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Reviews: Dvorak: Slavonic Dances - Cleveland Orchestra/Szell

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Reviews: 8

Review by Ed T January 27, 2003 (1 of 3 found this review helpful)
Performance:   Sonics:
A must! The performances on this disc have been lauded ever since they were first issued back in the 1960's. The sound is unbelievably better than some of the early issues. Very fine sound even on an absolute scale IMO.

Szell was a master of the Bohemian idiom and of Dvorak's work. The Cleveland of this period may have been the finest symphony in the world. This one is for the ages.

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Review by tfkaudio January 16, 2004 (1 of 3 found this review helpful)
Performance:   Sonics:
If you just bought an SACD player, make this one of the first 5 SACD titles you buy. The combination of 1) Inspired performance, 2) 1st rate composition by one of the all-time great composers, and 3) FANTASTIC SACD sound, make it a must-have.
This recording is doubly-satisfying, because I was initially concerned that old recordings might suffer under the high-resolution microscope. Not the case here! The SACD sound is just tremendous, and makes me wonder why some other older recordings came out so badly on SACD (See reviews of DG's Beethoven 9th Symphony - Karajan 1976). Either the analog masters were in bad shape, or DG just did a very bad job, which I find hard to believe. Anyway, I digress. Congratulations, Sony Classical, on a job very well done!

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Review by Monteverdi January 22, 2004 (1 of 5 found this review helpful)
Performance:   Sonics:
Marvelous performances, beautifully paced and structured. A classic in every way. A must have in your SACD collection.
©DAE 2004

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Review by seth August 28, 2004 (2 of 3 found this review helpful)
Performance:   Sonics:
Next to the Cello Concerto, the Slavonic Dances are Dvorak's greatest orchestral achievement. Despite some of the dances lasting only three minutes, each one is a substantial work on their own, exhibiting a unique character, richly orchestrated, thematically lush, and fairly complex structurally.

Nearly 40 years later, Szell's recording remains one of the two or three best, with the only recent competition coming from Mackerras. Szell's tempos, phrasing, and balance are all utterly convincing. He's also aided by the brilliant playing of the Cleveland Orchestra.

Sound wise, this SACD is significantly better than past LP and CD issues. The sound is fuller, the bass is more pronounced and tighter, and gone is a harsh brittle texture that infected all of the instruments. Depending on the dances (which were recorded over a number of years), there is more air around the instruments and a greater sense of depth.

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Review by Jonalogic July 14, 2010 (3 of 4 found this review helpful)
Performance:   Sonics:
This is definitely one of the immortals. Szell and the Cleveland play like angels, the performance is idiomatic, tender and showy by turn and almost impossible to imagine ever being bettered.

Plus the SACD remastering has transformed the sound from downright shrieking nastiness on later vinyl and RBCD into something that is more than acceptable. It's warm, ambient, natural and well-balanced. Definitely one of the better Szell/CO transfers. Even if it were not, however, this would still be irreplaceable.

Buy it whilst you can.

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Review by EdBoxer September 13, 2012 (4 of 5 found this review helpful)
Performance:   Sonics:
Having owned these on Odyssey LP, cassette and Sony Essential Classics (“SEC”) CD I have been looking for this SACD and finally got my hands on one. The performances, as Penguin used to write, are an orchestra reveling in their own virtuosity, and have never been bettered.

Doing a direct comparison between the SEC CD and the SACD reveals an improvement in the harshness/shrillness of the SEC CD to everything above midrange. There is also greater clarity in detail, bass response and inner voices. I don’t hear a vast improvement in the soundstage but the improvement in sound makes it worth the price.

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Review by Araner July 16, 2013 (0 of 8 found this review helpful)
Performance:   Sonics:
Conductor and orchestra play with maximum effort, their performance is riveting and miraciously. The recording lacks artistic practically nothing. Technically: the original mono recording is very well mastered, the individual instruments are well separated, but the louder passages rather merge into a sort of joint shape.

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Review by JohnProffitt July 20, 2013 (2 of 2 found this review helpful)
Performance:   Sonics:
The previous reviewer makes a comment to the effect "the original mono recording..." This is not so; the Szell Cleveland Slavonic Dances were recorded in 2-channel stereo, and are presented as such in the SACD remastering.

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