Janacek: Sinfonietta, Taras Bulba - Ančerl

Janacek: Sinfonietta, Taras Bulba - Ančerl

Columbia x Tower Records  TWSA-1053

Stereo Hybrid

Classical - Orchestral

Janacek: Sinfonietta, Taras Bulba
Stravinsky: Symphony of Psalms

Czech Philharmonic Chorus
Czech Philharmonic Orchestra
Karel Ančerl (conductor)

Support this site by purchasing from these vendors using the links provided below.
As an Amazon Associate earns from qualifying purchases.


Add to your wish list | library


4 of 4 recommend this, would you recommend it?  yes | no

Analogue recording
Comments (18)

Comment by Tony Reif - February 8, 2019 (1 of 18)

If you love Janacek you'll want to hear the Sinfonietta and Taras Bulba in high-res, because these are the reference performances of these wonderful pieces, against which all others are measured. David Hurwitz extols their many virtues at Classics Today, and even opines that the Sinfonietta is the best-SOUNDING recording ever. Since then we've had, for one, the Gardner/Bergen SACDs, and these 1961 recordings could never approach their clarity and impact in, for example, the magnificent finale of Taras (a piece Gardner conducts particularly well). But taken on their own terms they are certainly effective enough to do justice to Ancerl's commanding yet humane vision and the glorious playing of the CPO. Compared to the Ancerl Edition remaster, the Sinfonietta is much brighter and reveals quite a lot more detail; it feels truer to the master tape. This is a gripping, edge-of-your seat experience, whereas the CD sounds toned-down, more comfortable - but these are wild, pagan, mythic works, and the sound here works for them. If they had been recorded a couple of years later they would likely have been less etched, more refined and spacious, like the great work the same engineer, Miroslav Kulhan, did on the Shostakovich 1 in 1964. His recording of the Symphony of Psalms, from 1966, is not quite on that level, but it's good, and the performance is very much worth hearing. Still, I would have preferred some Martinu...

Comment by hiredfox - February 17, 2019 (2 of 18)

Hi Tony

Where did you buy it?


Comment by Tony Reif - February 18, 2019 (3 of 18)

From Tower, through Buyee. Here's how it works. Go to, search on Janacek Ancerl SACD, copy the catalog # (TWSA-1053 in this case), then click on the Buyee link at the top of the page, go to the Buyee website and search on the cat# to find the item. Now you can purchase it from Buyee. Once Buyee receives your order from Tower they will notify you so that you can pay them for overseas shipping via EMS or another option. Make sure you choose their "light" shipping service, which is free.

Comment by hiredfox - February 19, 2019 (4 of 18)

Thanks Tony.

Those old Supraphon LP's from the Czech Republic were simply outstanding and often far superior to the standard UK pressings of the day. I don't have this one but "Ma Vlast" is a regularly spun favourite of this household.

OK, even SACD doesn't reproduce the atmosphere and emotion of performance as convincingly as that conveyed by good vinyl pressings but from your comments this disc may be the next best thing.

Comment by hiredfox - February 25, 2019 (5 of 18)

I was able to order the disc through CDJapan who use a proxy service to source from outside their usual supplier list. At least they do it all in English. I couldn't make head nor tail of the Buyee link as a non-Japanese speaking numb-skull!

Cost including all charges was £24 and this is a good alternative sourcing route for those wishing to buy.

Comment by Tony Reif - March 2, 2019 (6 of 18)

If you use Chrome to translate the various web pages it's pretty clear.

Comment by hiredfox - April 6, 2019 (7 of 18)

Spot on assessment and recommendation Tony, one of the best SACD transfers out there and a worthy reproduction of the vinyl sound. Huge three dimensional soundstage and dynamic range to match. Not cheap 'though, price coupled with import duty charges make this a luxury lunatic fringe purchase but thoroughly recommendable.

Comment by Tony Reif - April 6, 2019 (8 of 18)

Hey John, glad to hear it sounds so good through your speakers - I always wonder how well my impressions listening through the Stax 009s will correlate. As for price, these Tower Supraphons are quite a lot less expensive than new DG SHM-SACDs, and if you order through Buyee you don't pay for shipping from Tower or any handling/packing charge (if you choose Buyee's "light" option). Btw 3 more Ancerls are being released on April 10, including Stravinsky (Rite, Petruchka) and Barok's Concerto for Orchestra along with Dvorak's Hussite Overture and Night on Bare Mountain. All engineered by Frantisek Burda rather than Miroslav Kulhan, who recorded these pieces and who was IMO the better engineer. I've ordered them anyway and will report back.

Comment by hiredfox - April 7, 2019 (9 of 18)

Tony, I have Summit X electrostatic hybrids with huge Krell power behind them and believe me the brass fanfare that opens Taras Bulba shattered my ear-drums with their sonic intensity, just as uncomfortable as the real thing but hugely enjoyable.

Comment by STEVEN J DEMENA - May 9, 2019 (10 of 18)

Are these hybrid SACDs? If so did you compare the CD layer with the SACD layer? Thanks.

Comment by Tony Reif - May 9, 2019 (11 of 18)

I have not listened to the CD layers. Tower only says that they are derived from the new DSD masters (which were created by Supraphon, with additional mastering in Japan apparently).

Comment by hiredfox - May 10, 2019 (12 of 18)

There is a CD layer but like Tony, I have not listened to it.

Comment by Athenaeus - July 7, 2020 (13 of 18)

I don't own any previous CD or vinyl releases, so I can't say whether or how the SACD release is an improvement. However, judging this disc without making any comparisons I find it superb, especially the two Janáček pieces. Both the performance and the sound are stellar. If you don't have this disc yet, I really recommend you add it to your collection. This is the first of Tower Records' Ančerl reissues I buy; but the Janáček is so good I will certainly be ordering more titles from the series.

Comment by Tony Reif - July 8, 2020 (14 of 18)

Glad to hear you liked it, but I really should add to my original comment that the bass of the late 50s/early 60s Supraphons is generally quite weak, and that's true of the two Janacek pieces here, plus the imaging is not up to modern standards (or to Living Stereo or Mercury Living Presence). One exception is the Shostakovich 5 from 1961 - it's in fact very good, very close to the superb Shostakovich 1 from 1964, and (correcting my previous comments about it) much better than these Janaceks. I have several other Ancerls that I haven't commented on yet - if anyone is interested in particular releases I'll try to rate them.

Comment by DYB - July 12, 2020 (15 of 18)

I love all of these Supraphon/Tower issues!

But I wanted to mention that there's an easier way to use Buyee at Tower Japan: you can install a Buyee extension for Chrome (I use Chrome; it does not work on Safari). The extension simply lets you add the titles on the Tower web-site directly into the Buyee cart. You can then check out at Buyee. The extension can be downloaded from the Buyee web-site.

Comment by John Bacon-Shone - July 16, 2020 (16 of 18)

For iPhone there’s also a Buyee app

Comment by Athenaeus - July 20, 2020 (17 of 18)

I listened to the Janáček again this weekend with Tony's comments in mind. Granted, the bass could have a bit more oomph. However, the strings and the brass sound so good, the conducting and the playing are so fine that, in my opinion, one simply doesn't notice any of the (quite minor) shortcomings these recordings might have.

This is the only disc I have had a chance to order from Tower Records' Ančerl series. The next one on my list is the Mahler 1 and 9 disc. No one has commented on it or recommended it on this site yet. There are no customer reviews on Tower Records' website either. If anybody has had the opportunity to listen to it, please don't hesitate to post a comment under that release's page. Thanks.

Comment by hiredfox - July 21, 2020 (18 of 18)

You must listen to

Smetana: Má Vlast - Ančerl

Absolute knock-out. If I were you this would be my next purchase from the series. You'll not regret it.