Dvořák: Legends Op. 59, Czech Suite Op. 39
Composed by: Antonín Dvořák
Dvořák’s Legends tends to get lost in the shuffle of his substantial body of orchestral music, infrequently performed in concert and rarely given top billing in recordings. Sure, it may lack the conceptual coherence of his mature symphonies, the captivating grisliness of his tone poems, and the snappiness of his Slavonic Dances. But the ten-movement suite, orchestrated in 1881 from a four-hand piano original, is far from an afterthought in the hands of Cristian Măcelaru and Cologne’s WDR Symphony Orchestra. Their 2022 recording of Legends is the most complete and fulfilling to date, vivaciously paced, attentive to Dvorak’s subtle orchestrational flourishes, and brimming with the confidence that its melodies rank among the composer’s most dignified and elegant. A much-needed and richly-deserved glow-up.
– Zev Kane