Magazine article Gramophone

Dvorak: Stabat Mater, Op 58 B71

Magazine article Gramophone

Dvorak: Stabat Mater, Op 58 B71

Article excerpt

Dvorak

Stabat mater, Op 58 B71 Eri Nakamura sop Elisabeth Kulman contr Michael Spyres ten Jongmin Park bass Prague Philharmonic Choir; Czech Philharmonic Orchestra / Jin Belohlavek Decca (B) (2) 4831510 (83' * DDD * T/t)

New recordings of Dvorak's grief-riven Stabat mater (1877) come along quite regularly nowadays. Philippe Herreweghe's refreshingly splendid 2013 disc for his own label, featuring Collegium Vocale Gent and the Royal Flemish Philharmonic, was followed by Mariss Jansons's live recording, taped in Munich, both interpretations notable for their warm, glowing choral contributions and impressive solo quartets.

This new release is Jin Belohavek's third commercial recording of the work: the first was with the Czech Philharmonic for Chandos in 1991 (2/92), the second for Supraphon 20 years ago. His relaxed though steadfast approach is immediately apparent in the substantial first movement (marked Andante con moto), which weighs in at just under 20 minutes, a much slower tempo than Herreweghe and substantially slower than Dvorak's metronome marking of minim=76. Whereas Jansons and Herreweghe's recordings comfortably fit on a single disc, Belohavek spills over on to a second.

Although the Prague Philharmonic Choir's contributions are disciplined and impassioned, their Germanic Latin is not matched by sufficient clarity in the hard consonants (especially the letter 'T' in the 'Tui nati vulnerati' movement). The same criticism cannot be levelled at the solo quartet, who are uniformly superb. …

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