Antal Dorati: A Celebration
6 CD - Label: Decca - 4757615 - Symphony No.3: Fanfare For The Common Man - Copland, Aaron - Conductor: Antal Dorati - Orchestra: Detroit Symphony
Of the more than 600 recordings made by conductor Antal Dorati beginning in the late 1930s and continuing on until the last year of his life in 1988, the ones best known to collectors are those he recorded with the Minneapolis Symphony and London Symphony Orchestras for Mercury Living Presence. But those are, in fact, a minority of his recorded output. In fact, he probably made more recordings for London/Decca than for any other single label (EMI, Philips, Vox, BIS, RCA, Mercury). It is these recordings, plus some made for Philips, that comprise the selections contained in this Decca 6-CD set, released in 2006 on the occasion of the conductor's 100th anniversary. For the most part, the choice of musical numbers -- all orchestral works from the romantic and 20th Century era -- is good. In some cases, there are later interpretations of works originally recorded for Mercury such as the Bartok "Concerto for Orchestra" and "Dance Suite," Stravinsky's "Sacre du Printemps," Richard Strauss' "Don Juan" plus a variety of Copland numbers. With the exception of the Bartok Concerto and Stravinsky's Sacre, the works included here are shorter ones -- basically a good move in order to include a wider range of musical selections from among the voluminous choices. But this means we don't get the chance to hear interpretations of symphonies like the Dvorak "New World," Thaikovsky 4th or Pettersen 7th, or some of the ballet music for which Dorati was so esteemed (like "Graduation Ball," his own pastiche of Johann Strauss music). And none of the complete Haydn symphonies Dorati recorded with the Philharmonia Hungarica is included. Several of the recordings are particularly interesting such as the "Folk Song Suite" of Leo Weiner, one of Dorati's teachers in Budapest, in a recording that has not been available for more than 25 years. There are numerous other works that have not been commercially released on CD before now.