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Rafael Kubelik

Rafael Kubelik - The Mercury Masters (10CD)

Groundbreaking technology, dynamic musical leadership, world-class orchestral playing: a brief marriage of lasting impact for the history of recorded music. To mark the 70th anniversary of Mercury Living Presence, this limited-edition box presents the Chicago Symphony/Rafael Kubelík recordings, more complete than any previous set, newly remastered and including never-before-published material.

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.”

TRACK LIST

CD 1
MODEST MUSSORGSKY (1839–1881)
Orchestrated by Maurice Ravel (1875–1937)
1–15 Pictures at an Exhibition
Chicago Symphony Orchestra
RAFAEL KUBELÍK

CD 2
BÉLA BARTÓK (1881–1945)
1–4 Music for Strings, Percussion and Celesta, Sz. 106
Irwin Fischer, celesta
Edward Metzenger, timpani
Allen Graham, Lionel Sayers, Thomas Glenecke, percussion

ERNEST BLOCH (1880–1959)
5–8 Concerto Grosso for String Orchestra with Piano Obbligato
George Schick, piano
Chicago Symphony Orchestra
RAFAEL KUBELÍK

CD 3
ANTONÍN DVOŘÁK (1841–1904)
1–4 Symphony No. 9 in E minor, Op. 95 ‘From the New World’
Chicago Symphony Orchestra
RAFAEL KUBELÍK

CD 4
PIOTR ILYICH TCHAIKOVSKY (1840–1893)
1–4 Symphony No. 4 in F minor, Op. 36

Chicago Symphony Orchestra
RAFAEL KUBELÍK

CD 5
PIOTR ILYICH TCHAIKOVSKY (1840–1893)
1–4 Symphony No. 6 in B minor, Op. 74 ‘Pathétique’

Chicago Symphony Orchestra
RAFAEL KUBELÍK

CD 6
JOHANNES BRAHMS (1833–1897)
1–4 Symphony No. 1 in C minor, Op. 68

Chicago Symphony Orchestra
RAFAEL KUBELÍK

CD 7
BEDŘICH SMETANA (1824–1884)
1–6 Má vlast

Chicago Symphony Orchestra
RAFAEL KUBELÍK

CD 8
WOLFGANG AMADEUS MOZART (1756–1791)

1–3 Symphony No. 38 in D major, KV 504 ‘Prague’
4–6 Symphony No. 34 in C major, KV 338

Chicago Symphony Orchestra
RAFAEL KUBELÍK

CD 9

PAUL HINDEMITH (1895–1963)
1–4 Symphonic Metamorphosis on Themes by Carl Maria von Weber

ARNOLD SCHOENBERG (1874–1951)
5–9 Fünf Orchesterstücke, Op. 16
Five Pieces for Orchestra

Chicago Symphony Orchestra
RAFAEL KUBELÍK

CD 10

Perspective, The First Reel and Experimental Stereo

1 Interview with Wilma Cozart Fine
Interviewer: Sedgwick Clark

ERNEST BLOCH (1880–1959)
2–5 Concerto Grosso for String Orchestra with Piano Obbligato
First reel of tape, 23 April 1951*

BERT WHYTE – THE EXPERIMENTAL STEREO RECORDINGS

BEDŘICH SMETANA (1824–1884)
Má vlast
6 V Tábor – stereo°

WOLFGANG AMADEUS MOZART (1756–1791)
Symphony No. 38 in D major, KV 504 ‘Prague’ – excerpts (stereo)*
7 I Adagio – Allegro (bar 136 – end)
8 II Andante (bar 144 – end)
9 III Finale (Presto) (first take complete)
10 III Finale (Presto) (bars 138 – end)

Chicago Symphony Orchestra
RAFAEL KUBELÍK

*PREVIOUSLY UNPUBLISHED
°FIRST RELEASE ON MERCURY LIVING PRESENCE