Being one the “Kubelík specialists” – see www.kubelik.org , even though I had every single disc, but I could note prevent myself to get this new box : 64 CD + 2 DVD.
Let’s begin with the shortcomings:
- I hoped more substantial notes by Rob Cowan, a renowned ‘Kubelikian’. Specially no information why Kubelík got ‘fired’, DG preferring to concentrate on Karajan, Abbado & Bernstein… I read once that in 1974 DG was doing a survey, asking their main artists what was their favorite DG recording; since RK didn’t know any (and never listened to any), he just mentionned the quality of Pinchas Zukerman who he had conducted some time before…
- The editor took a picture from the DG LP with Dvorak 7: a drawing showing cows which Kubelík found inappropriate and got withdrawn.
- No libretto for the operas…
Anyway the good news:
- Almost everything he recorded forDG so,
- Plus finally the reissue of his interviews on Mahler, alas most in German, no text translation of course.
- 2 DVD : concerts: Mozart 38, Beethoven Leonore III (weird video with backstage effects), Beethoven 2 & 3, Bruckner 4 with a rehearsal and a very good documentary.
- For the rest :
- One of the best complete Beethoven (I recall an article written at its issue saying it was much better than the Carlos Kleiber 5 issued at the same time, with which I agree).
- The best Dvorák ever (except first symphonies and symphonic poems, a lttle bit underweight), as forJanacek (along with Firkusny), Mahler (except the 6th), and the Schumann.
- I guess he had to record ‘hits’ which propably allowed him to record Hartmann, Martinů, Martinon, Techrepnin or Kubelík himself; Grieg’s concerto, Haendel or de Falla.
- The Bartók’s concerto is a beautiful one but doesn’t match his 1959 EMI recording as for Ma Vlast in Boston, by his live concerts in 1990 in Prague or 1991 in Tokyo.
- Two unpublished recordings : Gluck and Haendel excerpts with Wunderlich and Prey.
- Two forgotten recordings: Haydn’s Missa in tempore belli and Weber’s overtures (1964, Karajan will do them in 1974 for DG)
- Most operas are first choices, we still regret he had never been asked to record any Janacek or Smetana operas.
- The sound has been always problematic: original tapes must have been very good but often warmth and dynamics seem as filtered (basses and timpani in Mahler for example). I have to compare for instance the Beethoven symphonies with the first CD issue, the “rare recordings” one, the present reissue and the reports made by Pentatone some months ago.