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Deutsche Radio Philharmonie Orchestra, conductor Pietari Inkinen. Antonin DvoÝŠk - CD Review, March 18th-19th, 2024

I. Antonin DvoÝŠk - Symphony No. 7 op. 70 in D minor.

II. Antonin DvoÝŠk - Symphony No. 8 op. 88 in G major.

On May 1st, it will be 120 years since the passing of Antonin DvoÝŠk, one of the most important Czech composers of all time and a prominent figure of the Romantic era, prolific creator of orchestral, chamber, and choral pieces, blending elements of 19th-century style with Czech musical folklore. One of the successful recording projects dedicated to Antonin DvoÝŠk's music this year, also marking the Czech Music Year, is the album released on February 9th by the Deutsche Radio Philharmonie Orchestra, a valuable ensemble founded in 2007, with headquarters in the cities of Kaiserslautern and SaarbrŁcken. Since the 2017-2018 season, the principal conductor of the orchestra has been Pietari Inkinen, a renowned 43-year-old Finnish musician who also serves as the musical director of the Seoul Philharmonic Orchestra and has previously led renowned ensembles such as the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra, the Tokyo Philharmonic Orchestra, or the Prague Symphony Orchestra. Under Inkinen's baton, the Deutsche Radio Philharmonie Orchestra has released 5 albums so far, focusing primarily on modern and romantic repertoire, a genre that allows conductor Pietari Inkinen to highlight the technical and expressive possibilities, coherence, and vast dynamic spectrum of the German Orchestra.

The first piece on this CD, recorded in the Great Concert Hall of the SaarbrŁcken Broadcasting Corporation, is Symphony No. 7 in D minor, which Antonin DvoÝŠk began working on in December 1884 during a tour in England, completing the score three months later. The work, characterized by the renowned music critic Donald Tovey as "one of the grandest and purest examples of the symphonic genre after Beethoven", had its premiere in April 1885 in London, conducted by Antonin DvoÝŠk himself. Created during a period of suffering for the Czech composer, marked by the death of his mother and one of his children, this symphony stands out for its somber and dramatic atmosphere, contrasting turbulent passages with rare moments of peace and undisturbed calm. These very characteristics are remarkably rendered by the Deutsche Radio Philharmonie Orchestra - the pathos and intensity of the first part, Allegro maestoso, the progressively exposed thematic developments in slow tempos and varied nuances of the woodwind instruments in the second part, Poco adagio, the suppleness and vigor of the third part, Scherzo, with pastoral melodies and enchanting rhythms borrowed from Czech folklore. And in the final part, the discourse becomes dramatic once again, with overwhelmingly powerful sonorities.

The second piece included on the album is similar to the previous one, only in the sense that it is framed in classical forms, but very different in terms of character: Symphony No. 7 in D minor is passionate and turbulent, while the Eighth Symphony in G major is optimistic. Created in 1889, on the occasion of the composer's election as a member of the Czech Academy of Sciences, Literature, and Arts, Symphony No. 8 op. 88 in G major had its premiere in Prague, with Antonin DvoÝŠk himself conducting. Although influenced by the symphonic style of composers Ludwig van Beethoven and Johannes Brahms in terms of structural plans, Symphony No. 8 is based on Czech-inspired melodies, brilliant, lyrical, and colorful - qualities masterfully highlighted by the Deutsche Radio Philharmonie Orchestra conducted by Pietari Inkinen.

Larisa Clempuļ