Rafael Kubelik was one of our foremost interpreters of Dvorak and other great Czech composers such as Smetana and Janacek. His critically acclaimed 1960's Dvorak symphony Deutsche Grammophon cycle was reissued several years ago as a budget-priced collection.
Two glorious Czech masterpieces are presented on this 2014 release from Alpha, performed on period instruments by the exceptional Anima Eterna Brugge, directed by Jos van Immerseel. Considering that Antonín Dvorák's Symphony No. 9 in E minor, "From the New World" was completed in 1893, and Leos Janácek's Sinfonietta dates from 1926, and the period instruments movement mostly has been concerned with Baroque and Classical era works, original instrumentation might strike some listeners as odd. Yet performances in the late 19th and early 20th centuries called for instruments that differ substantially in construction and tone quality from modern models, and the variety of timbres was much greater with handmade instruments than the homogenized sounds of today's mass-produced woodwinds and brass.
Liederabend "Wien-Prag-Berlin". Geografisch bilden Wien, Prag und Berlin gewissermaßen die Nord-Süd-Achse Mitteleuropas.
Historisch sind diese drei Metropolen schicksalsträchtig miteinander verbunden; für die Ambivalenz zwischen Freundschaft und Feindschaft geben die drei Jahrhunderte seit dem Barock ein beredtes Zeugnis. In der Musik besteht eine lange Tradition der gegenseitigen Befruchtung zwischen diesen Städten, die nicht zueltzt im kompositorischen Netzwerk zum Ausdruck kommt, in welchem die Schöpfer der von einer Berlinerin und einer Wienerin gesungenen Duette verbunden sind.
"…As far as sound goes, it's the best I've heard from Living Stereo and perhaps the best I've heard from my stereo period! The soloist to orchestra balance is just about perfectly even, which means the orchestra is considered an equal part by the engineers. I prefer that to the "I'm ready for my closeup now Mr De Mille" balance used by most producers in order to highlight the "STAR"." ~sa-cd.net
Antonin Dvorák's Piano Quartet No. 2 is one of the greatest chamber works of the 19th century (as are many of Dvorák's chamber compositions). Written in 1889 at the request of his publisher Simrock, it is a big, bold work filled with the Czech master's trademark melodic fecundity, harmonic richness, and rhythmic vitality. The first movement is a soaring, outdoor allegro with an assertively optimistic main theme accented by Czech contours and Dvorák's love of mixing major and minor modes. The Lento movement's wistful main theme is played with a perfect mixture of passion and poise by cellist Yo-Yo Ma. The music alternates between passages of drama and delicacy in this, one of Dvorák's finest slow movements in any medium. The Scherzo's stately waltz is contrasted by a lively, up-tempo Czech country dance. The finale is a high-stepping, high-spirited allegro with a strong rhythmic pulse that relaxes for the beautifully lyrical second subject. The development is a satisfying combination of motivic variety and strict structural logic. Dvorák packs a lot of music into this movement that lasts less than seven minutes. Ma and colleagues Isaac Stern, Jaime Laredo, and Emanuel Ax bring the same excitement, virtuosity, and cohesiveness to this work as they did in their recordings of the Brahms piano quartets.