C1253. WOLFGANG SAWALLISCH Cond. Czech Phil., w.Josef Suk, Annabella Bernard, Véra Soukupova, Ivo Zidek, Jindrich Jindrák, Eduard Haken, etc.: Mozart, Beethoven, Mendelssohn, Dvorák, Martinu, Eben & Janácek.
(Czech Republic) 5-Supraphon 4140, Live Performances, Prague. - 099925414023
“Wolfgang Sawallisch débuted at the age of thirty with the Berliner Philharmoniker and four years later in Bayreuth. He led the Orchestre de la Suisse Romande for ten years and subsequently the Bavarian State Opera for over two decades (1971-92). During his tenure in Munich, Sawallisch was a frequent and extremely popular guest of the Czech Philharmonic. This compilation presents a selection of the recordings that were the fruit of the co-operation between the conductor and the orchestra. Sawallisch's programmes in Prague repeatedly included - perhaps surprisingly - pieces by Mozart and Beethoven, as well as major works by Czech composers (Smetana, Janácek, Martinu, Kalabis, Eben, etc.). He made for Supraphon the still unequalled recordings of Dvorák's REQUIEM and STABAT MATER. Sawallisch's relationship to Czech music is probably best described by the following quotation from a contemporary review: ‘He apprehends and interprets music by Czech composers as though he himself had been brought up in their language’. The precious Czech Radio live recordings are released by Supraphon for the very first time to mark the 90th anniversary of the late conductor's birth - previously unreleased Prague footprints of the modest maestro Wolfgang Sawallisch.”
- Zillah D. Akron
“Wolfgang Sawallisch, one of the last of the old-school German conductors, who led the Philadelphia Orchestra for nearly a decade and the Bavarian State Opera in Munich for two decades before that, embodied the German type of the ‘Kapellmeister’ in the best sense: a man steeped in music, who knew every note of every score he conducted (often from memory), who was a supportive accompanist as well as an informed interpreter and who understood how to train, develop and lead an orchestra. Never flashy, even somewhat understated, he was, at his best, insightful and illuminating.
While Mr. Sawallisch was renowned throughout Europe, he might have remained little known to American audiences had the Philadelphia Orchestra not tapped him to take over as music director in 1993. When he arrived at age 70, he underwent a veritable renaissance, evidently enjoying a new freedom, both artistic and political — far from the political squabbling that had increasingly overshadowed his last years in Munich. ‘The last 10 years, with the Philadelphia Orchestra’, he said in 2006, ‘were really the top years of my symphonic life’. His time in Philadelphia was therefore a particularly happy ending to his career. Against some expectations, the reserved, intensely private German thrived in America, and the orchestra responded warmly to him.”
- Anne Midgette, THE NEW YORK TIMES, 24 Feb., 2013