real bargain. Thorson and Thurber play these works with evident
affection, great sense of ensemble, clean articulation and with
not a small amount of fun along the way. One half of the duo,
Thorson, even provides the excellent accompanying notes.
1 contains the well-known stuff. Yet Thorson and Thurber inject
a sense of discovery to their reading of the two sets of Slavonic
Dances that may make you hear the music's freshness anew. Neither
does one miss the colours of the orchestral version – it all
just sounds so right.
recording is a good one, with a nice amount of depth. The players
are able to convey all the joy of the first dance: a furiant;
all of the various types of Czech dance are identified on the
back of the box for you. Thorson's sparkling right-hand is one
of many sources of joy. Yet the players can do melancholy well,
too - the very next dance from Op. 46, a Dumka in E minor -
and it is perhaps in the slower portions that one is most aware
of their near-telepathic rapport.
list of felicitous touches is endless. Try the light, gorgeous
touch of No. 3 (Sousedka), or the sweet affection of No. 6 with
its more manic contrasts! Perhaps a little more charm in No.
4 could have been achieved?
of the things that makes Thorson and Thurber's exploration of
this familiar territory so gripping is their aliveness to the
shadier, more mysterious moments. The implied tragedy of Op.
72 No. 5 or the exploratory nature (in context) of No. 4 offer
fine examples of this.
second disc offers rich rewards. Both the Legends and
From the Bohemian Forests deserve far more airings than
they actually receive. The Legends immediately move towards
more intimate realms – this is less 'public' music, on a completely
different canvas. Again Thorson and Thurber are superbly responsive
– try the deep, ruminative second Legend or the warmth
of the fourth. The composer's mind wanders even further afield
in From the Bohemian Forests, a sequence of six titled
movements. The sequence is divisible into two sets of three
– hence the third and sixth movements are the fastest ones.
There is no doubting Thorson and Thurber's sense of being at
home in this work, either. Further, Dvořák seems especially
at home here, his invention flowing freely. Seemingly improvised
passages continually surprise and fascinate.
strongly recommended, then.