Famous for his Dvorak, Sir Colin Davis's Smetana is equally deeply felt, particularly...
Andrew McGregor 2006
This sequence of six tone poems from the end of Smetana's life is most famous for its portrait of the River Vltava flowing from its source in rural Bohemia to Prague and beyond...but the whole set offers us a combination of landscape, mythology, history, folk music and passionate nationalism that is defiantly Czech, the composer's love-letter to his homeland if you like. And one of the advantages of hearing the whole cycle like this, recorded in concert, is that you get a joined-up account of Smetana's vision.
Sir Colin Davis's Dvorák is famous, his Smetana just as deeply felt; some of the speeds are on the broad side (especially in Vltava) yet there's a warmth and generous flexibility that works particularly well in the countryside, and the final slaughter in Sarka, or the torrents of the St Johns Rapids in Vltava, are despatched with real violence by the LSO.
It's one of the best recent recordings from the difficult Barbican acoustic I've heard, both in stereo and SACD surround, and there's one last advantage: did you check out the price?
Like This? Try These:
Janácek: Orchestral Music(Czech Philharmonic/Mackerras)
Dvorák: Cello Concerto and Dumky Trio (Jean-Guihen Queyras)
Berlioz: Symphonie Fantastique (LSO/Sir Colin Davis)