Rafael Kubelík — The Mercury Masters (10-CD)
Rafael Kubelík — The Mercury Masters (10-CD)
Rafael Kubelík — The Mercury Masters (10-CD)
Rafael Kubelík — The Mercury Masters (10-CD)
Rafael Kubelík — The Mercury Masters (10-CD)
Rafael Kubelík — The Mercury Masters (10-CD)

Rafael Kubelík — The Mercury Masters (10-CD)

$54.99

Discs: 10
Record Label: Mercury
Release Date: May 28, 2021

Groundbreaking technology, dynamic musical leadership, world-class orchestral playing — the brief partnership of Rafael Kubelík and the Chicago Symphony Orchestra is immortalized on this 10-disc collection celebrating the 70 years of Mercury Living Presence.

The brief and turbulent tenure of Rafael Kubelík as the CSO’s music director has become the stuff of legend for its intense partisan hostility. When he arrived in Chicago in 1950 to replace Artur Rodzinski, the 36-year-old Kubelík had impressive credentials and a fast-growing list of triumphs in Europe. The city’s musical press had hung previous directors out to dry, including Rodzinski, but they subjected Kubelík to intense and sustained criticism of his programming and performances until he resigned in 1953.

Kubelík’s arrival coincided with the lapsing of the CSO’s previous recording contract and the almost immediate appearance of the ambitious Mercury label. The conductor later recalled how “a very clever team from Mercury turned up and established that the best microphone positioning was just a single one above my head . . . the resulting sound was identical to what I heard during the playing and didn’t need to be altered.”

As soon as the Mercury recordings were issued, the results won universal praise. A total of 9 albums were recorded, of romantic and modern repertoire playing to the strengths of both orchestra and conductor. Using the best original tape sources available, these new, high-resolution transfers have been made by Thomas Fine — son of C. Robert Fine and Wilma Cozart Fine, founders of Mercury.

The final disc of this collection, titled “Perspective: The First Reel and Experimental Stereo” includes an interview with Wilma Cozart Fine, the first reel tape from April 23, 1951, of Bloch’s Concerto Grosso and early, experimental stereo recordings of some of the selections featured elsewhere on this release.

Contents:

Mussorgsky Pictures at an Exhibition (orch. Ravel)
April 1951, Orchestra Hall, Chicago

Bartók Music for Strings, Percussion and Celesta
April 1951, Orchestra Hall, Chicago

Bloch Concerto Grosso No. 1
George Schick piano
April 1951, Orchestra Hall, Chicago

Dvořák Symphony No. 9 in E Minor, Op. 95 (From the New World)
November 1951, Orchestra Hall, Chicago

Tchaikovsky Symphony No. 4 in F Minor, Op. 36
November 1951, Orchestra Hall, Chicago

Tchaikovsky Symphony No. 6 in B Minor, Op. 74 (Pathétique)
April 1952, Orchestra Hall, Chicago

Brahms Symphony No. 1 in C Minor, Op. 68
April 1952, Orchestra Hall, Chicago

Smetana Má Vlast (My Fatherland)
December 1952, Orchestra Hall, Chicago

Mozart Symphony No. 38 in D Major, K. 504 (Prague)
April 1953, Orchestra Hall, Chicago

Mozart Symphony No. 34 in C Major, K. 338
December 1952, Orchestra Hall, Chicago

Hindemith Symphonic Metamorphosis on Themes by Weber
April 1953, Orchestra Hall, Chicago

Schoenberg Five Pieces for Orchestra, Op. 16
April 1953, Orchestra Hall, Chicago

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