Antonin Dvorak – Slavonic Dances, Opp. 46 & 72 – Budapest Festival Orchestra, Ivan Fischer (2010) [Official Digital Download DSF DSD64/2.82MHz]

Antonin Dvorak – Slavonic Dances, Opp. 46 & 72 – Budapest Festival Orchestra, Ivan Fischer (2010)
DSF Stereo DSD64/2.82MHz | Time – 01:10:14 minutes | 2,78 GB | Genre: Classical
Studio Masters, Official Digital Download – Source: nativeDSDmusic | Booklet, Front Cover | © Channel Classics Records B.V.
Recorded: March and May 1999, Italian Institute, Budapest, Hungary

Whereas the first set had featured predominantly Czech dances (with the exception of the second which evoked the Ukranian dumka — not, strictly speaking, a dance), the second set is more broadly Slavonic, incorporating Slovak, Polish, Serbian and Russian elements in addition to Dvorák’s favourite melancholy dumka strains. In these sixteen highly varied and colourful dances, Dvorák had fulfilled his original brief to perfection, creating stylised, even idealised dance fantasias which inter – mingle folk elements with his own inspired melodies so effectively, so disarmingly and so artistically that for the most part they have defied attempts by musicologists to uncover the folk sources. Dvorák justified his approach in 1894:

‘From the rich stores of Slavonic folk music, in its Hungarian [i.e. Slovak], Russian, Bohemian and Polish varieties, the composers of the day have derived, and will continue to derive, much that is charming and novel in their music. Nor is there anything objectionable in this, for if the poet and painter base much of their best art on national legends, songs and traditions, why should not the musicians?’

There are subtleties in Dvorák’s Slavonic Dances that aren’t necessarily immediately evident, as this performance by Ivan Fischer and the Budapest Festival Orchestra proves. To most people Dvorák’s dances are wonderful, lively examples of concert music adapting elements of folk music. There is an infectious energy in them that can’t help but be exposed by most performers. Beyond that, however, these are not too different from Dvorák’s other music in that he loves to play with simultaneous contrasts in melodies and countermelodies and rhythms and meters. Musicians have to make those contrasts work together in a way that makes sense musically and sounds seamless to the listener. Fischer doesn’t quite manage to successfully do that. Frequently in the first set of Dances the speed is so fast that finer details of voicing between the different sections of the orchestra and of the tempo changes are glossed over. While Dance No. 5 is exciting, it also rushes too quickly to the finish. The following dance is marked Tempo di minuetto, but there isn’t much minuet-like gracefulness to it. The second set of dances is better, with a little more attention to detail and controlled tempos. The mazurka, Dance No. 2, does have more elegance, but for some reason Fischer holds on to the last note an excessively long time. These Slavonic Dances will do as an everyday performance, but those who want a more distinctive version should look elsewhere. —AllMusic Review by Patsy Morita


Antonín Dvořák (1841-1904)

8 Slavonic Dances, Op.46, B.83
1 No.1 in C major: Presto 4.07
2 No.2 in E minor: Allegretto scherzando 4.45
3 No.3 in A flat major: Poco allegro 3.52
4 No.4 in F major: Tempo di minuetto 6.05
5 No.5 in A major: Allegro vivace 3.16
6 No.6 in D major: Allegretto scherzando 4.56
7 No.7 in C minor: Allegro assai 3.26
8 No.8 in G minor: Presto 4.12
8 Slavonic Dances, Op.72, B.147
9 No.1 in B major: Molto vivace 4.13
10 No.2 in E minor: Allegretto grazioso 6.01
11 No.3 in F major: Allegro 3.25
12 No.4 in D flat major: Allegretto grazioso 4.46
13 No.5 in B flat minor: Poco adagio 2.42
14 No.6 in B flat major: Moderato, quasi minuetto 3.33
15 No.7 in C major: Allegro vivace 3.12
16 No.8 in A flat major: Grazioso e lento, ma non troppo, quasi tempo di valse 6.45

Budapest Festival Orchestra
Iván Fischer, conductor