A New, “New World” from Flor and Malaysia
Artistic Quality: 10 / Sound Quality: 9
So this is the 37 billionth recording of the “New World” Symphony, but excellence is its own justification, and this recording is excellent. Claus Peter Flor attacks with music with passion and spontaneity. He eases into the first movement’s second subject with a flexibility of pulse that captures the change of mood perfectly without bringing the music to a standstill. It has seldom been better done. The celebrated Largo is beautifully songful, with a fine English horn soloist; the scherzo is peppy and exciting, while the finale is positively scorching in its urgency and passion. The big climax before the coda is surely one of the best on disc.
The couplings add considerably to the disc’s attractions. The Czech Suite is so lovely that it’s almost embarrassing, and Flor commits to it with the same idiomatic flair as he does the symphony, particularly in the haunting Romance and the fiery concluding Furiant. The buoyant “My Home” Overture makes an attractive encore, or you can just play the program in reverse order for a rewarding Dvorák concert from start to finish. BIS’s sonics from this source have been more variable than usual, and in this case the horns seem particularly backwardly balanced for some reason, but otherwise the SACD sound is pretty impressive. This is the best disc in this series so far; the intelligence of the programming combined with the excellence of the performances justifies the highest rating.