Coming as it does after disappointingly turgid readings of Brahms' four symphonies with the London Philharmonic, Marin Alsop's powerful recording of Dvorák's Ninth with the Baltimore Symphony is a surprise. Recorded live in Joseph Meyerhoff Symphony Hall in Baltimore, Alsop's Ninth is robust and energetic, with muscular rhythms and stalwart tempos. Her Molto vivace Scherzo has real heft and weight and her closing Allegro con fuoco has drive and strength. Better yet, Alsop coaxes warm, characterful playing from the Baltimore musicians. The ensemble is tight and direct in the fast movements, but the playing is colorful and soulful in the slow movements. The burnished lower strings in the opening Adagio and the solemn trombones at the start of the central Largo are deeply felt and quietly affecting. Preceded by a brilliant and bumptious account of the same composer's Symphonic Variations, this disc will add luster to both Alsop and the Baltimore's reputation.
AllMusic Review by James Leonard
|Symphony No. 9 in E minor ("From the New World"), B. 178 (Op. 95) (first published as No. 5)|