Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
|Bedrich Smetana, Rafael Kubelik, Czech Philharmonic Orchestra|
Smetana: Má Vlast
The last, warm-hearted Ma Vlast from Kubelik in 1990
Santa Fe Listener | Santa Fe, NM USA | 03/05/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Rafael Kubelik recorded Ma Vlast five times over the long span of his career, and each version has a special quality. Here, in advanced age and poor health, he gives a valedictory reading that is notably warm-hearted and lyrical. The epic side of Smetana's expansive landscape portrait isn't emphasized as it is in versions from Vaclav Talich, James Levine, or the younger Kubelik himself. As other reviewers have noted, the conductor had just returned to his homeland after deaces of self-imposed exile. Only a year had passed since the Czechs freed themselves from Soviet domination. One might expect therefore a tempestuous, emphatically nationalistic reading.
We don't get one, however -- the sense of occasion is celebratory and vivacious, as mirrored in Kubelik's consistently fast pacing. This reading is at the opposite remove from Harnoncourt's for RCA/BMG, which is studied, detailed, and inward-looking. As for the orchestral and recording quality, the glowing, soft-grained timbre of the Czech Phil. is perfeclty suited to these rustic sketches; no one else, with the possible exception of the Vienna Phil., sounds so completely at home in Smetana's idiom. However, don't expect the same dazzling virtuosity as one gets from Vienna; the Moldau (Vltava in Czech) flows urgently here but without the brilliance one hears under Karajan and Fricsay. The recorded sound is clear but not vivid; the strings sound muzzy to me, and the sonic surface is rather dull overall. But that's a minor drawback to what is otherwise a wonderful performance and a CD that became an instant classic."
Farewell my friendly master, farewell!
Hiram Gomez Pardo | Valencia, Venezuela | 12/31/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)
"For most of Czech conductors, Smetana "My country" might be regarded a sort of "Ithaca" or "the alpha and omega" in what concerns its final purpose. This work surpasses its own limits due it's impregnated of a sort of mythic structure. It's a score that contains - if I may - the second Czech Hymn (The Moldavia) as well as pages of historical significance and vibrant epic episodes.
Perhaps the same feelings (although keeping a certain distance) it could be said about Jean Sibelius' "Finland", Edward Elgar's "Enigma variations" or "Pomp and circumstance" , Villalobos' "Brazilian Bachianas", Yves `s "Fourth of July Symphony" or Respighi's "The fountains of Rome."
But the certain of the case is that if it's true that the posthumous version of Kubelik possesses a visible taste of final testament, the end of the voyage, the last farewell of his birthplace. So we are talking a true and unique (as far as I know) musical document in which the poetic expression surpasses by far the frontiers of the same score.
The powerful emotional sentiment (not sentimentalism) has nothing to do for instance, with the igneous and epic version of Talich's 1955 performance, and far from being a mere comparison, it's rather the best evidence this Smetana's musical bequeath was made thinking about the posterity as the most eloquent proof love for his beloved country.
A priceless musical document.!
You will always tell that this is the most emotional Ma Vlas
Eric S. Kim | Southern California | 02/15/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Kubelik's live recording of Smetana's nationalistic "Ma Vlast" is an excellent one. I've heard one other recording of Vlast by Jiri Belohlavek with the same orchestra, CPO. It was a good one: Vltava was a bit better than Kubelik's rendition for its grander take on lyricism. But the rest of the movements didn't have the fire and lushness of Kubelik's recording. So like I said, this is an excellent one. Orchestra is very fine: the strings don't make any mistakes, the brass don't overblow it in any way (except in the last movement), and the woodwinds have an enchanting sound that you can find in Karajan's Berlin Philharmonic, or Jarvi's Gothenburg Symphony. And, finally, best of all, the audience is very quiet during the performance, and their applause is only apparent in the last movement.
In the future, I might try other recordings of Smetana's masterpiece (like, say, Mackerras and the CPO, or Jarvi with the Detroit Symphony). But for now, I'll enjoy myself with this CD, and many other CD's in my collection."