Dvorak – Slavonic Dances (Label – Essential Classics)
Antonin Dvorak (Composer)
George Szell (Conductor)
Cleveland Orchestra (Orchestra)

Johannes Brahms Hungarian Dances had, in one way or another, inspired the composition of The Slavonic Dances by Antonin Dvorak. Though Dvorak used Brahms’ Hungarian Dances as a model, only characteristic rhythms of Slavic folk music was used.

These Slavonic Dances are a series of 16 orchestral pieces composed in 1878 and 1886 separately. Similarly to the Brahms’ Hungarian Dances, these Slavonic Dances were originally written for piano, four hands. They were very well received right after publication and the composer’s fame increases with the popularity of these dances. They were among the composer’s most memorable composition repertoires.

The renowned conducting maestro, George Szell and his Cleveland Orchestra had injected a lively and nationalistic sentiment to the dances, which are the unique characteristics of the Slavonic Dances.

Szell’s vibrant and stirring rendition of the dances had immersed his audiences into a Czech landscape of peasant festivities. And Szell sure knows how to draw the rich, warm and Czech tone from his American’s orchestra.
For a Czech reading on a Czech Slavonic, the Cleveland Orchestra, one of America’s finest orchestra, interpret the dances with such eloquence and precision, much to my preference.

To explore Antonin Dvorak beyond the New World Symphony, These Slavonic Dances is another popular choice. In the process of listening, one would feel as if a life exists within each dance. A marvellously spirited rendition I would recommend.

~ Written by Boon Sin Ler 

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