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See latest reviews of other albums..., October 2014

[The Sixth Symphony]…was one of the first of Dvořák’s large symphonic works to draw international attention. Gerard Schwarz exuberantly conducts the excellent Seattle Symphony Orchestra. © 2014 Read complete review

Leslie Wright
MusicWeb International, July 2013

The first things one notices about this recording are the warm strings and mellow brass. Without a doubt this is the best I have yet to hear from the Seattle Symphony. Gerard Schwarz also seems a natural interpreter of Dvořák. Based on this disc recorded in rich, vibrant sound, let’s hope he continues to make many more discs with them.

…Naxos has come up with another winner. © 2013 MusicWeb International Read complete review

James Norris
Audiophilia, July 2013

…Schwarz and his Seattle orchestra give [the Dvořák] a fine, energetic performance.

The Janáček gives us a chance to hear a work by Dvořák’s contemporary…An imaginative coupling for the symphony. Overall a disc well worth exploring and for audiophiles who prefer a clear modern recording of the Dvořák…this is a strong choice. © 2013 Audiophilia Read complete review

Brian Wigman
Classical Net, May 2013

…[Dvořák’s] sixth is a simply gorgeous creation that oozes lush sonorities. Taken as a whole, the piece is unbelievably great…

The Janáček is…also a very fine piece…it’s simply gorgeous.

Schwarz and Seattle…has turned in some absolutely stunning work recently, and this is no exception. Strings are incredible, and Schwarz pays a great deal of attention to little details. Essential. © 2013 Classical Net Read complete review

Donald R Vroon
American Record Guide, May 2013

The sound is simply wonderful. The violins are bright and sweet, and every part of the orchestra glistens with Czech fervor.

I don’t usually care for repeats, but the first movement is so beautifully played that I was glad for it this time. II is warm and gentle; III is wild and ecstatic. IV is not quite as exciting as it might be, but still very good. © 2013 American Record Guide Read complete review on American Record Guide

Phil Muse
Audio Video Club of Atlanta, March 2013

These newly released jewels from the Seattle Symphony Collection pair engaging works by Dvořák and Janáček in pulse quickening 2009 and 2011 performances by the Symphony under…Gerard Schwarz. The recordings…have a nice feeling of depth and spaciousness and are detailed without being fussy, so that the natural warmth of both works comes through. © 2013 Audio Video Club of Atlanta Read complete review

David Hurwitz, February 2013

This Dvořák Sixth is wholly personal and worth getting to know. Contrast seems to have become the name of the game. The first movement, with its exposition repeat intact, is uncommonly swift and exciting, the Adagio unusually slow—a real adagio—but still lyrical and flowing.

In every movement Schwarz varies the pulse effectively within a phrase, making effective use of slight ritards and accents to maintain interest. It’s just thoughtful, intelligent music making, with an orchestra able to follow the conductor’s every whim.

…the performance is warm and captivating, the string playing often luscious in sonority. This very enjoyable, well-engineered disc should excite the interest of Dvořák fans; it came as a very pleasant surprise. © Read complete review

Rob Cowan
Gramophone, February 2013

Schwarz has the full orchestra take up the main theme without broadening the tempo…His Adagio is more solemn, and broader, than either of his rivals: note the portamento thrust of the cellos at 3’51’ and the eerie chiming of alternating winds and violas soon afterwards, with the violins wafting in beyond them. Utterly magical. Of the three Scherzos, Schwarz’s seems happier to dance; and, once into the fray, the finale generates rather more in the way of excited abandon. His recording too has greater transparency…

…Janáček’s youthful seven-movement Idyll for strings of 1878…is a really beautiful work, redolent at times of Dvořák, at other times of Tchaikovsky, and an effective showcase for the Seattle strings, who distinguish themselves with a degree of lustre and expressive sweetness that matches the best rival American orchestras. © 2013 Gramophone Read complete review on Gramophone, January 2013

…the orchestra plays well, with more warmth than usual, and the middle movements are by and large quite effective. Furthermore, the pairing of the symphony with Janáček’s Idyll is a genuinely interesting one…Schwarz lets Idyll…unfold and progress naturally…it is a very pleasant and well-orchestrated piece that, like the symphony with which it shares this Naxos CD, deserves to be heard more often. © 2013 Read complete review

Europadisc, January 2013

Gerard Schwarz and the Seattle Symphony[’s]…is a compellingly earthy account. They bring to the music plenty of élan whilst never losing sight of its pastoral and folk qualities.

As has become customary, the first movement repeat is observed; Dvořák suppressed it only after publication, but one may well feel that any excuse to enjoy this tremendous music again is just too good to pass up! With some exquisite wind solos, the gorgeous Adagio is beautifully expansive and imposing in Schwarz’s hands, emphasising that this is no lightweight work when compared with later Dvořák. The Scherzo is a folk-style furiant, and both it and the more relaxed Trio contain echoes of the Czech folksong ‘Sedlák, sedlák’, better known to English-speaking audiences as the ‘Zither Carol’; again, there is an earthy honesty and bite to the playing that is tremendously appealing. Capped by a thrilling account of the Finale, this performance is the perfect antidote to some of the more luxuriant readings out there, and much the truer for it. © 2013 Europadisc Read complete review

David Denton
David's Review Corner, January 2013

Though Dvořák’s last three symphonies are among his most popular works, it is the Fifth and Sixth that are his masterworks in the genre. Nowhere is there a more passionate outpouring of his national roots than in the long first movement of the Sixth, his feel for orchestration having rarely being so redolent. The melody that runs through the slow movement is gorgeous, and the bubbly scherzo is unequalled in any of his symphonies. The disc catalogue is certainly not short of highly acclaimed recordings, but this 2009 performance from Seattle is there among the top choice. You could quibble at some of the awkward tempo changes in the opening allegro, but this weighty approach from Schwarz has much to commend it, the powerful horn team reminding me of Istvan Kertesz’s legendary 1960’s recording with the London Symphony. Schwarz then takes the scherzo very quickly and one admires the upper strings adroitness, their cross-rhythms perfectly articulated. Maybe the tempo is a little loose at the opening of the finale, but the movement as a whole is replete with happiness. The coupling is very apt, for Dvořák was the inspiration that shaped the music of the young Janáček. He was only twenty-four when he completed the Idyll, a score in seven movements employing Hungarian folk influences. Though stylistically he had yet to show the unique musical fingerprints that would fashion his mature output it is hugely enjoyable…these are modern recordings made in 2009 and 2011, the sound having warmth; a very weighty lower end, and an impact that is most impressive. Highly recommended, and at this price it is a gift. © 2013 David’s Review Corner

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