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He was only 71. Personally, just judging by recordings and videos, I felt he was a bit on the laissez-faire side as an interpreter, compared to his predecessors at the CzPO (Ancerl and Neumann). But OTOH, Ivan Moravec had some very nice things to say about his conducting and even went so far as to say he considered Belohlávek a personal friend. In addition, I had a friend who worked in personnel for the Detroit SO who assured me that the players relished his guest appearances there and really enjoyed working with him. If I were to pick just one of his recordings to remember him by, I'd pick the following:
Enjoying this one at this very moment.
Wife just saw a performance of this in Berkeley this weekend and wanted to hear it on the 'main system' so....
He clearly loved this work; he recorded it three times. The last was just issued within the past month, and was probably his last recording:
I swear. Just listened to him conduct Dvorak's Cello concerto. Saw him at the Univ. of Ky. in the 1980's with some Czech orchestra, but it wasn't the Philharmonic. I have several of his CD and Lp recordings and love them all.
Both the orchestra and piano playing are very much to my liking in this set.
A big bummer. I was looking forward to his CSO debut next season for Smetana/Barber & Dvorak pieces. :(
Your post nudged me to do it. Thanks.
"The passage of my life is measured out in shirts."
- Brian Eno
All 5 concertos are very fine but particularly 1, 3, & 5 are just excellent. Lewis definitely has a star quality with a commanding style.( modern day Backhaus?!) Belohlavek's even handed scoring is grand and proper yet keeping the fresh perspective with many fine textural details. Almost like Haitink with an attitude.
I'd pick this one:
I am very sorry to learn of his passing.
For us in the UK he was, of course, familiar through his tenure with the BBC SO. I recall thinking him rather prosaic when he took over but their relationship seemed to grow and flower as time went by. His time with them also resulted in some excellent recordings.
The current issue of Gramophone has a substantial article on him with a full page portrait which, given these circumstances, is quite moving. He is shown without any hair. So I guess that we may speculate as to what took him from us.
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