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Fabien Sevitzky and the Indianapolis Symphony - Volume 3
Johannes BRAHMS (1833-1897)
Hungarian Dances, WoO 1 (1869): No. 1 in G minor [3:41]: No. 3 in F major arr. Martin Schmeling [2:34]: 3 No. 7 in A major (F major for orchestral version) [1:26]
Antonín DVOŘÁK (1841-1904)
Slavonic Dances, Op. 46 (1878); No. 8 in G minor [3:55]: No. 2 in E minor [4:28]: No. 4 in F major [7:11]: No. 1 in C major [3:32]
George ENESCU (1881-1955)
Romanian Rhapsodies, Op. 11 (1901): No. 1 in A major [11:44]: No. 2 in D major [10:51]
Aram KHACHATURIAN (1903-1978)
Gayaneh – Ballet Suite (1939, rev 1941-42) [29:34]
rec. 29 January 1942 (Brahms): 22–23 January 1953 (Dvořák, Enescu and Khachaturian), Murat Theatre, Indianapolis.

This is the third volume in Pristine Audio’s tranche of recordings directed in Indianapolis by Fabien Sevitzky. It usefully focuses on folk dances and rhapsodic vivacity in recordings made in 1942 and 1953. The three Brahms Hungarian Dances are the earliest and thus the only 78s and have been unavailable since they were deleted; they were never transferred to LP. Sevitzky takes canny tempi and ensures good balances in these dances. The G minor and F major (in the orchestral version) are full of brio whilst the F major is dapper and charming, winds forward, and heard in the arrangement by Martin Schmeling though the interpolated bedtime celesta announces, it’s suggested, the additional hand of the conductor himself.

These shellac Victors were followed over a decade later by vinyl Capitols. Whereas the 78s are natural sounding with a filament of crackle, the Capitols are bold and brash monos. The company gave Sevitzky a single disc to get through four of Dvořák’s Slavonic Dances and Nos. 1, 2, 4 and 8 were taken from the Op.46 set, though they were presented 8, 2, 4, 1 from the way they’ve been reproduced here. Again, this quartet shows a well-upholstered orchestral sound and a well-sprung approach to rhythm though not without personal touches. Parts of the E minor are a little slow but there’s lusty drama in the G minor and the horns are in good form in the F major. No, you won’t prefer the readings to those of Talich, Šejna or Jeremiáš but I think you’ll admire them nevertheless, though you’ll perhaps part company with Capitol’s interventionist, over-reverberant sound quality. The Enescu brace come from the same sessions. Everyone prefers the A major, a Stokowski favourite, but the lilting and subtler D major is especially fine in this recording.

Even with the over-resonant trickery, Khachaturian’s Gayeneh suite emerges very creditably. Indeed, elements of the suite suit the brash recording, most obviously the Sabre Dance which courses with Technicolor panache. The persuasive charms of the Lullaby are more resistant to the sound quality but only just.

It seems as if Sevitzky’s A&R men were on the button when it came to setting down his discographic legacy as this, and the two previous releases in the series, handsomely show.

Jonathan Woolf

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