This set represents Rafael Kubelik’s art in a wholly positive way. His Mahler and Dvorák cycles are very well-known. The Dvorák remains, along with those by Rowicki and Kertesz, one of the three reference editions of the complete symphonies, and the only one featuring a Czech conductor.
…Wunderlich's extraordinary singing is reason enough to buy the set. His bravura 'Finstre Furien' in particular is a marvel … No modern specialist sings Handel's divisions so easily and accurately, and most of his current rivals don't even have half of his voice … the mono sound is excellent, crisp and detailed…
One of the very greatest collections of Dvorák recordings in the catalog, this set contains the four late tone poems based on folk legends, all of the major overtures (including the In Nature's Realm, Carnival, and Othello trilogy), and the magnificent Symphonic Variations. That's over two and a half hours of the some of the most colorful, appealing music in the history of the universe, all magnificently performed and recorded. If you don't own this set, you haven't lived.
Featuring a true golden-age cast, this 1967 Radio Broadcast hums and bubbles with invigorating warmth and unquenchable passion under the sprightly baton of Rafael Kubelik. Thomas Stewart is a intelligent Sachs, who brings real weight and power to the great Act III monologue but who retains real lyricism for the role's more tender moments. It would be inconceivable that Gundula Janowitz's creamy-voiced Eva would pass him over if it were not for the ardent, fiery Walther of Sándor Kónya, who gives voice to an ethereal rendition of the Prize song. Thomas Hemsley is an nuanced Beckmesser thankfully devoid of caricature, and Franz Crass is a warm, fatherly Pogner. Brigitte Fassbaender may be the most sensuous Magdalena on record, and is paired expertly by the great Gerhard Unger, at his considerable best as David.
Rafael Kubelik's highly chromatic, poetic Mahler recordings have been staples in Duetsche Grammophon's catalogue since their inception. Tempos overall tend to be quicker than the norm (Symphony No. 8 for instance fits conveniently on one CD), yet never at the expense of glossing over the composers renowned wealth of inner details. Many Mahler aficionados still regard Kubelik's readings here of the Symphonies No. 1 and No. 7 as reference recordings. Distinguished soloists include Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau, Edith Mathis, Norma Proctor, Franz Crass, and Julia Hamari. The Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra as well as the various outstanding choirs employed throughout the cycle couldn't be more in sync with Kubelik's inspired visionary interpretations.
Renata Scotto shows an amazing flexibility and control. Her Caro nome is one to be heard many times. She reaches a high D and decrescendo's to an incredible ppp. I felt the aria drug a little in tempo, but the gorgeous sound more than made up for it. As Rigoletto, Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau has the vocal power demanded by the score. Too often he sounded as if he was delivering a recital of Leider. A smooth velvet sound was his mark throughout. In his duets with Gilda, this payed off handsomely. Even in his dealings with the courtiers after Gilda's abduction he showed us a rarely seen Dietrich blustery side.
When Rafael Kubelik's 1977 recording of Beethoven's Missa Solemnis was finally released in 1994, the pantheon of great Missa Solemnis recordings had to make room for another member. Along with superb singing from the four soloists and the chorus, the superlative playing from the Bavarian Radio Symphony, and the supreme conducting from Kubelik himself, all the things that make the Missa Solemnis great the profundity, the spirituality, and the overwhelming sense that the numinous is imminent are present in Kubelik's interpretation.