may have had an advantage over many of his German contemporaries
when it came to Czech music. Between 1940 and 1945 he was the
resident conductor of the German Philharmonic Orchestra in occupied
Prague in which capacity he made some recordings for Telefunken. This was
not a position to endear him to Czech patriots, doubtless, but
his later, small discography did include Rusalka (for
Urania), and the New World Symphony with the Bamberg Orchestra.
In Hamburg he
set down Dvořák’s Cello Concerto with Ludwig Hoelscher
and there was also a Carnaval Overture and some Slavonic
Dances again with the Bamberg.
we have here is a 1952 concert performance of the New
World Symphony with the Orchestra stabile dell’Accademia di Santa Cecilia
and given in Rome.
Keilberth was an active guest conductor after the War and the
symphony would have been a good compromise on both sides. The
audience is not too restive though there are a few coughs but
the sound is rather unsubtle and raw. There are some orchestral
imprecisions (chording in the winds) but the performance, while
in no way remarkable, does have a vigorous boldness to it. The
relatively slow tempo for the slow movement accords with that
taken by Talich and by Kubelík and it’s actually not so far
off Reiner’s tempo in Chicago. A feature of interest is the expressive quality of the front desk
string players at the close of the movement. I’m not sure about
the very short gap between this and the scherzo - it surely
didn’t reflect the concert performance – but the finale is neatly
shaped, pretty fast but not breathlessly phrased and with a
good sense of plasticity.
with it is the Sibelius Concerto with Danilo Belardinelli. I
don’t know of him as a violinist but assume that this is the
same man who is better known now as a conductor. Once more the
recording is raw and up front but this time we have the added
burden that the soloist is very much primus inter pares and
it does make for tiring listening, especially when counter-themes
are submerged and the orchestral contribution tends to be tentative
and opaque. Belardinelli and Keilberth take a relatively measured
view – it’s more Ignatius and Haendel than Heifetz, Oistrakh
or Stern in that respect – but it’s certainly a plausible one,
though I happen to prefer a quicker tempo. His vibrato is inclined
to be one-dimensional and tense and though there are some fluffs
and missed notes Belardinelli seems sympathetic to the work.
What is less in evidence is a structural tightness; things do
sag metrically and passagework can sound dogged and a bit forced.
I quite like the rather feminine cast of the slow movement though
it’s not at all dramatic but the finale is prosaic and the orchestral
playing is very literal minded.
usual with this label there are no notes. It’s apparently previously
unissued and Hi End Restoration has been employed - whatever
that means (I have no idea – treble boosting?). I can’t see
this as an especially enticing prospect, though it’s cheap and
there may be a market of some sort for Belardinelli’s Sibelius
or Keilberth in general.