The Music Plays On

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Rafael Kubelík

The Czech conductor, Rafael Kubelík, has long been one of my favorite conductors. His performances and interpretations always bring an incredibly high level of both intellect and emotion, but with the music of Antonin Dvořák there is also a sense of unmatched authority. There are only a few videos of him conducting Dvořák that are readily available but they are all an invaluable resource.

Perhaps one of the reasons Kubelík was such an insightful conductor is that he was an avid composer. He composed five operas, three symphonies, three requiems, multiple choral works and songs, as well as various chamber pieces. Here is a performance of his very interesting Symphony in One Movement with the Cologne Radio Symphony, conducted by Kubelík himself in 1974.

In listening to Kubelík’s symphony, first of all, I hear a master craftsman. The brashness of the music of Janáček is certainly there, but mostly I hear a completely unique voice.

Here are a few unforgettable performances of Kubelík conducting Dvořák.