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Dvorak: Stabat Mater ()

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DvorŠk's Stabat Mater, Op. 58, was finished in 1880, wrenched out over several years after the death of the composer's daughter. It is a sizable setting that has been largely overlooked in favor of DvorŠk's later works, but increasing interest in Romantic-era choral music has brought new performances. It has few specifically Czech elements, gaining its interest partly from its combination of a rather formal quality with strong personal feeling. This reading, conducted by Estonia's Neeme Jšrvi, is hard to beat. Start with the live engineering from the London Philharmonic Orchestra's new Royal Festival Hall, getting clarity from very large forces. Continue with the soloists: the Verdian sound of soprano Janice Watson is a standout; the thick, intense mezzo Dagmar PeckovŠ may not be to everyone's taste (you can sample it in the "Inflammatus," track 9), but is absolutely distinctive. Jšrvi deserves his share of the credit as well, with perfect balances in which the soloists are never buried in complex... Hide synopsis

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