Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
Ancerl's Live Concert Account Is Even Better!
Jeffrey Lipscomb | Sacramento, CA United States | 06/08/2004
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Karel Ancerl (1908-73) was one of the greatest of all Czech conductors. He always reminds me of a Fritz Reiner with more heart and a wider range of sympathies. Sadly, Ancerl was no stranger to tragedy: his entire family perished in concentration camps during World War II, and Ancerl's own imprisonment led to impaired health and a premature death.This "Ma Vlast" is one of the great studio accounts. To my ears, the earlier Supraphon CD transfer from 1994 was a bit less glassy than this new "Gold Series" edition. As a performance, I would rank it just behind the wonderful mono Czech Phil. accounts by Vaclav Talich and Karel Sejna (both on Supraphon).But if you get a chance, try to run down the magnificent 7-disc Tahra set "Centenary of the Czech Philharmonic (1896-1996): Homage to the Orchestra and Karel Ancerl." It contains a live "Ma Vlast" given in 1967 at Montreal when the orchestra was on tour. Like Furtwangler, Ancerl in live concert was a completely different conductor from what he was in the studio. The extra spark and fire on display in Ancerl's live account really put this studio recording in the shade. I think that live reading is fully equal to both Sejna and Talich. "Ma Vlast" is a masterpiece of romantic nationalism. From the very opening of "Vysehrad," with the bard strumming his harp, this music casts a unique spell. "Moldau," the best known piece by Smetana, is one of the greatest tone poems of descriptive music ever composed. I feel that "From Bohemia's Woods and Meadows" is the real heart of the cycle - not even Dvorak wrote anything that so captures the rustic beauty of the Czech countryside. And I love the way Smetana starts "Blanik" as a continuation of where the preceding "Tabor" leaves off - Beethoven used that same technique in his 8th Symphony.To conclude: if you want to hear Ancerl's finest Ma Vlast, try to find the Tahra set, which is filled with live performances that are generally preferable to their studio counterparts. It also contains several items that Ancerl never recorded, such as Dvorak's Symphonic Variations, Mozart's "Prague" Symphony, and the Sibelius 1st."