Antal Doráti’s Mercury Recordings – What The Critics Said

Antal Doráti – The Mercury Masters – The Mono Recordings

“The lively Mendelssohn symphony finds conductor and orchestra in superlative form. Their performance of this difficult work is amply virtuosic, yet very sensitively phrased.” High Fidelity, January 1953 (Mendelssohn: Symphony No. 4)

“Refreshingly brisk, straightforward and unmarred by any of the usual sentimentality … The reproduction here, of course, is tops.” High Fidelity, January 1953 (Tchaikovsky: Symphony No. 5)

“Doráti brought a keen sense of vivid theatrical effect and an enlivening imagination… The Minneapolis Symphony was honed to a fine edge of precision for the performance, the recorded sound is still the most dramatic this music has ever had.” Hi-Fi Review, December 1962 (Tchaikovsky: The Nutcracker)

“As performances, no others have ever won more deservedly widespread and enthusiastic praise. Technically, these discs set new standards for high-fidelity glitter and impact.” High Fidelity, February 1964 (Tchaikovsky: Ballets)

“Doráti, who is a pupil of Kodály, plays this work with special perception and authority.” High Fidelity, July 1953 (Kodály: Háry Janos)

“The most dramatic introduction to Beethoven … irresistible in its concentration of breathless conflict.” High Fidelity, November 1953 (Beethoven: Symphony No. 5)

“Doráti grasps the fiery work with both hands, throwing none of it away.” Gramophone, June 1954 (Tchaikovsky: Symphony No. 5)

“One of Bartók’s wittiest, most colourful, and most approachable compositions, and Doráti’s attitude toward it is thoroughly authoritative.” High Fidelity, October 1954 (Bartók: Concerto for Orchestra)

“Doráti is a clever conductor and he makes of this symphony a memorable experience.” Gramophone, November 1954 (Copland: Symphony No. 3)

“A superbly rich, vital, and sensitive interpretation.” High Fidelity, September 1955 (Ravel: Daphnis et Chloé)

“The performance itself is of great brilliance. Doráti is brisk, efficient, and at all times in full control, particularly in the final fugue. Mercury’s engineers deserve considerable praise.” High Fidelity, November 1955 (Britten: Young Person’s Guide)

“Rude, brassy, and effective sonics have a good share in making the learned jollity of the Academic Festival infectious.” High Fidelity, September 1956 (Brahms: Academic Festival Overture)

“Candidly, one would not have expected Mr. Doráti, who has said naughty things about Beethoven, to harbour an Eighth Symphony so brilliantly pertinent as the one Mercury has recorded here with her best skill.” High Fidelity, December 1956 (Beethoven: Symphony No. 8)

“The zestful playing of Antal Doráti and the Minneapolis Symphony, plus the fine sound, turn this ballet score into a vivid orchestral display piece.” New York Herald Tribune, 1958 (Ravel: Daphnis et Chloé)

“A technical tour de force.” Audio magazine, 1958 (Tchaikovsky: The Nutcracker)

“Doráti and the orchestra outdo themselves … Everything about this performance and recording is right.” The New Records, Philadelphia, 1958 (Tchaikovsky: Sleeping Beauty)

“Doráti has a nice conception of these mostly familiar Strauss works, which he delivers with a firm hand and a healthy regard for the Viennese style.” High Fidelity, March 1959 (Strauss: Waltzes)

“There isn’t, and won’t be another record like this one… it has to be heard to be believed… is it possible to exceed this in the art of reproduced sound?” The New Records, Philadelphia, April 1959 (Tchaikovsky: 1812 Overture)

“The conductor can have a field day, as Antal Doráti does, leading a band that is as dazzling as it is necessary to be in this music.” La revue administrative, May 1968 (Respighi)

“Arguably the finest version of the Rite on record.” Gramophone, August 1977 (Stravinsky: Le Sacre du printemps)

“The remarkable scoring in the Suite is very faithfully rendered… and the Chicago SO unleash all the wiry strength they possess into a truly memorable performance.” Gramophone, February 1955 (Bartók: The Miraculous Mandarin)

“Dramatic and lyrical, with strong contrasts and outspoken brass, assuredly what the [Unfinished Symphony’s] design specifies… A strange coupling but a good record, with a great dynamic range and some thunderous climaxes… this is not for playing in a small room or one sparsely furnished.” High Fidelity, December 1954 (Schubert/Tchaikovsky]

Antal Doráti – The Mercury Masters – The Stereo Recordings

“The playing is excellent … The Suite, for all that it is so rarely heard, could well become a popular favourite like the Concerto for Orchestra.” Gramophone, December 1956 (Bartók: Suite No.2)

“The performance is decidedly suggestive and skilful, reproduced with a sensitivity to the complex score that captures more of its finer essences than anyone but the conductor usually can hear.” High Fidelity, February 1957 (Strauss: Der Rosenkavalier suite)

“The most vivid and theatrical of all the Petrouchkas on record.” Gramophone, July 1957 (Stravinsky: Petrouchka)

“The recording is sensationally fine, the interpretation generally brilliant, sensitive, and penetrating.” High Fidelity, December 1957 (Bartók: Violin Concerto No. 2)

“This is a big, romantic piece, despite the considered logic of its organization, and Menuhin plays it in a big, romantic fashion. The technical demands of the score are amply realized; the tone has warmth and nobility, with a touch of morbidezza in the Andante. Doráti and the orchestra are in complete accord with the soloist.” Musical Quarterly, April 1958 (Bartók: Violin Concerto No. 2)

“You well may delight in riding a flamboyantly shocking-pink horse on Doráti’s high-powered merry-go-round.” High Fidelity, April 1958 (Offenbach: Gate Parisienne)

“I have the feeling that I am standing next to the conductor. As a result, the strings and the woodwinds emerge with a clarity that I have seldom heard on records … his is one of the most satisfying readings that I have ever heard of the ‘Eroica’.” Hi-Fi Review, May 1958 (Beethoven: Symphony No. 3)

“A zestful, temperamental, all-out kind of interpretation, sensationally well recorded … Doráti’s performance and Mercury’s sound give the music extraordinary freshness and vividess.” High Fidelity, September 1958 (Copland: Rodeo, etc)

“Under Doráti, the Minneapolis orchestra has developed into an extraordinarily virtuosic ensemble … Doráti spent quite a few years in Texas; he ought to do Rodeo well, and he certainly does.” Hi-Fi Review, October 1958 (Copland: Rodeo, etc.)

“Breath-taking, this Doráti. This sets the seal on my growing conviction that he is the leading exponent of classical ballet scores anywhere … The Minneapolis Orchestra plays like what it has in fact become: one of the top symphonic organizations on either side of the Atlantic.” High Fidelity, January 1959 (Delibes: Coppélia)

“I know of no recording that sets forth as clearly all the details of Brahms’s orchestration.” Music on Record, 1959 (Brahms: Symphony No. 2)

“Doráti’s performance of his own score is the epitome of balletic grace and dramatic gusto; and the present vibrantly lucid, superbly crisp, and beautifully blended stereoism is as technically flawless as it is sonically and melodically intoxicating.” High Fidelity, January 1959 (J. Strauss II: Graduation Ball)

“The sound is quite muscular, but an exquisiteness is revealed that sets the album apart. The Minneapolis orchestra has never sounded so alive nor so subtle.” Hi-Fi Review, February 1959 (Delibes: Coppélia)

“Doráti’s Till is a vigorous rapscallion who misbehaves as tradition dictates and goes to the gallows unreformed.” High Fidelity, May 1959 (Strauss: Till Eulenspiegel)

“Estimable performances of both symphonies which suit Dorati very well, for he is at his best in fleet, athletic music.” Gramophone, May 1959 (Beethoven: Symphonies Nos. 4 & 8)

“Doráti is at his best in delivering these musical bon-bons… superlatively sensitive performance. By all means add it to your library.” Hi-Fi Review, June 1959 (Strauss Family Album)

“Brilliantly vivacious accounts, rhythmically alive and glitteringly played.” Gramophone, July 1959 (Offenbach/J. Strauss)

“There is no doubt that Doráti has a deep and abiding Iove for the music of Bartók. He conducts with a deft and sensitive touch, as well as with humour … a must for the Bartók fan.” Hi-Fi Review, July 1959 (Bartok: : Hungarian Sketches, Romanian Dances)

“Sonically it is hair-raising … The Slavonic Dances are carried off superbly-furious in the right spots, meltingly nostalgic, and everywhere delivered with just the right amount of control … Mr. Doráti is the master to serve the ingredients up on an orchestral platter that will raise goose-pimples.” Hi-Fi Review, June 1959 (Dvorak: Slavonic Dances)

“Dorati’s capacity for getting pointed playing serves him well in Rossini … Enjoyable in every way.” Gramophone, January 1960 (Rossini: Overtures)

“There probably isn’t a better Scheherazade around.” High Fidelity, January 1960 (Rimsky-Korsakov: Scheherazade, stereo version)

“Doráti is very much at home in Mussorgsky’s picture gallery. He has captured the spirit of each movement and is careful to bring out all the important details, yet nothing is dragged or made ponderous.” High Fidelity, March 1960 (Mussorgsky: Pictures at an Exhibition)

“Recording, as is always the case with Mercury and the Minneapolis Symphony, is as fine as it comes. The interpretation sounds excellent in both cases.” High Fidelity, September 1961 (Schuller)

“The finest performance of it is undoubtedly the one by Doráti and the Minneapolis Orchestra, fiery, colourful and warm-blooded and superbly recorded.” Tempo, December 1962 (Kodály: Háry Janos)

“Polished, complete, and charming music of an old-fashioned and familiar type. It is hardly surprising that Doráti manages a convincing reading of his own music; the Minneapolis Orchestra does its part in fine style. The chamber performance, recorded under the composer’s supervision, is equally commendable.” High Fidelity, September 1963 (Doráti: Symphony; Nocturne and Capriccio)