One of the most grown-up review sites around

Search MusicWeb Here



International mailing

  Founder: Len Mullenger             Senior Editor: John Quinn               Contact Seen and Heard here  

Some items
to consider

in the first division

extraordinary by any standards

An excellent disc

a new benchmark

summation of a lifetime’s experience.

Piano Concertos 1 and 2
Surprise Best Seller and now

A Garland for John McCabe


DIETHELM Symphonies

The best Rite of Spring in Years

BACH Magnificat

Brian Symphs 8, 21, 26

Just enjoy it!

La Mer Ticciati







REVIEW Plain text for smartphones & printers

Advertising on

Donate and keep us afloat


New Releases

Naxos Classical

Nimbus Podcast

Obtain 10% discount

Special offer 50% off

Musicweb sells the following labels
Acte Préalable
(THE Polish label)
Altus 10% off
Atoll 10% off
CRD 10% off
Hallé 10% off
Lyrita 10% off
Nimbus 10% off
Nimbus Alliance
Prima voce 10% off
Red Priest 10% off
Retrospective 10% off
Saydisc 10% off
Sterling 10% off

Follow us on Twitter

Subscribe to our free weekly review listing

Sample: See what you will get

Editorial Board
MusicWeb International
Founding Editor
Rob Barnett
Senior Editor
John Quinn
Seen & Heard
Editor Emeritus
   Bill Kenny
Editor in Chief
MusicWeb Webmaster
   David Barker
MusicWeb Founder
   Len Mullenger

Support us financially by purchasing this disc from
Antonín DVOŘÁK (1841-1904)
Symphony No. 7 in D minor, Op. 70 (1884-5) [38:39]*
Othello, Overture, Op. 93 (1891-2) [14:09]
Holoubek (The Wild Dove), Op. 110 (1896) [18:50]
Malaysian Philharmonic Orchestra/Claus Peter Flor
rec. Dewan Philharmonic PETRONAS, Kuala Lumpur, September 2010, *July 2011
BIS BIS-SACD-1896 [72:42]

Claus Peter Flor plays the first movement of the D minor symphony as if his primary intention were to keep the listener off-balance. The introductory phrases crawl. The rising string figures accelerate to the standard tempo; then the pace slackens unexpectedly at 1:31, at the little transition to the horn solo. An agogic hiccough launches the tutti statement at 2:02 - as it will in the recapitulation. Even the caressing second theme-group incorporates an artful, oh-so-sensitive ritard at 3:26.
So it goes throughout the movement. All of the conductor's choices are musically motivated. Each makes an expressive point; none of them, on its own, is excessive. However, everything, taken together, becomes a bit much, though Flor, at least, avoids the sort of herky-jerky effect invited by other Romantic symphonies, like the Mahler First. Think of this as an outline for a better-integrated interpretation down the line.
Ironically, the remaining movements more or less follow standard paradigms. Flor's rhythmic address in the Poco adagio is straightforward, but the principal clarinet at the start is fervent, and the performance proceeds with concentrated power. The third movement's Trio section sounds oddly thick and static, but then the hushed pianissimo return of the Scherzo is magical. Despite some rhetorical touches, Flor steers clear of bombast in the Finale, which rounds things off effectively.
The Wild Dove, its innocuous title belying its grisly program, is characterful. In the forthright opening and closing marches, Flor conveys the needed gravity with dynamics and demeanour. The flutes' lilting waltz fragment at 6:09 leaves you wanting more - and we do get a longer waltz, gracious and flowing, at 9:13. At 7:15, bright-eyed brass fanfares usher in an episode that's lyrical and triumphal by turns. The strings' quiet lyrical episode at 11:23 is suffused with nostalgia.
The final acceleration of the Othello overture threatens to career out of control - the piece ends just in time - but, before that, the performance is animated by a nice buoyancy, taking in much delicate, expressive woodwind playing.
The polished-sounding Malaysian Philharmonic keeps its cool surprisingly well under the circumstances, maintaining good ensemble throughout. The string sonorities have a nice sheen. The woodwinds play with transparent tone and phrase sensitively; the brass are firm and solid.
Bis's engineering, even in plain frontal stereo, is vivid.
Stephen Francis Vasta
Stephen Francis Vasta is a New York-based conductor, coach, and journalist. 

Masterwork Index: Dvorak symphony 7