Karel Ancerl (1908-73) was, alongside Vaclav Talich, one of the greatest conductors to emerge from the Czechoslovak nation. Born in the southern part of the Bohemia province, he attended the Prague conservatory, in pre-WWII, pre-Iron Curtain days. His first paid role, was as director of a jazz orchestra - of all things! – but his heart lay in the classical world, and he soon found a job, in the early days of Czech Radio, that offered him the chance to conduct symphony orchestra.
The WWII years were a terrible time ... Karel was the only member of his family to survive the Nazi death camps, but, with remarkable resilience, he returned to Prague after the War, remarried, and now under Communist rule, placed at the head of the radio orchestra. His appointment as artistic director of the Czech Philharmonic – the role Ancerl is best remembered for – came three years later.
Disc One :-
1) Festive Overture Op.96, composed by Shostakovich (rec.Apr 64 ; 5:59).
2) In the Tatra Mountains Op.26 (symphonic poem), composed by Novak (rec.Dec 50 ; 16:49).
Serenade for Orchestra, composed by Krejci (rec.Oct 57 ; 17:58):-
3) I Allegro 4) II Andante quasi allegretto 5) III Presto.
Taras Bulba (Rhapsody for Orchestra), composed by Janacek (rec.May 61 ; 22:14) :-
6) I Death of Andrei 7) II Death of Ostap 8) III Prophecy & Death of Taras Bulba.
9) Variations on Theme by, and on the Death of, Jan Rychlik (rec.Jun 68 ; 12:59).
Disc Two :-
1) The Moldau, composed by Smetana (rec.Feb 58 ; 11:50).
Symphony No.8 in G major Op.88, composed by Dvorak (rec.Jan 70 ; 35:32):-
2) I Allegro con brio 3) II Adagio 4) III Allegretto grazioso – Molto vivace 5) IV Allegro ma non troppo.
Symphony No.5, composed by Martinu (rec.Nov 71 ; 26:55) :-
6) I Adagio – Allegro 7) II Larghetto 8) III Lento – Allegro.
9) Slavonic Dance in G minor, composed by Dvorak (rec.Nov 58 ; 4:08).
Both discs are in EX condition.