On 18th May, Supraphon will release an exquisite set of Jiří Bělohlávek’s pivotal and unknown recordings alike. Made up of 8 CDs, the compilation, titled Jiří Bělohlávek – Recollection (SU4250), pays tribute to the most noted Czech conductor of the past half a century.
“The selection of Jiří Bělohlávek’s recordings was made less than a year after his passing away. It above all serves to recollect the extraordinary musician and human,” said Matouš Vlčinský, Supraphon’s producer.
Jiří Bělohlávek’s career can be briefly summed up in terms of his greatest accomplishments: his serving as the chief conductor of the Czech Philharmonic and the BBC Symphony Orchestra, his guest performances with the Berliner Philharmoniker, the New York Philharmonic and the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, his acclaimed appearances at the Metropolitan Opera in New York, at the Glyndebourne Festival Opera and other prominent events; his being awarded the title of CBE and the honorary doctorate from the Academy of Performing Arts in Prague. Yet Jiří Bělohlávek himself would perhaps give preference to recalling his recordings. The present selection of 23 from among the almost 300 recordings he made for Supraphon between 1971 and 2016 attests to his remarkable artistic ripening at the head of several prominent Czech orchestras, starting with the Brno Philharmonic (the energetic account of Janáček’s music in 1977, now for the very first time on CD) and ending with the Czech Philharmonic and the Prague Philharmonia. The cornerstone of Bělohlávek’s repertoire consisted of works by Antonín Dvořák (The New World Symphony), Bedřich Smetana (My Country), Josef Suk, Leoš Janáček and Bohuslav Martinů, whose music Bělohlávek championed all over the world.
The 8-CD set Jiří Bělohlávek – Recollection contains recordings of a number of pieces (by Mozart, Ravel, Mahler, Bartók) that serve to document the extraordinarily wide range of the conductor’s repertoire.
Smetana, Bedřich: My Country; Dvořák, Antonín: Symphony No. 9 “From the New World”; Serenade in E major, Op. 22; Suk, Josef: Fantastic Scherzo, Op. 25; Fairy Tale, Op. 16*; Serenade for Strings in E flat major, Op. 6; Janáček, Leoš: Sinfonietta*; Taras Bulba*; Fibich, Zdeněk: Symphony No. 3 in E minor, Op. 53; Martinů, Bohuslav: Rhapsody (Allegro symphonique), H 171; Tre ricercari, H 267; Overture, H 345; Parables, H 367; Estampes, H 369; Ravel, Maurice: Ma mère l'oye (My Mother Goose)*; Pavane pour une infante défunte*; Bartók, Béla: Divertimento; Concerto for Orchestra*; Mozart, Wolfgang Amadeus: Symphony No. 38 in D major, “Prague”; Mendelssohn, Felix: Symphony No. 4 in A major, “Italian”, Op. 90; Schönberg, Arnold: Verklärte Nacht (Transfigured Night), Op. 4; Haas, Pavel: Study for String Orchestra; Mahler, Gustav: Adagietto (Symphony No. 5 in C sharp minor); Urlicht (Symphony No. 2 in C minor, “Resurrection”); * on CD for the first time.