Michel Tabachnik / Brussels Philharmonic Orchestra

New World Dvorák

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By all appearances a standard-issue recording of Antonin Dvorák's Symphony No. 9 in E minor, "From the New World," with the first set of Slavonic Dances provided as filler, these are surprisingly fresh and vivid performances that are better than the understated packaging or routine programming might suggest. The Brussels Philharmonic, led by Michel Tabachnik, is a full-bodied and well-rehearsed ensemble, and the group's playing is warmly expressive and exciting for its spontaneity, while the execution is generally accurate without seeming mechanical. Tabachnik is known throughout Europe for concert and operatic performances, and he has been the chief conductor and artistic director of the Brussels Philharmonic since 2008, so the communication apparent in these 2011 performances suggests a special rapport. While this is an effective and ultimately affecting performance of "From the New World," and a rollicking romp through the Slavonic Dances, there is a lot of competition in the marketplace, because these extremely popular pieces are well-represented in the catalog and continue to be recorded with regularity. Listeners may give this album a try, but there are many great performances available that have superior sound quality, so it shouldn't be the only one they hear or consider purchasing.

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