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Rob Maynard
MusicWeb International, September 2012

The first disc is directed by BÄ›lohlávek…and gives us a well-played…account of the seventh symphony.

The disc 2 performances headed up by Altrichter are of the eighth symphony and the piano concerto.

…the concerto is positioned first on the disc, just as one imagines it was in the concert…Ardašev is clearly fully engaged with the work and is ably supported by a strong and idiomatic contribution from the orchestra…a performance like this one demonstrates what a great shame it is that it remains so rarely heard. Petr Altrichter’s distinctive account of the symphony is hardly less successful. Lively, well-sprung rhythms emphasise the innate Slavonic liveliness that is the score’s most obvious characteristic. The conductor also ensures that its occasional darker and more dramatic hues, harking back to the seventh symphony, also emerge powerfully and to great effect.

…the set’s third disc…opens with the Cello Concerto. Superbly technically assured, soloist Mischa Maisky crouches over his instrument so closely that they sometimes almost seem joined into a single entity. His intensely dramatic account, full of insight and authority from his very first entry, very understandably goes down a storm with the capacity Frankfurt audience. I imagine that Libor Pešek has conducted the New World…on very many occasions, but the performance here is fresh and invigorating from the opening bar and takes nothing for granted. To their great credit, the Prague musicians—who impressed me very much on all three discs in this set—respond with equal enthusiasm, making for an altogether enjoyable 42 minutes or so that seems to pass much more quickly.

From a technical point of view, things are very well done indeed by what seems to be an expert technical crew—presumably largely British, if the names on the final credits are a guide. The sound reproduction is well integrated yet clear enough to hear fine individual detail. Camera shots are judiciously chosen with close regard for the scores’ requirements. The stage lighting is also well judged, retaining a concert hall atmosphere while ensuring that we are offered the best visual experience. © 2012 MusicWeb International Read complete review

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