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Rafael Kubelik: Rare Recordings 1963-1974
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Antonin Dvorak, Ludwig van Beethoven
Rafael Kubelik: Rare Recordings 1963-1974
Genre: Classical
 
  •  Track Listings (19) - Disc #1

In the Original Masters box dedicated to him, DG brought together Rare Recordings from the period 1963 to 1974 that restore to the catalogue many works and offer some for the first time on CD. Among the first releases on C...  more »

      
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In the Original Masters box dedicated to him, DG brought together Rare Recordings from the period 1963 to 1974 that restore to the catalogue many works and offer some for the first time on CD. Among the first releases on CD are two piano concertos (nos. 2 and 5) by Alexander Tcherepnin, with the composer as soloist; and the Second Violin Concerto by Jean Martinon, with Henryk Szeryng. Also Karl Amadeus Hartmann's Eighth Symphony and short works by Stravinsky and Weber.
 

CD Reviews

Good Kubelik selection
Alexander Leach | Shipley, West Yorkshire United Kingdom | 06/05/2007
(4 out of 5 stars)

"
This box has some pretty good things in it - best of all are the excellent Beethoven Second and Third symphonies, from his multi-orchestra cycle (the rest can be had on two DG Doubles - on no account miss his wonderful Pastoral with the Orchestre de Paris). In fact the Berlin PO Eroica here is one of my favourites, a 'slightly slower than normal' rather than 'slow' Eroica, with wonderful playing and interpretative touches. Superbly recorded in 1971 too. The earlier Bavarian Seventh is perhaps a tad relaxed compared to the finest versions.

The complete live Gurrelieder is also fine, perhaps a notch below modern readings by Chailly, Rattle and Sinopoli but still enjoyable, especially with Inge Borkh as Tove.

The Dvorak String Serenade is good - but just not as good as the live one he did on Orfeo. The modern works by Jean Martinon (the conductor), Tcherepnin and Kubelik himself are interesting but not really music of the highest quality, though the two symphonies (4 and 8) by his close friend Karl Amadeus Hartmann are worth hearing in definitive performances here.

Other entries include a nice Mozart Haffner Serenade, a couple of Stravinsky bonbons, three less well-known Weber overtures, and the famous Mendelssohn Midsummer Night's Dream incidental music - but here prefaced by over half an hour of rehearsal extracts, pleasingly given a full translation in the booklet.

A worthwhile set even if not all the contents are top drawer, as the playing, recordings and presentation are all very fine."
A superb collection
L. Johan Modée | Earth | 05/13/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)

"Rafael Kubelik was, in my view, one of the most gifted and significant conductors in modern time, which is exemplified by his outstanding recordings of Mahler's, Dvorák's, and Janácek's music. This box - which ought to be a bargain set, even in the US, because that is what it is at amazon.co.uk (£17.87 = $36) - collects some of his less well-known recordings.

First, however, one must note that DG, for some odd reason, has decided to include parts of Kubelik's famous and fine Beethoven cycle in this box (symphonies 1-3), instead of releasing them in a separate twofer as is the case of the rest of this cycle. In addition, there is also a very fine performance of Beethoven's seventh symphony, with Symphonieorchester des Bayerischen Rundfunk, which was not part of Kubelik's cycle.

Second, we find a selection of rarely recorded works, such as Tcherepnin's piano concertos nos. 2 & 5, with the composer at the piano, Martinon's second violin concerto, Hartmann's fourth and eight symphonies, and Kubelik's own "Quattro forme per archi". These works are very interesting, and the performances are first rate.

Finally, there are such well-known works as Mozart's "Haffner" serenade, Dvorák's serenade for strings (both are outstanding), Stravinsky's Scherzo à la Russe and Circus polka, three Weber overtures (Abu Hassan, Preciose, and Jubel-ouvertüre), Mendelssohn's Midsummer Night's Dream (rehearsal of the overture is included), and Schönberg's "Gurrelieder" (these two are crème de la crème as well). Especially the Schönberg piece is of great interest - in my view, it's the best Gurrelieder that we currently have on record. Both as a performance and as a recording, it deserves all praise.

Recordings are clear, though somewhat close-miked analogue stereo, but technically satisfying in fine remasterings.

Warmly recommended (even at a too high US price)!"
It's "Rare" to Find a Better Conductor than Kubelik
Michael B. Richman | Portland, Maine USA | 10/04/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)

"This recent offering in the "Original Masters" series presents 8 CDs of "Rare Recordings" made by conductor Rafael Kubelik between 1963 and 1974 for Deutsche Grammophon. As most of his discography has been readily available for years, serious collectors would probably have to question whether there were indeed enough unissued Kubelik performances to comprise a set of this nature. And while there are a few items contained on this set that have been reissued previously (not to mention a few items that could have been included instead), this box set offers some real treasures.

First let me say once more that I am distressed that so many of the recent DG & Decca OM sets are being sold only as pricey imports (see my reviews of the Julius Katchen and Jean Martinon sets in particular). I waited a good six months to buy this set because I wasn't about to pay three figures for it here. While some vendors in the Amazon Marketplace are beginning to offer it for less, the cheapest place I found to buy this set was HMV Japan. Additionally, that website is carrying the most recent (July 2006) batch of Decca/Philips OM sets featuring Ataulfo Argenta, Arthur Grumiaux, Clara Haskil and Pierre Monteux, which Amazon isn't even offering yet.

Anyway on to the music in this fine set. The gems here are both by the most recognizable of composers, and also by rather obscure ones. By recognizable I mean Beethoven, and in particular Kubelik's performances of Symphonies 1-3 & 7, which comprise discs 2 & 3. In the early 1970s DG allowed Kubelik to record a Beethoven Cycle with a different Orchestra for each Symphony. Symphonies 4-6 and 7-9 have been available on two different DG "2CD" titles (see my review of 4-6), but until now the remaining ones have been unissued. Also, a magnificent earlier 1970 account of the 7th with the Bavarian RSO is tossed in here as a bonus. The other highlights are the works of more obscure composers -- Hartmann's 4th and 8th Symphonies, Tcherepin's 2nd & 5th Piano Concertos, conductor Jean Martinon's Violin Concerto No. 2, and even Kubelik's own "Quattro Forme per Archi," a most pleasant surprise!

However, the set is not without its problems. Price aside, there are some performances that serious collectors may already have. The Mendelssohn "Midsummer Night's Dream" music, which with the exception of some rehearsal outtakes comprises the whole of disc 8, has been available in a DG Import budget line title for several years now. Also the 3 Weber Overtures were recently reissued on a Weber disc in the Universal budget line (see my review) -- hardly making them rare! Additionally, Schoenberg's "Gurreleider" leaves a lot to be desired, but that is just my personal preference as the recording did win the Grand Prix du Disque. I think DG would have been better served had they included some of Kubelik's now out-of-print Janacek or Smetana recordings, or the Wagner, Bartok or Martinu performances that are currently available only in Japan, instead of the aforementioned selections. Yet as is, Kubelik's "Rare Recordings" is a real treat, just make sure you don't pay too much for it."