DVORAK: Slavonic Dances (complete) – Budapest Festival Orch./ Ivan Fischer – Decca Pure Audio Blu-ray

DVORAK: Slavonic Dances – Budapest Festival Orch./ Ivan Fischer – Decca 00289 478 5007 Pure Audio stereo-only Blu-ray (PCM 2.0, DTS MA HD 2.0, Dolby TrueHD, 24-bit/96K), 70:28 [Distr. by Universal] **1/2:

I am referring everyone who reads these new DGG Blu-ray Pure Audio reviews to my review of the Kleiber Beethoven Symphonies 5 & 7 reissue for comments and details on this series in general. This particular release never stoked many audio fires I am afraid. While I cannot claim to have heard his remake on Channel Classics from 2012 with these same forces—though I certainly understand the need for it—this one is lethargic, poorly shaped (though nicely played) and downright dull. It all starts out with Op. 46 No. 1, which should lift us out of our seats and prep us for wonderful things to come. Instead we feel like we are riding on a two-engine propeller plane when we should be soaring the skies on a Boeing 787 Dreamliner. It’s all quite disappointing, and if I didn’t know better I would think that Ivan Fischer didn’t really like this music—surely an impossibility.

One of the things that are most attractive about this release originally is the surround sound, and the SACD is still out there for an inflated price. Why inferior? Well, if you have been keeping up with all of this you know that these “classic” re-releases in Blu-ray format from Universal are only in two-channel stereo. The rumor is that the company is planning on correcting this (but only on those which have multichannel original masters, they all don’t, and new recording sessions are no longer recorded in multichannel at all…Ed.); I don’t know if you will be able to trade them in for the upgraded surround sound version or not. At any rate, with Szell, Kubelik, and Levi still on the market, you certainly don’t need this.

—Steven Ritter

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