ALBUM TITLE: Rafael Kubelik
WORKS: Hungarian Dance No.17; Hungarian Dance No. 18; Hungarian Dance No. 18; Hungarian Dance No. 19; Hungarian Dance No. 20; Hungarian Dance No. 21; Symphony No. 2; Symphony No. 4
PERFORMER: RPO, VPO/Rafael Kubelik
CATALOGUE NO: CZS 5 68223 2 ADD (1959-1980)
EMl’s generously filled Artist Profile series selects material from the first decade or so of stereo. The collection returns to the catalogue some celebrated performances of the past – the London ones all recorded in the inviting acoustic of the old Kingsway Hall.
Historically between Toscanini and Giulini, the Italian Guido Cantelli was killed in an air crash in 1956, aged 36. His 1955 Philharmonia Schubert Unfinished, steering a course between Classical strength and Romantic flowering, is glorious. And his handling of Beethoven Seven is as powerfully cogent as his Franck Symphony is persuasive.
The Franco-Belgian Andre1 Cluytens (1905-67) had a flexible understanding of Berlioz, Debussy and Roussel that was charismatic. So too was his approach to Beethoven: you won’t find a more beautifully paced Pastoral than his outstanding 1960 account with the Berlin PO, a classic of the gramophone.
Rafael Kubelik’s RPO/Vienna Philharmonic recordings, elegant and refined, are happiest when he’s conjuring a rustic folk scene — Borodin’s B minor Symphony, Tchaikovsky Four. And his insight into Martinu, Janacek and Bart6k is provocative not so much for its drive as its soft-centred, folksy indulgence, redolent of Brahms and Mahler.
Constantin Silvestri (1913-69) was Romanian-born and British naturalised. Sensitive and poised, and about as un-Russian in temperament as Kubelik, a 1959 Philharmonia Tchaikovsky Five has its moments. A splendid Dvorak Eighth (LPO) and an idiomatic, suavely handled Elgar In the South (BSO) impress more, however.
In the postwar period, the Pole Witold Malcuzynski (1914-77) was responsible for introducing many people, myself included, to Chopin. An impeccable, impassioned Romantic pianist who studied with Paderewski, his Chopin (nostalgic, free, exquisitely chiselled) was in a class of its own – as the notes say: ‘a true union of aristocratic Polish creator and recreator’. Ates Orga