Dvorak, Janacek, Krejci, Mácha, Martinu, Novák, Smetana, Shostakovich
CD No: IMG Artists CZS 5 75091 2 (2 CDs) Duration: Reviewed: August 2002
Great Conductors - Karel Ancerl
Reviewed by Bill Newman
Karel Ancerl has the required panache that lends itself to repeat hearings. I am pleased in a way because some time back Libor Pesek told me of his music-making preferences towards others like Talich, Kosler and Belohlavek, regarding Ancerl as routine. I heartily disagreed, but Pesek and myself shared an immense liking for Charles Munch which is food for thought in conjunction with this series.
Ancerls dramatic programme begins and ends with a bang! Shostakovichs Festive Overture (Czech Philharmonic) pairs successfully with Dvoraks Slavonic Dance in G minor, Op.46/8 (Vienna Symphony). The Czech players make marvellously persuasive inroads with Novaks In the Tatra Mountains, with its beauteous landscape. Krejcis (a kind of Czech Poulenc) Serenade for Orchestra, Janaceks awesomely descriptive Taras Bulba and Máchas Variations on a Theme by and on the Death of Jan Rychlík a prophetic, symbolic piece. The Rudolfinum (the home of the Czech Philharmonic) acoustics ring out resplendently in recordings made between 1950 and 1968.
The Musikverein is the setting for Smetanas The Moldau the river Vltava in all its changing currents and decorative scenic splendour (Vienna Symphony), while Dvoraks Symphony No.8 in G (1970, Concertgebouw Orchestra) and Martinus Symphony No.5 (1971, Toronto Symphony) both live show the conductors natural flowing style. An overall grasp of musical essentials is a testament to Ancerls immediate flair of knowing exactly what was required from his wide range of repertoire.