Dvořak: Hussite Overture - Brahms: Violin Concerto / Szeryng, Kubelik, BRSO

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The visiting Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra opened its concert at the 1967 Vienna Festival with a high-octane performance of Dvorák’s patriotic overture The Hussites. In the Brahms Violin Concerto, the elegant soloist Henry Szeryng and the conductor Rafael Kubelík entered into a musical dialogue that was both subtly sensitive and quick-witted. This release has been digitally mastered from the original tapes for optimal sound quality, and is sure to delight a whole new generation of listeners.


Some recordings need merely seconds to make their mark, especially when taken from memorable concerts. One such occurred on June 11, 1967, when the Bavarian RSO under Rafael Kubelík were joined by Henryk Szeryng at the Vienna Konzerthaus for a performance of Brahms’s Violin Concerto, music-making that exhibited a degree of elasticity and intellectual elevation that is typical of both artists (it’s newly reissued but was originally released by Orfeo in 2017).

Try the first movement’s big central tutti at 8’38”, Kubelík’s natural brand of rubato and the strings’ soaring tone, winding down to Szeryng’s meditative re-entry soon afterwards. And there’s the superb oboe solo at the start of the Adagio, the perfect preparation for Szeryng’s angelic solo. Rarely have I heard a reading that captures the music’s rhapsodic spirit as tellingly as Szeryng and Kubelík do here, tracing the line’s ever-shifting expressive focus with an uncanny musical instinct. And the bustle of the finale, crisp and upbeat, its gypsy inflections unmistakable from the off, its lyrical central section returning us to the songlike aspects of the first two movements.

But it’s the disc’s opening track that in many respects proves a prize among prizes, Dvořák’s Hussite Overture, music originally intended as part of a dramatic trilogy on the Bohemian religious leader Jan Hus. The principal theme is more famous for its use in Smetana’s Má vlast but Dvořák knits it into a 13-minute panoply of dramatic events that Kubelík and his players respond to as if their lives depended on it. There have been fine commercial recordings but none that fans the flames quite as effectively as this one. The stereo recording wears its years lightly. Unmissable!

-- Gramophone

After an excellent Hussite Overture from Kubelik and the orchestra, the conductor shapes Brahm’s tutti well, working up quite a storm and not relaxing too much for the lyrical theme. Szeryng’s entry is imperious; he produces lovely lyrical playing for the quieter passages.

-- The Strad

The stereo sound is quite good, and not just for the time—it is vivid and full, making for an enjoyable listen. I feel a touch of regret at having missed out on Szeryng this long, but in the spirit of better late than never, this is a memorable recording that deserves high praise.

-- Fanfare

Product Description:

  • Release Date: August 05, 2022

  • Catalog Number: ORF-C220081

  • UPC: 4011790719016

  • Label: ORFEO

  • Number of Discs: 1

  • Period: Romantic

  • Composer: Johannes Brahms, Antonin Dvorak

  • Conductor: Rafael Kubelik

  • Orchestra/Ensemble: Symphonieorchester des Bayerischen Rundfunks

  • Performer: Henryk Szeryng


  1. Hussite Overture, Op. 67, B. 132

    Composer: Antonín Dvořák

    Ensemble: Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra

    Conductor: Rafael Kubelik

  2. Concerto for Violin and Orchestra in D, Op. 77

    Composer: Johannes Brahms

    Ensemble: Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra

    Performer: Henryk Szeryng (Violin)

    Conductor: Rafael Kubelik