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Thread: Hans Swarovski Recordings

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    Default Hans Swarovski Recordings

    Hi all,

    I have been reading January Gramophone issue and Hans Swarovsky article, and would like to listen some of his recordings.
    Which are, in your own opinion, the “need to be listened” records of this genial conductor?

    Thanks a lot
    Vicente

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    My first Beethoven Sixth was conducted by Swarovski, back in the seventies. I haven’t yet read the Gramophone article, but I think that the Orchestra was the Vienna PO masquerading under another name. Since then, ...?

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    Senior Member Merl's Avatar
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    There are lots of Swarovsky performances wrongly attributed to him (thanks to that charlatan, Alfred Scholz (his former pupil) , so be careful. I think Discogs has a decent list of his recordings but some of these are dubious, especially the late ones. There's a really good list in the article below.

    http://www.musicweb-international.co..._forgotten.htm

    There's also a very detailed biography of him in the link below. Swarovsky was a fascinating man. He hated the Nazis (and Goebbels despised him, firing him from his job and single-handedly trying to ruin his career). However, he stayed close to the Nazis (who made his life a misery) using other positions around Germany, Austria, Poland and Switzerland and his contacts to pass info onto the resistance. Whilst in Poland he saved a number of Poles from the concentration camps by employing them in his orchestras (many couldn't play a note) or feeding them. Initially, some of these actions went unnoticed. The Nazis found out too late that he was working for the enemy and the Gestapo finally put him under surveillance but he was always one step ahead of them and constantly moving around. However, if he hadn't gone into hiding in a loft for months, in 1945, he would certainly have been executed just before the end of the war. He was also one of the biggest advocates of Mahler's music (he was one of the first to perform all of them in a time when Mahler wasn't performed) and an influential teacher of a huge amount of well-known conductors and well-regarded by Karajan, who used him occasionally as an understudy and hired him to the Vienna State Opera in 1959. Great story.

    http://www.hansswarowsky.com/en/1147-biography.php

    Incidentally he recorded Beethoven symphonies 2-8 as part of a proposed full cycle but the cycle was never completed and many of the ones he did record have, annoyingly, since gone missing or are long out of print.
    Last edited by Merl; Feb-03-2020 at 19:21.

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    BTW, here's a partial discography of Swarovsky. Anything in grey are recordings attributed to him but not his (blame Schotlz).

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    Quote Originally Posted by Merl View Post
    Great contribution. Thanks a lot.

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    His Mahler 4 with the Czech Philharmonic on Supraphon is for me the best recording of that particular symphony. Not sure how easy to find though...

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    Great info, Merl! I'd never heard of him but now you've got me interested. I love reading stories of brave men outwitting Nazi thugs. Although I'm sorry to say those links aren't working on my end.
    Last edited by starthrower; Feb-05-2020 at 17:53.
    “Music makes you feel feelings. Words make you think thoughts. But a song can make you feel a thought.”

    - Yip Harburg

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    Senior Member wkasimer's Avatar
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    He also made a fine recording of Bach's St. Matthew Passion:

    smp_swarowsky.jpg

    I don't believe that this has ever appeared on CD.

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    The problem with a lot of Swarowsky recordings is that they were owned by multiple companies (World Record Club, American Recording Society, Vega, Concert Hall, Pantheon and a host of other minor labels). I suspect that many of these recordings are lost now or difficult to find. He was also often viewed as a 3rd rate conductor (at best) and he wasnt the most popular conductor among the orchestras he conducted (not because of his personalty but for many middle of the road accounts) . He was very well regarded as a music teacher though but Norman Lebrecht said of him, "Such a bad conductor, such a good teacher" (but I tend to ignore Lebrecht's comments after some of the claptrap he wrote about Karajan). Swarowsky also changed his view on performance tempi, going from a bravuro stance of wanting to perform Beethoven's symphonies to his metronome mark to actual recordings where he was much broader. The few Beethoven symphonies I have by him are OK, if a little characterless. His Mahler was quite dark and broody and not for everyone but fans of Barbirolli's Mahler would probably enjoy it. Of course the other problem is that his name was used for recordings he never made. Rule of thumb - if you see a recording of his accompanied by the orchestra names 'Suddeutsche Philharmonie' or something similar then these are not his and are invariably a Scholz recording with East European scratch bands. There's a lot of 'Bamberg' recordings that weren't Mr Swarowsky's either.
    Last edited by Merl; Feb-05-2020 at 19:45.

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