Mozart, Symphony No. 38 in D major, K. 504 "Prague"

Rafael Kubelik (1914-1996) was the son of the well-known Bohemian violinist
Jan Kubelik. He studied music in Prague and made his conducting debut at 20
at the head of the Czech Philharmonic Orchestra. Later he became the
principal conductor of this famous orchestra and founded the "Prague
Spring" Festival. After the Communist takeover of the government, Kubelik
emigrated to the West and returned to his native land only after the end of
the Communist regime. From 1950 to 1953 he headed the Chicago Symphony,
from 1955 to 1958 he was music director of the Covent Garden Opera in
London. A period of great artistic successes began in 1961, when he was
appointed principal conductor of the Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra.
Many recordings document Kubelik's mastery and sense of artistry, his
enjoyment of music and his temperament. His connection with the Munich
orchestra lasted 18 years; in between, he also briefly served as music
director of New York's Metropolitan Opera. Kubelik retired from the concert
staged in 1985. But on the occasion of the first Prague Spring Festival
after the fall of Communism in 1990, he returned to the podium of the
Czech Philharmonic after more than 40 years in exile and conducted
Smetana's "My Fatherland" cycle. His profound bonds with his native land
and its composers were always clearly visible. Rafael Kubelik was a
full-blooded musician. Every performance of his radiated a feeling of
spontaneity, impulsiveness and joy. Kubelik died in Lucerne in August 1996
at the age of 82 after a long illness.
A symphony for connoisseurs, K. 504 reflects the taste and discernment of
the audience it was intended for: the musical public of Prague. Since his
"Marriage of Figaro" was the hit of the town in late 1786, Mozart decided
to travel to Prague; in his luggage was the D major symphony, premiered on
19 January 1787. Written between "Figaro" and "The Magic Flute," it shares
unmistakable affinities with these two works and even quotes a theme from
"Figaro" in the finale. And it is also a work in which Mozart could be
completely himself. He thus indulged in a dramatic slow introduction, and
in some austere contrapuntal writing in the first movement. Since the wind
players in the Bohemian capital were rightly praised for their excellence,
Mozart also rewarded them with some truly beautiful pages.

Composer: Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Title: Mozart, Symphony No. 38 in D major, K. 504 "Prague"
Conductor: Rafael KubelĂ­k
Orchestra: Wiener Philharmoniker
Video Director: Arne Arnbom
Genre: Concert
Length: 25 minutes
Cat.No.: A05004494
Gallery         DVD