Marin Alsop / Baltimore Symphony Orchestra

Dvorák: Symphonies Nos. 7 & 8

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There were critics and listeners who enjoyed and admired the recording of Dvorák's Ninth Symphony with Marin Alsop and the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, but this recording of the composer's Seventh and Eighth symphonies is hugely disappointing. The Seventh has no power and tragedy, with flaccid attacks, slack ensemble playing, lax phrasing, and smudged details. There is no joy or energy in the Eighth, but thick textures, heavy balance, dull colors, and lackadaisical rhythms. It's not that Alsop doesn't know how to get from one point to another, it's that she makes getting there seem so tedious. And it's not that the Baltimore Symphony doesn't know how to play these standard repertoire pieces, but that they seem to have little to no enthusiasm for doing them again. Captured in gray, two-dimensional digital sound, this disc reflects badly on everyone associated with it.

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