MOZART, W.A.: Symphony No. 38 (Kubelik)


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- (Disc 1)

Symphony No. 38 in D major, K. 504, "Prague"

Venue: Grosser Musikvereinssaal, Vienna
Playing Time: 00:24:59
Television Director: Arnbom, Arne
Catalogue Number: A05004494

Rafael Kubelik (1914-1996) was the son of the well-known Bohemian violinist Jan Kubelik. He studied music in Prague and made his conducting debut at 20 at the head of the Czech Philharmonic Orchestra. Later he became the principal conductor of this famous orchestra and founded the Prague Spring Festival. After the Communist takeover of the government, Kubelik emigrated to the West and returned to his native land only after the end of the Communist regime. From 1950 to 1953 he headed the Chicago Symphony, and from 1955 to 1958 he was music director of the Covent Garden Opera in London. A period of great artistic successes began in 1961, when he was appointed principal conductor of the Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra. Many recordings document Kubelik's mastery and sense of artistry, his enjoyment of music and his temperament. His connection with the Munich orchestra lasted 18 years; in between, he also briefly served as music director of New York's Metropolitan Opera. Kubelik retired from the concert stage in 1985, but on the occasion of the first Prague Spring Festival after the fall of Communism in 1990, he returned to the podium of the Czech Philharmonic after more than 40 years in exile and conducted Smetana's My Fatherland cycle. His profound bonds with his native land and its composers were always clearly visible. Rafael Kubelik was a full-blooded musician. Every performance of his radiated a feeling of spontaneity, impulsiveness and joy. Kubelik died in Lucerne in August 1996 at the age of 82 after a long illness.

A symphony for connoisseurs, K. 504 reflects the taste and discernment of the audience it was intended for: the musical public of Prague. Since his Marriage of Figaro was the hit of the town in late 1786, Mozart decided to travel to Prague; in his luggage was the D major symphony, premiered on 19 January 1787. Written between Figaro and The Magic Flute, it shares unmistakable affinities with these two works and even quotes a theme from Figaro in the finale. And it is also a work in which Mozart could be completely himself. He thus indulged in a dramatic slow introduction and in some austere contrapuntal writing in the first movement. Since the wind players in the Bohemian capital were rightly praised for their excellence, Mozart also rewarded them with some truly beautiful pages.

Part 1

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