Artist: London Symphony Orchestra, Sir Colin Davis
Title: Dvorak: Symphony No. 7
Release Date: 2001
Quality: High-Fidelity FLAC Stereo 24bit/96kHz
Label: LSO Live
With his Seventh Symphony, Dvok set out to write a piece that would ‘stir the world’. Although it was written to a commission from London, the composer’s Czech nationalist leanings shine out from the work, which is full of drama and rich, beautiful melody.
Back in November 1975, Sir Colin Davis and the Concertgebouw Orchestra set down what remains one of the finest accounts of Dvork’s Seventh. Over a quarter of a century on, this meticulously prepared and abundantly characterful LSO Live successor leaves one in no doubt that it’s a work which still means a great deal to him.
Davis masterminds a performance of imposing authority. Tempi are more spacious than before, his approach markedly more flexible and generously expressive, yet there’s absolutely no want of symphonic thrust (both outer movements generate exciting cumulative power). I like Davis’s distinctive, raptly patient way with the noble Poco adagio, which here acquires a devotional, almost Elgarian quality, while the Scherzo possesses a purposeful skip and rhythmic acuity that for once carry over into the the dark-hued Poco meno mosso trio (these elusive measures are prone to hang fire in less experienced hands). At 6’30” in this same movement, the violas’ ‘superbly tragic cry’ (to quote Dvork biographer John Clapham) has genuine pathos — just one of numerous felicities that readily ignite the imagination (the middle strings’ truculent counterpoint from 6’18” in the finale is another). Although the LSO can’t quite rival the burnished splendour of the Concertgebouw, they respond with admirable discipline and unflagging dedication none the less.
Tony Faulkner’s close-set engineering captures plenty of inner detail (and Sir Colin’s grunts and groans add to the sense of involvement), but ambient glow is in shortsupply. For the price, definitely one to snap up. –Andrew Achenbach, Gramophone
- Symphony No. 7 in D minor, Op. 70: I. Allegro maestoso – 11:12
- Symphony No. 7 in D minor, Op. 70: II. Poco adagio – 11:23
- Symphony No. 7 in D minor, Op. 70: III. Scherzo: Vivace – Poco memo mosso – 7:43
- Symphony No. 7 in D minor, Op. 70: IV. Allegro – 9:55