Aureole etc.




Golden Age singers

Nimbus on-line




Faure songs
Charlotte de Rothschild (soprano);

  Founder: Len Mullenger
Classical Editor: Rob Barnett


Some items
to consider


New App by the Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra for iOS and Android!

Schumann Symphonies Rattle


Complete Brahms
Bargain price

 


 
REVIEW



Gerard Hoffnung CDs

Advertising on
Musicweb


Donate and get a free CD

New Releases

Naxos Classical

Hyperion

Musicweb sells the following labels
Acte Préalable
Alto
Arcodiva
CDAccord
Cameo Classics
Centaur
Hallé
Hortus
Lyrita
Nimbus
Northern Flowers
Redcliffe
Sheva
Talent
Toccata Classics


Follow us on Twitter

Subscribe to our free weekly review listing
sample
 

cover image

availability
CD: AmazonUK AmazonUS
Sound Samples and Downloads

Great Conductors - Talich
Josef SUK (1874-1935)
Sokol March: Into a New Life Op. 35c [6:04]
Serenade for Strings in E flat Op. 6 [28:07]
Antonín DVOŘÁK (1841-1904)
Symphony No. 6 in D Op. 60 [44:24]
Czech Philharmonic Orchestra/Vaclav Talich
rec. Abbey Road Studio No 1, London 22-23 November 1938 NAXOS HISTORICAL 8.112050 [78:35]

Experience Classicsonline


These recordings, as the surprisingly entertaining liner-notes tell us, very nearly did not happen. The members of the Czech Philharmonic Orchestra were, in November 1938, nearly all enlisted in the Czechoslovak army, scattered across various military outposts on the nation’s borders during the run-up to World War II. Seven weeks after Hitler annexed the Sudetenland and four months before he grabbed the rest of Czechoslovakia, a brief window of opportunity opened up in which the orchestra members were given leave to pack their instruments for a short trip to London. The arrangements were made by Jan Masaryk, Czechoslovak envoy to London and a future Supraphon pianist himself.

In a matter of just two days Talich and his orchestra hunkered down in the EMI Abbey Road Studios and recorded Dvorák’s Sixth and Seventh Symphonies, plus Josef Suk’s Serenade for Strings and Sokol March. All those recordings are here except the Seventh, which was released by Naxos on a previous CD coupled to a 1935 version of the Eighth. The Czechs being, even then, one of the finest orchestras in the world, there is no sign of hurry, no evidence of sloppy playing or lack of preparation, no need for more rehearsal time. I have grown sick of the cliché of performers having music ‘in their blood,’ but there are few recordings for which that phrase would be more appropriate.

In the Suk Serenade, which sounds so plainly lovely but is in fact hard to conduct right, Talich thankfully avoids any temptation to rush or hurry the music. This is the trap into which Christopher Warren-Green and the London Chamber Orchestra fall on Virgin Classics; another trap is restraint, or an unwillingness to let the music be as pretty as possible, and here the guilty parties are Volker Hartung and the European Philharmonic on Profil.

No, this is a lovely, very romantic performance, one in which the soloists - violin and cello in the first movement, two violins and cello in the slow movement - indulge in frequent portamenti and the overall speeds convey a just-right sense of youthful charm and the peace of the outdoors. Mark Obert-Thorn’s transfer is vastly superior to EMI’s own re-mastering, which cleaned up the hiss but at the expense of clarity. The Naxos recording features less in the way of shrill first violins and greater presence for the rest of the band. This is, alongside the Capella Istropolitana recording under Jaroslav Krcek on Naxos (the first Naxos disc I ever owned), one of the great performances of the Suk Serenade, and there is room on my shelf for both. Talich’s recording of the brief, exuberant Sokol March, currently unavailable anywhere else (previously recorded by Altrichter, Kubelik and Klima), makes a festive opener.

Now, on to the main course: Dvorák’s Sixth. The opening bars are slow, dangerously slow maybe, but the Czech Philharmonic is just getting ready. This is, above all, a performance in the classic romantic style, very generous in rubato and phrasing, very flexible in tempos. Nowhere are its merits more apparent than in the slow movement, at 13:28 the slowest I have ever heard this music (compare to 12:18 for Mackerras, 11:30 for Kubelík and Kertesz, 11:01 for Ancerl, or 10:13 for Suitner). But, against expectations, I actually found myself more engaged by the music than in any more hurried performance: Talich invites us to lap up every gorgeous woodwind solo at a pace which enables us to savour them.

And lest you think that the slow timing is the product of lethargy, the finale, by contrast, is given one of the fastest and most exciting renditions I know, a full two minutes faster than Mackerras or Kubelík. The string fugato at the beginning of the coda loses some of its clarity and heft at this speed, but there is certainly no lack of thrills. The only other major fault I can find with this performance is the near-total lack of presence for the timpani, which in the first movement might as well not exist. Unfortunately, I do not have the Supraphon reissue of this performance to compare sound quality.

All in all, these are great performances by any standard, historical or not, with the Dvorák slow movement going to the top of my list and the Suk a delight from beginning to end. With playing this marvellous, and this idiomatically Bohemian, captured in re-mastered sound this easy to enjoy, and the excellent booklet notes are a bonus. Lovers of Czech music ought to hear this no matter how many recordings of these works they already own.

Brian Reinhart



 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


EXPLORE MUSICWEB INTERNATIONAL

Making a Donation to MusicWeb

Writing CD reviews for MWI

About MWI
Who we are, where we have come from and how we do it.

Site Map

How to find a review

How to find articles on MusicWeb
Listed in date order

Review Indexes
   By Label
      Select a label and all reviews are listed in Catalogue order
   By Masterwork
            Links from composer names (eg Sibelius) are to resource pages with links to the review indexes for the individual works as well as other resources.

Themed Review pages

Jazz reviews

 

Discographies
   Composer
      Composer surveys
   National
      Unique to MusicWeb -
a comprehensive listing of all LP and CD recordings of given works
.
Prepared by Michael Herman

The Collector’s Guide to Gramophone Company Record Labels 1898 - 1925
Howard Friedman

Book Reviews

Complete Books
We have a number of out of print complete books on-line

Interviews
With Composers, Conductors, Singers, Instumentalists and others
Includes those on the Seen and Heard site

Nostalgia

Nostalgia CD reviews

Records Of The Year
Each reviewer is given the opportunity to select the best of the releases

Monthly Best Buys
Recordings of the Month and Bargains of the Month

Comment
Arthur Butterworth Writes

An occasional column

Phil Scowcroft's Garlands
British Light Music articles

Classical blogs
A listing of Classical Music Blogs external to MusicWeb International

Reviewers Logs
What they have been listening to for pleasure

Announcements

 

Community
Bulletin Board

Give your opinions or seek answers

Reviewers
Pat and present

Helpers invited!

Resources
How Did I Miss That?

Currently suspended but there are a lot there with sound clips


Composer Resources

British Composers

British Light Music Composers

Other composers

Film Music (Archive)
Film Music on the Web (Closed in December 2006)

Programme Notes
For concert organizers

External sites
British Music Society
The BBC Proms
Orchestra Sites
Recording Companies & Retailers
Online Music
Agents & Marketing
Publishers
Other links
Newsgroups
Web News sites etc

PotPourri
A pot-pourri of articles

MW Listening Room
MW Office

Advice to Windows Vista users  
Questionnaire    
Site History  
What they say about us
What we say about us!
Where to get help on the Internet
CD orders By Special Request
Graphics archive
Currency Converter
Dictionary
Magazines
Newsfeed  
Web Ring
Translation Service

Rules for potential reviewers :-)
Do Not Go Here!
April Fools






Untitled Document


Reviews from previous months
Join the mailing list and receive a hyperlinked weekly update on the discs reviewed. details
We welcome feedback on our reviews. Please use the Bulletin Board
Please paste in the first line of your comments the URL of the review to which you refer.