Review by Marfik June 30, 2006 (7 of 7 found this review helpful)
|I was waiting for this SACD one year- after I visited concert on the Prague Spring Festival where it was recorded. This is Dvorak’s third oratorio and with St Ludmila he composed a great work.
So where to start?
First, SACD is well equipped- nice paper 2 SACD box with booklet with complete text of oratorio in Czech, English, German and French.
Prague Philharmonic Choir is the star of the recording together with Eva Urbanova as Ludmila, who sings almost incredibly and Bernarda Fink as Svatava. We can only be sorry there is so little to sing for Svata.
Peter Mikulas as Ivan sings nice, very soft and in pretty high standard, performance of Ales Briscein as a husbandman I would classified as “acceptable” but I’m disappointed with Stanislav Matis as Borivoj. He is the weakest part of this SACD, I think this occasion qualified for better tenor, but this is probably problem of the Czech culture live- question of money.
Conductor Jiri Belohlavek prepared Czech Philharmonic Orchestra very well, I’m not able to tell if all notes were there, where they should have been, but orchestra plays with all the sonic and harmonic transparency that the score asks for. You can feel all the greatness of this piece as well as nice pianissimos and during all performance orchestra accompanied soloists very attentively.
Technically it is well done SACD. It is not as clear as it could be (for example if I compare it with SFS’s Mahler recordings) but the standard is still high and sound is plastic. My opinion is that is because of Smetana Hall acoustic. In the end of the second part you will be surrounded by chorus of angels. Don’t be surprised- the famous children’s choir Bambini di Praga where placed in heaven- on the second circle, slightly on the right side- and you will hear it on your MC system!!
The recording is full of emotion and for sure after final chorus- Hospodine, pomyluj ny! / Mighty Lord, have mercy on us! -you will be thrilled
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