One can only hope, on the strength of this wonderful CD, that the two labels now turning out Tennstedt's concert material--BBC Legends and Profil--have many more in their vaults. Tennstedt was a traditionalist, and his concerts featured mainstream German masterpieces for the most part, with side trips into Czech and Russian music. Here the theme is Czech, and the first bars of the Bartered Bride Over. reveal what's to come: zesty playing, good stereo sound (except for boomy timpani, but that's not excessive), and vibrant conducting.
The main work at hand is the Dvorak Eighth Sym., a work I always long to hear in better performances than it seems to get. This one is a joy--carefully played in its details, very personal and full of emotion. It's the opposite of Szell's energized, extroverted reading on Sony, closer to Harnoncourt's equally personal one on Teldec. This celebratory symphony becomes a touching tribute to a meastro dying of cancer in 1991, and the London Phil. plays with exuberance, particularly the wind soloists. As you'd expect Tennstedt's approach is more Germanic than Czech (i.e., a little foursquare in the Scherzo), but invigorating nonetheless. I'd rate it my favorite performance on disc.
The program of 72 min. ends with the Janacek Sinfonietta, a very tricky work to bring off. The brass and violins don't perform their fiendishly difficult parts in tune all the time, but Tennstedt conducts in the right spirit--fast, exciting, full of barbaric yawps. Another riveting performance to cap an outstanding memnto of a great musician.