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Thread: Solti.........great?

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    Senior Member Itullian's Avatar
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    Question Solti.........great?

    Not imho. God Bless him. Other than that Ring.
    Even his Mahler, to me, is muscled through. He seemed like a likable character, but his stuff doesn't do it for me. I mean, it's OK, but.... You?

    Chime in please

    Maybe he's on the fence? I don't know.

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    Senior Member elgars ghost's Avatar
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    I think in the works I've heard Solti's no more muscular than the likes of, say, von Karajan. If the work warranted a certain amount of heft - as Wagner, Mahler and Bruckner often does - then Sir Georg could obviously oblige (perhaps reaching its apogee when helming the Chicago SO) but I wouldn't say he ever overdid this aspect at the expense of my listening experience. In works such as those by Bartok where perhaps more subtlety and 'twitchiness' is required he seemed no less effective. Great conductor? Definitely, but definitely also an acquired taste.

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    Senior Member itywltmt's Avatar
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    I believe it was Furtwangler who said that he thought highly of Solti "as a pianist", and kind of dissd him as a conductor.

    I think Solti is at his best when he attacks "no hold barred" repertoire - read: not the subtle stuff. I just LOVE his recording of the Liszt tone poems, for instance. That's orchestral music where he can just let go, and boy, does he ever!

    As for Mahler, he did issue a complete cycle with the Chicago Symphony on Decca, and I own his version of the 8th and of "Das Lied". In both cases, the soloists are excellent. Of the two, I do enjoy his vision of the 8th, but am on the fence on Das Lied. The litmus test there is the sixth movement (Der abschied) and who can even come close to the Bernstein/WPO recording? In that instance, Solti proves my point that "subtle and transcendent" isn't his forte.

    However, it's not like I can conduct donuts around the man either, so who am I to criticize...
    Last edited by itywltmt; Oct-26-2011 at 13:00.

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    His Verdi Requiem is widely considered to be one of the very best, and I certainly agree with that view.

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    Senior Member kv466's Avatar
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    I grew up listening to Señor Georg Solti and I would say he is great. Is he one of my absolute favorites? Probably not. Is he the best? That's for each of us to decide. But is he 'great'? I'd say yes. A definitive, yes. You kinda don't get to conduct a major orchestra for twenty some odd years and make dozens of recordings if you're not at least a little,...great.

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    Senior Member Itullian's Avatar
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    ok, you win. i like him , sometimes, maybe......

    (not)

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    Senior Member GoneBaroque's Avatar
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    Not one of my favorites. Drove his orchestra and singers too hard for my taste. In his relations with at least some of his singers he did not seem to be a very nice person.
    Rob

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    Senior Member Ukko's Avatar
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    Yes.
    ...
    ...
    I spent a fortune on deodorant before I realized that people don't like me anyway.

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    I think he was a kind of "rhythm man," he's very good with music that's kind of on steroids and fully pumped (like he was, one of the guys who played in an orchestra under him said he was like a Nazi & very pedantic to say the least when it came to the "correct" rhythm/s). I have a recording he did in France of Tchaikovsky's Little Russian as well as other Russian things & it is very vigorous and intense. I think he's good with Bruckner & Mahler as well, & Wagnerian opera was his "calling card."

    Quote Originally Posted by GoneBaroque View Post
    Not one of my favorites. Drove his orchestra and singers too hard for my taste. In his relations with at least some of his singers he did not seem to be a very nice person.
    Yeah I agree he was athoritarian by all accounts, but heaps of musicians aren't or weren't nice people. Mahler, Toscanini, Szell were autocrats, no one would dispute this. In the jazz world, Benny Goodman was an absolute s*** to work with, and I've read similar things about Miles Davis. So the list goes on. These people are objectionable, but they get good results. However, by some or many today, these kinds of autocratic/dictatorial working methods are seen as kind of old hat and of the jurassic era. So in terms of how things are done, you're right, it's not the way to go now. But in terms of what things these guys produced, it's still of a very high level.

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    Senior Member StlukesguildOhio's Avatar
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    Solti is far from being my favorite conductor... if I could even think to nominate a single conductor for such a position. Nevertheless, it would seem to me that his Ring alone would assure him of a position of serious respect... even though there are other brilliant interpretations (including the 4 Ks: Krauss, Knappertsbusch, Kielberth, and Karajan). Solti was less of a great conductor when it came to Richard Strauss. His Elektra and Salome are unrivaled and his Arabella and Die Frau ohne Schatten are certainly among the best. With Verdi his Requiem, La Traviata, and Otello are all highly respected. Other great recordings include Beethoven's Missa Solemnis and the 9th Symphony, Puccini's La Boheme, Bizet's Carmen, Mahler's 8th Symphony, and Wagner's Parsifal. Nothing to sneeze at. If I scrounged through my shelves, I'd probably find others to boot.

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    Senior Member StlukesguildOhio's Avatar
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    Not one of my favorites. Drove his orchestra and singers too hard for my taste. In his relations with at least some of his singers he did not seem to be a very nice person.

    Who cares? Beethoven was a turd. Gesualdo a murderer. Michelangelo was a less than amiable individual. Wagner was an ******* as was Picasso. But they got results.

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    Senior Member StlukesguildOhio's Avatar
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    I agree he was athoritarian by all accounts, but heaps of musicians aren't or weren't nice people. Mahler, Toscanini, Szell were autocrats, no one would dispute this. In the jazz world, Benny Goodman was an absolute s*** to work with, and I've read similar things about Miles Davis. So the list goes on. These people are objectionable, but they get good results. However, by some or many today, these kinds of autocratic/dictatorial working methods are seen as kind of old hat and of the jurassic era. So in terms of how things are done, you're right, it's not the way to go now. But in terms of what things these guys produced, it's still of a very high level.

    I don't know how dated of passe such methods are today, Andre. When one is competing at the highest levels in the arts there is a lot of pressure to produce and the name of the game isn't always Mr. Roger's Neighborhood.

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    Controversial, chance-taker, taskmaster, he was the Screaming Skull for most of his adult life...mellowing to a teddy bear for his later years. He was great interview. Great, as in career? Yes, without question.

    Favorite Solti recs, all with CSO--LvB Syms. 1 & 2 (1989/90), LvB Sym. 9 (1972), Mahler 1 (1983), Mahler 7 (1971).

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  22. #14
    Senior Member Rapide's Avatar
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    Solti was effecktive for a conductor. Some fine Wagner pieces he did.

    And about the man. i think it takes more than just a 'nice guy' sometimes to be effective at what they do especially when one is to be a leader or a conductor in this case. Even Boulez is an **** ...

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    Quote Originally Posted by StlukesguildOhio View Post
    [COLOR="#8b0000"]...
    I don't know how dated of passe such methods are today, Andre. When one is competing at the highest levels in the arts there is a lot of pressure to produce and the name of the game isn't always Mr. Roger's Neighborhood.
    Today's modern workplace is largely about teamwork. It is also anti-bullying. I'm thinking in these terms when discussing authoritarian attitudes and working methods.

    I was at a family concert earlier this year, the conductor addressed the audience informally, he talked about Mahler's dictatorial working methods (the big items on the program were by Mahler). Anyway, he said Mahler basically worked his musicians fingers to the bone. If they didn't get it right 10 or 20 times they'd try 30, 40, 50 times to get the right sound. He said that Mahler was one of the first conductors to make high standards the norm. But at the end of it, he said something to the effect that he's not like that and neither are other conductors/musicians he personally knows.

    So that's what I'm saying. It may have been okay in 1900 or 1950 or whatever, but now in 2011 there are new theories & practices of management in business, and the arts are not immune, no area is immune from these new ways of doing things which have the aim of being more team-based, not that kind of top-down model.

    As well as that, many other conductors of yesteryears used their kind of team model, more based on consensus, eg. Furtwangler & Ansermet for two I can think of. They worked to get musicians on their side, to understand their vision and share it, rather than imposing it on their colleagues. I can equally enjoy Solti or Ansermet's work as a listener, but I think the latter's approach/working methods were more in tune with those of today, the former's was basically more in line with attitudes of times past, esp. pre-1945 ways...
    Last edited by Sid James; Oct-27-2011 at 10:30.

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