Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
|Dvorak, Czech Philharmonic Orch, Mackerras|
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4.5 stars - Charles Mackerras 1925-2010
Larry VanDeSande | Mason, Michigan United States | 02/23/2010
(4 out of 5 stars)
"American-born and Australian-raised Charles Mackerras, having died July 15, 2010, will go down as one of Australia's greatest conductors, perhaps its best ever. His expertise as a master Dvorak interpreter -- as if there were any doubts about it -- was established in platinum when he released Rusalka a decade ago to great acclaim Dvorák - Rusalka / Fleming · Heppner · Zajick · Hawlata · Urbanová · Czech Phil · Sir Charles Mackerras. The opera was the recording of he year in some places. Mackerras has steadily built a reputation in Dvoark and carries it through with this 2010 release of the composer's irregularly recorded tone poems on Czech legends.
Dvorak wrote the four pieces on this recording during 1895-96. They are based on the folkloric poetry of Karel Erben. Each of the four musical portraits expresses Erben's poetry on subjects akin to Grimm's fairy tales, usually where an evil spirit does some injustice to a child or family. In the Water Goblin, for example, the middle part of the tone poems has a girl walking on a bridge that collapses and she is caputured by the goblin, who later murders a baby.
Mackerras recorded the four tone poems over the decade of the 2000s, first recording The Golden Spinning Wheel in concert in 2001 (on a recording with the Dvorak Symphony No. 6) and adding the others here. This is the first recording of all four together. His 25-plus minute reading os The Golden Spinning Wheel is magical and all selections benefit from top of the line sound and the conductor's idiomatic understanding of the composer.
Mackerras weaves together a 79-plus minute concert that enabled Supraphon to release these on a single disk and compete with the better stereo single disk choices in this repertoire by Neumann. Buyers wanting a multi-disk collection can acquire these in more opulent recordings by Harnoncourt and Kubelik's collection. History buffs can turn to Vaclav Talich, the dean of modern Czech conductors, whose legendary readings are still treasured in many quarters.
My personal choice in this ouevre is Harnoncourt, whose collaboration with the Concertgebouw Orchestra resulted in one of this best recordings. With generally slower pacing throughout, Harnoncourt generated more of the angst available in the poetic legends than Mackerras, whose pace, while faster than Harnoncourt, is still never rushed. Mackerras benefits from world class recorded sound, the authentic playing and understanding of the Czech Republic's best orchestra, and a package that includes 10 pages of interesting notes and bios in three languages. While expensive, this is a good package that will probably show up on some "best of 2010" lists at the end of the year.
Since this is likely to be one of his last and most prized recordings over time, it is appropriate to lionize the maestro after a long life. Here are some other recordings of his I have enjoyed over the years:
-- Arriaga: Symphony in D; Vorisek: Symphony in D.
-- [[ASIN: B000JQ14HI Mahler: Symphony No. 6]].
-- Symphonies 31 & 45.
-- Mozart Symphonies 29, 31 (Paris), 32, 35 (Haffner) & 36 (Linz).
-- Rimsky-Korsakov: Scheherazade/Capriccio Espagnol.
-- Gilbert & Sullivan: H.M.S. Pinafore / Mackerras, Welsh National Opera.
-- Music for the Royal Fireworks / Cti a Due Cori.
--Suk: Summer Tale / Fantastic Scherzo - Charles Mackerras / Czech Philharmonic.
-- Mozart: Don Giovanni [Highlights]."
Is it Charles Mackerras crowning achievement?
Adrian K. Noon | Queensland, Australia | 06/08/2010
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This is a truly superb CD. Mackerras brings the music in these symphonic poems to life like no other I have ever heard when it comes to Dvorak. In particular, "The Water Goblin" & "Golden Spinning Wheel" are awesome examples of stunning orchestral work. I have never heard the Czech PO play better, & I have LPs of this orchestra going back to the 1950s. Surely, this must come under serious consideration as my fellow Aussie Sir Charles Mackerras crowning achievement on a glorious career. His dedication to Czech music is well known, & his intimate knowledge of the nuances of this music oozes thru the speakers. I already have lost count of how many times I have played this at night relaxing on the PC - it is perfect. For any serious collector of central European orchestral music, this is a MUST BUY."