Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra Dvorak: Symphony No. 9
This is a landmark recording dating from 1999 by Nikolaus Harnoncourt with one of the greatest orchestras, the Royal Concertgebouw Amsterdam. Gramophone Magazine put this album on the top of the discography. "Harnoncourt has some distinguished Concertgebouw forebears, not least structure-conscious Sir Colin Davis and combustible Antal Dorati. This, though, beats them all. Auspicious happenings register within the first few pages: carefully drawn woodwind lines, basses that calm meticulously from fierce fortissimo to tense pianissimo, provocative bassoons and an effortless passage into the lovely flute melody. At the start of the development section, piano violins really are played leggiero (lightly), a significant detail that most rivals gloss over. [...] Harnoncourt's Largo is something of a minor miracle. Undulating clarinets register against shimmering string tremolandos and, beyond the beautifully judged approach to the Meno passage, you suddenly hear quiet second-violin pizzicato chords that you almost never notice in concert. The finale itself never sags, and for the home straight Harnoncourt treads a course somewhere between the printed Allegro con fuoco and the expressive broadening that DvorÃ¡k later sanctioned. Most admirable about Harnoncourt's DvorÃ¡k is it's close proximity to nature: barely a minute passes that isn't somewhere touched by verdure or sunshine."