N.Y. Phil. Rafael Kubelik, Cond. – Rudolf Firkusny, Piano – March 20, 1978 – Part 1:
N.Y. Phil. Rafael Kubelik, Cond. – Rudolf Firkusny, Piano – March 20, 1978 – Part 2:
A classic concert this week. Two giants in music with the New York Philharmonic in a broadcast concert from 1978. Rafael Kubelik was making his first of a series of guest appearances with the Philharmonic starting with this concert. He is joined by Czech Piano legend Rudolf Firkusny in a program of music by Vaughan-Williams, Schumann and Paul Hindemith.
The concert starts with a performance of Vaughan Williams Symphony Number 6, which was the first time in many years Kubelik conducted the work. The Symphony takes up all of the top player.
After intermission, and on the bottom player, Rudolf Firkusny joins the orchestra in a performance of Schumann’s Piano Concerto in A minor. And the concert concludes with Symphonic Metamorphosis on Themes of Carl Maria von Weber by Paul Hindemith. Rafael Kubelik had a long and celebrated career and was, in the early 1950s, Music Director of the Chicago Symphony and responsible for some of the groundbreaking recordings with that orchestra during the early days of lp recording. Those recordings won widespread critical praise and have gone on to be reissued numerous times over the years. Kubelik had a short tenure with the orchestra though. Amid various reports of friction with the chief Music Critic of the Chicago-Tribune as well as disatisfaction from the CSO Board of Directors over the amount of contemporary works Kubelik introduced to audiences contributed to his departure after only three years. But he was quickly engaged by the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden as well as becoming Music Director of the Bavarian Radio Symphony. All told, Rafael Kubelik was an immensely popular conductor, whose numerous recordings have been considered benchmarks of interpretation. His death in 1994 at the age of 82 robbed the Music world of a widely respected and admired light.
Rudolf Firkusny also had a widely celebrated career, one which spread over several decades. He was warmly regarded for his interpretation of the “classics” but also established a enthusiastic reputation for introducing compositions by his fellow Czech composers, including the music of Bohuslav Martinu, who dedicated a number of piano works to him.
Like Kubelik, Firkusny also died at 82, in 1994, leaving a legacy of memorable recordings and concerts.
So – a classic concert by two legendary performers, accompanied by one of the great orchestras of the world.
Take some time out and enjoy.