Vaclav Talich

Dvorák: Symphony No. 8; Carnival; Suk: Serenade

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Antonin Dvorák was the greatest Czech composer of the late 19th century and Josef Suk was one of the greatest Czech composers of the early 20th century. Vaclav Talich was the greatest Czech conductor of the first half of the 20th century and the Czech Philharmonic was, and still is, the greatest Czech orchestra of all time. Taken altogether, these performances from the mid- to late '30s are as well-played and -conducted as one could hope for, and more loving than one could dare hope for. Talich never fails to bring out the music's innate lyricism without slighting its energy and drama, and he elicits a performance from the Czech musicians that has rarely been bettered technically and has never been bettered emotionally. Dvorák's Eighth Symphony and Carnival Overture radiate hearty good spirits, and Suk's Serenade for Strings glows with warm affection. Koch's mid-'90s reissue of these performances was closer and clearer, but Opus Kura's non-interventionist remastering gives the uncanny sensation of listening to almost virgin copies of the original 78s. Any fan of these composers or these performers should have strong interest in this release.

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