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Thread: If You Could Only Save Five Conductors for Humanity?

  1. #121
    Senior Member Fabulin's Avatar
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    Stokowski, Bernstein, Karajan, Toscanini, and Williams (conducting his own music)

    In contrast to Stravinsky, Williams' works in a complete form have been recorded and conducted nearly exclusively by him. To lose these recordings is to lose the intended interpretations conducted within days or weeks from when the music was written, performed by top form London Symphony Orchestra or elite gig musicians for whom the athletics in it were intended.

    Stokowski, Bernstein, Karajan, and Toscanini put together should save a significant chunk of the main repertoire in at least very good interpretations.
    Last edited by Fabulin; Dec-02-2020 at 21:32.

  2. #122
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    Quote Originally Posted by Fabulin View Post
    Stokowski, Bernstein, Karajan, and Toscanini put together should save a significant chunk of the main repertoire in at least very good interpretations.
    That is why I named Reiner and Monteux as essential conductors...between the two, they produced great interpretations of virtually the entire repertoire...they excelled at a huge range of music...Solti and Bernstein did extremely well also, maybe not quite as consistent as Reiner and Monteux, but their successes are quite spectacular...Toscanini excelled at so much as well...
    Another important criterion in favor of Reiner and Monteux is their skill at orchestra building...both had outstanding records of raising their various orchestras to top level or greatly improved level of status....remarkable records of achievement for both Maestros....
    Last edited by Heck148; Dec-03-2020 at 01:42.

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  4. #123
    Senior Member Bulldog's Avatar
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    Gardiner
    Herreweghe
    Suzuki
    Davis, Colin
    Sinopoli

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  6. #124
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    Quote Originally Posted by Coach G View Post
    I have a 22 disc box set (that I got for about $20!) of Stravinsky's works conducted by the composer (or under the composer's "supervision", whatever that is supposed to mean.
    Quote Originally Posted by Fabulin View Post
    In contrast to Stravinsky, Williams' works in a complete form have been recorded and conducted nearly exclusively by him.
    Oh, am I wrong about that? My old CDs and even older LPs listed Stravinsky himself as "conducting" nearly all the works in the big CBS/Sony set, but perhaps that was done for marketing reasons.

    In that case, the CBS/Sony set would still be of interest to posterity, but only as much interest as we'd have in a Beethoven set conducted by Hans Richter or Nikisch, certainly not a Mahler set conducted by Mahler.

    If so, delete Stravinsky from my list, and put someone else on it. Perhaps Hindemith?
    Last edited by gvn; Dec-03-2020 at 03:37.

  7. #125
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    Quote Originally Posted by gvn View Post
    Oh, am I wrong about that? My old CDs and even older LPs listed Stravinsky himself as "conducting" nearly all the works in the big CBS/Sony set, but perhaps that was done for marketing reasons.

    In that case, the CBS/Sony set would still be of interest to posterity, but only as much interest as we'd have in a Beethoven set conducted by Hans Richter or Nikisch, certainly not a Mahler set conducted by Mahler.

    If so, delete Stravinsky from my list, and put someone else on it. Perhaps Hindemith?
    Some of the later recordings were conducted by Robert Craft under the "supervision" of the composer. According to Lives of the Great Composers, the author, Harold Schoenberg asserts that Stravinsky's later writings that were made in "collaboration" with Robert Craft are more Craft than Stravinsky, and Schoenberg says that Stravinsky by that time was a tired old man who was willing to go along with whatever Craft said.

    I know that one piece in the box set, The Flood, is conducted by Craft under Stravinsky's "supervision". Even so, The Flood is a great and underrated recording based on the Biblical flood from the book of Genesis, and it's a serial work to boot, with Sebastian Cabot as "Noah". How could you pass that up?

  8. #126
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    Maybe someone out there can define what it means when a recording says "conducted under the the supervision of the composer."

    I have an old record album of the Rostropovich/Ormandy Shostakovich's Cello Concerto #1 that was, I guess , made when Shostakovich and Rostropovich were allowed to visit the USA. in the late 1950s (or early 1960s?). I always thought to myself, as one of the top American conductors why did Ormandy need a "supervisor", and if Shostakovich's input was that important, why didn't Ormandy just step aside and let Shostakovich conduct his Philadelphia Orchestra himself?

  9. #127
    Senior Member Prodromides's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by gvn View Post
    5. And, to represent very recent music, perhaps Penderecki? (Not so much competition here. How many other contemporary composers have been recorded conducting their own works to any significant extent?!)
    "gvn" might regret asking the above ... after regarding my reply:

    Thomas Adès
    Malcolm Arnold
    Simon Bainbridge
    George Benjamin
    Luciano Berio
    Arthur Bliss
    Pierre Boulez
    Henry Brant
    Earle Brown
    Marius Constant
    Péter Eötvös
    Robert Farnon
    Jerry Goldsmith
    Heinz Karl Gruber
    Christopher Gunning
    Cristóbal Halffter
    Anthony Iannaccone
    Andre Jolivet
    Geert van Keulen
    Oliver Knussen
    Meyer Kupferman
    Marcel Landowski
    Jukka Linkola
    Witold Lutosławski
    William Mathias
    Peter Maxwell Davies
    Thea Musgrave
    Andrzej Panufnik
    Vincent Persichetti
    Laurent Petitgirard
    Matthias Pintscher
    Andre Previn
    Horațiu Rădulescu
    Rolf Urs Ringger
    Esa-Pekka Salonen
    Lalo Schifrin
    Gunther Schuller
    Gerard Schurmann
    Leif Segerstam
    Stanisław Skrowaczewski
    Michel Tabachnik
    Emil Tabakov
    Tan Dun
    Mikis Theodorakis
    László Tihanyi
    Joseph Vella
    Heitor Villa-Lobos
    Roger Vuataz
    Jean-Jacques Werner
    Charles Wuorinen
    Hans Zender
    Udo Zimmermann

    [Penderecki's invisible - but audible - competition ]
    Last edited by Prodromides; Dec-03-2020 at 04:57.

  10. #128
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    Don't forget Benjamin Britten whose own recordings of his own works are the gold standard. Britten also had his own little cast and crew that included Dietrich Fischer-Diskau, John Shirley-Quirk, Stanislav Richter, Mstislav Rostropovich, Mark Lubotsky, and of course, his life partner, Peter Pears. Britten said in an interview that he didn't write his music for the instrument, he wrote for the person who would be the soloist.

  11. #129
    Senior Member Fabulin's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by gvn View Post
    Oh, am I wrong about that? My old CDs and even older LPs listed Stravinsky himself as "conducting" nearly all the works in the big CBS/Sony set, but perhaps that was done for marketing reasons.

    In that case, the CBS/Sony set would still be of interest to posterity, but only as much interest as we'd have in a Beethoven set conducted by Hans Richter or Nikisch, certainly not a Mahler set conducted by Mahler.

    If so, delete Stravinsky from my list, and put someone else on it. Perhaps Hindemith?
    I meant something else - that Stravinsky's works have (or usually can get) plenty of re-recordings, whereas in the case of Williams there is the frequent problem of:
    1. assembling a 100+ piece orchestra with some unique instruments added
    2. recording 2 hours of music that gets quite marathonesque for the musicians (especially winds) when played in one go, and
    3. assumes world's best sight-reading skills in the first place, and if that's not enough
    4. has random quirks such as requiring several months of preparation by the harpist (E.T.)

    Only to have to match the recordings in a fairly good quality (mostly 1980s and later) made by the composer himself with either the LSO, an ensemble of best freelancers money could buy, or sometimes other great orchestras such as Boston or Chicago SO.

    Doing that 50 times would take a century even with just one recording for each work (never mind the likely inferior conducting interpretations!).

    In contrast to Stravinsky's (or Richard Strauss's) sometimes bored late interpretations of their works [or so they say - I enjoy authentic recordings anyway], Williams has never done that, even when over 80.

    It's pure speculation anyway. I like your choice of Stravinsky, in my view one of the 3 greatest 20th century composers, and with some claim for being the most important one in his lifetime.
    Last edited by Fabulin; Dec-03-2020 at 11:55.

  12. #130
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    Hard topic!

    1. Furtwängler : an excellent example of the romantic school.
    2 Klemperer: a league on his own. many approaches to lots of masterpieces, that are stunning and unforgettable.
    3. Karajan: not my fave, but....unavoidable.
    4. Giulini: Lyrical, transparent. a Master of humanity.
    5. Bernstein: Composer, conductor, genius, genius!

    I miss in this list the following conductors: C.Kleiber, maestro Celibidache, Haitink, Mravinsky (a taste of russia), and Toscanini ( not my fave, but very influential).
    Last edited by Agamenon; Dec-31-2020 at 12:38.

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  14. #131
    Senior Member Pat Fairlea's Avatar
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    Just checked back on my choices from 2017. Yup, still agree.
    Interesting how rarely Adrian Boult gets a mention. Like Ormandy, he was seldom outstanding but (nearly) always good enough. On his day, though, with something complex from the 1870 to 1940 orchestral repertoire, he could be quietly brilliant, teasing out the detail and achieving a balance of 'voices'.

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  16. #132
    Member Sunburst Finish's Avatar
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    Claudio Abbado

    Ferenc Fricsay

    John Eliot Gardiner

    Carlo Maria Giulini

    Herbert von Karajan

    If any of the five above pulls a "Bruno Walter with the New York Philharmonic" and calls in sick with the flu then Chailly, Hogwood, Rattle, Solti, or Szell.
    Last edited by Sunburst Finish; Dec-31-2020 at 16:33.

  17. #133
    Senior Member SanAntone's Avatar
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    Bernstein
    Gardiner
    Herreweghe
    Gielen
    Abbado

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  19. #134
    Senior Member SixFootScowl's Avatar
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    Add Pierre Monteux to the list.

    How about composers who also were conductors?

    Mahler
    Mendelssohn
    ...
    Last edited by SixFootScowl; Dec-31-2020 at 17:14.
    "For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places." Ephesians 6:12

  20. #135
    Senior Member Allerius's Avatar
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    Furtwängler
    Toscanini
    Karajan
    Bernstein
    Sinopoli/Abbado
    “To play a wrong note is insignificant; to play without passion is inexcusable.” - Ludwig van Beethoven.

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