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Robert Shaw. Haha :)
But beyond that, do you have favorite conductors?
There are so many! But I will limit myself to the one conductor who made me understand that conducting can ideally be so much more than just directing musical traffic, schmoozing patrons and giving audiences something entertaining to watch.
Carlo Maria Giulini-his tempi could verge on the painfully slow and his repertoire was relatively limited (he only played what he genuinely loved, feeling he could never convincingly interpret something he felt no affinity with), but when he believed in something, when he loved it, he could make you love it too, no matter what it was. I have never seen another musician with such whole-hearted, selfless, unquestioning devotion to music. He was one of the greats and I feel blessed that as a young girl I had multiple opportunities to hear him conduct while he was music director of the Los Angeles Philharmonic.
The best concert I have ever attended was in Nottingham around 1971. Jasca Horenstein was touring with Paul Tortelier and, I think, the LSO. On the menu was an overture, the Elgar Cello Concerto and a Bruckner symphony.
The atmosphere was incandescent at the interval and the cheering and applause went on for an age. This was more than repeated after the interval. To this day the memory of that concert is vivid.
Since then I have sought out Horenstain recordings, rarely being disappointed.
When I attended Westminster Choir College, we had opportunities to work with many wonderful conductors. One that stands out in my mind is Leonard Bernstein, conducting Hadyn's Lord Nelson Mass. All of the musicians-- orchestra, choir, soloists-- were so eager to follow him. Every move he made was so clear--you knew exactly what he wanted. In my four years at the Choir College, I never saw the New York Philharmonic respond better to a conductor.
For sheer power, Seiji Ozawa was an awesome conductor for the Berlioz Requiem. Just remembering the buildup that he gave the bass section to the Tuba Mirum gives me chills.
6AudraLRose First Message
I've always had great affection for Karajan's recordings with the Berlin Phil--an unparalled marriage in the realm of conductors and orchestras. Also, I think the Chicago Symphony under Fritz Reiner was quite good.
Anyone have a favorite conductor/orchestra for Mahler's symphonies?
My favorite Mahler conductors are Bernstein and Gielen. The symphonies need a range of interpretations, however, to understand...so I think that Boulez, Segerstam, and probably Kubelik (among many others) are important.
My most vivid musical memory is Kent Nagano conducting Mahler's 9th in London many years ago, I forget which orchestra. I was lucky enough to have front row seats. In the back desk of the second violins was a young male violinist who was obviously new to the orchestra. All the way through the final movement, this professional player wept, silently and deeply, without losing concentration for a minute.
I think that says something about the conductor.
to respond to audra rose's query earlier (message #6) ... you might like to read this page: http://turing.cs.camosun.bc.ca:8080/Mahler where some mahler lover (who doesn't appear to identify himself) gives an extensive comparison of many recordings of each of mahler's works.
they may be old, but the bruno walter recordings of the 1st, 2nd, 4th, and 5th mahler symphonies have always seemed really good to me. i like horenstein's recordings too.
i should also mention that maurice abravanel's recording with the utah symphony of the mahler 4th is wonderful. the soprano Netania Davrath sounds really glorious in the final movement. her voice has a lovely pure innocent quality that really fits perfectly with the childlike simplicity the poetry depicts.
Here are two lists of recommended Mahler symphonies by Mahler lovers. There is a set of recommendations, but I can't find the web address where I found them. First, the recommendations:
They were from 4 sources - from Metal to Mozart, 200 classical cornerstones - columbia house, AMG Elewine and bultman and NPR Ted Libbey. The recommendations agreed on by these reviewers were:
Das Lied-Klemperer/Philharmonia/Ludwig/Wunderlich/angel/EMI classics CDC
No. 1-Haitink/Berlin PO
No.2 - Klemperer/Philadelphia
Live recording- No. 2 again- Bernstein/NYPO
No.5 Bernstein/Vienna PO
No.9 Horenstein/french National Orchestra
Here are the two sets of reviews and lists:
and an Amazon Listmania list with links to purchase new and used by Daniel Graser
I personally have mostly Bernstein and Bruno Walter,
but I didn't study others before I bought them. I just liked Bernstein's Mahler.
The turing.camosun link given a few messages back is to work of Deryk Barker. He used to be a regular fixture of various internet classical music forums, though I think I've seen rather less of him lately.
Smart, nice guy with more of a taste for the old middle Europeans than me.
Donald Runnicles, the Principal Guest Conductor with the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra!
He's a lefty...and Scottish.
I like watching Joanne Faletta; she has cute shoes.
I am in way over my head here, but I often find myself appreciating, often, again, for the first time, something by Neemi Jarvi. I got my start with him on his recordings of Dvorak's symphonies and some shorter pieces to fill the disk.
There are so many great conductors, each with interpretive specialties that makes them hard to beat in those styles. One maestro that always impresses me with his great attention to detail and masterful interpretation no matter whose music he conducts is Neville Mariner. Another intriguing conductor is Michael Tilson-Thomas. I have never had the pleasure to attend a concert where he is conducting, but I have seen him on video discussing music and playing examples on the piano. In these I found him inspirational.
One of the great all-time performances I went to was in the mid 1970's with Leopold Stokowski conducting the Philadelphia Orchestra performing Mahler's 2nd Symphony (Resurrection) at the Academy of Music. I don't believe this was recorded. Upon finishing the final note, the entire audience rose up simultaeously in applause.
I used to live in the Detroit area, and loved Neemi Jarvi. He had such an impish smile sometimes about certain encores. His enthusiasm was infectious.
I do not play an instrument, but grew up watchiing Leonard Bernstein on tv with the Young Peoples Concerts. I wish someone would do those again. Children today are not as exposed to classical music as they used to be. I also really enjoy Micheal Tilson Thomas.
Another conudctor, who did a fantastic job in Detroit with the works of Olivier Messiaen, sometime in the 1980's was Stanisław Skrowaczewski. Messiaen came as there was a North American premiere.
Two conductors in Boston come to mind, Charles Munch and Seiji Ozawa. Munch was known for French music, and he was Alsatian. And I should mention also Eugene Ormandy whom I probably heard more than anyone else, while living in Philadelphia.
I don't know much about conductors, but my new novel, "Conscience Point," deals with two concert pianists. The book is filled with music -- quite a literary challenge, as you can imagine, to capture the spirit of Chopin, Schubert, etc. in words.
I will put a vote in for Sir George Solti.
If you recall back in the late 80's there was a series called Orchestra! on public TV. That was my first (that I was aware of) encounter with him.
I have been waiting for the series to come out on DVD and it now has. If you are interested, grab it now!
This made me start searching on Amazon for recordings by Solti. I was surprised to see several negative comments about his conducting. I really don't have to care about that.
What I like about Solti - at least a few pieces I have heard - is that he does not rush through the music. On the Orchestra! DVD, he leads a group of young musicians through Strauss's Don Juan. I remember it so vividly the first time I saw it. Later, I tried to find a recording of Solti of it but could not. I purchased another conductor and thought the music was rushed and the performance flat (as in excitement, not pitch).
And of course the most famous Solti is the 1960's recording of Wagner's Ring. I have that one!
I have decided to increase my collection of Solti and explore even more.
When I was a teenager back in the seventies, I fell in love with the orchestral music of Richard Strauss, thanks to Fritz Reiner and the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, whose recordings from the 1950s and 1960s were available on an RCA budget label. They still sound great today.
Then, as now, I found Ernest Ansermet and the Suisse Romande Orchestra dependable when it came to French and Russian music. Stand-out recordings (of the same vintage as Reiner/CSO) are Ravel's Mother Goose Suite and Apollo by Stravinsky.
vpfluke, Munch was probably the finest Berlioz conductor of his era and one of the finest of any era. Most of his great Berlioz recordings with the BSO from the mid 1950s and early 1960s have been recently reissued and are well worth seeking out.
I like Boulez in Mahler (probably a minority opinion), and Szell in most anything (don't neglect his Mozart recordings). Often, though, it's quite difficult for me to know whether it's the conductor I like or the orchestra.
One case where I was sure it was the conductor was when I saw Rostropovich lead the Shin-Nihon Philharmonic in a Shostakovich symphony some years back. I had season tickets to the Shin-Nihon then. I liked the orchestra a lot: they were young, lively, and fresh. But when Rostropovich got up on the box and lead them in the work of a composer dear to his heart, they were an entirely different band.
When the last notes of the symphony had sounded, it seemed all the orchestra could do not to give each other high-fives. They didn't restrain themselves from exchanging hugs with Misha as he wandered through the orchestra congratulating the players in exuberantly Russian—and definitely not Japanese—fashion.
26> 27> Munch and the BSO are on fine form in the Symphony in B flat by Chausson and Debussy's Printemps. I don't know if these performances have been released on to CD, though they ought to be.
I too have heard good things about Munch's Berlioz recordings, though I'm afraid I'm not familiar with them.
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