St Petersburg Philharmonic Orchestra/Temirkanov
Dvorak Symphony No 9 ("New World")
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The most striking feature of Yuri Temirkanov's new recording of Dvorak's New World Symphony is that it is every inch a live recording. That might seem an obvious observation to make of any live recording, but this one grips from the moment it opens, deep in contemplation, to the full-on statement of the theme. With the St Petersburg brass to the fore, the whole thing has the feel of a concert hall experience, and that is quite unusual in live recordings where something indefinable (probably the ambience) commonly gets lost in translation. Not here, in a first movement that flies by, a touching Largo free of indulgence, the chunky third movement where the attack of the St Petersburg strings is scalding, and in a blazing account of the finale where Temirkanov jams his foot to the floor and turns on an incredible acceleration that is gob-smacking in its impact. An outstanding performance, even by this team's standards.