Symphonies No. 2 & No. 6 (Antonin Dvorák )

Symphonies No. 2 & No. 6 (Antonin Dvorák )

Zdenek Mácal / Czech Philharmonic Orchestra

Label: Exton
Format: SACD hybrid
Barcode: 4526977050030
Catalog number: EXCL 003
Releasedate: 22-07-11
This volume of newest complete Dvorak symphonies by Zdenek Macal and Czech Philharmonic was produced in the culmination of the combination after Mr.Mazal's appointment as the chief conductor of the orchestra in 2003. Though the series has not yet been completed with only the first symphony to be recorded, all available symphonies including this volume have enjoyed critical acclaim as the "true Dvorak music by the best musicians".
  • Hybrid (CD + SACD 2ch+5ch)
  • Digitally remastered with superior sound quality
  • Double cd
  • Internationally renowned for his masterful interpretations and graceful conducting style, Zdenek Macal has conducted over 160 orchestras worldwide
  • Including the Berlin Philharmonic, the Boston Symphony, the London Symphony Orchestra, the London Philharmonic, the New York Philharmonic, the Orchestre National de France, the Philadelphia Orchestra, the Orchestra della Scala, the Chicago Symphony, the Munich Philharmonic and the NHK Symphony Orchestra in Tokyo
  • Maestro Macal has also appeared at major opera houses throughout Europe including Prague, Cologne, Geneva, Turin and Bologna
  • Since his American debut with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra 35 years ago, Maestro Macal has conducted widely throughout North America with all major orchestra's
  • Macal has released numerous discs with the Czech Philharmonic for Exton, with recent releases including Tchaikovsky's Symphony No. 1, Mahler's Symphony No. 3, and Tchaikovsky's Symphony No. 6 (Pathètique)
  • Macal has a large discography with other labels as well

Dvořák composed the first two of his nine symphonies in 1865, when he was sharing a crowded flat in central Prague and earning a meagre living as a violist in the orchestra of the Provisional Theatre. He entered the score of the First for a competition in Germany, and it was not returned (it resurfaced long after his death). So, as he later recalled, he “sat down and wrote another”. He composed this Second Symphony between August and early October 1865, and revised it shortly afterwards, though at that stage without any prospect of it being played. In 1887, by which time he had achieved a position of eminence in Czech musical life, he reworked it again, making numerous changes of detail and some cuts, in the hope of persuading his publisher Simrock to issue it. In this he was unsuccessful: the work was to reach print only in 1959, as part of the Dvořák complete edition. But he did secure a performance, in a concert conducted by Adolf Čech in the Rudolfinum in Prague in March 1888 – for which event he made yet more changes, including further cuts apparently pencilled into the score during rehearsals. These, marked as optional in the complete edition, are observed in this recording (and the long exposition repeat in the first movement is omitted).
…Dvořák’s Sixth Symphony dates from the years when the composer’s reputation was spreading rapidly from his native Bohemia to the rest of Europe and beyond. It was written in just seven weeks between August and October 1880, in response to a request from the great conductor Hans Richter for a work he could perform with the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra. But the planned Viennese premiere twice failed to materialise, apparently because of some anti-Czech feeling in the orchestra; the first performance was eventually given in Prague in March 1881, in a concert conducted by Adolf Čech in the concert hall on ofín Island. Richter nevertheless received the dedication of the work when it was published by Simrock at the end of the same year – becoming Dvořák’s first symphony to appear in print. Because of this rapid publication and the mature composer’s greater expertise, the work was not subjected to the same thoroughgoing revision as the early symphonies. But, as the editors of the Dvořák complete edition report, the Czech Philharmonic Orchestra possesses a copy of the printed score in which Dvořák wrote at the end of the exposition of the first movement “Once and for all without repetition”: his instruction is followed in this recording…(excerpts from the CD linernote by Anthony Burton © 2011)  

The Czech Philharmonic’s very first concert took place on 4 January 1896 in the Rudolfinum and was conducted by Antonín Dvořák. Before the Chief Conductor’s baton was taken up by the first internationally known conductor, Václav Talich, in 1919, the orchestra was directed by Ludvík Čelanský and Vilém Zemánek, as well as, briefly, by Oskar Nedbal. Talich’s great personality was succeeded by other outstanding conductors such as Rafael Kubelík (1942-1948), Karel Ančerl (1950-1968) and Václav Neumann (1968-1990). During the 1990s, the position of Chief Conductor was passed in succession to Jiří Bělohlávek, Gerd Albrecht and Vladimir Ashkenazy, who directed the orchestra until the end of the 2002/2003 season. From the beginning of the 2003/2004 season until 8 September 2007 Zdeněk Mácal held a position as the tenth Chief Conductor of the Czech Philharmonic.

In the 113th season there was no Chief Conductor; some of his powers and duties were exercised by the Principal Guest Conductor Manfred Honeck. The post of the Chief Conductor from the concert season 2009/2010 has been accepted by Eliahu Inbal. Ever since the time of Ančerl’s leadership, the Czech Philharmonic has typically been faced with an extensive travel itinerary that has taken in all the continents. This was also hold true during the 112th concert season, when in addition to concerts in Europe the Czech Philharmonic Orchestra traveled to the USA and Japan. In the 2009/10 season the Czech Philharmonic Orchestra performed in Ireland and the United Kingdom with the conductor Jakub Hrůša; in Japan with Herbert Blomstedt; in Spain with Eliahu Inbal; in Russia with Ion Marin; and in Germany with Nikolas Znaider and Manfred Honeck. The Czech Philharmonic also appeared at a number of festivals in the Czech Republic (Česká Lípa, Chrudim, Brno, Ostrava, Litomyšl and Klatovy).
Of the latest CDs released by the orchestra, recordings made for the Japanese market have recently met with unprecedented acclaim. Zdeněk Mácal and the Czech Philharmonic have been working with Octavia Records to progressively record the complete symphonies of Antonín Dvořák, Gustav Mahler, P. I. Tchaikovsky and Johannes Brahms. The set of Dvořák symphonies conducted by Zdeněk Mácal is almost finished. With Manfred Honeck the Czech Philharmonic continuously records symphonies of Anton Bruckner also for Octavia Records…In 2005, the Czech Philharmonic’s live recording of Mahler’s Third Symphony conducted by Zdeněk Mácal won the Recording of the Year award in Japan. In December 2008, a unique recording was made of Three Fragments from the Opera “Julietta” by Bohuslav Martinů under the direction of Sir Charles Mackerras with a plethora of renowned soloists led by Magdalena Koená. The recording released by Supraphon has received international recognition. In June 2009 the Czech Philharmonic Orchestra published a unique historical recording – 2CDs with Smetana’s My Country and the second series of Dvořák’s Slavonic Dances. The live recording has been compiled from concerts conducted by Václav Talich in 1939.The orchestra makes most of its recordings in the perfect acoustical environment of the Rudolfinum’s Dvořák Hall.
(the source: from the orchestra’s official website)