Theodore Kuchar: Dvorák, Shostakovich, Smetana, Nielsen

Theodore Kuchar: Dvorák, Shostakovich, Smetana, Nielsen
Composer Antonín Dvorák, Bedrich Smetana, Carl Nielsen, Dmitri Shostakovich
Artist Janácek Philharmonic Orchestra
National Symphony Orchestra of Ukraine
Theodore Kuchar conductor
Format 13 CD
Cat. number 95932
EAN code 5028421959320
Release April 2019

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About this release

The complete Brilliant Classics recordings of a masterful modern maestro with a touch of genius in little-known repertoire.

In the extensive booklet interview, the conductor Theodore Kuchar recalls how, as a boy growing up outside Cleveland to Ukrainian-born parents, he learnt his music at the feet of Lorin Maazel, sitting in the cheap seats every week. Sound training and determination took him to Helsinki as violist and part-time conductor for the Finnish Opera, thence to Brisbane for his first musical directorship in charge of the Queensland Philharmonic.

But it was in 1992 that Kuchar discovered his roots and began to establish an international reputation when he took over the National Symphony Orchestra of the Ukraine. Together they have given lengthy tours worldwide, hundreds of concerts and made many recordings for several labels. The theatre music by Shostakovich was particularly successful and holds a treasured place in Kuchar’s heart: ‘The Bolt is absolute genius. I’ve done it with every orchestra I’ve had a long relationship with, and every time it knocks an audience sideways.’

In the early 2000s Kuchar also worked regularly with the Janáček Philharmonic Orchestra based in Ostrava, formerly known as the Czech Radio Orchestra. Together they recorded the major – and most of the minor – orchestral works by Smetana, the best-known tone-poems of Dvořák and even the complete symphonies of Carl Nielsen, which became a critical hit. Since then Kuchar has conducted orchestras throughout Europe, Asia and the Americas. As music director of the Orquesta Sinfónica Venezuela he led a vibrantly colourful collection of Latin-American orchestral classics (by Ginastera, Moncayo and Revueltas among others) for the last disc on this retrospective, recorded in 2011.

‘Theodore Kuchar is one of today's most dynamic, most successful young conductors… every instrumental effect comes through beautifully… Tempos are generally rapid and spirits high… this is a lot of fine Dvorák for a very low price.’ (Fanfare) ‘This is a recording of very high worth by a conductor of genius. Each and every minute of every piece on this three-CD [Smetana] set is emotionally committed, tautly controlled, propulsive, and stunning. I haven’t heard a Má vlast or Bartered Bride Overture this good on records in eons.’ (Fanfare)

‘These performances [of Latin-American classics] are very slick. The tightness of ensemble in Moncayo’s Huapango shows up the sloppiness of most other versions. Kuchar sets and maintains a perfect tempo here and elsewhere. The recording quality is sharp-edged and bright, adding to the excitement. (Fanfare)

‘Theodore Kuchar leads what is without question the most exciting complete Nielsen symphony cycle available, making this the set to get for Nielsen newcomers.’ (Classics Today)

This set brings together the recordings conductor Theodore Kuchar made for Brilliant Classics: the complete symphonies by Carl Nielsen, the Symphonic Poems by Dvorák, the orchestral works by Smetana, ballet suites by Shostakovich and a recording of Latin American classics. All these recording have met with enthusiastic critical acclaim: “10/10: first recommendation in this repertoire..terrific sonics..irresistable package..”(Classicstoday on Shostakovich), “Theodore Kuchar is an extremely exciting and talented conductor..thrilling, with uninhibited abandon”(Classicstoday on Dvorák), “Theodore Kuchar leads what is without question the most exciting complete Nielsen symphony cycle available, 9/9”(Classicstoday on Nielsen), “with plenty of enthusiasm and vigor..hard to beat..one of the best versions available..”(Classicstoday on Smetana). The Latin-American program was nominated for a Latin Grammy.
Theodore Kuchar (1963) was born in New York. He studied the viola and conducting, and was for a period principal violist of the Cleveland Orchestra. He is one of the most sought-after conductors of his time, active with the Symphony Orchestra of the Ukraine, Janacek SO, Venezuelan SO and others.

Track list

Disk 1

  1. Czech Suite in D Major, Op. 39: I. Praeludium
  2. Czech Suite in D Major, Op. 39: II. Polka
  3. Czech Suite in D Major, Op. 39: III. Sousedská
  4. Czech Suite in D Major, Op. 39: IV. Romance
  5. Czech Suite in D Major, Op. 39: V. Finale
  6. My Home Overture in C Major, Op. 62
  7. Husitska Overture, Op. 67
  8. In Nature´s Realm Overture in F Major, Op. 91
  9. Otello in C-Sharp Minor, Op. 93

Disk 2

  1. Symphonic Variations in C Major, Op. 78
  2. Carnival Overture in A Major, Op. 92
  3. Water Goblin in B Minor, Op. 107
  4. Noon-Day Witch in C Major, Op. 108

Disk 3

  1. Golden Spinning Wheel in F Major, Op. 109
  2. Wood Dove in C Minor, Op. 110
  3. A Hero´s Song in B-Flat Minor, Op. 111

Disk 4

  1. Suite for Variety Orchestra No. 1: I. March
  2. Suite for Variety Orchestra No. 1: II. Dance No. 1
  3. Suite for Variety Orchestra No. 1: III. Dance No. 2
  4. Suite for Variety Orchestra No. 1: IV. Little Polka
  5. Suite for Variety Orchestra No. 1: V. Lyric Waltz
  6. Suite for Variety Orchestra No. 1: VI. Waltz No. 1
  7. Suite for Variety Orchestra No. 1: VII. Waltz No. 2
  8. Suite for Variety Orchestra No. 1: VIII. Finale
  9. Overture on Russian and Kirghiz Themes, Op. 115
  10. Jazz Suite No. 1: I. Waltz
  11. Jazz Suite No. 1: II. Polka
  12. Jazz Suite No. 1: III. Foxtrot
  13. Novorossijsk Chimes
  14. Festive Overture, Op. 96

Disk 5

  1. The Bolt, Ballet Suite, Op. 27a: I. Overture
  2. The Bolt, Ballet Suite, Op. 27a: II. Polka
  3. The Bolt, Ballet Suite, Op. 27a: III. Variation
  4. The Bolt, Ballet Suite, Op. 27a: IV. Tango
  5. The Bolt, Ballet Suite, Op. 27a: V. Intermezzo
  6. The Bolt, Ballet Suite, Op. 27a: VI. Finale
  7. The Limpid Stream, Ballet Suite, Op. 39a: I. Waltz
  8. The Limpid Stream, Ballet Suite, Op. 39a: II. Russian Lubok
  9. The Limpid Stream, Ballet Suite, Op. 39a: III. Galop
  10. The Limpid Stream, Ballet Suite, Op. 39a: IV. Adagio
  11. The Limpid Stream, Ballet Suite, Op. 39a: V. Pizzicato
  12. The Golden Age, Ballet Suite, Op. 22a: I. Overture
  13. The Golden Age, Ballet Suite, Op. 22a: II. Adagio
  14. The Golden Age, Ballet Suite, Op. 22a: III. Polka
  15. The Golden Age, Ballet Suite, Op. 22a: IV. Dance

Disk 6

  1. Hamlet Suite: I. Prelude
  2. Hamlet Suite: II. The Ball at the Palace
  3. Hamlet Suite: III. The Ghost
  4. Hamlet Suite: IV. In the Garden
  5. Hamlet Suite: V. Hamlet & Ophelia
  6. Hamlet Suite: VI. Arrival of the Actors
  7. Hamlet Suite: VII. Poisoning Scene
  8. Hamlet Suite: VIII. Duel and Death of Hamlet
  9. Gadfly, Suite, Op. 97a: I. Overture
  10. Gadfly, Suite, Op. 97a: II. Contradance
  11. Gadfly, Suite, Op. 97a: III. Folk Feast
  12. Gadfly, Suite, Op. 97a: IV. Interlude
  13. Gadfly, Suite, Op. 97a: V. Waltz “Barrel Organ”
  14. Gadfly, Suite, Op. 97a: VI. Galop
  15. Gadfly, Suite, Op. 97a: VII. Introduction
  16. Gadfly, Suite, Op. 97a: VIII. Romance
  17. Gadfly, Suite, Op. 97a: IX. Intermezzo
  18. Gadfly, Suite, Op. 97a: X. Nocturne
  19. Gadfly, Suite, Op. 97a: XI. Scene
  20. Gadfly, Suite, Op. 97a: XII. Finale

Disk 7

  1. Má Vlast, JB 1:112: I. Vyšehrad
  2. Má Vlast, JB 1:112: II. Vltava
  3. Má Vlast, JB 1:112: III. Šarka
  4. Má Vlast, JB 1:112: IV. From Bohemia’s Meadows and Forests
  5. Má Vlast, JB 1:112: V. Tábor
  6. Má Vlast, JB 1:112: VI. Blanik

Disk 8

  1. Wallenstein’s Camp, Op. 14
  2. Håkon Jarl, Op. 16
  3. Richard III, Op. 11
  4. Overture to “The Bartered Bride”, JB 1:100
  5. Three Dances from “The Bartered Bride”, JB 1:100: I. Polka
  6. Three Dances from “The Bartered Bride”, JB 1:100: II. Furiant
  7. Three Dances from “The Bartered Bride”, JB 1:100: III. Skocna
  8. Doktor Faust, Overture to the puppet-play by Matej Kopecký in C Minor, JB 1:85
  9. Venkovanka, The Peasant Woman in G Major, JB 1:115
  10. Nasim Devam, To our Girls in D Major, JB 1:86

Disk 9

  1. Festive Symphony in E Major, Op. 6: I. Allegro vivace
  2. Festive Symphony in E Major, Op. 6: II. Largo maestoso
  3. Festive Symphony in E Major, Op. 6: III. Scherzo, allegro vivace
  4. Festive Symphony in E Major, Op. 6: IV. Finale, allegro non troppo ma energico
  5. Festive Overture in C Major
  6. Festive Overture in D Major, Op. 4
  7. Prague Carnival, Introduction & Polonaise in A Minor, JB 1:126
  8. March of the National Guard in D Major, JB 1:37
  9. Shakespeare Festival March in E Major, JB 1:90

Disk 10

  1. Symphony No. 1 in G Minor, Op. 7: I. Allegro orgoglioso
  2. Symphony No. 1 in G Minor, Op. 7: II. Andante
  3. Symphony No. 1 in G Minor, Op. 7: III. Allegro comodo
  4. Symphony No. 1 in G Minor, Op. 7: IV. Finale, allegro con fuoco
  5. Symphony No. 2, Op. 16: I. Allegro collerico
  6. Symphony No. 2, Op. 16: II. Allegro comodo e flemmatico
  7. Symphony No. 2, Op. 16: III. Andante malincolico
  8. Symphony No. 2, Op. 16: IV. Allegro sanguinoso

Disk 11

  1. Symphony No. 3, Op. 27: I. Allegro espansivo
  2. Symphony No. 3, Op. 27: II. Andante pastorale
  3. Symphony No. 3, Op. 27: III. Allegretto un poco
  4. Symphony No. 3, Op. 27: IV. Finale, allegro
  5. Symphony No. 4, Op. 29: I. Allegro
  6. Symphony No. 4, Op. 29: II. Poco allegretto
  7. Symphony No. 4, Op. 29: III. Poco adagio quasi andante
  8. Symphony No. 4, Op. 29: IV. Allegro

Disk 12

  1. Symphony No. 5, Op. 50: I. Tempo giusto
  2. Symphony No. 5, Op. 50: II. Allegro
  3. Symphony No. 6, CNW 30: I. Tempo giusto
  4. Symphony No. 6, CNW 30: II. Humoreske, allegretto
  5. Symphony No. 6, CNW 30: III. Proposta seria, adagio
  6. Symphony No. 6, CNW 30: IV. Theme & Variations

Disk 13

  1. Huapango
  2. Danzón No. 2
  3. Tocatta bachiana y Pajarillo Aldemaroso
  4. Janitzio in A Major, R.36
  5. Four Dances from Estancia: I. Los trabajadores agrícolas
  6. Four Dances from Estancia: II. Danza del trigo
  7. Four Dances from Estancia: III. Los peones de hacienda
  8. Four Dances from Estancia: IV. Danza final
  9. Kanaima
  10. Batuque