This disc, very well recorded in 1988, has now been remastered using 24 bit technology and issued at a lower price. The recording has been a valued part of my collection since 1989 and offers one of the freshest and most rewarding versions of the Dvorak concerto.
The sound that Chandos has provided has a marked freshness that is totally appropriate. The balance between the soloist and the orchestra seems ideal and allows the listener to follow both elements of the music without artificial highlighting. Mackerras brings an additional authority to the conducting with his known interest in Czech music.
On the subject of the recording itself, the original recording is described as a 16 bit recording and that has now been remastered using 24 bit technology. In effect this means artificial computer creation of sounds beyond the range of the original recording. This is not the same as remastering an analogue recording that genuinely exceeds early 16 bit digital recording technology. In this case, by careful comparison with the original 16 bit disc, there is marginal gain in fullness etc. but hardly worth upgrading for. On less extreme playback machinery it is possible that there would be no detectable improvement. I shall not be investing further on this sort of upgrade from 16 bit digital originals. The same lack of improvement on a Decca 16 bit digital recording has also been apparent.
The performance itself offers both a lively and a sensitive performance with plenty of dialogue between soloist and orchestra. The style is more openly natural in expression and does not offer the sort of subtlety that can be experienced in a Rostropovich performance for example. This has more the sense of freshness that one can also hear in the disc by Harrell and Ashkenazy, another fine offering.
The Dohnanyi is an interesting additional item of some substance. Dohnanyi was a popular composer during his lifetime and was a skilled orchestrator of his music. Those skills are apparent here but this piece is nowhere near as memorable as the very successful Variations on a Nursery Theme for which he is now chiefly remembered. It is clearly not in the same class of inspiration as the Dvorak, one of the best concertos for the cello ever written - some would say THE best!
This is a very fine disc indeed even without considering the Dohnanyi. I would suggest that it deserves to be given the most serious consideration by potential purchasers either as an alternative version for multiple collectors or as a single version of the Dvorak.