C2003. RAFAEL KUBELIK Cond. Orchestre de Paris, w.Barbara Hendricks & Mira Zukai: Symphony #2, 'Resurrection' Symphony #2 in c (Mahler), Live Performance, 16 May, 1983, Salle Pleyel, Paris. (Canada) 2-St Laurent Studio YSL T-1223. Transfers by Yves St Laurent.
"A Czech by birth, Rafael Kubelik left his homeland after the Communist takeover in 1948 and lived in London for several years before settling in Switzerland. He became a Swiss citizen in 1973. He was the son of Jan Kubelik, one of the great violinists of the early 20th century.
Mr. Kubelik was a regular guest of the New York Philharmonic until heart disease and severe arthritis forced him to retire from conducting in 1985. His performances were considered highlights of the concert season by those who prized a warm, probing, grandly scaled style of music making that was quickly being eclipsed by a more streamlined, modern approach. He conducted a broad repertory, and championed many modern works during his nearly five decades on the podium. His performances of Czech works, like Smetana's patriotic MA VLAST and the Dvorák symphonies were especially authoritative, and his 1971 recording of the Smetana with the Boston Symphony Orchestra is considered by many to be the best version available.
But Mr. Kubelik avoided specialization, and near the end of his career, he devoted himself with increasing vigor to the Viennese classics. The accounts of the Mozart and Haydn symphonies that he recorded in the early 1980s, for example, defied the trend toward light-textured, chamber-scale readings. Using the full weight and coloristic resources of the modern symphony orchestra, he gave performances that have a freshness and energy that transcend interpretive fashion.
In 1971, he accepted an invitation from Goeran Gentele, the general manager of the Metropolitan Opera, to become the company's first music director. Gentele died before Mr. Kubelik's tenure began, with a performance of LES TROYENS in October 1973, and Mr. Kubelik faced criticism for spending too much time in Europe and for being a weak administrator. In February 1974, five months after his début as director, he submitted his resignation. He was succeeded by his deputy, James Levine.
After 1985, Mr. Kubelik conducted only once. Having declared when he left Prague in 1948 that he would not return until the situation changed, he went back in 1990 to conduct MA VLAST at the opening of the first Prague Spring Festival after Vaclav Havel's Velvet Revolution. Mr. Kubelik had conducted the work 45 years earlier to celebrate the liberation of Prague from Nazi occupation."
- Allan Kozinn, THE NEW YORK TIMES, 12 Aug., 1996
“The greatly admired black American soprano, Barbara Hendricks, received her musical training and her Bachelor of Music at the Juilliard School of Music in New York where she studied with mezzo-soprano Jennie Tourel.
Barbara Hendricks made her American and European operatic debuts in 1974 at the San Francisco Opera and at the Glyndebourne Festival and went on to appear at all major opera houses throughout the world, including the Paris Opéra, the Metropolitan Opera, Covent Garden and La Scala. Barbara Hendricks has more than 20 roles in her active opera repertoire, 12 of which she has already recorded.
Since her 1974 New York Town Hall debut, Barbara Hendricks has been acclaimed as one of the leading and most active recitalists of her generation and in addition to her vast repertoire of German Lieder she is also known as a leading interpreter and staunch promoter of French, American and Scandinavian music. Barbara Hendricks has performed her extensive orchestral repertoire with all of the leading conductors and orchestras of our time. Barbara Hendricks has toured Japan with Herbert von Karajan (1977), Leonard Bernstein (1985), with the Vienna State Opera (1986) and the Hamburg Opera (1996).
Since 1987, Barbara Hendricks has worked actively with the United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) as its Goodwill Ambassador, visiting refugee camps throughout the world. In 1998 she founded the Barbara Hendricks Foundation for Peace and Reconciliation to personalise her struggle for the prevention of conflicts in the world and to facilitate reconciliation and enduring peace where conflicts have already occurred. Barbara Hendricks has received numerous awards for her artistic achievements and humanitarian work.
The Israeli contralto, Mira Zakai, was known world-wide for her many appearances with the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra, Israeli Opera, Berliner Philharmoniker (conducted by Claudio Abbado, Georg Solti, Yehudi Menuhin), New York Philharmonic Orchestra (Zubin Mehta, Erich Leinsdorf), the orchestras of Chicago Symphony Orchestra, Paris, London, Frankfurt, Hamburg, Zürich, Vienna, Montreal, Toronto Symphony Orchestra, and Washington, under the batons of prominent conductors as Claudio Abbado, Daniel Barenboim, Luciano Berio, Gary Bertini, Sergiu Comissiona, Michel Corboz, Colin Davis, Christoph Eschenbach, Carlo Maria Giulini, Rafael Kubelík, James Levine, Eduardo Mata, Zubin Mehta, Riccardo Muti, Georg Solti, and many more.
Sir Yehudi Menuhin chose her to be the only soloist in a special concert for Pope John Paul II - an event which took place at Castel Gandolfo - to sing J.S. Bach's aria "Erbarme dich, mein Gott" with him playing the violin obbligato part. This concert was telecast world-wide.
From 1991, Professor Mira Zakai taught voice and Lied & Oratoria repertoire at the Rubin Academy of Music,Tel Aviv University. In honour of Israel's 50th anniversary she received a special award for her dedication, contribution, inspiration and performance of Israeli contemporary music from the minister of culture and education.”
- Bach Cantatas Website