WGBH Radio WGBH Radio theclassicalstation.org

Dvorak, Haydn, Mendelssohn, Schumann - Recordings 1960-1963 / Kubelik

Schumann / Starker / Arrau / Firkusny / Rundfunk
Release Date: 09/09/2014 
Label:  Orfeo D'or Catalog #: 726143   Spars Code: ADD 
Composer:  Robert SchumannFranz Joseph HaydnFelix MendelssohnAntonín Dvorák
Performer:  János StarkerClaudio Arrau
Conductor:  Rafael Kubelik
Number of Discs: 3 
Recorded in: Mono 
Length: 3 Hours 42 Mins. 

In Stock: Usually ships in 24 hours.  

Notes and Editorial Reviews

Orfeo has shown a strong commitment to releasing broadcasts given by Rafael Kubelík during his tenure as chief conductor of the Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra. The repertoire has included Bartók, Berlioz, Bruckner, Debussy (Pelléas et Mélisande), Handel, Hartmann, Orff, Smetana and a slew of Beethoven and Dvorák. This 3-CD box of mono broadcasts amplifies his reportorial strengths in the case of two of these composers and adds Mendelssohn and Schumann. All recordings were made between 1960 and 1963.

The Schumann Cello Concerto (April 1961) with János Starker does indeed possess, as booklet writer Rob Cowan notes, intriguing little bends of the line in the opening paragraphs and the
Read more malleable flexibility of the soloist’s phrasing is very notable here. In fact it’s somewhat unusual, as his studio inscriptions with Giulini and Skrowaczewski are rather straighter in that respect. The expressively weighted caesurae and the natural-sounding but intense rubati all attest to a strong collaborative rapport between Starker and Kubelík. Starker is quite forwardly balanced which accentuates the taut and focused tone, sometimes a touch nasal. The oasis of the slow movement, beautifully played, is followed by witty exchanges in the finale between the supple wind players, and a fine cadenza. This first CD also contains two of Haydn’s London Symphonies. No.101 was given in May 1963, No.102 being part of the same Schumann Cello Concerto concert. Both have warmly moulded opening slow introductions with droll characterisation in the Menuets, the one in Symphony No.101 in particular possessing a lively quotient of pesante phrasing and articulation. The slow movement of No.102 is perhaps even more affectionately spun than the companion symphony but both finales are full of elegance and fluency. I tend to associate Kubelik more with Haydn’s choral music – the Seasons, Creation and St Cecilia Mass (all in Orfeo’s live series) – but he proves a fine interpreter of the symphonic music.

The second disc observes symmetry by giving us Schumann’s Piano Concerto, with one of its most adhesive adherents, Claudio Arrau. This comes from the same concert as Haydn’s Symphony 101. Arrau’s playing marries his famously big, powerful tone with lashings of virtuosity. The later heaviness that could mire some of his performances is not apparent here, and he plays with purposeful and often fiery poetry. The cadenza is very much a case in point. Perhaps, unlike Starker, he is not quite as amenable to inflective novelty in his collaboration with Kubelík – the pianist remains the dominant personality - but it’s a fine performance nevertheless. It’s followed by the Rhenish Symphony (September 1962), which he recorded commercially in Munich. It receives a well-sprung, lively reading with an especially effective slow movement. It won’t efface memories of Giulini’s later LAPO recording but adds materially to the portfolio of the Czech conductor’s live Schumann on disc.

There’s not a huge amount of Kubelík’s Mendelssohn on disc which makes this live Hebrides overture from January 1962 and the Reformation Symphony from October 1963 valuable. He is very responsive to the elemental terracing of dynamics in the Hebrides and directs a powerful, prayerful, intensely sculpted Fifth Symphony. The orchestra’s sonority remains warm throughout the various choirs, but there’s no lack of momentum when required. As ever with Kubelík, it’s of the flexible kind, not least in the poignantly expressive Andante. Stern collectors may well ask how many different versions of Firkušný’s Dvo?ák Piano Concerto one needs. It was a work he recorded multiply in the studio. Other live accounts exist in addition to this February 1960 account. In fact this Cologne broadcast was made close in time to his studio Westminster recording. As so often, he performs the Kurz edition. If there is nothing especially revealing here, that’s because the pianist was so consistently outstanding an exponent of the work and so closely identified with it. His fellow countryman brings a powerful orchestral palette to bear, and that is certainly worth considering. The piano sound is for me just a touch recessed but it doesn’t spoil enjoyment of a markedly successful reading.

The re-mastering has been accomplished most sympathetically, and Orfeo’s latest release to celebrate Kubelík’s art can itself be very warmly commended.

– MusicWeb International (Jonathan Woolf) Read less

Works on This Recording

1.
Concerto for Cello in A minor, Op. 129 by Robert Schumann
Performer:  János Starker (Cello)
Conductor:  Rafael Kubelik
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1850; Germany 
Date of Recording: 04/10/1961 
Venue:  Funkhaus Köln, Saal 1 
Length: 24 Minutes 37 Secs. 
2.
Symphony no 101 in D major, H 1 no 101 "Clock" by Franz Joseph Haydn
Conductor:  Rafael Kubelik
Period: Classical 
Written: 1793-1794; London, England 
Date of Recording: 05/31/1963 
Venue:  Funkhaus Köln, Saal 1 
Length: 28 Minutes 52 Secs. 
3.
Symphony no 102 in B flat major, H 1 no 102 by Franz Joseph Haydn
Conductor:  Rafael Kubelik
Period: Classical 
Written: 1794; London, England 
Date of Recording: 04/10/1961 
Venue:  Funkhaus Köln, Saal 1 
Length: 24 Minutes 30 Secs. 
4.
Concerto for Piano in A minor, Op. 54 by Robert Schumann
Performer:  Claudio Arrau (Piano)
Conductor:  Rafael Kubelik
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1841-1845; Germany 
Date of Recording: 05/31/1963 
Venue:  Funkhaus Köln, Saal 1 
Length: 32 Minutes 50 Secs. 
5.
Symphony no 3 in E flat major, Op. 97 "Rhenish" by Robert Schumann
Conductor:  Rafael Kubelik
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1850; Germany 
Date of Recording: 09/20/1962 
Venue:  Funkhaus Köln, Saal 1 
Length: 32 Minutes 33 Secs. 
6.
Hebrides Overture, in B minor Op. 26 "Fingal's Cave" by Felix Mendelssohn
Conductor:  Rafael Kubelik
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1829-1832; Rome, Italy 
Date of Recording: 01/25/1962 
Venue:  Funkhaus Köln, Saal 1 
Length: 10 Minutes 17 Secs. 
7.
Concerto for Piano in G minor, Op. 33/B 63 by Antonín Dvorák
Conductor:  Rafael Kubelik
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1876; Bohemia 
Date of Recording: 02/22/1960 
Venue:  Funkhaus Köln, Saal 1 
Length: 36 Minutes 0 Secs. 
8.
Symphony no 5 in D major, Op. 107 "Reformation" by Felix Mendelssohn
Conductor:  Rafael Kubelik
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1832; Germany 
Date of Recording: 10/18/1963 
Venue:  Funkhaus Köln, Saal 1 
Length: 30 Minutes 19 Secs. 

Customer Reviews

Be the first to review this title
Review This Title