10/10, ClassicstodayFrance.com, January 2013;
Classicstoday.com: "So this is the 37 billionth recording of the “New World” Symphony, but excellence is its own justification, and this recording is excellent."
‘The most gripping Dvořák to come along in many years’ is how website Classics Today described the recently released disc with the composer’s Seventh Symphony, performed by Claus Peter Flor and the Malaysian Philharmonic Orchestra. This was quickly followed by the same team’s recording of Symphony No.8, and now the turn has come to Antonín Dvořák’s final work in the genre: Symphony No.9 – the ‘New World Symphony’. It was composed entirely on American soil, and the composer himself acknowledged that it ‘would not have been written this way if I had never seen America’. Nevertheless, and contrary to what is often claimed, he also maintained that he had not used any existing material, but ‘simply written original themes embodying the peculiarities of the Indian music’, developing them ‘with all the resources of modern rhythms, harmony, counterpoint and orchestral colour.’ Those themes, and Dvořák’s use of them, have exercised an irresistible attraction on audiences, ever since the first triumphant performance in 1893 at New York’s Carnegie Hall. The following year, Dvořák himself conducted the first Czech performance of the symphony. Perhaps to demonstrate to his compatriots in the audience that his heart nevertheless remained in his homeland, the composer included the overture Můj domov (My Home), composed some ten years previously. Part of the incidental music for a play, the overture is based on two popular songs, one of which, Kde domov můj (Where Is My Home), would later become the Czechoslovakian national anthem. On the present recording these two works frame another of Dvořák’s ‘nationalistic’ works, the light-hearted Czech Suite, consisting of five movements, all based on the dance rhythms of Bohemia, Moravia and Central Europe.