Every true believer in the music of Czech nationalist composer Bedrich Smetana will have to check out this three-disc set of his orchestral works with Vladimir Válek leading the Prague Radio Symphony Orchestra. Not only does it contain Smetana's orchestral masterpiece Má Vlast plus his three fairly well-known tone poems Richard III, Wallenstein's Campo, and Hakon Jarl, it also contains his nearly completely unknown four-movement Triumph Symphony, his almost totally unknown March for Shakespeare, and the Ceremonial Prelude in C major along with three short orchestral dances, the Georginen, the Louisen, and the Our Lasses Polkas.
Dvorák has written extensively for voices. Somehow we hardly ever hear any part of this repertoire. This 3 CD set offers the complete music for two and more voices including the choral works by this composer. Most duets are accompanied on the piano. They are rather a mixed bag with a large number of Moravian songs and some Russian and Irish ones.
Renowned for his work in Baroque vocal music, René Jacobs is most frequently credited as a countertenor and as a choral director. He is somewhat less familiar as a conductor of Classical symphonic music, though he has increasingly delved into this repertoire in recordings with one of Europe's best early music groups, the Freiburger Barockorchester.
For decades, the only way to enjoy Johnny Cash live in your home was on his two arguably finest albums, both recorded at penitentiaries; At Folsom Prison and At San Quentin. Since they are established classics, the argument can be made there really wasn’t a need for more. That has changed as labels dig ever deeper to mine material from legends like Cash from their vaults. It has resulted in no less than two recent concert recordings from Cash; Man in Black:Live in Denmark 1971 released in early December last year and now this show, recorded in Czechoslovakia circa 1978. Add these to 2003’s A Concert Behind Prison Walls, Johnny Cash at Madison Square Garden (a 1969 date finally seeing the light of day in 2002), and 2011’s 53 track Bootleg Vol lll:Live Around the World. And that’s just for starters. Considering how much he performed, it’s likely more are on the way.