Rafael Kubelik

Conductor

Rafael Kubelik

In 1939 Rafael Kubelík became music director of the Brno Opera until the Nazis shut it down on November 12, 1941. He continued to work with the Czech Philharmonic Orchestra, which the Nazis allowed to continue operating, becoming its principal conductor. (He had first conducted the Czech Philharmonic in 1934 when he was 20 years old.) In 1944, after various incidents, including one in which he declined to greet the Nazi Reich-Protector with a Hitler salute - along with his refusal to conduct Wagner during the War - Kubelik "deemed it advisable to disappear from Prague and to spend a few months undercover in the countryside so as not to fall into the clutches of the SS or Gestapo" (Albert Scharf, in Rafael Kubelik: His Life and Achievement, p. 114).

Kubelik conducted the orchestra's first post-war concert in May, 1945. In 1946, he helped found the "Prague Spring" Festival, and conducted its opening concert. But after the Communist coup of February 1948, Kubelik left Czechoslovakia, vowing not to return until the country was liberated. "I had lived through one form of bestial tyranny, Nazism," he told an interviewer, "As a matter of principle I was not going to live through another."

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Brahms: Symphonies Nos. 1-4 (Complete)

Brahms: Symphonies Nos. 1-4 (Complete)


Even while creating a sensation across the US, with concerts in Chicago, Cleveland, New York and further afield, Rafael Kubelík recorded the four symphonies of Brahms with the Vienna Philharmonic for Decca (in stereo) in the 1950s. Long unavailable, they are here presented together for the first time on CD, in an economical 2CD package, further enhanced by both new digital remasterings from the original tapes, and an extensive appreciation of the happy marriage of composer and conductor by Rob Cowan.

Cowan observes that Kubelík came to take a more expansive view of this music in the recorded cycle he made almost 30 years later with the Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra. In Vienna, exposition repeats were cut, tempi were taut and often uncommonly swift for the time, even in the pastoral Second and ruminative Third symphonies; impulsiveness and sudden access to drama were paramount, yet always modulated by the renowned, sweetly refined string sound. ‘Music has always developed by moving on to something new once one idiom has been exhausted,’ the conductor once remarked, ‘but it has always had a form. Like a tree, like a man, it must have a skeleton, flesh and veins – it must have its own logic.’

Such sensitivity to nature and to his fellow man stood Kubelík in good stead when approaching the work of a composer who felt likewise, and yet whose creativity was indeed ruthlessly disciplined by musical logic, whether in the long-gestated, darkness-to-light journey of the First or the ineluctable tragedy of the Fourth. These qualities, too, Kubelík had absorbed from his father, the violinist Jan Kubelík, whom he always regarded with more than filial respect. There is, indeed, an evolving tradition at work in these performances which commands attention anew.

“Kubelík’s performance has a splendid impulse to it; and the Vienna Philharmonic is at its best … this is an exciting version.” Gramophone Magazine, February 1959 (Symphony No.2)

“The performance illuminated by the fine general quality of sound is a strong one … The symphony is kept moving throughout, culminating in a finale which is positively exhilarating.” Gramophone Magazine, June 1958 (Symphony No.1)

“Kubelík gives a smooth and loving reading of the work, reserving excitement, as such, for the finale. The excitement, in fact, is doubly effective when held in reserve.” Gramophone Magazine, October 1956 (Symphony No.4)

Released or re-released in last 6 months

Australian Eloquence - ELQ4824969

(CD - 2 discs)

$12.00

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Bartók: Concerto for Orchestra & Music for Strings, Percussion and Celesta

Bartók: Concerto for Orchestra & Music for Strings, Percussion and Celesta


Bartók:

Concerto for Orchestra, BB 123, Sz.116

Rafael Kubelik

Music for Strings, Percussion & Celesta, BB 114, Sz. 106

Seiji Ozawa


Bela Bartok's brilliant orchestral tour de force, the Concerto for Orchestra is coupled with his spine-tingling Music for Strings, Percussion and Celesta in these newly 'Remastered Classics' recording with the Boston Symphony Orchestra conducted by Rafael Kubelik and Seiji Ozawa.

Bartok's at times breezily energetic Concerto for Orchestra was an instant hit on its premiere given by the Boston Symphony Orchestra in 1944 and it has remained popular ever since. It's a compelling work, bursting with Central European folk melodies, North African rhythms, shimmering harmonies and vivid orchestration that culminates in a strident final movement guaranteed to bring the house down. In a darker vein, Bartok's earlier Music for Strings, Percussion and Celesta is a powerful and eerily atmospheric work which has been used in film soundtracks to great effect, notably in Stanley Kubrick's The Shining.

Rafael Kubelik recorded the Concerto for Orchestra several times throughout his career but it was this 1974 recording with the Boston Symphony Orchestra that has been singled out for especial praise, Gramophone magazine commending Kubelik's "sheer animal excitement and biting intensity ... with the rhythms pointed to bring out the wit, above all the peasant-like jollity ... This is a performance to keep making you smile with delight."

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Super Audio CD

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Hybrid Multi-channel

Pentatone Remastered Classics - PTC5186247

(SACD)

$12.00

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Mozart: Symphonies Nos. 35, 38 & 39

Mozart: Symphonies Nos. 35, 38 & 39


Mozart:

Symphony No. 35 in D major, K385 'Haffner'

Symphony No. 38 in D major, K504 'Prague'

Symphony No. 39 in E flat major, K543


Sony Classical Masters - 88697712902

(CD)

$6.50

(also available to download from $11.00)

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Schumann - The 4 Symphonies

Schumann - The 4 Symphonies


Schumann:

Symphonies Nos. 1-4 (complete)

Genoveva Overture

Manfred Overture, Op. 115


For Schumann Year 2010 Deutsche Grammophon is reissuing this distinguished cycle of Schumann symphonies by Rafael Kubelik, whose first major project for the Yellow Label this was. Hitherto available on CD consistently only in France, it deserves wider circulation.

"Rafael Kubelik and the Berlin Philharmonic light up Schumann's often unappreciated powers of orchestration. [...] This set must now be considered the top buy for Schumann's symphonies" Classic CD, September 1994

"There can be little doubt that Rafael Kubelik's first (BPO) set of the Schumann symphonies - generously coupled with the Genoveva and Manfred Overtures - will compete successfully among other bargain contenders for 'top bargain recommendation'" Rob Cowan, Gramophone, July 1994

"Kubelik brings both vitality and warmth to these scores and the Berlin Philharmonic respond with playing of great freshness and eloquence. The recording is made in a warm acoustic, yet detail registers with admirable clarity and in good perspective. Kubelik's readings are completely straightforward and devoid of egocentric mannerisms" Robert Layton, Gramophone, September 1975

“Kubelik's Schumann is dramatic, weighty and loving” BBC Music Magazine, May 2010 ****

DG Originals - 4778621

(CD - 2 discs)

$12.75

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Bartók - Concerto for Orchestra & Viola Concerto

Bartók - Concerto for Orchestra & Viola Concerto


Bartók:

Concerto for Orchestra, BB 123, Sz.116

Boston Symphony Orchestra, Rafael Kubelik

Viola Concerto, BB 128, Sz. 120

First Release on CD

Daniel Benyamini (viola)

Orchestre de Paris, Daniel Barenboim


One of Bartók’s most popular symphonic works is his Concerto for Orchestra; Rafael Kubelik’s fabulous recording of it has long been out of the catalogue and is now restored to circulation at budget price. The Viola Concerto was commissioned by William Primrose, who did much to advocate the piece. Sadly, Bartók died before he could complete the work or meet with Primrose at a sufficiently advanced stage of the concerto’s composition in order to discuss it. Tibor Serly completed the work and Primrose premiered it in 1949. This is the first release on CD of the Deutsche Grammophon recording of the piece with Daniel Benyamini, for long leader of the viola section of the Israel Philharmonic as soloist, and Daniel Barenboim conducting.

‘This is a performance to keep making you smile with delight … Kubelik presents a relaxed view with the rhythms pointed to bring out the wit, above all the peasant-like jollity … The DG recording is warm and atmospheric but equally has good inner detail’ Gramophone [Concerto for Orchestra]

‘the committed performance here by soloist and conductor shows the concerto in the best possible light; and the slow movement is really touching’ Gramophone [Viola Concerto]

Australian Eloquence - ELQ4800713

(CD)

$8.75

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Janacek: Taras Bulba, etc.

Janacek:

Taras Bulba

Concertino, JW VII/11

Sinfonietta


Together with Sir Charles Mackerras, Rafael Kubelik's name is synonymous with the music of Janacek. Here, reissued at budget price, are his superb readings of a trio of Janacek masterpieces recorded for Deutsche Grammophon, recordings that have plenty of weight, get to the heart of the emotion of the music as well as giving it clarity and transparency when called for.

“...a splendid recording...authoritative performance - and not least for the impressive sound.” Gramophone Magazine

“Janáček's compatriot Rafael Kubelík was an ardent champion of his music: this bargain disc of the major orchestral works (recorded in 1970 and 1971, with excellent restored sound) brings out the glittering brilliance of the Sinfonietta and has the added bonus of Rudolf Firkušný (who studied with the composer) in the Concertino.” Katherine Cooper, Presto Classical, May 2014

Australian Eloquence - ELQ4800643

(CD)

$8.75

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Dvorak: Cello Concerto in B minor, Op. 104, etc.

Dvorak:

Cello Concerto in B minor, Op. 104

Janacek:

Sinfonietta

Tchaikovsky:

Romeo & Juliet - Fantasy Overture


Legendary cellist Pierre Fournier's stereo recording of the Dvorak Cello Concerto is well known, but his earlier recording from July 1954 for Decca is largely forgotten. It is revived in this Kubelik-led anthology, also bringing back to the catalogue the conductor's mono version of the Janacek Sinfonietta and his electrifying account of Tchaikovsky's love poem Romeo and Juliet, both recorded in March 1955. All recordings make their first international appearance on CD.

Australian Eloquence - ELQ4800955

(CD)

$8.75

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Royal Opera Gala

Royal Opera Gala


Beethoven:

Mir ist so wunderbar (Quartet) (Fidelio)

Elizabeth Robson (soprano), Dame Gwyneth Jones (soprano), John Dobson (tenor), David Kelly (bass)

Sir Georg Solti

Berlioz:

Ah! Je vais mourir (from Les Troyens)

Josephine Veasey (mezzo)

Rafael Kubelik

Bizet:

Carmen: Prelude to Act I

Sir Georg Solti

Britten:

Helena! Hermia! Demetrius! Lysander! (from A Midsummer Night's Dream)

Delme Bryn-Jones (baritone), Kenneth McDonald (tenor), Elizabeth Robson (soprano), Anne Howells (mezzo)

Sir Georg Solti

O beauty, handsomeness, goodness (from Billy Budd)

Forbes Robinson (bass)

Sir Georg Solti

Donizetti:

Pour ce contrat fatal...Salut à la France (from La fille du régiment)

Joan Sutherland (soprano)

Richard Bonynge

Gounod:

Faust - Ballet Music

Sir Georg Solti

Mozart:

Dove sono i bei momenti (from Le nozze di Figaro)

Joan Carlyle (soprano)

Sir Georg Solti

Mussorgsky:

Skorbit dusha! (from Boris Godunov)

Joseph Rouleau (bass), John Lanigan (tenor)

Sir Edward Downes

Offenbach:

Barcarolle (from Les Contes d'Hoffmann )

Sir Georg Solti

Ponchielli:

Dance of the Hours (from La Gioconda)

Sir Georg Solti

Puccini:

Addio dolce svegliare (from La Bohème)

Elizabeth Vaughan (soprano), Maria Pellegrini (soprano), Jean Bonhomme (tenor), Delme Bryn-Jones (baritone)

Sir Edward Downes

Rossini:

L'Italiana in Algeri Overture

Sir Georg Solti

Semiramide Overture

Sir Georg Solti

Strauss, R:

Da … Herr Kavalier! (from Der Rosenkavalier)

Yvonne Minton (mezzo), Michael Langdon (bass)

Sir Georg Solti

Allein. Weh' ganz allein (from Elektra)

Amy Shuard (soprano)

Sir Edward Downes

Tippett:

O rich soiled land (from King Priam)

Richard Lewis (tenor), John Williams (guitar)

Verdi:

Fuoco di gioia (from Otello)

Tito Gobbi (baritone), John Lanigan (tenor), John Dobson (tenor)

Sir Georg Solti

Eh! Taverniere … Mondo ladro (from Falstaff)

Sir Geraint Evans (baritone)

Sir Edward Downes

La traviata: Prelude to Act 1

Sir Georg Solti

La traviata: Prelude to Act 3

Sir Georg Solti

Wagner:

Abendlich strahlt der Sonne Auge (from Das Rheingold)

David Ward (bass)

Reginald Goodall

Walton:

How can I sleep? (from Troilus and Cressida)

Marie Collier (soprano), Sir Peter Pears (tenor)

Sir William Walton


Australian Eloquence - ELQ4800952

(CD - 2 discs)

$12.00

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Wagner - Overtures & Preludes

Wagner - Overtures & Preludes


Wagner:

Der fliegende Holländer: Overture

Wiener Philharmoniker, Karl Böhm

Tannhäuser: Overture

Wiener Philharmoniker, Karl Böhm

Siegfried Idyll

Berliner Philharmoniker, Rafael Kubelik

Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg: Overture

Berliner Philharmoniker, Rafael Kubelik

Die Walküre: Ride of the Valkyries

Lilo Brockhaus, Carlotta Ordassy, Barbro Ericson, Cvetka Ahlin, Helga Jenckel, Liselotte Rebmann, Danica Mastilovic, Ingrid Steger

Berliner Philharmoniker, Herbert von Karajan

Tristan und Isolde: Prelude & Liebestod

Wiener Philharmoniker, Karl Böhm

Parsifal: Good Friday Music

Symphonieorchester des Bayerischen Rundfunks, Eugen Jochum

Faust Overture, WWV59

Bamberger Symphoniker, Otto Gerdes

Rienzi Overture

Wiener Philharmoniker, Karl Böhm

Lohengrin: Prelude to Act 1

Wiener Philharmoniker, Karl Böhm

Lohengrin: Prelude to Act 3

Wiener Philharmoniker, Karl Böhm


This 2CD album is a perfect overview of Wagner's orchestral showpieces, performed by what is a roll-call of the world's top orchestras and conductors.

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Recommended Recording

DG 2CD - E4775445

(CD - 2 discs)

$12.75

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Schubert: Symphony No. 9 in C major, D944 'The Great'

Schubert: Symphony No. 9 in C major, D944 'The Great'


Audite - AUDITE82542

(LP - 2 discs)

Normally: $27.75

Special: $20.75

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