Search - Antonin Dvorak, Bedrich Smetana, Rafael Kubelik :: Dvorak: Symphonies Nos. 7-9; Smetana: The Moldau

Dvorak: Symphonies Nos. 7-9; Smetana: The Moldau
Antonin Dvorak, Bedrich Smetana, Rafael Kubelik
Dvorak: Symphonies Nos. 7-9; Smetana: The Moldau
Genre: Classical
 
  •  Track Listings (8) - Disc #1
  •  Track Listings (6) - Disc #2

Rafael Kubelík's complete Dvorák symphony cycle with the Berlin Philharmonic is one of the glories of the DG catalog, and this sampler, containing the three last symphonies at a twofer price, is all but irresistible. There...  more »

      
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Rafael Kubelík's complete Dvorák symphony cycle with the Berlin Philharmonic is one of the glories of the DG catalog, and this sampler, containing the three last symphonies at a twofer price, is all but irresistible. There were few conductors more authoritative in this music than Kubelík, and he inspired his players to performances that routinely surpassed the response they gave their regular conductor, Herbert von Karajan. This is essential listening. --David Hurwitz

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CD Reviews

Good Performances, Good Value
J. Buxton | Waltham, MA United States | 07/14/2000
(4 out of 5 stars)

"Kubelik clearly had a special relationship with these works, as evidenced by the recent reissue of symphonies 7 and 9 with the Vienna Philharmonic from the 1950's in the Decca Legends series, but it is these recordings with the Berlin Philharmonic from the 70's that have become somewhat of a standard by which more recent recordings are judged. All three symphonies are played very well, with judicious choices of tempi and detailed orchestration. The sound is excellent for its time and DG has done a good job with the remastering. And yet, I still go back to the set of these symphonies with the Cleveland Orchestra under Dohnanyi on Decca as my absolute top choice. The sound on the latter rivals any cd I've heard from any source and the readings seem to have a bit more life than Kubelik. The Cleveland versions are also available on a 2 for 1 set from Decca, so either set is a good value. You probably won't be disappointed with either set."
Outstanding Eighth ; fine Seventh and Ninth.
Jeffrey Lee | Asheville area, NC USA | 07/12/2002
(4 out of 5 stars)

"Dvorak's music contains a wealth grand climaxes, nostalgic reflections, panoramic vistas and exquisite instrumental color. Though Rafael Kubelik was, I feel, one of the finest interpreters of this music, he sometimes was not given the best treatment in the DGG recording studio. Here, for example, the horns occasionally border on stridency and could stand a little more fullness. Otherwise, Kubelik's view of the "New World" is a fine one, though, for me, it does not match sonically and interpretively the classic Kertesz/Vienna Philharmonic version on London/Decca recorded around 1960 (not currently available). That performance should be re-issued and enshrined in the company's Legendary Performance series...In Dvorak's Seventh, Kubelik maintains his usual lyrical approach, though there are some areas in the final movement where I don't care for a few of his interpretive touches. Also, the colorful main theme in that movement could have been presented with a little more brio. Albeit, one of the better readings of this piece I've heard. Another fine though underrated Seventh comes from Leonard Bernstein, who manages to bring out a good amount of refreshing musical detail not typically revealed by many other conductors. George Szell's powerful and superbly played Cleveland performance also occupies a place among the top echelon. But Vaclav Talich's 1938 account with the Czech Philharmonic (though in mono, and fairly good sound, at that)is rather special. Loving care is expressed in every bar; yet, when called for, dynamics are rendered convincingly. You can find his account, usually coupled with the Dvorak Eighth, on several different labels. I own the Koch.

Under Kubelik, the Dvorak Eighth is given one of the most thoroughly satisfying accounts ever recorded. Accents, shadings and dynamic contrasts are all on the mark---an absolutely beautiful interpretation, though my slight criticism is that the pace of the last movement might be a little too fast, but I'm not complaining. Another outstanding but better recorded Eighth comes from Istvan Kertesz, who frequently elicits from the London Symphony a glowing, atmospheric quality. Climactic passages also resound handsomely and impressively. This is my favorite interpretation of the Eighth. Sir John Barbirolli's late 1950s account is also special. It brims with endearing detail. Vaclav Talich's wonderful reading from 1935 (with Dvorak's Seventh on the previously mentioned Koch International) combines dynamics, warmth and tunefulness. Two other conceptions, both by George Szell, also merit attention. His early 1950s mono recording with the Amsterdam Concertgebouw Orchestra and his late 1950s stereo recording with the Cleveland Orchestra (now on Sony but originally issued on the Epic lp label). Though very fine, I would place both of these performances slightly below the vanguard of Kubelik, Kertesz, Barbirolli and Talich."
Great Performances, Great Value of Kubelik & Dvorak
John Kwok | New York, NY USA | 08/30/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)

"Those on a budget might seriously consider getting this two CD set of Rafael Kubelik conducting the Berlin Philharmonic, in lieu of the multiple CD set of his entire Dvorak symphony cycle. These are electrifying performances every bit as good as Sir Colin Davis' readings with the Concertgebouw Orchestra. Admittedly, the sound quality might not be as splendid as those of recent vintage, yet this is a set worth acquiring. With regards to the quality of the performance, Kubelik's 1960's account is as fine as the latest I have heard from the likes of Abbado and Harnoncourt. This two CD compilation concludes with Kubelik's celebrated version with the Boston Symphony Orchestra of the tone poem Moldau from Smetana's tone poem cycle Ma Vlast."