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Antonín Dvořák
Symphonies Nos. 7 & 8
1 CD | 75min | Nr. SWR19511CD (= 93.277)
CD 1: » Antonín Dvořák: Symphony No. 7 d minor op. 70
» Antonín Dvořák: Symphony No. 8 G major op. 88

Roger Norrington's journey through the Romantic Symphony continues with two popular scores from the pen of Antonín Dvorák.

Dvorák's work on the Seventh Symphony began on December 13, 1884 following hearing a performance of his friend Brahms's new 3rd Symphony, and is the most typically romantic symphony Dvorák wrote, anticipating Brahms' own Fourth Symphony (which premiered six months later) in its form, scope, and sense heroic tragedy. Together with the Brahmsian influence, Dvorák's new symphony would also be an expression of the composer's profound nationalism, writing to one of his friends: “I am now busy with this symphony for London, and wherever I go I can think of nothing else. God grant that this Czech music will move the world!!”

Four years later, Dvorák would turn once again to the symphonic form, writing his Eighth Symphony in a space of two-and-a-half-months from August 26 to November 8 1889. In contrast to the stormy romanticism of its predecessor, the Eighth Symphony is cheery and draws its inspiration more from the Bohemian folk music that Dvorák loved.

Both works provide Norrington and his SWR ensemble with ample opportunities to express their unflagging virtuosity (especially the brass section, which is given a thorough work-out...).