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
|Slavonic Dances, Op. 46|
|Slavonic Dances, Op. 72|