John Farrer / Royal Philharmonic Orchestra

Dvorák: Slavonic Dances

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Even though one encounters the most popular of Antonin Dvorák's Slavonic Dances as filler on recordings (three or four numbers selected from the first set are most commonly heard), committed classical fans should settle for nothing less than all of the 16 dances in Opp. 46 and 72. This disc by John Farrer and the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra is a decent choice for listeners who need to fill a gap in their collections, though the sharply detailed and energetic performances should also attract connoisseurs of delightful Romantic showpieces. Farrer's interpretations are traditional with no noticeable eccentricities, and the orchestra is both technically adept and highly expressive, so the playing is solid in all regards. The all-digital recording is vibrant and rich in colors, and scarcely a note is lost in the polished reproduction. However, the one drawback to this presentation of the Slavonic Dances is the inauthentic use of attaccas between some of the dances, apparently a bad engineering decision that makes it a little difficult for the uninitiated to know where one track leaves off and the next begins; as a result, close attention must be paid to the tracklist. But apart from that problem, this is an attractive CD that offers Dvorák's perennial favorites in an affordable package and is readily available, thanks to multiple reissues.