Dvořák: Symphony No. 9, "From the New World", Symphonic Variations
When the Czech composer Antonín Dvořák came to America in 1892, he wrote his Ninth Symphony (“From the New World”) as a response to the rich heritage of Native and African American folk music he found in the country. That sense of fresh discovery comes over strongly in Marin Alsop’s outstanding recording of the “New World” with the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra. The famous cor anglais solo that opens the slow movement is exquisitely shaped and shaded, while the slicing strings and tingling percussion in the scherzo are ideally propulsive. In the bullish finale, the Baltimore brass players come into their own, driving the symphony to a blazing conclusion. The Symphonic Variations is a neglected work, but Alsop’s colorful interpretation suggests it shouldn’t be. Recorded live in 2007, this is one of the greatest Dvořák recordings of the 21st century.