Classical Music CDs, DVDs

Karel Ancerl The Philips Recordings 3cd

Karel Ancerl
"Through many recordings on Supraphon, the sympathetic, dynamic relationship of Karel Ancerl with the Czech Philharmonic is well known, especially in native repertoire such as Dvorák and Smetana. To a lesser extent, his work late in life with the Toronto Symphony, once he had emigrated to Canada, is documented on CD.

However, his brief but productive partnership with the Vienna Symphony Orchestra has long been forgotten. In fact he made four LPs with them between February 1958 and February 1959, for the Philips label as it sought to establish itself in the early years of LP. These recordings were released on the Fontana imprint, and they are reissued here together on CD for the first time.

Taken in the round, the recordings make an invaluable contribution to our understanding of an unfailingly warm and astute musician. Ancerl inspired affection wherever he went, even among hard-bitten orchestral players. His experience at the hands of the Nazis found a surprising but redemptive expression in his good humour, charm and sanguine detachment from politics. He could also secure playing of tremendous fire and refinement, as may be heard in the Slavonic Dances on CD1 of this set. The 'New World' Symphony and 'Vltava' are also done as to the manner born, 'well-phrased, euphonious and vivid' according to Gramophone's original review of the Smetana.

The rest of the set is dedicated to Tchaikovsky, and this is mostly repertoire which he did not record elsewhere. In a keenly detailed booklet appreciation, Rob Cowan observes the rhythmic spring and elegant legato of the ballet suites – hallmarks of Ancerl's conducting – while finding high voltage and no lack of intensity in the Fourth Symphony and the Marche slave. Cannons were unavailable for the 1812 Overture; an enthusiastically played bass drum is enlisted in its place.

(Eloquence) 4827353

Track Listing Extract:
Dvorak: Symphony No. 9 in E minor, Op. 95 'From the New World' Slavonic Dances Nos. 1-8, Op. 46 Nos. 1-8 Smetana: Má Vlast Tchaikovsky: Romeo & Juliet - Fantasy Overture Marche slave, Op. 31 Symphony No. 4 in F minor, Op. 36 1812 Overture, Op. 49 Serenade for strings in C major, Op. 48: II. Waltz Swan Lake, Op. 20 Suite Sleeping Beauty, Suite, Op. 66a The Nutcracker Suite, Op. 71a

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