A beautiful performance of Dvorak's most popular symphony with one of the greatest conductors
When it comes to conductors, Karajan has always been a favourite, he gives every piece so much depth, musicality and feeling, shown in his deportment and with the way the orchestra plays under him, with phrasing like the finest of silks and he had authority without being unsubtle or histrionic. The New World Symphony is Dvorak's final and most popular symphony and its popularity is very well deserved, it is very tuneful, beautifully orchestrated and melodies that you will have no difficulty remembering. The last movement is thrilling without being bombastic(likewise with the first) and the slow movement will bring tears to one's eyes. And while he is better suited to Strauss, Wagner and Bruckner(not sure how many people are fond of his Beethoven, but I'm one of those, especially with the Choral Symphony), Karajan conducts it remarkably well. It is late in his career, meaning that tempos and how he conducts are not as energetic, but it is a thoughtful and highly musical interpretation, never too in-your-face or too "glib". The second movement still has time to resonate but doesn't plod thankfully. The orchestra can't be faulted, plenty of beautiful, rich tone and the power and nuances are all there. Particularly good was the delay before the crescendo in the lower strings that opens in the first movement, it doesn't hurt the piece at all far from it. The sound compliments the playing with few mishaps too. And the photography is professional and classy, allowing us to learn more about each movement and the orchestra itself from a looking down the rows perspective. Sometimes though you wish that a little more time was given in some of the shots, like more individual shots and a little less tight group close-ups. That though was pretty much the only thing that wasn't as good as the rest. So overall, a beautiful performance, well worth seeing not just for fans of the symphony but to see such a great conductor conduct a piece somewhat outside of his comfort zone late-career and with good results. 9/10 Bethany Cox
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