Thursday, March 16, 2006

Antal Dorati the composer

Antal Doráti's reputation was justifiably built on his conducting. Just one example is his recording of Stravinsky's complete Firebird ballet which was made for Mercury in Watford Town Hall in 1959. It is one of the major achievements in the history of recorded music and was made on Ampex 350 series three channel ½ inch recorders using valve (tube) recording electronics. (See link in web resources below). Listening to it again does raise the question as to what real benefits do digital recording and jet-setting maestros bring us today?

Less well known, but very well worth finding, is a live Missa Solemnis recorded in the Philharmonie in Berlin with Doráti conducting the European Symphony Orchestra, University of Maryland Chorus, and a distinguished group of soloists on BIS. Beethoven's Missa Solemnis was a very personal work for Doráti, and its score gave the title, and inspiration, to his posthumously published book 'For Inner and Outer Peace' which can be bought from IPPNW Concerts in Berlin.

Antal Doráti is not so well known as a composer, although his First and Second Symphonies have achieved some currency through his own excellent interpretation on BIS. Today (16th March) at 2.00pm GMT there is a very rare opportunity to hear a performance of his Cello Concerto in a live concert by the BBC Symphony Orchestra from their Maida Vale Studio (click here for a time zone converter) . Here is the complete, and very enterprising programme which can be heard live via a webcast, or until 25th March via the BBC 'listen again' service:


Ludwig Irgens Jensen: Passacaglia
Dorati: Cello Concerto with Raphael Wallfisch (cello)
Lutoslawski: Symphony No 4

Well done the BBC for presenting such an innovative programme, this is what the BBC Symphony are so good at - showcasing rarely heard modern music with little preparation time. But one small gripe I'm afraid - the cult of the media personality (or just plain sloppy sub-editing?) means both the BBC Radio 3 and the BBC Symphony websites tell us the name of the continuity announcer and soloist, but not the conductor.

Web resources:
* For audio file of an interview with legendary Mercury producer Wilma Cozart Fine follow this link.
* Antal Dorati web site
Image credit - Antal Dorati from WFCR . Image owners - if you do not want your picture used in this article please contact me and it will be removed. Report broken links, missing images and other errors to - overgrownpath at hotmail dot co dot uk
If you enjoyed this post take An Overgrown Path to Who am I? - attaca

2 comments:

Pliable said...

I should have mentioned in my article that Maestro Dorati has an important anniversary this year. He was born in Budapest on April 9 1906.

Anonymous said...

Dear Pliable,

Many thanks for your article and I'm glad to know you were listening.

The conductor was Joseph Swensen.

Regards
Helen Garrison


Helen Garrison, Senior Producer, BBC Radio 3
Room 3018, Broadcasting House
Portland Place, London W1A 1AA
tel: 020 7765 3242 (int: 02 53242)
Website: http://www.bbc.co.uk/radio3