Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
GREAT CONDUCTORS 20TH CENTURY - KARL ANCERL
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William Ward | Springfield, IL United States | 02/18/2003
(4 out of 5 stars)
"This two-CD set is part of the Great Conductors of the 20th Century series, and it was an eye-opener for me. First, it presented a conductor I was only vaguely familiar with, leading an orchestra I hardly knew, the Czech Philharmonic. And second, it offered a wealth of Czech music, from the famous (Dvorak, Smetana, Janacek) to composers I'd never heard of, like Novak and Macha. Macha's "Rychlik" Variations is an intensely moving piece, while Martinu's Fifth Symphony, which I'd also not heard, turned out to be warm and accessible. Some of the recordings date from the dawn of the LP era, so the sound quality is variable. But the performances are terrific.
Like all the others in the Great Conductors series, this features recordings from a variety of sources, including radio broadcasts, plus an ample booklet with biography, photos and discussions of the recordings.If you're interested in how they played in the past, this is a worthwhile set."
Excellent through and through
Gregory M. Zinkl | Chicago, IL | 01/14/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"It seems churlish not to give the full five stars to this outstanding issue, whatever sonic issues there might be; but with such music-making they are quite minimal!
The selection of music is mostly Czech, and it is all enjoyable, and at times downright revelatory. Janacek's Taras Bulba is just totally done to a fare-thee-well and is hard to equal, much less exceed.
But it isn't all heavy going . . . do you really want to deal with death of sons and tragedy all the time?!? Shostakovich's Festive Overture is given at once a joyful, but refined reading.
Ancerl is just an amazing conductor, and even w/o the benefit of the beautiful sounds of the Czech Phil, he gets remarkable results. Well, ok, the Concertgebouw is no slouch, and their Dvorak 8th is wonderful. I was taken aback when I heard the Smetana; the Vienna Symphony is not a favorite ensemble, but here, whatever magic Ancerl brought to the podium--well, they played terrifically for him. It sounds like the string section was hugely expanded, but of course it wasn't. The Martinu, a composer which Ancerl is always in top form for, is also excellent.
I can hardly stop listening to these discs. I think Ancerl is magic, and these readings show his magic in different lights, in a variety of mostly Czech pieces, with his most re-knowned (the Czech)and other ensembles."
One of the better issues in this series
Kevin Orth | 12/21/2005
(4 out of 5 stars)
"The Czech Phil. under Karel Ancerl was one of the great orchestras of its time, with a conductor/orchestra flow comparable to Szell/Cleveland or Reiner/Chicago. The first disc is all Czech Philharmonic, and while other recordings these musicians made under Ancerl's baton, such as the Dvorak Requiem, show them in a more ideal light, this overview of Ancerl's rhythmically precise, texturally clean conducting style is well worth having. The other disc shows that Ancerl could elicit fine performances from other orchestras, even decidedly lesser ensembles, and includes some excellent live performances. There isn't a bad piece on either disc, and the sound is remarkably good considering the vintages."