Diapason d'Or de l' Année - Diapason Magazine (2008)
Choc du Monde de la Musique - Le Monde de la Musique (2008)
In the year of the centenary of the birth of Karel Ančerl, one of the most distinguished conductors of the 20th century, this DVD is an invaluable and authentic document of magnificent artistic achievement and a turbulent life. The recording of the opening concert of Prague Spring 1968 captures Ančerl's performance of Smetana's My Country with the Czech Philharmonic which - over the 18 years he was at the helm - he managed to transform into one of the world's finest symphony orchestras. Ančerl's "harvest" of the fruit of many years of diligentwork was in fact also the beginning of his leave-taking from his orchestra, as well as his homeland itself. At the time of the Soviet-led invasion of Czechoslovakia in August 1968 the conductor found himself in Toronto. Save for a single guest appearance in Prague in 1969, he was never to return to his country. The second filmed concert shows Ančerl in action in 1966 with the Czech Philharmonic Orchestra and the outstanding Polish violinist Henryk Szeryng performing Beethoven's violin concerto. The 1968 documentary is a unique encounter with Karel Ančerl. This compact picture of his true personality is supplemented by a comprehensive booklet containing a plethora of fascinating and not generally known biographical information.