example of genial charm that arrived to enliven the run-up to Christmas. It’s as well that Naxos gives us – correctly – the Burghauser numbers because some of these generic pieces are examples of his early work for student balls in Prague. His aptitude was of course sharpened through his years of orchestral work and evidence of his more than competent scoring is audible throughout. Other works may well be better known in their guise as chamber pieces – the Mazurka and the Rondo or the piano duet Klid. The beefed-up versions certainly provide interest though they are almost impossible to programme in concert these days unless as encores.

The Mazurka’s charms survive the orchestral filling-in though I still think the Rondo works best in its cello and piano version. Here the versatile Yablonsky takes the cello part and indulges some expressive rubati though he has rather a nasal tone. I don’t think the pioneering Zelenka-Heřman recording of the late twenties is around at the moment – but that’s a must-hear recording and nobly evocative. In Klid he strikes a good note in lower lying passages. The Seven Interludes will probably be unfamiliar to most; they were to me. These are ‘prentice works (the Burghauser number is a very low B15) and are imbued with quasi-operatic or operetta-ish lyricism. The fifth, an Allegro assai, has stout nobility and a lyrical second theme and is the pick of the bunch, in which one can feel the composer trying out texture even in the most stylised fashion. The Polonaise fits that kind of genre writing as well, though the Nocturne strikes a more interesting balance between the dictates of form and the resources of the imagination. Arranged from his Quartet in E minor [No.4] it’s melodious and charming and well nuanced here.

The American Suite – so-called- shows some areas of cross-pollination with his other works written there. Full of quiet but uneventful lyricism the most captivating of the movements is the Andante, wistful and artfully shaped by Yablonsky and his players. They play these essentially undemanding works with sufficient buoyancy to animate them but not with too much weight to submerge their real, if slight, charms.

Jonathan Woolf

 

see also review by Colin Clarke and Patrick Waller



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