American Record Guide
, September 2008
This is a superb performance. It is also a very slow one—even a little slower than Kubelik's concert recording with the Czech Philharmonic six years later (78:17 compared to 77:45). Most other good performances take 75 or 76 minutes. The result is a rare feeling of muscular power that isn't found in many other recordings of Ma Vlast. In an interview that accompanies this performance, Kubelik stresses that this is the supreme work of musical patriotism for the Czech people. He twice performed it in Prague's old town square: once with the Czech Philharmonic in June 1945 to celebrate the end of German occupation and once in June of 1990, with the combined Czech Philharmonic, Brno Philharmonic, and Slovak Philharmonic-attended by 100,000 people! He also began the custom in 1946 of opening the Prague Spring Festival with it.
It shouldn't be assumed that the whole performance is slow. His tempos are flexible; and sometimes, near the end of Vltava, Sarka, and Blanik, he is quicker than anyone else that I can recall.
The videotaping is quite good, though I could do without the double and triple images. The cameras concentrate on Kubelik and show us how acutely he controls the orchestra and how happy he generally is with its work.
This issue also contains a two-page essay "A Life With Ma Vlast" about Kubelik's life and his connection with Ma Vlast. The sound is good, but not outstanding for a 1984 recording. The Munich audience is very enthusiastic at the end. This and Kubelik's 1990 concert recording from the Prague Spring Festival are my two favorites now for this work.