The career of conductor Rafael Kubelik (1914 – 1996) provides an interesting insight into the world of music in the twentieth century. Born the eighth child of the then world-famous violin virtuoso Jan Kubelik and his wife Countess Marianne Csáky-Széll, he was already commanding attention while he was studying piano, violin and composition at the Prague Conservatory between 1929 and 1933. In 1935 he embarked on a tour of the United States as his fatherʼs accompanist. The Czech Philharmonic Orchestra (which Vaclav Talich raised to the status of a top European orchestra) hired him as its conductor in 1936. When, the following year, Talich fell ill during a tour of western Europe, Kubelik filled in for him and began consolidating his international reputation. Despite his tendency towards subversive programming (he often included works by banned composers), he was able to retain the post after taking it over in 1941. In the postwar period Kubelik’s work with the orchestra enriched the cultural life of his country and in 1946 he became one of the founders of the Prague Spring Festival. Kubelik defected in 1948, though, in protest against the communist dictatorship in Czechoslovakia. His three-year term as Music Director of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra ended as a result of the ill will born him by the music critic Claudia Cassidy. His time as Music Director of The Royal Opera at Covent Garden was brought to an end because of opposition from Sir Thomas Beecham. Nevertheless, among orchestra musicians he was one of the most well-liked and esteemed conductors. His openness, fair moral principles and the friendly working atmosphere he created brought him a degree of recognition which even produced award-winning results in the recording studio.
Mahler: Das klagende Lied / Brahms: Rhapsodie / Schönberg: Gurre-Lieder
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