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Thread: 5 Conductors- 10 more years

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    Assistant Administrator Chi_townPhilly's Avatar
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    Default 5 Conductors- 10 more years

    I thought this might be an interesting topic for people to consider: if you could add 10 quality years to any 5 conductors, whom would you choose? Unless blatantly obvious (e.g.: my final example), please give a reason for your selection(s). O.K: I'll start-
    5) Giuseppe Sinopoli 1946-2001. Love him or hate him (and there are plenty of people who fall into the latter category), he would have made musical statements that would have given all of us something to talk about. It would not have been boring.
    4) Wilhelm Furtwangler 1886-1954. He lived to age 68, so it's problematic to say "career cut short." However, he died at an "historically inconvenient" point in history. Another 10 years would have taken him deep into the stereo era, and enrich our collective recorded music legacy.
    3) Klaus Tennstedt 1926-1998. Even longer lived than Furtwangler (died age 71). Two provisos: a) deserved a better fate than having been a non-entity behind the iron curtain for all those years, and b) 10 healthy years might have moved him from the category of "great conductor" to immortal Music Director.
    2) Istvan Kertesz 1929-1973. Died in tragic drowning accident aged 42. Perhaps the most prominent example of "posterity being cheated." To borrow the Norton text's comment on Keats, "what he could have accomplished had he lived is beyond conjecture."
    1) Gustav Mahler 1860-1911. For reasons that really don't have that much to do with his conducting.
    The hardest knife ill us'd doth lose his edge. Shakespeare- Sonnet 95

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    I don't feel like I'm ready to write anything about conductors, but perhaps I can travesty your thread into 5 Instrumentalists - 10 more years. Can I?

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    Assistant Administrator Chi_townPhilly's Avatar
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    Feel free, Senor M. Consider the subject transmuted--- originally, I had thought to make it about composers, but I expected the usual (but understandable) names Mozart/Schubert/Mendelssohn/Bizet/Chopin would be proferred. As for instrumentalists... you're more qualified to give detail on the obvious Ginette Neveu. Another seemingly equally obvious mention is Jacqueline DuPre, with the proviso that, even though her Master Class contributions were considerable, I'd wish for 10 more healthy performing years. Should Michael Rabin merit a mention? To be sure... but I don't know if he'd make the cut down to 5. That should get things started.
    The hardest knife ill us'd doth lose his edge. Shakespeare- Sonnet 95

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    Senior Member opus67's Avatar
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    I can't possibly put down such a list, but I have read in lots of places that Fernec Fricsay was a wonderful conductor who died early at the age of 47. So, maybe, I would choose him. I have the recording of Beethoven's 9th with Fricsay conducting the Berliner Philharmoniker, the first stereo recording of the symphony.
    Regards,
    Navneeth

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    Quote Originally Posted by Chi_town/Philly View Post
    Feel free, Senor M. Consider the subject transmuted--- originally, I had thought to make it about composers, but I expected the usual (but understandable) names Mozart/Schubert/Mendelssohn/Bizet/Chopin would be proferred. As for instrumentalists... you're more qualified to give detail on the obvious Ginette Neveu. Another seemingly equally obvious mention is Jacqueline DuPre, with the proviso that, even though her Master Class contributions were considerable, I'd wish for 10 more healthy performing years. Should Michael Rabin merit a mention? To be sure... but I don't know if he'd make the cut down to 5. That should get things started.
    Neveu, DuPré, Rabin... Cheater, you took all the great ones. Let's try a few others..

    William Kapell: I haven't listened to anything from him in the last two years, but I remember I really liked his stuff. Particularly his Prok 3rd. (But who knows, he could have been degenerated into other Earl Wild or Ralph Votapek... )

    (More to come, but I have to study now...)

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    Assistant Administrator Chi_townPhilly's Avatar
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    To Opus: Thanks! My original idea isn't dead yet! Bravo for the mention of Fricsay, another example of "posterity being cheated." He succumed to cancer, too (as did Tennstedt). A "quick-and-dirty" review of my sources shows that Fricsay had the same birth-year (1914) as Carlo-Maria Giulini, Rafael Kubelik, and Kirill Kondrashin. [Now that I think of it, we could have profited from more years from Kondrashin (died 1981).] His career arc was no less elevated than that set of collegues (an excellent case could be made that it was more elevated). To Sr. Manuel... I merely mentioned some names for instrumentalists-- I didn't discuss their nonpareil artistry. We can still do so.
    Last edited by Chi_townPhilly; May-03-2007 at 18:02. Reason: correct spelling error
    The hardest knife ill us'd doth lose his edge. Shakespeare- Sonnet 95

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    Senior Member opus67's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by opus67 View Post
    Fernec Fricsay was a wonderful conductor who died early at the age of 47.
    A correction: He was nearly 49 when he died.
    Regards,
    Navneeth

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    Well, the beta list for instrumentalists seems to be in (with a BIG assist from Senor M.), and it is (I shudder at providing an ordinal ranking, so list is chronological):
    Ginette Neveu- 1919-1949: Violinist- perished in airplane crash aged 30. Powerful sound still shines through on the monaural bequeathment to posterity.
    William Kapell- 1922-1953: Pianist- another plane accident victim, died at 31. Clarity mated to vigor was the hallmark of his best performances.
    Michael Rabin- 1936-1972: Violinist- official judgement was that he died in accidental fall, aged 35. More mystery is attendant upon his career arc than any other on this list. Not wanting to engage in the unsubstantiated, I'll merely say that, at his best, he was one of the very great ones.
    Glenn Gould- 1932-1982: Pianist- died from cerebrovascular accident aged 50. A "thinking person's musician," his legacy is primarily his well-thought-out studio recordings. He was re-emerging in public life (albeit with the baton rather than at the keyboard) shortly prior to his passing.
    Jacqueline Du Pre- 1945-1987: Cellist- debilitated due to multiple sclerosis, retired from performance at age 28. Redirected remaining energies to master-class instruction. On the very short list of most emotionally fulfilling Cellists to ever play that instrument.
    The hardest knife ill us'd doth lose his edge. Shakespeare- Sonnet 95

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    Quote Originally Posted by Chi_town/Philly View Post
    Well, the beta list for instrumentalists seems to be in (with a BIG assist from Senor M.), and it is (I shudder at providing an ordinal ranking, so list is chronological):
    Ginette Neveu- 1919-1949: Violinist- perished in airplane crash aged 30. Powerful sound still shines through on the monaural bequeathment to posterity.
    Her pianist brother died in the same crash.



    Dinu Lipatti: Not enough good things to say about him. Just one bad thing: he died in his thirties.

    Ten more years of Leonid Kogan, wouldn't have done any harm.

    And ten extra years of recordings by Miron Polyakin would have been great. He was the russian Kreisler, a true poet. (The austrian Kreisler was Kreisler himself, and the brittish Kreisler was Albert Sammons ). Try to catch Polyakin in his recording of the Glazunov concerto.

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    Senior Member World Violist's Avatar
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    Back to conductors, a lot of people would find this really rather silly of me to say, but Leonard Bernstein I deeply wish had lived 10 more years... heck, maybe even just two. Think about it a minute: he was about to perform/record Mahler's 8th (and the adagio of the 10th) with the Vienna Philharmonic and make recordings of Sibelius' 3rd, 4th, and 6th with that same orchestra, which were cut short by his death. I have a feeling that had he lived long enough to do those we would have one of the greatest Mahler 8th's (and 10th adagio) of all time as well as one hell of a Sibelius 4th (literally and colloquially). Now only useless speculation is left.

    John Barbirolli is one of those I would have loved to have lived at least one more year: in 1971 he was scheduled to record Mahler's 7th with the Berlin Philharmonic. His death in 1970 deprived the world of what would surely have been the great Mahler 7th; I am told his BBC recording is extraordinarily atmospheric, and this was from 1960. Knowing Barbirolli, his view on the work would have matured drastically since that performance. This is one of the greatest losses to recorded music, in my opinion, without exception. Again, all that's left is useless speculation.

    Robert Kajanus, had he not been completely debilitated the last several years of his life, would have been very interesting to hear from in the years when recorded music began to hit its stride (in the 1930's and '40s). True, we have his views on Sibelius' 1st, 2nd, 3rd, and 5th symphonies, as well as Tapiola, Pohjola's Daughter, and a few other pieces, but I would have wanted a whole symphony cycle from him (which is the closest we would have to Sibelius himself conducting them; they were very close friends). Not as big a loss as Barbirolli, as we have several first-rate Sibelius symphony cycles by Finnish orchestras and conductors, but a loss to history nonetheless. And those are always painful.

    Glenn Gould would have been interesting to hear from on the podium (all puns intended).

    And I agree with CTP about Gustav Mahler, but for a reason other than the 10th: what if it was he who made the first recording of one of his works? One might have to wish for 20 years rather than 10, but I'm pretty sure that had he conducted for the gramophone it would still be in circulation today.
    You get a frog in your throat, you sound hoarse.

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    Now I will add a singer to the list of those lost too young. Fritz Wunderlich was an amazing tenor who had great talent. He died at age 36 as the result of a fall. Also don't forget all the great musicians including composers and conductors murdered by the Nazis.

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    I'd like to add the American pianist Julius Katchen, who died of cancer in his early 40's.

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    1. Jean Martinon - He could have recorded another Debussy and Ravel cycle that would make us rethink these two composers yet again.

    2. Richard Hickox - His life was cut very short, but in the time he had he managed to become an excellent interpreter of not so well known English composers like Bliss and John Ireland for example.

    3. Bryden Thomson - I think all Martinu fans will be indebted to Thomson for recording his symphonies, but also all Bax fans would have even more to buy! How many recordings do we have of Hamilton Harty? Virtually none until Thomson came along.

    4. Vernon Handley - Another excellent example of why we should be thankful for conductors of Handley's taste and artistic choices. He invigorated classical listeners with his Bax, Vaughan Williams, and Simpson recordings. I think we all are thankful for his dedication to preserving and introducing new listeners to English classical music.

    5. Leonard Bernstein - He could have recorded some more Mahler....enough said.
    Last edited by Mirror Image; Apr-27-2009 at 08:35.

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    Senior Member handlebar's Avatar
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    Most certainly:

    1-Mahler: To have recordings from him (other than Welte-Minon piano rolls) would be incedible. Then we might have a better idea as to how he wanted his own works performed. Imagine Mahler conducting the Vienna Philharmonic in his symphonies! Granted, they would be acoustic and not electric with but 10 years added on. But who cares!!!

    2-Sinopoli- Agreed. He was a world class talent and had so much more to offer.

    3-Furtwangler- Granted, he had quite a career and left us many delightful recordings. But he had so many problems after the war that he just could not get traction again.I would loved to hear his Mahler symphonies.

    4-Istvan Kertesz-Indeed!!! He showed such promise and would have become a very preeminent conductor.

    Jim

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    *without being too unrealistic*

    1. Bernstein -- the conductor Im currently under was an assisstant to him and I love her conducting style. would be wonderful to see howthey compare.

    2. Moses Hogan -- the authority of the african american spiritual who died at the young age of 45.

    3. Robert Shaw -- american giant in choral conducting and a legend in the south east usa.

    4. Andre Thomas -- probably the most sought after choral conductor in america, still working at FSU. Really would like to do my grad work with him :P

    5. Eric Whitare -- amazing clinician, and composer. would love to put a few years under him and see where he thinks choral music is heading.

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