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Note: The high resolution content is Blu-ray Audio only.
  Deutsche Grammophon -
  Dvorak: Symphony No. 9 - Fricsay
  Antonín Dvorák (1841 - 1904): Symphony No.9 in E minor, Op.95 "From the New World"
Bedrich Smetana (1824 - 1884): The Moldau (from Má Vlast)
Franz Liszt (1811 - 1886): Les Préludes, symphonic poem No.3, S.97

Radio-Symphonie-Orchester Berlin (Liszt only)
Berliner Philharmoniker
Ferenc Fricsay
Track listing:
  Classical - Orchestral
Recording type:
Recording info:
  2.0 Dolby TrueHD 24bit/96kHz
2.0 DTS HD MA 24bit/96kHz
2.0 LPCM 24bit/96kHz

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Related titles: 1

Reviews: 1

Review by Chris from Lafayette July 16, 2015 (8 of 8 found this review helpful)
Performance:   Sonics:
My experience with this "New World" performance dates back to the 60's when I obtained what was already an LP reissue on the American Heliodor label. I must say that it didn't make much of an impression on me, aside from what I thought were impossibly slow speeds in some sections of the work, such as the third thematic group in the first movement (i.e., with the theme that starts out like a paraphrase of "Swing low, Sweet Chariot"). For one thing, I couldn't get past the crackly American pressings, so full of pops and other kinds of surface noise and distortion. And for another, I just didn't see what all the fuss over Fricsay was about - he seemed to me just another mitteleuropäisch practitioner who didn't stand out from the crowd at all. I was more used to the whipped up excitement of Paul Paray!

Fast forward to a couple of months ago when I obtained this blu-ray audio disc of the same Fricsay performance just on pure speculation. Wow! What a difference half a century makes! The sound quality is now in a whole new dimension, which makes it possible to appreciate the life and subtlety of Fricsay's interpretation. Sure, the "Swing low" parts still seem kind of slow, but, overall, I'm so impressed with the nuance and color of the playing, as well as the unanimity of intent among all the different sections of the orchestra. I admit that trying to judge intent may seem a bit dubious, but what I mean is that Fricsay seems to have instilled in the players the idea that they all know exactly where they're going in terms of phrasing, the build and release of tension, and the overall shape of the piece. You can't always count on this in many performances.

I'm so glad I took a chance on this performance again, and it's a testament to how the quality of the audio can make such a big difference in our perception of a performance. Is this recording the best I've ever heard of this work? Well, not really - for one thing, although the resolution and naturalness of this 50+-year-old stereo recording is wonderful, I increasingly find multi-channel to be necessary for maximum enjoyment. But I nevertheless think that listening to what Fricsay has to say about this piece is time well spent. And if you're like me, you probably have several recordings of this work anyway. I certainly don't plan to get rid of my copy. (If I had to recommend a "best" hi-rez version of the New World, I'd probably go for the Harnoncourt/Concertgebouw on a Teldec DVD-Audio. I like a couple of the Neumann/CzPO performances perhaps even better, but I feel that the performances he did on hi-rez platforms just don't have the life of his earlier performances, especially that great Supraphon/Denon album which was one of the first CD's ever to be issued.) On SACD, I like Jansons/Concertgebouw, Reiner/Chicago, and Järvi/Cincinnati (with the interesting Martinu coupling) - of course, there are so many I haven't heard!

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Works: 3  

Antonin Dvorak - Symphony No. 9 in E minor, B. 178 Op. 95 "From the New World"
Franz Liszt - Les préludes (Symphonic Poem No. 3), S. 97
Bedrich Smetana - Má Vlast (My Fatherland), JB 1:112