Friday, February 01, 2013

Hugh Wolff, Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra
"Dvorak: String & Wind Serenades" (CD)

I had a music history teacher once proclaim Dvorak to be a B-grade composer.   This was met by cries of derision from the room of music dorks, but in the subsequent years I've been forced to agree with her.

Dvorak has some of the most beautiful melodies ever written, but beyond this penchant, he often seems unsure of what to do with his accompanying voices that are often undeveloped when compared to other composers.

Still, Dvorak hit a couple of home runs.  His cello concerto is a tour de force.  Alongside that piece I would put his serenade for strings (op. 22.)  Every movement is world-class, beautiful and interesting while also being very challenging to perform.

Hugh Wolff was the music director of the SPCO when I came into a musical awareness in the 90's.  I think my teacher may have been serving as principal viola of this orchestra at the time of this recording.

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