Dvořák: Symphony No.7-9
Gustavo Dudamel / Los Angeles Philharmonic (DG)
(scroll down for English review)
This set of the last three Dvořák symphonies were taken from live performances in February 2020, shortly before lockdown. The cover photo seems to suggest we’re no longer looking at a wunderkind, but a middle-aged man with greying hairs. He’s 41 this year, and in his second marriage. Therefore I approached these recordings as an ex-wunderkind reviewing his bread and butter repertoire that propelled him into stardom.
Contrary to common belief, Dudamel has ceased to be a firebrand for well over a decade. Yet to me, he was trying too hard to show he’s grown up, with the detrimental effect of watering down the emotional effects. With these Dvořák recordings I think he’s finally reached the balance between momentum and control. Most importantly, he’s getting sufficiently conscious of the things he does, instead of just wielding his baton to get to the finish line. I also get to hear more colours, and meticulously sustained melodies that you’d never get from autopilot performances.
Indeed I feel very positive towards his post-Venezuela career path, including striking a new path at the Paris Opera. Woe to those who think he’s past his prime, I’m now expecting more from him than his fellow DG conductors Yannick and Andris.