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Rafael Kubelik - The Complete Recordings On Deutsche Grammophon:Carsblog

Rafael Kubelik
Rafael Kubelik Published in October 20, 2018, 11:42 am
 Rafael Kubelik - The Complete Recordings On Deutsche Grammophon:Carsblog

Rafael Kubelik - The Complete Recordings On Deutsche Grammophon:Carsblog

Price:£71.99+ Free shipping with Thecricketmaster Prime

John Fowler
John Fowler Reply to on 25 May 2018
Rafael Kubelik was the greatest Czech conductor of the second half of the Twentieth Century (even though he was absent from Czechoslovakia for most of this time).
He was appointed to the conducting staff of the Czech Philharmonic in 1936, and was Music Director from 1942 to 1948.
In 1948, he went into exile following the Communist takeover of his homeland.
During this exile from Czechoslovakia, he was Music Director of:
-- the Chicago Symphony (1950-53), recorded by Mercury Records
-- Covent Garden Opera (1955-1958)
-- Bavarian Radio Symphony (1961-1979), recorded by Deutsche Grammophon (in this box).
Kubelik relinquished his position as Music Director of the Bavarian Radio in 1979, but continued to make recordings with the orchestra until his retirement in 1985.
(with the end of the Cold War in 1990, Kubelik came out of retirement for an emotional series of farewell concerts with the Czech Philharmonic).

64 CDs + 2 DVDs in modified “original jacket” format: original artwork on the front, track listings on the back, packaged in a convenient CD-sized box, with 120 page booklet.
No texts or translations for the vocal works. No plot summaries.
No new remasterings: DG recycled their ten to twenty year old remasterings, but I have no complaints about the sound.
The Bavarian Radio studio always had a close-up, detailed sound, with less reverberation than the other concert halls in this box.
Divided violins are a definite plus.*

PART 1 of 5: ORCHESTRAL RECORDINGS 1963-1978 (in this box)
with the Bavarian Radio Symphony (unless otherwise indicated)
- Bartok: Concerto for Orchestra: Boston Symphony (1973)
- Beethoven: Symphony No.1: London Symphony (1974)
- Beethoven: Symphony No.2: Concertgebouw Orchestra of Amsterdam (1974)
- Beethoven: Symphony No.3: Berlin Philharmonic (1971)
- Beethoven: Symphony No.4: Israel Philharmonic (1975)
- Beethoven: Symphony No.5: Boston Symphony (1973)
- Beethoven: Symphony No.6: Orchestre de Paris (1973)
- Beethoven: Symphony No.7:
------ Bavarian Radio Symphony (1970)
------ Vienna Philharmonic (1974)
- Beethoven: Symphony No.8: Cleveland Orchestra (1978)
- Beethoven: Symphony No.9: Bavarian Radio Symphony (1975)
- Berg: Violin Concerto with Henryk Szeryng violin (1971)
- Dvorak: Symphonies Nos. 1-9: Berlin Philharmonic (1966-73)
- Dvorak: Serenade for Strings: English Chamber Orchestra (1969)
- Dvorak: Legends: English Chamber Orchestra (1976)
- Dvorak: Stabat Mater with Mathis, Reynolds, Ochman, Shirley-Quirk (1976)
- Dvorak: Symphonic Variations (1974)
- Dvorak: Overtures: Hussite, My Home, Carnival, In Nature’s Realm, Othello (1974-76)
- Dvorak: Scherzo capriccioso (1973)
- Dvorak: Symphonic Poems: Water Goblin, Noon Witch, Golden Spinning Wheel, Wild Dove (1974)
- Dvorak: Slavonic Dances Op. 46 & Op.72 (1973)
- Falla: Noches en los jardines de España with Margrit Weber piano (1965)
- Gluck: Iphigénie en Tauride:
------ Pylades' aria (sung in German) with Fritz Wunderlich tenor (1965 mono) *
------ Pylades' duet with Orestes (sung in German) with Wunderlich & Hermann Prey baritone (1965 mono) *
- Grieg: Piano Concerto with Geza Anda piano, Berlin Philharmonic (1963)
- Handel: Music for the Royal Fireworks: Berlin Philharmonic (1963)
- Handel: Water Music Suites Nos. 1-3: Berlin Philharmonic (1963)
- Handel: Arias (four) from Serse (sung in German) with Fritz Wunderlich tenor (1962 mono) *
- Hartmann: Symphonies No. 4,8 (1967)
- Haydn: Mass Hob. XXII:9 ‘Missa in tempore belli’ with Morison, Thomas, Witsch, Kohn (1965)
- Janacek: Sinfonietta (1970)
- Janacek: Taras Bulba (1970)
- Janacek: Glagolitic Mass with Lear, Rössel-Majdan, Haefliger, Crass (1964)
- Janacek: Capriccio for piano (left hand) & chamber ensemble with Rudolf Firkusny (1971)
- Janacek: Concertino for piano & chamber ensemble with Rudolf Firkusny piano (1971)
- Janacek: Diary of One Who Disappeared (sung in German) with Ernst Haefliger, Kubelik piano (1964)
- Kubelik: Quattro Forme per Archi: English Chamber Orchestra (1969)
- Mahler: Symphonies 1-9, 10 Adagio (1967-71)
- Mahler: Lieder eines fahrenden Gesellen with Dietrich Fisher-Dieskau baritone (1968)
- Mahler: interviews with Kubelik in English (5 minutes) and German (42 minutes), no translations
- Martinon: Violin Concerto with Henryk Szeryng violin (1969)
- Martinu: Piano Concerto No.5, 'Fantasia concertante' with Margrit Weber piano (1965)
- Mendelssohn: Midsummer Night's Dream overture & incidental music (sung in German) with Mathis, Boese, plus rehearsal extracts (1964)
- Mozart: Clarinet Concerto with Karl Leister clarinet, Berlin Philharmonic (1968)
- Mozart: Serenade K250 'Haffner' (1963)
- Mozart: Mass K220 'Spatzenmesse' with Mathis, Troyanos, Laubenthal, Engen (1972)
- Mozart: Mass K317 'Coronation Mass' with Mathis, Procter, Grobe, Shirley-Quirk (1972)
- Mozart: Ave Verum Corpis K618 (1972)
- Schoenberg: Piano Concerto with Alfred Brendel piano (1972)
- Schoenberg: Violin Concerto with Zvi Zeitlin violin (1972)
- Schoenberg: Gurrelieder with Töpper, Borkh, Engen, Fehenberger (1965)
- Schumann: Symphonies 1-4: Berlin Philharmonic (1963-64)
- Schumann: Genoveva Overture: Berlin Philharmonic (1964)
- Schumann: Manfred Overture: Berlin Philharmonic (1964)
- Schumann: Piano Concerto
------ with Geza Anda piano, Berlin Philharmonic (1963)
------ with Wilhelm Kempff piano, Bavarian Radio Symphony (1973)
- Schumann: Introduction & Allegro appassionato Op.92 with Kempff piano (1973)
- Smetana: Má Vlast: Boston Symphony (1971)
- Smetana: Symphonic Poems: Richard III, Wallenstein's Camp, Hakon Jarl (1972)
- Smetana: Prague Carnival - Introduction & Polonaise (1972)
- Stravinsky: Circus Polka + Scherzo a la Russe: Berlin Philharmonic (1963)
- Tcherepnin: Piano Concerti No. 2,5 with Alexander Tcherepnin piano (1968)
- Wagner: Lohengrin, Prelude to Act 1: Berlin Philharmonic (1963)
- Wagner: Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg Overture: Berlin Philharmonic (1963)
- Wagner: Siegfried Idyll: Berlin Philharmonic (1963)
- Wagner: Tristan und Isolde, Prelude & Liebestod: Berlin Philharmonic (1963)
- Weber: Overtures: Abu Hassan, Euryanthe, Der Freischütz, Oberon, Preciosa (1964)
- Weber: Jubel-Ouvertüre (1964)
- Weber: Clarinet Concerto No.1 with Karl Leister, Berlin Philharmonic (1968)

* The Gluck and Handel arias with Fritz Wunderlich are from Bavarian Radio broadcast tapes (mono).
Not on DG LPs: Their first DG issue was on CDs devoted to Wunderlich.

PART 2: OPERAS with the Bavarian Radio Symphony (unless otherwise indicated)
Aside from Rigoletto, Kubelik’s opera recordings were co-productions of the Bavarian Radio and Deutsche Grammophon:

ORFF Oedipus der Tyrann - “Theatrum Mundi” (1966)
Gerhard Stolze (Oedipus), Karl Christian Kohn (priest), Kieth Engen (Creon), James Harper (Tiresias), Astrid Varnay (Jocasta)

PFITZNER Palestrina (1973)
Nicolai Gedda (Palestrina), Brigitte Fassbaender (Silla), Helen Donath (Ighino), Hermann Prey (Graf Luna), Dietrich Fisher-Dieskau (Carlo Borromeo)

VERDI Rigoletto: Teatro alla Scala, Milan (1964)
Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau (Rigoletto), Renata Scotto (Gilda), Fiorenza Cossotto (Maddalena), Carlo Bergonzi (Il Duca), Ivo Vinco (Sparafucile)

WAGNER Lohengrin (1971)
James King (Lohengrin), Gundula Janowitz (Elsa), Gwyneth Jones (Ortrud), Thomas Stewart (Friedrich von Telramund), Karl Ridderbusch (König Heinrich)

WEBER Oberon (1970)
Donald Grobe (Oberon), Plácido Domingo (Huon), Birgit Nilsson (Reiza), Julia Hamari (Fatima), Hermann Prey (Sherasmin))


WAGNER Die Meistersinger (1967, photo 1)
Thomas Stewart (Hans Sachs), Sándor Kónya (Walther von Stolzing), Gundula Janowitz (Eva), Brigitte Fassbaender (Magdalene), Gerhard Unger (David), Thomas Hemsley (Beckmesser), Franz Crass (Pogner)

WAGNER: Parsifal (1980, photo 2)
James King (Parsifal), Kurt Moll (Gurnemanz), Bernd Weikl (Amfortas), Yvonne Minton (Kundry), Matti Salminen (Titurel), Franz Mazura (Klingsor)

The 1967 Meistersinger was broadcast as scheduled, but was never released on LP by DG.
Rumor had it that a famous German baritone was angry at being passed over for the role of Hans Sachs and/or angry that the role was assigned to a non-German, and threatened not to renew his contract with DG if this Meistersinger was released.
The famous German baritone finally recorded Hans Sachs for DG in 1976.
Another rumor had it that Herbert Karajan, an exclusive DG artist in 1968, planned to record the opera himself.
This is true enough, though when he finally got around to it in 1973, it was for EMI.
Whatever the reason, the release of Kubelik’s Meistersinger was delayed until 1996, and it was not on DG:
Wagner: Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg

The 1980 Parsifal was broadcast as scheduled, but was never released on LP by DG.
A lot of people blame Herbert von Karajan for pressuring DG not to release Kubelik’s Parsifal, fearing competition for his own recording.
But for once Karajan is innocent (hah!)
Karajan’s Parsifal was recorded by DG in December 1979 and January 1980,
Kubelik’s Parsifal was recorded by Bavarian Radio in May 1980.
DG’s accountants would never approve the release of two Parsifals in the same year.
Sony and Orfeo also took a pass on the recording, which may be the best Parsifal in the catalog.
It was finally released in 2003 on the Arts label:
Wagner: Parsifal

The 1960's DG LP of the Stenhammar Serenade with the Stockholm Philharmonic is not in this box.
It was a production of Phono Suecia, which issued it on their own LP label (Swedish Society Discofil).
It was also licensed to Deutsche Grammophon, which issued it internationally.
Apparently DG's license has expired, because the only CD reissues to date have been on Swedish Society Discophil (out-of-print).
For details, see Comment Three (click on "Sort by Oldest").

- Documentary: ‘Rafael Kubelik: A Portrait’ (55 minutes)
- Beethoven: Symphony No.2: Concertgebouw Orchestra (1969)
- Beethoven: Symphony No.3 'Eroica' Berlin Philharmonic (1967)
- Beethoven: Leonore Overture No. 3: Concertgebouw Orchestra (1969)
- Bruckner: Symphony No.4 'Romantic' Vienna Philharmonic + rehearsal (1971)
- Mozart: Symphony No.38 'Prague' Vienna Philharmonic (1971)


Complete HMV Orchestral Recordings 1937-1983
-- 1937-46 HMV mono recordings with the Czech Philharmonic (there are additional mono recordings on Supraphon)
-- 1948-52 mono recordings with the Philharmonia Orchestra
-- 1958-59 stereo recordings with the Royal Philharmonic
-- 1960-61 stereo recordings with the Vienna Philharmonic
(13 CDs, photos 3+4)
What we really need is for Universal to reissue all of Kubelik’s 1950-53 Chicago Symphony recordings for Mercury Records (spectacular mono).
For individual discs, in the Amazon search bar, under CDs & Vinyl, look up: “Kubelik Mercury”

Rafael Kubelik continued to record with the Bavarian Radio Symphony until 1985, but not for DG.
Sony has a seven CD super-bargain box:
Rafael Kubelik Conducts Great Symphonies (photo 5)
-- Bruckner: Symphony 3 (1980)
-- Bruckner: Symphony 4 (1979)
-- Mozart: Symphonies 35-41 (1980-81)
-- Schumann Symphonies 1-4 (1978-79)
-- Schumann: Manfred Overture (1978)
-- Wagner: Siegfried Idyll (1979)
Another label that Kubelik recorded for during this period was Orfeo, which has not yet issued a boxed set.
For individual discs, in the Amazon search bar, under CDs & Vinyl, look up: “Kubelik Orfeo”
One final opera was recorded in 1985:
-- Mozart: Don Giovanni, K. 527 recorded by Eurodisc, now owned by Sony.
Finally, Kubelik’s 1990 return to the Czech Philharmonic is on Supraphon.
A unique document:
-- Smetana: Ma Vlast/My Country: A cycle of symphonic poems

Beginning around 1967 (with Mahler's First Symphony), Rafael Kubelik was one of the few conductors of his generation who seated first and second violins on opposite sides of the orchestra.
A holdover from the Nineteenth Century that came naturally to an older generation of conductors (Otto Klemperer, Bruno Walter and Pierre Monteux carried it into the stereo era).
It fell out of fashion in the Twentieth Century:
Bernstein, Karajan and Solti all seated massed violins on the left, and lower strings on the right (basically four string groups reduced to two string groups - easier to keep everyone playing together).
The 1963-64 Berlin Philharmonic Schumann has massed violins (it was Karajan’s orchestra), but the 1978-79 Bavarian Radio Symphony Schumann (Sony) has divided violins.
By the time the Berlin Philharmonic recorded Dvorak’s Symphonies (1966-73), Kubelik had worked up the nerve to insist on divided violins (evident on all but Symphony 8 which was the first recorded).
DVDs: The Berlin Philharmonic, recorded in 1967, employs divided violins, but the Amsterdam and Vienna orchestras do not, despite being recorded in 1969-71.
I am pleased to note that in the Twenty-First Century, this Nineteenth Century seating plan has come back into fashion:
Barenboim, Rattle and Thielemann have switched from massed violins to divided violins.
Eighteenth and Nineteenth Century composers expected divided violins.

PHOTO 1: Wagner Die Meistersinger, rec.1968
PHOTO 2: Wagner Parsifal, rec.1980
PHOTOS 3,4: Early HMV recordings on Warner, rec. 1937-1961
PHOTO 5: Late recordings on Sony, rec.1978-1981
Jeremy Robson
Jeremy Robson Reply to on 25 May 2018
About time too! At last, Deutsche Grammophon has done the decent thing and released a box-set of complete recordings dedicated to Rafael Kubelik. Here we have one of the finest Mahler cycles in the catalogue with the BRSO delivering echt as echt can get - idiomatic! - performances and quite possibly the finest set of Dvorak symphonies available. Brilliant Bartok, Smetana and Janacek recordings, a first rate Schumann cycle with the BPO, some refined and delicate Mendelssohn - A Midsummer Night's Dream - and Kubelik's famous Beethoven cycle with each symphony performed by a different orchestra. There's a fine recording of Wagner's Lohengrin, with a sublime Elsa, courtesy of Gundula Janowitz. The box is choc-a-bloc bursting with brilliance - Schoenberg's Gurrelieder! - and not a dud amongst 'em. Rafael Kubelik was a master of transparent textures and excelled in revealing the minutiae, unravelling the score and setting it before the listener without recourse to over-flamboyant gestures or superficial showmanship - bombast was anathema to Kubelik. The DVDs are interesting and show Kubelik in conversation, in rehearsal and performance - his live Bruckner Fourth, with the Vienna Philharmonic, recorded in the Musikverein is typically Kubelik - relatively lightweight, but focusing on textual clarity. Excellent booklet notes from Rob Cowan, by the way. A superb box-set - with original jackets - which no self-respecting Kubelik admirer will want to miss. Purchase without delay, prices will rise!
zhms Reply to on 14 August 2018
Having released their 23 disc Rafael Kubelik Symphony Edition in 2014, some collectors may be disconcerted to find so much duplicated in DG’s newer, bigger Kubelik Complete Edition. Besides the well known Beethoven, Schumann, Dvorak and Mahler series that appeared in the earlier box, we now have a further 41 discs plus 2 DVDs , and these are helpfully and comprehensively listed on this site by the excellent John Fowler.

Nevertheless, I have found this handsome set to be one of the most rewarding of the large boxes bought to market by Universal in recent years. For me it sits alongside the outstanding Ferenc Fricsay and Georg Solti Chicago sets; comparison with the latter, where pieces are shared, invariably concludes me to a personal preference for the Kubelik performances , and that reflects what I recall from the concert hall. At the time of the original release of much of this material, there was a tendency amongst English speaking critics to damn some of Kubelik’s work with faint praise. “Poetic”, “lightweight”, “fresh” , that sort of thing. He may not have been showy but there is an integrity, generosity, and spontaneity about this work, coupled, in this release, with some outstanding orchestral and solo playing and singing and fine recording. And divided violins. These are not lightweight alternatives, but central and almost entirely desirable versions.

I would pick out some of the big choral works as deserving of re-evaluation-the Gurrelieder, the Glagolitic Mass, the Dvorak Stabat Mater, the Mahler Second and above all the Mahler Eighth. Solti [for example] may have arguably finer soloists and a more supercharged approach, but Kubelik finds the humour and intimacy of this piece, qualities that so often elude its more barnstorming interpreters . A lakeside inspiration as intimate, natural and personal as the Siegfried Idyll [incidentally one of the jewels of this collection, languid and pellucid]. As well as the mainstream repertoire, this box also affords the opportunity to hear Kubelik directing Hartmann, Pfitzner, Martinu, some relatively rare Orff [not for me, that one] and his own fascinating composition Quattro forme per archi.

Rafael Kubelik’s rare and profoundly musical intelligence make this a set deserving of the strongest recommendation, especially if purchased in conjunction with the EMI Icon edition-and if you can find it, his implacable, searingly urgent Asrael on Panton.
Benedictus Legebeke
Benedictus Legebeke Reply to on 6 August 2018
For musical integrity I would have given this box 5 stars. On the other side the performances vary from very good to mediocre. This concerns also the recording quality. One cannot say, to find the best engineering in the later recordings, there are big differences over the years anyway.
For instance, Kubelik's Mahler cycle is, in my opinion , very overrated. Sonically, except maybe the first symphony, a disappointment. For example the third symphony first movement sounds sometimes like a mono recording from the early fifties. There is no depth at all in the sound. Also the playing of the BRSO left many things to wish for. (F.i.opening fifth symphony) Contemporary sets from Bernstein & Haitink are not only served by better sound but also by much better orchestral playing. Anyway the BRSO is in general no match for the other orchestras in the box. In Kubelik's Beethoven cycle I like to mention the second symphony. Maybe the best account ever put on disc, brilliantly played by the RCO and also a dramatic 'Eroica' with the Berliner. Again on the contrary, the seventh with the BRSO is one of most ugly performances I know. Happily Kubelik made a very good remake with the VPO, of course included in the set.
Outstanding and beautifully shaped Schumann symphonies which still belong to the best in the catalogue, the same applies for Smetana's complete Ma Vlast. Who is, for this work, a better suited conductor than Kubelik? Also with the BSO an excellent rendering of Bartok's Concerto for Orchestra. Beethoven's fifth with same forces is a little bit heavy handed. Together with Kertesz' complete supplementary set of Dvorak symphonies, Kubelik more robust recordings sets the standard in this field with some really outrageous playing from the BPO.(8th symphony!) Wagner's Lohengrin is a good middle of the road choice, but is unfortunately missing the extra quality which have Kempe & Abbado in their respective studio accounts. On the other hand Schönberg's Gurrelieder is a white-hot affair, soundwise not in the Ozawa or Chailly class. Furthermore, it is nice to have a complete Oberon, Weber's seldom heard opera. I like to mention two discs with soloist: Szeryng's great Alban Berg and Anda's famous Grieg& Schumann coupling.
Rafael Kubelik was a great conductor and a great human being and these aspects shine through all of his recordings combined in this box.
Anita BEEBEEJAUN Reply to on 25 May 2018
Well the liquor of bitter is not the music but there is no libreto or translation of opeera.Why despite so many complain and yet it fail on the daf ears of record companies as they expect to know Germany and Italian.These are the real bitter coco chocolate.This box set is highly recommended.I do read music but I enjoy the way Kubelik conduct the orchestra.listen to Mahler symphonies it is just beautiful with just the right amount of emotion.I can listen to the symphonies without disturbing the wax in my years.I really enjoy Schuman symphonies for the first time.I realise this box set is expensive but it is an investment and a perfect gift to those new to classical music.Just five stars for every thing and minus one star of 5 stars for documentation
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