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Britten: War Requiem

Britten: War Requiem

Recorded at the Dvořák Hall of the Rudolfinum, Prague, on January 13, 1966 (CD1), May 3, 1958 (CD2/1) and January 17, 1964 (CD2/2-13).


Britten:

War Requiem, Op. 66

Naděžda Kniplová (soprano), Gerald English (tenor), John Cameron (baritone), Milada Šubrtová (soprano) & Věra Soukupová (alto)

with Prague Philharmonic Choir & Kühn Children’s Chorus

The Young Person's Guide to the Orchestra, Op. 34

Spring Symphony, Op. 44

in Czech

Beno Blachut (tenor)


Benjamin Britten’s music formed one of the pillars of the Czech Philharmonic’s concert programmes under its chief conductor Karel Ančerl. The famous Variations on a Theme of Purcell was in all likelihood the most frequently performed work (in 1962 also in England), and this CD contains the previously unreleased 1958 recording in the original version without narration. The enchanting and joyous Spring Symphony, commissioned by Serge Koussevitzky, was presented in Czech in Prague by Ančerl, the Czech Philharmonic and the finest soloists of the time. Forming a stark contrast to these two works is the War Requiem, a grand piece commemorating the victims of the most gruesome armed conflict in human history. Britten dedicated it to the memory of four friends of his who died in WWII while serving in the British navy or army. The work’s Czech premiere, with the participation of superlative foreign soloists (Gerald English, John Cameron), took place less than four years after its world premiere. So enthused was he by the work that in November 1969, following his emigration to Canada, Ančerl included the War Requiem in one of his first concerts in Toronto. The conductor’s personal profound experience of the senseless barbarity of the war imbued his conception of the work with a chilling authenticity. Both of the two previously unreleased concert recordings were made by the former Czechoslovak Radio.

Britten conducted by Karel Ančerl – previously unreleased unique recordings from the Prague Radio archives.

“The Czech premiere of the War Requiem from 1966 is raw but urgent..Collectors will be pleased to encounter leading Czech singers Naděžda Kniplová and Beno Blachut among the soloists but this set is strictly one for the historical category.” Gramophone Magazine, October 2013

“[English's] elocution is in every way comparable to Peter Pears's own, the instrument even leaner and the delivery trenchantly objective...This is not the most pleasant-sounding recording of the War Requiem. It is surely, though, the one which best draws together the threads of this difficult form.” International Record Review, September 2013

“English’s singing is consistently clear and incisive and Cameron has a fine, rounded tone and an excellent sense of line...[Kniplová] projects the ‘Liber scriptus’ powerfully and accurately...she’s fully up to the work’s histrionic challenges...Ančerl’s direction of the score is impressive. He’s clearly committed to the music and he ensures that rhythms are crisply articulated.” MusicWeb International, 11th November 2013

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Supraphon - SU41352

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Brixi, F X: Judas Iscariot

Brixi, F X: Judas Iscariot

Oratorio For the Feast of Good Friday


Ludmila Vernerova, Pavla Ksicova, Jiri Vinklarek & Miloslav Podskalsky

Musica Bohemica, Jaroslav Krcek

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Supraphon - SU38662

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Cherubini: Requiem, Symphony & Overture to Medee

Cherubini: Requiem, Symphony & Overture to Medee


Cherubini:

Requiem in D minor for male chorus & orchestra

Symphony in D major

Medee: Overture


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Supraphon - SU34292

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Dvorak in America

Dvorak in America


Dvorak:

Symphony No. 9 in E minor, Op. 95 'From the New World'

Te Deum, Op.103, B.176

String Quartet No. 12 in F major, Op. 96 'American'

Sonatina for violin and piano in G major, Op. 100

String Quintet No. 3 in E flat major, Op. 97 'American'

Waldesruhe (Silent woods) for cello and orchestra, Op. 68 No. 5

Rondo in G minor for cello & orchestra, Op. 94, B. 181

Humoresque in G flat major, Op. 101 No. 7

American Suite in A major, Op. 98a(b)

Cello Concerto in B minor, Op. 104


Gabriela Benackova (soprano), Jaroslav Soucek (baritone), Josef Suk (violin, viola), Josef Hala (piano), Milos Sadlo (cello) & Josef Chuchro (cello)

Panocha Quartet and Smetana Quartet, Czech Philharmonic Orchestra & Philharmonia, Jakub Hruša, Václav Neumann & Jiří Bělohlávek

The “From the New World” symphony, Cello Concerto in B minor, the “American” quartet... A title with such a selection could without the slightest exaggeration bear the designation “The Best of Dvorák”. It almost defies belief that all these compositions, which brought Dvorák world fame, were written within a mere three years (1892-95) during his sojourn in America.

The music is extremely inspired and profound, perfectly built and immensely amiable for the listener – simply beautiful. It reflects the powerful new sources of inspiration Dvorák discovered in America, yet also echoes homesickness, missing the family and familiar landscape. Josef Suk, the Panocha Quartet, the Czech Philharmonic under Václav Neumann and Jirí Belohlávek – such names are a guarantee of a profound tradition of performing Dvorák’s music. Accordingly, these 3 CDs comprise the gems of the most international of Czech composers as interpreted by artists who further spread and are still spreading the fame of Dvorák’s music worldwide, from America to Japan.

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Supraphon - SU40252

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Dvorak: Mass in D

Dvorak: Mass in D


Dvorak:

Mass in D major, Op.86 (B175)

Ave maris stella

Hymnus ad laudes in festo SS. Trinitatis

Ave Maria, Op. 19b

O sanctissima, Op. 19a


Ludek Vele (bass), Anna Barova (contralto), Drahomira Drobkova (contralto), Miroslav Kopp (tenor), Natalie Romanova (soprano), Richard Novak (bass-baritone), Josef Ksica (organ)

Prague Philharmonic Choir, Lubomir Matl (chorusmaster)

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Supraphon - SU37872

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Dvorak: Mass in D major & Biblical Songs

Dvorak: Mass in D major & Biblical Songs


Dvorak:

Mass in D major, Op.86 (B175)

Biblical Songs, Op. 99: selection


Dalibor Jedlicka (bass), Stanislava Skatulova (contralto), Oldrich Lindauer (tenor), Jindrich Jindrak (baritone), Gianni Maffeo (baritone), Marcela Machotkova (soprano), Maria Helenita Olivares (soprano), Jaroslav Tvrzsky (organ)

Prague Philharmonic Choir, Prague Symphony Orchestra, Vaclav Smetacek, Josef Veselka

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Supraphon - 1118212

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Dvorak: Requiem, Op. 89

Dvorak: Requiem, Op. 89


Jan-Hendrik Rootering (bass), Brigitte Fassbaender (contralto), Thomas Moser (tenor) and Gabriela Benackovám (soprano)

Prague Philharmonic Choir and Czech Philharmonic Orchestra, Wolfgang Sawallisch and Lubomír Mátl (chorus master)

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Supraphon - 1042412

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Dvorak: Requiem, Op. 89

Dvorak: Requiem, Op. 89


Maria Stader (soprano), Sieglinde Wagner (alto), Ernst Hafliger (tenor) & Kim Borg (bass)

Czech Philharmonic Orchestra, Prague Philharmonic Choir, Karel Ancerl

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Supraphon Ancerl Gold Edition - SU36732

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Dvorak: Sacred Works & Cantatas

Dvorak: Sacred Works & Cantatas


Dvorak:

Ave Maria, Op. 19b

Ave maris stella

Biblical Songs (10), Op. 99

Hymnus ad laudes in festo SS. Trinitatis

Mass in D major, Op.86 (B175)

O sanctissima, Op. 19a

Psalm 149 Op. 79 (B.154)

Requiem, Op. 89

Saint Ludmila

Stabat Mater, Op. 58

Te Deum, Op.103, B.176

The Heirs of the White Mountain, Op. 30, B134

Svatební Kosile, Op. 69


Eva Urbanova (soprano), Vera Soukupova (alto), Beno Blachut (tenor), Jindrich Jindrak, Ivan Kusnjer (baritone), Peter Mikulas, Richard Novak (bass), Ivan Moravec (piano)

Prague Philharmonic Choir, Czech Philharmonic Orchestra & Prague Symphony Orchestra, Wolfgang Sawallisch, Vaclav Neumann, Jiri Belohlavek, Vaclav Smetacek, Zdenek Kosler

“Dad’s God was not the God of Vengeance but the Creator, who sanctifies the journey through the ‘valley of death’ through his infinite love”, is how Antonín Dvořák’s sincere piety was recalled by his son Otakar. Faith in God was for Dvořák the cornerstone on which he built his own life and work, hence it comes as no surprise that a number of his seminal pieces are within the domain of sacred music, and frequently linked with a strong personal story.

The first version of the oratorio Stabat Mater came into being after the death of his first-born daughter. In the wake of the triumph of its London premiere, Dvořák received more commissions from the UK, which gave rise to other paramount compositions: The Spectre’s Bride, Requiem and Saint Ludmila.

The instigation for the Te Deum came from New York, where following the premiere of the 'New World Symphony' Dvořák wrote the Biblical Songs, the apex of his oeuvre of this genre. The set also contains pieces that have been seldom performed (the cantata The Heirs of the White Mountain, Psalm 149 in the previously unreleased recording made by the conductor Václav Neumann, etc.).

At the same time, this new collection within the Dvořák series showcases superlative artists, and the listeners will undoubtedly also be pleased by the sensitively remastered sound of the recordings.

These are gems from the Supraphon archive.

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Supraphon Archiv - SU41872

(CD - 8 discs)

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Dvorak: Stabat Mater, Op. 58

Dvorak: Stabat Mater, Op. 58


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Supraphon - 1035612

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