Kathleen Battle & Karel Ančerl – What The Critics Said

Kathleen Battle

“A radiant and joyous experience for performers and listeners alike. The Fauré songs are so seductively coloured, and the spirituals convey at once such animation and so much unassuming dignity.” Stereo Review, April 1987 (Carnegie Hall Recital)

“There’s something about Battle’s singing which disarms me completely. In the long-lined numbers especially, she is so poised, pure, and breathtakingly lovely that I hang, ensorcelled, on every phrase.” Fanfare, March 1989 (Schubert: Lieder)

“The singing is con amore throughout the programme, with just the right touch of humour or tenderness or whatever each selection calls for.” Stereo Review, October 1989 (‘Live in Tokyo’)

“The scene from L’elisir d’amore … is graceful in character, wholly delightful, and the Romeo and Juliet nuptial duet combines passion and musical sensitivity… Warmly recommended.” Opera, December 1989 (‘Live in Tokyo’)

“This disc should please virtually everyone … Kathleen Battle and Jessye Norman, in splendid vocal form, give unstintingly of themselves.” Stereo Review, August 1991 (‘Spirituals in Concert’)

“It’s inspiriting to hear beauty and, yes, voluptuousness restored to Bach’s music … she brings to ‘Ich traue seiner Gnaden’ a silken smoothness far beyond the capacity of most of today’s Bach specialists.” Fanfare, July 1992 (‘The Bach Album’)

“Her encores include ‘Depuis le jour’, a lovely, intimate dream of a performance.” Gramophone, July 1992 (Carnegie Hall Recital)

“I am not a religious person, but I recall sitting in the opera house one afternoon and silently thanking whatever gods might be for letting me live long enough to hear Kathleen Battle … For sheer singing, this is one of the most exciting records to come my way in a long time.” Fanfare, September 1991 (Spirituals)

“A joyous collaboration, the sort of thing that happens when two superior talents that have much in common join in common cause… [Battle and Previn] touch this record with the special magic that could bring it a cult of admirers. My only regret is that it is all over much too soon.” Fanfare, March 1996 (‘Honey and Rue’)

“Kathleen Battle is a voice, but she is also an artist. When she opens her mouth, most of the rest doesn’t matter… Knoxville: Summer of 1915 is a knockout.” Stereo Review, March 1996 (‘Honey and Rue’)

“‘Ruhe sanft’ is ideally suited to Battle’s golden voice, which soars with the ease of a bird in flight across a cloudless sky.” Stereo Review, December 1997 (Mozart: Opera Arias)

“Even better are her adorable Zerlina and Susanna, roles she really brings to life. Her ‘Batti, batti’ in particular has an affecting personal warmth… Levine is a knowing and authoritative accompanist, and his orchestra plays expertly.” Fanfare, January 1998 (Mozart: Opera Arias)

Karel Ančerl

“The most superlative orchestral playing … There is a neatness and point to the string and wind playing alike that is only seldom heard, even on record.” Gramophone, September 1956 (Shostakovich: Symphony No. 10)

“Ančerl takes the [Nutcracker] Suite at lively tempi … Recommended.” Gramophone, October 1959 (Tchaikovsky)

“The balance is right … Detail, even the softest timpani notes, is remarkably clear … Ančerl’s performance is as honest as the recording.” Gramophone, October 1959 (Tchaikovsky: Symphony No. 4)

“The performance it receives here is an authoritative, devoted and highly polished one, completely worthy of the noble score.” High Fidelity, June 1960 (Dvořák: Requiem)

“Schneiderhan’s account of the Stravinsky Violin Concerto is splendidly alert and astringent, and the Berlin orchestra under Karel Ančerl gives deft and expert support.” Gramophone, August 1971 (Stravinsky: Violin Concerto)

“This is an outstanding release … Ančerl’s fervent performance leaves little to be desired. The choral singing is superb; both chorus and orchestra – in a sense, the home team – know the idiom full well. The soloists, imports all, are no less splendid, individually and collectively.” Fanfare, January 2004 (Dvořák: Requiem)

“A taut, uneccentric reading, with tempos that always seem just right … Listeners will have no trouble hearing that Ančerl is to the manner born in these works from the core Czech repertoire.” Fanfare, September 2015 (Dvořák: Symphony No.9; Smetana: Vltava)

“There was nothing routine about Ančerl’s interpretations. He had a superb grasp of a work’s architecture, and he possessed an uncanny ability, in a subtle but most effective manner, to ratchet up the excitement and tension in the ‘big’ moments … I can’t imagine anyone being disappointed by the quality of the music making to be found here.” Fanfare, January 2018 (Complete Philips Recordings)

“The work is magnificently laid out by the conductor and the playing alternates inwardness and force in ideal proportions.” Gramophone, August 2003 (Shostakovich: Symphony No. 10)