Jacek Kaspszyk at la Folle Journée Warsaw: “And another amusing episode”

"And another amusing episode - one of the theatre ‘usherettes’ at Warsaw Opera (venue of La Folle Journee) told Jacek that just before the Mahler a man was frantically trying to find the right hall…so she asked him "Are you here for the Mahler?" to which he replied - "No, for Kaspszyk!" …."

These rare live broadcast recording make it’s first appearance on CD. The 1986 performance of Mahler’s Symphony No.3 from London’s Royal Festival Hall differs from the studio recording made in the late 70’s. As Michael McManus states in his booklet notes, ‘Fine though the studio recording from 1979 was and is, this live performance has an intensity and integrity that few, if any, recordings of this work can match’ and ‘Tennstedt in concert was a very different creature from Tennstedt in the studio. Mahler in particular was a life-and-death experience in the concert hall’. The sound captured by the BBC engineers is state of the art and easily captures Mahler’s huge dynamic range. As a bonus, there is short interview from 1987 in which Tennstedt discusses Mahler interpretation.

These rare live broadcast recordings make their first appearance on CD. The Beethoven Piano Concerto No.4 from the 1966 Edinburgh Festival together with the distinguished accompaniment of Sir John Barbirolli produce a performance of great poetry, imagination and power. The Tchaikovsky Piano Concerto No.2 in the abridged version by Siloti from 1959 brings out Gilels’ incredible technique and virtuosity (the New York Times dubbed him ‘the little giant’) with Kirill Kondrashin transforming the London Philharmonic into an authentic Russian sounding orchestra. ICA’s Ambient Mastering recreates the atmosphere of both concerts perfectly.

This rare June 1967 live broadcast recording makes it’s first appearance on CD. The recital at the Royal Festival Hall very much reflects the pianist’s personal taste containing the infrequently played Haydn Sonata No.62 and Weber’s Sonata No.3 together with the Schumann Novelettes with the more popular additions of Chopin and Debussy. Richter declared ‘my principle is to play only works that I really love and not just those that are currently accepted’. ICA’s Ambient Mastering recreates the atmosphere in the Royal Festival Hall perfectly.

These performances have never been issued before on CD. Shostakovich’s Symphony No.10 was given on 21 August 1968, the very night that Soviet tanks invaded Czechoslovakia in a concentrated effort to halt Dubcek’s political reforms. The atmosphere in the Albert Hall, as can heard from the shouts of protest, was electric and very tense but after the first few bars, the disruption was finally drowned out and Svetlanov, according to those present, then went on to give the performance of his life. Svetlanov’s widow, on hearing this CD, said that the performance brought tears to her eyes and the emotion of that evening came across vividly. Two short bonus titles have been added - Tchaikovsky’s ‘Melodrama’ from The Snow Maiden and two excerpts from Rimsky-Korsakov’s Invisible City of Kitezh reflecting the historic three concerts Svetlanov and his orchestra gave in London at the August 1968 Proms. ICA’s Ambient Mastering recreates the atmosphere in the Royal Albert Hall perfectly.

These Tchaikovsky and Prokofiev recordings in stereo have never been issued before on CD while the Mussorgsky was released on the defunct BBC Radio Classics series over 15 years ago. Tchaikovsky’s Symphony No.4 from the 1979 Leeds Music Festival is one of the conductor’s most inspired performances treating the work as a broad tragedy of the highest order without sentimentalising it. The Mussorgsky is a rarity, taken from the 1981 Proms in stereo - the version of A Night on a Bare Mountain used in the composer’s Sorochintsy Fair which includes a chorus and a bass-baritone (David Wilson- Johnson). Prokofiev’s The Love for Three Oranges Suite was given on a Far East tour in Kurashiki, Japan in 1981 and benefits from Rozhedestvensky’s acclaimed experience in ballet with a performance of wit and excitement.