C1900. KAREL ANCERL Cond. Czech Phil.: MA VLAST - Vltava (Smetana); 'New World' Symphony #9 in e (Dvorak); Serenade for Orchestra (Isa Krejci); w.SAMSON FRANÇOIS: Piano Concerto #3 in C (Prokofiev). (Canada) 2-St Laurent Studio YSL T-1084, Live Performance, 30 Oct., 1958, Salle Pleyel, Paris. Transfers by Yves St Laurent.
“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
"A pupil of Alfred Cortot, but standing apart from others who also studied with the French master, Samson François was a pianist of exceptional persuasiveness in live performance, but only intermittently as arresting in the recording studio. Nonetheless, he left on disc several samples of work approaching his best concert form, albeit with some evidence of the eccentricities critics complained about. His interests were wider than his recorded legacy might suggest; even at his most idiosyncratic, he offered moments of wry humor and rare magic. In addition to studies in Paris with Yvonne Lefébure and the esteemed Marguerite Long, François was a student of Alfred Cortot at L'Ecole Normale de Musique, the school Cortot co-founded with Auguste Mangeot. Before François had reached the age of 20, he won the Long-Thibaud Competition and thereafter embarked on a career, one of international scale once WWII had ended. Even during the war, Jacques Thibaud brought François to the attention of Walter Legge, the English recording producer turned wartime concert organizer; François was soon flown to England for an extended tour of factories and camps. Concentrating on the Romantic piano literature, and especially the French repertory, he was acclaimed for his performances of Liszt, Schumann, and Chopin, as well as Fauré, Debussy, and Ravel. His Prokofiev, too, was impressive. French critics and audiences were especially receptive to his virtuosic approach. François found an appreciative audience in London as well, and enjoyed a largely positive reputation there during his mature years. François' early death denied the world a chance to hear how the pianist might have developed had he lived longer, but his recordings preserve sufficient work of high interest to assure him a place as a major artist."
- Erik Eriksson, allmusic.com