Rafael Kubelik - Complete Decca Recordings

Album cover art for upc 028948414529
Label: DECCA - ELOQUENCE
Catalog: ELOA4841452.2
Format: CD

Karl Ridderbusch, Wolfgang Brendel, Helen Donath, Trudeliese Schmidt, Raimund Grumbach, Hildegard Behrens, Rene Kollo, Kurt Moll, Josephine Veasey, Wiener Philharmoniker, Israel Philharmonic Orchestra, Symphonieorchester des Bayerischen Rundfunks, Orchestra of the Royal Opera House Covent Garden, Rafael Kubelik

Rafael Kubelik, the Czech conductor, was a great man in every sense: a tall and robust presence, at the same time a very generous man who inspired devoted affection in his friends and colleagues. In this complete Decca collection Kubelík conducts the Vienna Philharmonic, the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra, the Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra and, for a single operatic excerpt, the Orchestra of the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden. Kubelík made his debut with the Vienna Philharmonic at the 1950 Salzburg Festival; together they made a series of recordings in the late 1950s that have long been prized for their warmth and spontaneous-sounding expression. Compared to the spectacular success of Kubelík's first "Má Vlast" recording in Chicago, the Vienna remake is less edgy but no less punctuated with the nationalistic fervor and color that made the conductor synonymous with the piece until his death in 1996. Indeed, few other label-focused anthologies of Kubelik's recordings survey such a wide span: a quarter-century from the Dvořák cello concerto with Pierre Fournier in 1954 to the 1979 recording of "Der Freischütz," heavily cast in the Decca tradition and led by the radiantly sung Agathe of Hildegard Behrens, then at the start of a career that would soon make her the leading Wagnerian soprano of her generation. With the Bavarian Radio ensemble, Kubelík made a no less delightful recording of Nicolai's "Merry Wives of Windsor" and, with his decades of experience, also transferred the atmosphere of the stage well to the studio. Towards the end of Kubelík's Vienna years with Decca, he also performed in Israel. The Decca sessions in a cinema outside Tel Aviv resulted in an interpretation of Dvořák's String Serenade in which critics could easily hear the authentic voice of the Czech nation in exile, embodied for half a century in the figure of Kubelík

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