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Antonín DVOŘÁK (1841-1904)
Mazurka for violin and orchestra Op. 49 (1879) [6:14]
Rondo and orchestra Op. 94 (1893) [6:15]
Seven Interludes for small orchestra (1867) [23:20]
Silent Woods for cello and orchestra Op. 68/5 (1884) [6:05]
Polonaise in E flat (1879) [4:59]
Nocturne in B Op.40 (1875) [4:37]
American Suite Op.98b (1894) [16:34]
Five Prague Waltzes (1879) [8:40]
Polka in B flat (1880) [1:58]
Alexander Trostianski (violin)
Dmitry Yablonsky (cello)
Russian Philharmonic Orchestra/ Dmitry Yablonsky
Rec. Studio 5, Radio House, Moscow in October 2003
NAXOS 8.557352 [78:42]

Nine symphonies, three concertos, two serenades, sixteen Slavonic dances. Admirers of Dvořák will almost certainly know these works but what of his other orchestral music? This disc covers quite a lot of ground and would seem to provide a good entry point. Sensibly the music is not arranged in chronological order because the earliest work here, the Seven Interludes is neither particularly characteristic nor striking. Instead, the Mazurka, originally written for violin and piano (but arranged with orchestral accompaniment by the composer and dedicated to Pablo Sarasate) gets things off to a rousing start in a spirited rendition by Alexander Trostianski. The conductor, Dmitri Yablonsky, then nips off the podium to fetch his cello and plays the Rondo, another work which started life as a duo with a piano and soon got upgraded. Later he also plays Silent Woods and in both cases produces a mellow sound which is well integrated with the orchestra. The latter piece started life as one of a set of six piano duets but listening to it here you would never know. In between, come the Seven Interludes; I have listened to these several times in search of real interest but in vain. At least Yablonsky doesn’t fall into the trap of trying to overplay them and they lack the excessive longueurs of the early string quartets which Dvořák was writing at about the same time.

The rest of the disc contains much delightful music, in particular the American Suite (originally for piano) in five movements, in which the composer of From the New World is easily recognizable. This is the most important work on the disc whilst the Five Prague Waltzes, firmly rooted in the mid-European tradition, are probably the most fun along with the Mazurka. The Nocturne in B has an interesting history since it started life as the slow movement of the 4th string quartet (marked Andante religioso) and was initially recycled for violin and piano. The concluding Polka is a delightful postscript.

This is a well-filled disc with a cleverly arranged programme. The orchestral playing is of a high standard and Yablonsky directs with a straight bat(on). The recording is basically of good quality but sometimes sounds just slightly brash. Good notes, attractive picture of Prague on the front (by Ignacy Pinkas), usual low Naxos price – this could fill a gap in anyone’s collection very nicely.

Patrick C Waller

see also review by Colin Clarke

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