Szell conducts Czech music

"It is not possible at the hour of writing to say as much about the remarkable performances of Mr. Szell as they deserve. He is evi­dently a conductor of high rank ... Mr. Szell, in a unique degree, knows how this music should be played and how to make an orchestra play it. And here was that spontaneity, integrity, naturalness and creative glow that American music has yet to attain." - New York Times, 1941

Thus did the New York Times' reviewer greet the second of four concerts George Szell gave with the NBC Symphony Orchestra as guest conductor in the early months of 1941. It followed rave reviews of his debut with the orchestra a few weeks earlier and went on to anticipate the great things to come from Szell in the weeks ahead.

These concerts, broadcast to the nation, served greatly to raise Szell's profile in the country he was to adopt and in which he would carve out a hugely successful career. With this concert of Czech music we hear in amazing sound quality not only familiar works from Dvořák and Smetana, but also Szell's own brilliant orchestration of the latter's first string quartet, "From My Life". It really is a superb document of the dawning of a stellar career.