Montreal's Appassionata Chamber Orchestra under Daniel Myssyk certainly chose material right in the center of their wheelhouse when they opted to perform the three works comprising Serenades tcheques (Czech Serenades) (Fidelio 036). Namely, there is Dvorak's "Serenade for String Orchestra op 22," his "Nocturne for String Orchestra op 40" and Josef Suk's "Serenade for String Orchestra op 6."
All three works go together especially well, the lesser-known Suk work sounding grand yet intimate in its surroundings as the leading piece, the glorious Dvorak "Serenade" confirming and expanding the mood, and the Dvorak "Nocturne" acting as a rather lovely coda to it all.
This is music of an impassioned romanticism that flows without undue sentiment and has a Eastern European resonance that gives it a slight twist. The works are played with great projection and warmth on a somewhat capacious sound stage that has a not unpleasant, slightly wet echo-sound to it.
The Dvorak "Serenade" soars in Maestro Myssyk's hands. It is to me very nearly the equal of Dvorak's "From the New World" in melodic singularity and you hear it as it should be played on this program. The Suk is rather wonderful music as well, reminding us that he deserves increased attention.
I am quite impressed with this disk. It has all the live vibrancy of a very good recording of today and the performances live up to the sound quality in every sense.