C1638. KAREL ANCERL Cond. Cleveland Orch.: MA VLAST - Sarka (Smetana); 'New World' Symphony #9 in e (Dvorak); w.GARY GRAFFMAN: Piano Concerto #3 in C (Prokofiev). (Canada) St Laurent Studio YSL T-617, Live Performance, 12 July, 1969, Blossom Music Festival. Transfers by Yves St Laurent.
“Child prodigy, Leventritt Competition winner, student of Vladimir Horowitz and Rudolf Serkin, pianist Gary Graffman had all the talent and credentials for lasting success on the concert stage. His meteoric rise in the 1950s carried him through more than two decades of fame and critical acclaim, but an injury in 1979 limited his career to teaching and performance of left-hand repertory.
Graffman was best known for his performances of concertos by Tchaikovsky, Rachmaninov, and Prokofiev, and for solo works by the latter pair as well as Chopin, Liszt, and others. In the 1970s Graffman delved heavily into chamber music, notably in performances of sonatas for violin and piano by Mozart, Beethoven, Brahms, and Schumann, with violinist Henryk Szeryng. After his injury, Graffman played not only the well-known concertos for left hand by Ravel and Prokofiev, but many contemporary works written specifically for him. Graffman's numerous recordings are available from Sony, RCA, Decca, and other major labels.
Gary Graffman was born in New York City on October 14, 1928. He played the piano from age three, and at seven began studies with Isabelle Vengerova at the Curtis Institute. Graffman gave his recital debut three years later at New York's Town Hall. In 1946 Graffman graduated from Curtis, where he was awarded the Rachmaninov Prize. He gave his official debut as soloist the following year with Eugene Ormandy and the Philadelphia Orchestra. Graffman's Leventritt victory in 1949 led to further success, but he continued studies with Rudolf Serkin at the Marlboro Music Festival and, in the early '50s, with Vladimir Horowitz privately. Graffman's earliest recordings soon appeared, but it was his recordings from the 1960s that are perhaps the most memorable. His 1964 Rachmaninov Second and Paganini Rhapsody, with Bernstein and the New York Philharmonic, and 1966 Prokofiev Third Concerto, with George Szell and the Cleveland Orchestra, are still regarded as classics.”
- Robert Cummings, allmusic.com
“Having studied conducting and composition at the Prague Conservatory, Karel Ancerl was Hermann Scherchen's assistant conductor in a 1931 production of Alois Hába's opera THE MOTHER. Ancerl later studied conducting with Scherchen and worked with Talich. In 1933, Ancerl started conducting for Prague Radio, also establishing himself as a stage conductor. When Nazi Germany occupied Czechoslovakia in 1939, Ancerl was dismissed from his job and interned in concentration camps. While Ancerl’s initiative was the first of its kind in Terezín, by 1944 there were an additional four orchestras, and several smaller ensembles active in the camp. Ancerl’s string orchestra flourished until October of 1944, when Ancerl and the majority of the musicians he conducted were deported to Auschwitz.
The only member of his family to survive concentration camps, Ancerl resumed his career in 1945, conducting the Prague Opera from 1945 to 1948. After directing the Czech Radio Orchestra from 1947 to 1950, Ancerl took over the Czech Philharmonic. During his time with the Czech Philharmonic, Ancerl's career flourished as he took his orchestra all over the world, receiving critical praise for his refined performances of the standard classical repertoire. In addition, he conducted many prominent European orchestras, also serving as guest conductor with the London Philharmonic in 1967. In 1968, when the Soviet Union invaded Czechoslovakia, Ancerl left the country, eventually settling in Toronto. The following year, he became music director of the Toronto Symphony and his impact there was very significant: he expanded the orchestra's repertoire, performing works by important Czech composers, including Smetana, Martinu, and Suk. In addition, Ancerl's impressive recording legacy includes performances of music by Mozart, Brahms, Mahler, and Stravinsky. Ancerl died in 1973.”
- Zoran Minderovic, allmusic.com