Karel Ančerl (1908 - 1973) was, alongside Václav Talich, part of the tandem of two foremost Czech conductors of the 20th century. As he made an overwhelming majority of his recordings for Supraphon, and since we are approaching the thirtieth anniversary of his death, this company has decided to pay a special tribute to Ančerl's memory by a grandly conceived series of reissues ofhis creations, under the common heading of Ančerl Gold. The series is to comprise a total of 42 titles, each of which will undergo complex studio overhaul and streamlining. On their release they will be accompanied by professional musical documentation as well as by erudite historical and aesthetic studies, plus of course, copious photographic material.
Ančerl's career was intimately linked with the Czech Philharmonic Orchestra, with which he worked for eighteen seasons, from the year 1950. Without in the least underestimating the immense merit of Václav Talich and Rafael Kubelík in defining the interpretive style of the Czech Philharmonic, it can be said that Karel Ančerl was the first Czech conductor of a truly worldwide standing, and that he carried his orchestrato sovereign virtuosity and international fame. His artistic achievements were the perfect blend of well thought-out conception and minutious work with details; and they were invariably substantiatedby both detailed knowledge of the score and capacity to capture every aspect of its architecture, as well as by refined feeling for style, formidable sonic imagination, and last but by no means the least, a marvellously communicative gestural language. Ančerl was indeed able to convince his orchestra about the validity of his approach, which has been perhaps the most essential precondition of success in the art of conducting.
Incidentally, during Ančerl's era the record industry witnessed revolutionary steps forward in the development of recording technologies, including the invention of long-playing record and the ensuing huge expansion of the orchestra's recording projects. Ančerl's brilliantly inspired recordings soon received due recognition in the form of prestigious international awards. Their updated reissues on CD format have since then continued to dazzle audiences by their technical perfection and sheer sonic beauty.
The programming of the first six volumes of the Ančerl Gold Series has striven for the maximum degree of equilibrium coupled with adequate representativeness: in addition to attractive numbers of the Czech repertoire (Dvořák, Smetana), thereare volumes bringing gems of German and Russian Romantic music (Mendelssohn, Bruch, Mussorgsky, Korsakov), plus symphonic works written at the beginning of the 20th century, with strong emphasis on the sonic aspect (Stravinsky, Mahler, Strauss).