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Thread: Underrated conductors................

  1. #91
    Senior Member Woodduck's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Strange Magic View Post
    Has anybody yet mentioned Ernest Ansermet and his l'Orchestre de la Suisse Romande? Along with Ormandy and the Philadelphia, Ansermet and his ensemble offered a lot of fine Russian and early 20th-century music on the London label vinyl. He premiered The Rite of Spring in London, and is seen on the street in a famous photo with Stravinsky and a young Prokofiev.
    Not only was Ansermet a superb conductor, particularly in French and Russian music, but his Orchestre de la Suisse Romande gives us an opportunity to hear a French orchestra from a time when orchestral sound still had distinctive national qualities. A French wind section, full of tangy, heterogeneous colors, as opposed to the smoothly blended quality now typical of orchestras everywhere, makes a delightful effect in a score of Ravel or Tchaikovsky.

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    Senior Member Becca's Avatar
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    I don't have any particular feelings about Ansermet and the OSR but I do remember reading John Culshaw's autobiography in which he was quite uncomplimentary about both that orchestra and conductor.

    Once conductor Ernst Ansermet played his recorded interpretations of Petrushka, The Fire Bird and The Rite of Spring for Stravinsky, at least 2 hours of music, during which the composer sat silently. "When the last note of the last work had sounded, even the taciturn Ansermet could not resist asking Stravinsky what he thought. 'I think,' Stravinsky said, 'there is something wrong with your pick-up.' "

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    How can anyone compare L'Orchestre de la Suisse Romande to the Philadelphia Orchestra?
    That's like comparing a VW Beetle to a Porsche 911!

    One of the biggest scandals in music history, is that a conductor of Ansermet's stature wasn't regularly hooked up with a top tier orchestra.

    Swiss: Watches, yes! Orchestras, no!
    Last edited by hpowders; Aug-24-2017 at 20:33.
    Facts don't care about your feelings.

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  7. #94
    Senior Member Woodduck's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Becca View Post
    I don't have any particular feelings about Ansermet and the OSR but I do remember reading John Culshaw's autobiography in which he was quite uncomplimentary about both that orchestra and conductor.

    Once conductor Ernst Ansermet played his recorded interpretations of Petrushka, The Fire Bird and The Rite of Spring for Stravinsky, at least 2 hours of music, during which the composer sat silently. "When the last note of the last work had sounded, even the taciturn Ansermet could not resist asking Stravinsky what he thought. 'I think,' Stravinsky said, 'there is something wrong with your pick-up.' "
    Stravinsky could always be depended on for a dry put-down. I recall an article in a music magazine from the '70s in which he "reviewed" a number of conductors' recordings of Sacre. I can't remember whose he liked, but I wouldn't be surprised if it was none of them.

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  9. #95
    Senior Member WildThing's Avatar
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    Tullio Serafin, Oliviero De Fabritiis, Victor de Sabata...what do all 3 have in common?
    Last edited by WildThing; Sep-22-2017 at 16:07.

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    Quote Originally Posted by WildThing View Post
    Tullio Serafin, Oliviero De Fabritiis, Victor de Sabata...what do all 3 have in common?
    Lawrence Welk....very underrated.

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    Senior Member BalalaikaBoy's Avatar
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    Carlo Maria Giulini

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    Senior Member Merl's Avatar
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    Peter Maag. Excellent Beethoven, Mozart and Schubert.

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    Senior Member chill782002's Avatar
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    Oskar Fried

    Nikolai Golovanov

    Siegmund von Hausegger

    Oswald Kabasta

    Bruno Maderna

    Artur Rodzinski

    Eugen Szenkar

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    My list--I'm not necessarily claiming that the following conductors listed below are all 'great' conductors, just to some degree underrated, in my opinion:

    --Serge Baudo: in the French repertory--Debussy, Honegger, Ravel, etc.: I would say the finest Debussy & Ravel conductors over the past 40-45 years are generally considered to be Boulez, Dutoit, Martinon, Abbado, and Haitink. I would add Baudo to that list, & possibly include him instead of Haitink (along with Eliahu Inbal for his Ravel--any others?):

    https://www.amazon.com/Debussy-Symph...+Baudo+debussy
    https://www.amazon.com/Debussy-Pell%...+Baudo+debussy (this is my favorite recording of Debussy's opera)
    https://www.amazon.com/Debussy-Prelu...+Baudo+debussy

    --Gunther Herbig: especially for his Mahler & Shostakovich: Wherever Herbig goes he seems to make his orchestras considerably better than they were when he arrived. How this conductor has never been given a post with a major orchestra is beyond me.

    https://www.amazon.com/Symphony-No-5...erbig+mahler+5

    --F. Charles Adler: for his pioneering Mahler & Bruckner recordings. Adler was Mahler's protege and student, and was the choral master for the premiere of the 8th Symphony, with Mahler conducting:

    https://www.amazon.com/Bruckner-Symp...adler+mahler+2

    --Andre Previn: in the music of Rachmaninov, Vaughan Williams, Brahms Requiem, & Debussy--with a gorgeous "Prelude to the Afternoon of a Faun" recorded with the LSO, one of the more lanquid accounts I've heard:

    https://www.amazon.com/Debussy-Noctu...ebussy+prelude
    https://www.amazon.com/German-Requie...brahms+requiem
    https://www.amazon.com/Brahms-Ein-de...brahms+requiem

    --Hartmut Haenchen: in Mahler, Wagner, etc.--a very good all-around conductor:

    https://www.amazon.com/Mahler-Sympho...nchen+mahler+5

    --Bernard Haitink: for his Beethoven, & especially Haitink's RCO 5th and several 9ths (2 with the RCO, & 1 with the LSO live) and Piano Concerto 1-5 cycles with Arrau, Schiff, & Brendel, along with a fine recording of the Triple Concerto (with the Beaux Arts Trio). I also think that Haitink's recordings made during his Philips years--especially early on--tend to get underrated: his Brahms, Schubert, Haydn, Tchaikovsky--a great 1812 Overture & Symphony set, Wagner, Strauss, and the live Mahler X-mas concerts. In my view, it's partly a misconception that Haitink is a solid, dependable, but not always very exciting conductor (though not always untrue, either). In his early days particularly, and in his Mahler X-mas concerts, & Beethoven Symphony cycles, he could be very exciting and dynamic at times:

    https://www.amazon.com/Bernard-Haiti...x-mas+concerts
    https://www.amazon.com/Symphony-No-O...nk+beethoven+9
    https://www.amazon.com/Johannes-Brah...brahms+haitink
    https://www.amazon.com/Strauss-Also-...nk+also+sprake
    https://www.amazon.com/R-STRAUSS-ALS...nk+also+sprake
    https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0...dm_ws_sp_ps_dp (Finally, a conductor that actually sounds like he's read the book.)

    --Eugen Jochum: IMO, Jochum was much more than just a great Bruckner conductor--his Wagner Parsifal & Tristan und Isolde are fascinating, for example, and he was a great Beethoven, Brahms, Haydn, Schubert, & Orff conductor too, etc. Claudio Arrau once said that Jochum was the only conductor he ever worked with in his career that truly understood Beethoven's 4th Piano Concerto. And when Karl Bohm passed away in the midst of Maurizio Pollini's 1st Beethoven Piano Concerto cycle, Pollini considered many conductors to replace Bohm, and chose Jochum.

    https://www.amazon.com/Tristan-Isold...tan+und+isolde
    https://www.amazon.com/Eugen-Jochum-...ds=jochum+icon
    https://www.amazon.com/Bruckner-Symp...hum+bruckner+9
    https://www.amazon.com/Brahms-4-Symp...um+brahms+mono
    https://www.amazon.com/Schubert-Symp...ochum+schubert

    --Jaap van Zweden: especially his impressive Stravinsky (I'd like to hear more by this conductor, especially his Bruckner):

    https://www.amazon.com/Stravinsky-Pe...den+stravinsky)

    --Andrew Litton?--I've recently heard his two Stravinsky hybrid SACDs on the BIS label, and was impressed. I don't know any other recordings by Litton, but if they are as good as his Stravinsky, I'd say he's an underrated conductor. However, I haven't heard enough to say:

    https://www.amazon.com/Stravinsky-Fi...ton+stravinsky.

    --Charles Dutoit: despite that Dutoit has been in the news lately for transgressions that I certainly don't approve of, and therefore, I hesitate to mention him, nevertheless, I've long felt that his Debussy Nocturnes and Stravinsky are very underrated (though his Ravel Daphnis et Chloe is well regarded, and rightly so). The sound quality on the recent Japanese SHM CDs show a significant improvement over past Decca issues:

    https://www.amazon.com/Debussy-Orche...Dutoit+debussy
    https://www.amazon.com/Stravinsky-LO...oit+stravinsky

    --Thierry Fischer: in music of Frank Martin, Mahler, contemporary composers, & the French repertory--including the only recording of the complete music that Debussy composed for Le Martyre de Saint-Sebastien, with the BBC Orchestra of Wales (in Pierre Boulez's latest edition, which Boulez never recorded), and music by Schmitt, Francaix, D'Indy, etc..

    https://www.amazon.com/Martyrdom-Sai...aint+sebastien
    https://www.amazon.com/Martin-Concer...Fischer+martin
    https://www.amazon.com/Martin-Sturm-...Fischer+martin

    --Kirill Karabits--This is a young conductor to watch, IMO. I've been very impressed by Karabit's recent (wonderfully) comprehensive Prokofiev Symphony 1-7 cycle in Bournemouth, & especially his 3 & 7. I find Karabits' Prokofiev conducting better than Gergiev's, & many others, and consider his 7th in Bournemouth to be on the same level as Nikolai Malko's legendary recording, and arguably even better:

    https://www.amazon.com/Prokofiev-Sym...bits+prokofiev.

    --Eliahu Inbal: his Bruckner, Mahler, Debussy, and one of the finest Ravel orchestral cycles recorded in the digital era, with the Orchestre de Paris, on Denon:

    https://www.amazon.com/Ravel-Daphnis...ds=Inbal+Ravel
    https://www.amazon.com/Complete-Orch...ds=Inbal+Ravel
    https://www.amazon.com/Orchestral-Wo...ds=Inbal+Ravel
    https://www.amazon.com/Mahler-Sympho...nbal+mahler+10

    --John Nelson: in Berlioz, and Beethoven--& one of the finest recordings of the Beethoven 8th Symphony I've ever heard:

    https://www.amazon.com/Beethoven-Sym...a+paris+nelson

    James DePriest: I've long felt that Depriest was an underrated conductor, especially his Martinu and Hindemith, and advocacy for the music of the contemporary composers, Gubaidulina, Schnittke, Merikanto, & others:

    https://www.amazon.com/Martinu-Fresq...s+judd+martinu.
    https://www.amazon.com/Hindemith-Fou...iest+hindemith

    --Ernest Bour: Bour was a great champion of contemporary composers: conducting the world premieres of music by Henze, Penderecki, Berio, Rihm, Stockhausen, and Ligetti, etc., and was something of a mentor to Pierre Boulez (I gather). Bour has never received the kind of recognition that I think he deserves. His Debussy, Ravel, Stravinsky, etc. are first class, and he built his SWR Baden-Baden Orchestra into a fine ensemble.

    https://www.amazon.com/Ernest-Bour-C...ds=ernest+bour (One of the finest recordings of Le tombeau de Couperin that I know, and the young Arleen Auger is remarkable in the Sheherazade song cycle.)
    https://www.amazon.com/Stravinsky-sa...ssy+stravinsky
    https://www.amazon.com/LOeuvre-XXe-s...ssy+stravinsky
    https://www.amazon.com/Music-20th-Ce...ssy+stravinsky
    https://www.amazon.com/Rihm-Morphoni...ds=ernest+bour

    --Igor Markevitch: I don't know what to make about the rumors that have emerged in recent decades surrounding this conductor's secret political (fascist) activities in Italy, but Markevitch was an exceptional conductor in the Russian & French repertory, & particularly in the music of Stravinsky, Debussy, Ravel, Tchaikovsky, etc.

    --Gennady Rozhdestvensky: another great Russian conductor that I don't think gets the full recognition that he deserves: his recordings of the music of Shostakovich, Prokofiev, Glazonov, Borodin, Scriabin, Schnittke, and Tchaikovsky (Swan Lake, Sleeping Beauty, The Nutcracker, etc.) are among the finest in the catalogue, IMO. But he is more than just a great conductor of Russian composers, such as his Sibelius & Brahms VCs with David Oistrakh, Enescu, Nielsen, Grieg, Howells, Langgard "Music of the Spheres", Honegger, Sibelius, Britten, and Bruckner attest to. One of my favorite recordings by Rozhdestvensky was his world premiere of Nikolai Tcherepin's ballet Narcisse et Echo, Op. 40, which was composed for Diaghilev's Ballets Russes in Paris. He also has had works dedicated to him by contemporary composers, such as Sofia Gubaidulina & Alfred Schnittke.

    https://www.chandos.net/products/catalogue/CHAN%209670
    https://www.amazon.com/Langgaard-Mus...ensky+langgard
    https://www.amazon.com/Anniversary-M...nsky+prokofiev
    https://www.amazon.com/Ballets-Serge...nsky+prokofiev
    https://www.amazon.com/Prokofiev-Sym...nsky+prokofiev
    https://www.amazon.com/Tchaikovsky-S...leeping+beauty (though I also thought very highly of his old Eurodisc LP box set.)

    --Kurt Masur: IMO, Masur gets a bad rap. I suspect that people come to his recordings with different expectations from what they encounter. Masur could be a great conductor in the music of Strauss, Beethoven, Brahms, Shostakovich, Bruch, and Mendelssohn. He also turned Zubin Mehta's ragged, struggling New York Philharmonic into a considerably better orchestra, during his tenure in NYC. I also don't think listeners always appreciate the value of the time honored tradition of the Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra in relation to the music of Beethoven, Mendelssohn, & Bruckner. (By all accounts, it goes back.) Their approach to these two conductors is more refined and classically restrained, almost HIP, than other orchestras, at least under Masur (it's been changing in recent years). And that is a different approach from what people are used to (especially Americans), but when it works, it's brilliant, such as in their Beethoven Fidelio--the finest recording of the digital era, IMO, and Missa Solemnis, and Symphonies 1, 2, and 4--most especially, along with all of their Mendelssohn & Bruch recordings. The following are recordings that I think show Masur at his best:

    https://www.amazon.com/Missa-Solemni...missa+solemnis
    https://www.amazon.com/Beethoven-Fid...eethoven+opera
    https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0...?ie=UTF8&psc=1
    https://www.amazon.com/Beethovan-Sym...ven+5+new+york
    https://www.amazon.com/Brahms-Sym-No...Masur+brahms+1 (this is my favorite recording of Brahms Variations on a theme by Haydn, and I think it is both brilliantly played and conducted.)
    https://www.amazon.com/Strauss-R-Fou...strauss+norman
    https://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_n...ds=Masur+bruch
    https://www.amazon.com/Bruch-Complet...ds=Masur+bruch
    https://www.amazon.com/Violin-Concer...ds=Masur+bruch
    https://www.amazon.com/Shostakovich-...shostakovich+1
    https://www.amazon.com/Mendelssohn-D...52KXDQDCDY0FYP
    https://www.amazon.com/Mendelssohn-C...ur+mendelssohn
    https://www.amazon.com/Mendelssohn-O...ur+mendelssohn
    https://www.amazon.com/Paulus-Mendel...asur+eloquence
    https://www.amazon.de/Mendelssohn-Ru...n+paulus+masur
    https://www.amazon.com/Bruckner-Symp...bruckner+masur

    Other conductors that I would count as underrated: Hans Rosbaud, Oliver Knussen, and Jascha Horenstein.
    Last edited by Josquin13; Jan-26-2018 at 08:48.

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  17. #101
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    Quote Originally Posted by Josquin13 View Post
    My list--I'm not necessarily claiming that the following conductors listed below are all 'great' conductors, just to some degree underrated, in my opinion:

    --Jaap van Zweden: especially his impressive Stravinsky (I'd like to hear more by this conductor, especially his Bruckner)
    Heard him conduct two excellent concerts with ChicagoSO a couple years back - Shostakovich 5th, Prokofieff 5th....both very good - the Shostakovich was esp good - lots of fire...

    --Gennady Rozhdestvensky: another great Russian conductor that I don't think gets the full recognition that he deserves
    IMO, one of the great living conductors....excels in the big Russian Repertoire - esp Prokofieff, Shostakovich...good Sibelius, too...

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  19. #102
    Senior Member Becca's Avatar
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    A too little known conductor who has impressed me in a number of Berlin Philharmonic concerts - Tugan Sokhiev

  20. #103
    Senior Member 13hm13's Avatar
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    Herbert Kegel

    [esp. his LVB symphs with Dresden Phil. in early 1980's.]

    Example (CD rip):




    Amazing sound from vinyl rip of same recording as above:


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