Istvan Kertesz (1929-1973) was born into a Hungarian-Jewish, and he grew up taking violin lessons at a time “when terrible things were happening in Europe.” By the time Istvan was twelve, he had been mastering the piano as well. But Hungarian Jews were persecuted relentlessly, and many of his extended family members were sent to Auschwitz to be murdered. After the war, he resumed his studies in what is now the Franz Liszt Academy of Music, taking composition lessons with Kodaly and Leo Weiner. An interest in conducting led to studies with Laszlo Samogyi and Janos Ferencsik.
George Szell's Dvorák performances feature his customary blend of razor sharp orchestral discipline allied to a wholly idiomatic, singing line. - David Hurwitz
Sir Charles Mackerras and the London Philharmonic Orchestra shared a musical heritage spanning 45 years and this live recording of Dvorák’s Symphonic Variations and Symphony No. 8 from 1992 pays tribute to a partnership that exuded a joy and vivacity in music making.
Combining the forces of two of the 20th century´s greatest musicians – Yehudi Menuhin and Herbert von Karajan in their only recorded performance together – this magnificent programme marks a high point in filmed classical music. Both features, Mozart´s Violin Concerto No. 5 and Dvorák´s “New World” Symphony, were directed by master film-maker and long-time Karajan collaborator Henri-Georges Clouzot (The Wages of Fear). Bonus: Herbert von Karajan in conversation with Yehudi Menuhin (on Mozart) and Prof. Joachim Kaiser (on Dvorák). Special bonus feature: Previously unreleased rehearsal session prior to Violin Concerto No. 5!
When conductors choose to perform a Bruckner symphony, they either use the original version, in the belief that it reflects the composer's true intentions, or select one of the later revisions, which are solidly established in the repertoire. For this 2016 Profil release, Jukka-Pekka Saraste has made an interesting compromise by choosing Robert Haas' edition of the 1890 revision of the Symphony No. 8 in C minor, which avoids the awkward moments in the original 1887 version, yet preserves some felicities that Bruckner omitted in subsequent versions.