View Poll Results: Sir John Eliot Gardiner - One of the Greatest Conductors?

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  • Agree - Sir John is one of the finest conductors. I rate him highly.

    36 56.25%
  • Disgree - Sir John is mediocre at best, another marketing hype.

    10 15.63%
  • Indifferent with Sir John's conducting - I have often experienced better and also worse.

    18 28.13%
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Thread: Sir John Eliot Gardiner - One of the Greatest Conductors In the Last Century?

  1. #1
    Senior Member HarpsichordConcerto's Avatar
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    Default Sir John Eliot Gardiner - One of the Greatest Conductors In the Last Century?

    I love these polls on conductors! Sir John is one of my favourite conductors. He conducts a very broad range of the repertoire, including lesser known works of great composers. He is also one of the pioneers of historically informed performance practice with his bands The English Baroque Soloist, The Orchestre Révolutionnaire et Romantique and The Monteverdi Choir; all my favourite bands.

    So folks, I expect this poll to overwhelmingly put Sir John in top notch! No controvesery!

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    I need a special option: "Well done JEG, but stick to Baroque music." His conducting of music from the Romantic era is invariably abominable, with the occasional exception of choral works.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Polednice View Post
    I need a special option: "Well done JEG, but stick to Baroque music." His conducting of music from the Romantic era is invariably abominable, with the occasional exception of choral works.
    For example? Not the Brahms symphonies, surely not!

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    Quote Originally Posted by HarpsichordConcerto View Post
    For example? Not the Brahms symphonies, surely not!
    Absolutely surely so! I have never come across a recording of the Brahms symphonies that I detest more than his.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Polednice View Post
    Absolutely surely so! I have never come across a recording of the Brahms symphonies that I detest more than his.
    On the contrary, I find Sir John's recording of the Brahms symphonies the finest I have yet listened to. (Likewise with the Schumann symphonies for example). His version of A German Requiem also trumps. So there, you little porky!

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    Quote Originally Posted by HarpsichordConcerto View Post
    On the contrary, I find Sir John's recording of the Brahms symphonies the finest I have yet listened to. (Likewise with the Schumann symphonies for example). His version of A German Requiem also trumps. So there, you little porky!
    I concede that his Requiem isn't dire, but that's it!

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    Senior Member clavichorder's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Polednice View Post
    I need a special option: "Well done JEG, but stick to Baroque music." His conducting of music from the Romantic era is invariably abominable, with the occasional exception of choral works.
    Not true. His Chabrier Espana is very good.

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    I must say I am greatly enamored of his Brahms Symphonies and Schumann Symphonies as well. To that list I'd add the Beethoven cycle, Haydn Creation, Mozart Requiem, his Gluck operas and a number of other non-Baroque works.

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    I don't think he's a particularly remarkable conductor, but the use of small orchestras interests me, so sometimes I buy his records.

    Edit: In other words, he's OK, but not obviously better than Harnoncourt, Norrington, etc.
    Last edited by Webernite; Feb-20-2012 at 01:39.

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    Senior Member Webernite's Avatar
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    (Double post)

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    Quote Originally Posted by clavichorder View Post
    Not true. His Chabrier Espana is very good.
    It's unequivocally true in my subjective experience of the universe.

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    I hesitatingly voted indifferent, because I think he is a particularly fine vocal conductor. His instrumental recordings sometimes disappoint me in that he sacrifices soul for historicity. He's been better recently, however.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Manxfeeder View Post
    I hesitatingly voted indifferent, because I think he is a particularly fine vocal conductor. His instrumental recordings sometimes disappoint me in that he sacrifices soul for historicity. He's been better recently, however.
    For example?

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    I don't know how I can answer this question. He shines, undoubtedly, in a totally different repertoire than the legendary maestros.

    I wouldn't say he's "hyped", I find his Monteverdi recordings usually top of the line, and if someone says "These are the greatest recordings of work X (Bach, Monteverdi, etc)", he's probably right, or arguably right.

    I can't say I'm "indifferent" either, I wouldn't want to be without his Bach Cantatas nor his Christmas Oratorio (better than Suzuki's to my ear).

    He's also recorded some Brahms pieces no one has ever recorded before (you know what I mean).

    http://www.amazon.com/Brahms-Jammert.../dp/B002JIBCIU

    I prefer Karajan's St. Matthews Passion to his, but what do I know about baroque? It sounds better. But it always comes down to the singers. For example, I prefer certain parts of Gardiner's recording, the Anne Sofie von Otter parts (she has a weightless, soulful voice that I love for this, Janowitz is overpowering in the Karajan).

    My favorite conductors, Furtwangler, Knappertsbusch, Kubelik, Boulez even, Kleiber, Giulini, Beecham, etc, weren't great champions of Bach (maybe there wasn't enough of an audience?) Giulini has one Mass in B recording, but its with the BBC, it's an old recording, no reviews on Amazon.

    I have yet to get my hands on the Solti recordings.

    I can't say that he's a "great" vocal conductor. I think Solti is a really awesome vocal conductor.

    I'm indifferent to his Beethoven and Brahms. It's only fair to pit him up against the best. My references are Jochum (DG, Mono) and Kleiber (CSO live for 2nd, famous DG VPO 4th).

    The best that I can say is that I really appreciate what he's doing (very noble of him to record all the Bach cantatas), he's not superficial or self aggrandizing, and that many of his Bach and Monteverdi recordings are an indispensable part of my collection.

    I know this all sounds like damning with faint praise, but this is how I feel.

    I'm not "for" or "against" the beautiful, romantic sound of which Karajan is the chief, if somewhat grotesque, representative, but his recordings, most of them anyways, have a "baroque" sound, probably from the smaller orchestras, that serves I don't know what.

    For me to compare Knappertsbusch with Gardiner is like comparing Shakespeare with Kafka or Faulkner

    http://thisrecording.com/today/2009/...-all-time.html
    Last edited by brianwalker; Feb-20-2012 at 03:04.

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    Success/fame primarily came from Early to Baroque undertakings. Outside of those periods, I find him less convincing. I have two JEG recordings--Handel Concerti Grossi, Op. 3, and Berlioz Harold in Italy.

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