- Cello Concerto in B minor, B. 191 (Op. 104)
- Symphony No. 8 in G major, B. 163 (Op.88) (first published as No. 4)
In the '60s, Deutsche Grammophon had not one but two of the best recordings of Dvorák's "Cello Concerto" available: the Rostropovich/Karajan and the Fournier/Szell. The Rostropovich/Karajan matched an immensely subjective soloist with a smoothly polished conductor. The Fournier/Szell, this one recorded in 1962, matched a smoothly passionate soloist with a smoothly polished conductor. Pierre Fournier brought his impeccable technique, his refined tone, and his ardent interpretations to bear on the solo part, while Szell brought his flawless technique, his unwavering intensity, and his objective interpretations to bear on the Berlin Philharmonic -- and the combination proved incandescent. Fournier's playing is enormously persuasive, particularly in the central Adagio ma non troppo, while Szell's conducting is both supportive and challenging: listen to him urge Fournier into the climax of the opening Allegro's development. Oddly disappointing is the playing of the Berlin Philharmonic. For one of Europe's three best orchestras, the strings are too often scrappy and the woodwinds are too often unbalanced: listen to the quavering tone in the Adagio. Still, anyone who reveres the work will want to hear this recording, particularly when it is generously coupled with Carlo Maria Giulini and the Chicago Symphony's iridescently evanescent 1979 performance of Dvorák's "Eighth Symphony." DG's sound is variable -- the late stereo recording sounds wonderfully clear and deep, but the earlier stereo recording sounds strangely close and harsh.
|Label:||Deutsche Gram France|