Czech maestro Jiří Bělohlávek left behind an important recorded legacy crowned by an impassioned account of Dvořák’s Stabat Mater with the Czech Philharmonic made shortly before he succumbed to cancer in May 2017. Around the same time he also recorded Dvořák’s Biblical Songs with bass Jan Martiník. These songs form the centrepiece of this album, flanked by the large-scale Requiem and Te Deum conducted by Bělohlávek’s student, Jakub Hrůša, who now enjoys a successful international career and has visited Australia several times in recent years.

Like the great Karel Ančerl before him, Hrůša delivers an unflagging and utterly committed account of the Requiem . This work is not without its detractors. It may not rival the Verdi or Berlioz settings, nor was it born out of the same tragic circumstances as his Stabat Mater , but Dvořák still delivers a work with appealing variety and plenty of interest for its performers. The chorus has a key role, singing in all but one of the work’s 13 movements. Prepared by chorusmaster Lukáš Vasilek, the Prague Philharmonic sings with enviable energy; the...

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