DVOŘÁK Symphony No 2. The Golden Spinning-Wheel (Bosch)
To complete their Dvořák symphony cycle, Marcus Bosch and the Staatsphilharmonie Nürnberg turn their attention to the Second. In his early symphonies, Dvořák turned towards the ‘New German’ school of Wagner and Liszt and their influence can be felt here. Revised three times before its 1888 premiere, it lacks the Czech dance rhythms of the later symphonies and is all rather earnest and Wagnerian. And lengthy. Clocking in at over 50 minutes, like the First, it is inclined to ramble.
Boisterous horns early on signal Bosch’s consistent approach to this cycle, driving the music along much faster than István Kertész (LSO) or José Serebrier (Bournemouth SO). Like them, Bosch observes the exposition repeat (Kubelík cuts it), driving Dvořák’s sturdy Allegro con moto along hard through its various modulations. Bosch does his best to limit the ponderous nature of the Adagio, keeping the wistful theme flowing, but it’s not Dvořák’s most memorable music. The third movement is most unlike a traditional scherzo, its mazurka theme lacking buoyancy. Even Bosch and the Staatsphilharmonie Nürnberg get bogged down here, needing an injection of Serebrier’s energy in Bournemouth, but they rally for a rousing finale. The live recording suffers quite a tubby sound, where fine detail becomes blurred.
Unlike their recording of the First Symphony, which was presented alone (10/17), the Second on this disc is bolstered by The Golden Spinning Wheel to allow a generous playing time. Dvořák’s symphonic poem is a particularly grisly one, telling the tale of Dornička, the king’s intended bride, whose hands and feet are hacked off by her stepmother and stepsister. A magician brings her back to life and persuades the stepsister – who has taken her place as bride – to trade her feet for a golden spinning wheel, which reveals the truth to the king. It’s the best music on the disc and Bosch draws sumptuous playing, the strings soaring gloriously.