I’m pleased to offer a number of recordings of the Czech Philharmonic from the early to middle 1950’s featuring the Italian conductor Antonio Pedrotti (1901-1975). Pedrotti was a composition student of Ottorino Respighi, and made several very impressive stereo Supraphon recordings of his works.
I was introduced to Pedrotti by his not-to-be missed 1957 Czech Philharmonic recording of the Brahms 4th (which is now available in a fine sounding Japanese CD coupled with a stereo Brahms Haydn Variations). Like all of these beautiful collaborations with the Czech group, a relationship that lasted from 1950 until 1972, there’s any easy-going quality that may at first seem at odds with the dramatic elements of the work, but the dividends are numerous, in the form of an unforced lyricism (but imaginatively shaped phrases), superbly characterful playing, and a sense that Pedrotti is leading us down different highways and byways missed by those unable to “smell the roses” so consistently. I should add that in no way do these qualities lead to anything resembling shapelessness or flabbiness, as there is a compelling inner logic to the framework which all of the felicities are sprinkled over.
The Mendelssohn has a similar unforced, unhurried quality. Some may miss the drama and the kinetic power found by others, but I think Pedrotti’s approach wears well. The Daphnis Suite is so beguilingly voiced by the winds of the CzPO, that it may take a second hearing to fully appreciate the truly balletic quality that Pedrotti brings to the work, which is all the more remarkable in that it seems effortless. I’m not sure who is involved in possible re-orchestrations on the Baroque album (I’ve added information from W.E.R.M. entries, but can’t vouch for its accuracy), and I’m afraid the sound quality is rather raw in this early 1950’s 10″ Lp, but there are some beautiful moments. To hear the Mussorgky-Ravel Pictures with the CzPO at the top of their game with anybody and helm would be a treat, but again, it is the unforced quality that predominates, along with a beautiful ear for orchestral blend and balance.
I’m afraid the quality of these early Czech pressings calls for some allowances. The actual sound, if not always terribly detailed, is very musically balanced, and would definitely benefit from fresh transfers from the master tapes. Hopefully, the Japanese will continue with Pedrotti, as they have a wonderful series of Karel Sejna’s recordings underway.
Ravel: Daphnis et Chloé Ballet, Suite No. 2
Debussy: Prélude à l’après-midi d’un faune
Supraphon LPV 484
Recorded May 26-27 and June 4, 1956 (Ravel) and
January 30, 1957 (Debussy)
Mussorgsky-Ravel: Pictures at an Exhibition
Supraphon LPV 200
Recorded June 25 – 27, 1953
Monteverdi: Sinfonia e ritornelli (from Orfeo): and Badinerie (arranged by Enrique Arbós as “Suite for Strings”)
F. B. Bonporti: Recitative (from Violin Concerto in F Major, Op. 10, No. 15)
Vivaldi: Sinfonia in B Minor (al Santo Sepolchro)
Karel Šroubek, Violin (in Bonporti)
Supraphon LPM 35 (10″ Lp)
Recorded June 12, 1951 (Vivaldi) and
February 28, 1951 (the balance)
Mendelssohn: Symphony No. 4 in A Major “Italian”, Op. 90
Supraphon LPM 10 (10″ Lp)
Recorded February 26, 1951
Verdi: I vespri siciliani Overture
Supraphon LPM 36 (10″ Lp)
Recorded February 23-24, 1951
Czech Philharmonic Orchestra
Cover scans included (note: I have borrowed the Europarchive.org cover images for the Mendelssohn, as it is more interesting than the generic cover of the copy I transfered, but I have not used their transfer!). Thanks to Mike Gray for the (newly added) recording dates!