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Dip Your Ears, No. 31 (Bland London Dvořák)

available at Amazon
A.Dvořák, Symphony No. 6,
LSO / Sir C.Davis
LSO Live 0059

The LSO just finished a Brahms symphony cycle (with Haitink—not my cup of tea), works on what promises to be the best Sibelius cycle yet, and seems to record a Dvořák cycle backwards. Symphonies 9, 8, and 7 are in the bag already, and it's the 6th now, an underexposed and wonderful symphony. Brahmsiam in structure and outside movements, popular Dvořák on the inside with plenty of references to the Slavonic Dances, it's an irresistible, very substantial work. All of Dvořák's symphonies deserve attention, two to four for Wagnerian touches, seven to nine for mature Dvořák at his best, and if five and six don't offer as convenient a label, it's not in the least reason to ignore them. The Kubelik set on DG is still the one to beat and had aged better than the famous (and still very fine) Kertész set. This live LSO recording (with just the 45 minutes of the sixth on it, at low-mid-price) has a better sound quality than Kubelik's, but not by much, and it is very, very dry and not too clear. The playing under Sir Colin Davis is as good as has come to be expected on the generally excellent LSO live recordings. The interpretation leaves little to be desired, at least from the technical side. For a sixth, if you don't have it already, it's a good version at that price, and Colin Davis fans will like it indiscriminately, anyway. Those looking for lilting Czech flavor ought to continue to do so elsewhere, however.

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