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Thread: "Great" conductors?

  1. #16
    Senior Member Forster's Avatar
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    So, those describing how the previous generation of greats got exactly what they wanted from their orchestras...are you saying that the current crop don't, and if so, how can you tell?

  2. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by Forster View Post
    So, those describing how the previous generation of greats got exactly what they wanted from their orchestras...are you saying that the current crop don't, and if so, how can you tell?
    One of the great conductors of yesteryear once said that there was no place for democracy in an orchestra and I think that is true to a certain extent. The modern way of doing things is of course right in the modern age but we have lost something which the old guys imparted which was themselves.

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    Quote Originally Posted by mbhaub View Post
    ........And then there are others whose work I cannot stand: Stokowski is someone I just can't stand. His tampering with scores is just ridiculous.
    Overall I like Stoki very much but I hear you - at times he's totally over the edge -

    Tchaikovsky #4 - he fussed with this one constantly - his NBC version from the 40s is way out...really bizarre articulations, presentations of the main tunes....ridiculous stretching of phrases...the remarkable thing is that the orchestra actually does it for him!!

    Even goofier - Stravinsky - Firebird Suite - his several versions just get crazier with each new one - esp the finale - the horn glissandi!! - WTH was he thinking??!

    OTOH - his Shostakovich 10 and 11 are really marvelous....he can be most convincing when he's not off on some wild trip..
    Last edited by Heck148; Nov-10-2021 at 19:51.

  4. #19
    Senior Member mbhaub's Avatar
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    Stokowski was funny that way, some scores he respected so much or something that he left them alone. But his list of sins is enormous: from the Beethoven 9th to Scheherazade. His recording of Schoenberg's Verklarte Nacht is fantastic. His Planets is just weird. People I've known who got to hear him live with the Philadelphia Orchestra always spoke of those concerts with extreme passion - some of the greatest music making they ever heard.
    "It is surprising how easily one can become used to bad music" - F. Mendelssohn

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    Senior Member KevinW's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JackRance View Post
    Kirill Petrenko
    Can anyone tell me why doesn't Petrenko have many recordings? I am very curious.

  6. #21
    Senior Member Forster's Avatar
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    So, the alleged "greats" brought personality and/or tyranny. Neither of these is a particularly musical attribute.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Forster View Post
    So, the alleged "greats" brought personality and/or tyranny. Neither of these is a particularly musical attribute.
    It's more like ego....in order to conduct one must have a strong ego...after all you're trying to get some 80+ virtuoso wannabes to do it your way, not theirs...of course musical talent is an absolute necessity.....some of the old guys were certainly tyrants - Rodzinski, Reiner, Szell, Mravinsky, Stokowski, etc...with very strong personalities...but they achieved great control over their orchestras....some others were not such tyrants, but they were still very strong personalities on the podium - Walter, Monteux are 2 such maestros....they were courteous to their musicians, but knew exactly what they wanted, and wouldn't settle for anything less.
    Last edited by Heck148; Nov-22-2021 at 18:17.

  8. #23
    Senior Member Merl's Avatar
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    I stopped paying any attention to Lebrecht and his nonsense years ago after his ridiculous and hugely incorrect Karajan article. His books and articles are often sensationalist, full of huge gaffes and inaccuracies (not just little ones but glaring ones) and he's been taken to task (and sometimes court) on many occasions by those he has slandered. For example, his book, “Maestros, Masterpieces & Madness: The Secret Life and Shameful Death of the Classical Record Industry,” released in 2007, cost him a lot of money and huge embarasment and was soon withdrawn. Apart from being "hugely inaccurate" (the judge's words) Lebrecht trashed Naxos founder Klaus Heymann. Heymann sued the publisher, Penguin Books, in the High Court, explaining that the book ridiculously accused him of “serious business malpractices” based on plethora of Lebrecht's false / manufactured statements. Heymann cited at least 15 statements, in the few pages he was discussed, that were "grossly inaccurate" . Heymann easily won the case and the book was withdrawn in the UK. Heymann later said,
    “For me it’s beyond belief how any real journalist in five pages can make so many huge factual mistakes. It’s shocking.....he really doesn’t understand the record business at all.”

    He's a poor gossip. Perhaps he should be the editor of The Sun. That's a publication that makes stuff up too.
    Last edited by Merl; Nov-22-2021 at 19:17.

  9. #24
    Senior Member mbhaub's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by KevinW View Post
    Can anyone tell me why doesn't Petrenko have many recordings? I am very curious.
    I can think of several reasons. First, given the implosion of the recording industry, hardly anyone is making large-scale orchestral recordings nowadays; at least not like they were a generation and more ago. Then why should he? Everything he does with Berlin is recorded and online for subscribers. Plus, the BPO makes CDs of many of the concerts and packages them in deluxe editions. Then there's this: some conductors just don't like recording. They feel that it's a false image, one that is too easily manipulated. No recording can capture the electricity of a live performance. Celibidache, Mitropoulos and others shared that concern. But Petrenko ha made some sensational recordings: that Mahler 7 from Munich is terrific as is the Schmidt 4th from Berlin.
    "It is surprising how easily one can become used to bad music" - F. Mendelssohn

  10. #25
    Senior Member Forster's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Heck148 View Post
    they achieved great control over their orchestras....some others were not such tyrants, but they were still very strong personalities on the podium - Walter, Monteux are 2 such maestros....they were courteous to their musicians, but knew exactly what they wanted, and wouldn't settle for anything less.
    I think I may have asked this already...are we saying then that the conductors of today don't get exactly what they want?

  11. #26
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    Quote Originally Posted by Forster View Post
    I think I may have asked this already...are we saying then that the conductors of today don't get exactly what they want?
    It's not so much they don't get what they want, it's more that they simply haven't got the time to develop exactly the kind of sound, ensemble that they want...
    there is so much guest-conducting, jet-setting about the globe, that conductors do not spend that much time in front of their main orchestras...guest conductors are really pressed for time, there is simply not enough time to address every aspect of the music to be performed.
    in the past, conductors like Ormandy. Mravinsky, had hired EVERY musician in the orchestra - they spent decades as music directors of those ensembles...nowadays, a music director might conduct 6-8 weeks out of a 52 week season.....

    The great orchestra builders of the past - Monteux, Reiner, Toscanini Szell, Mravinsky,- drilled their orchestras relentlessly to achieve the sound, balance, precision, articulation that they wanted...this takes time, and many, many hours of concerts and rehearsals to achieve...I won't even go into the fear factor at this point, but it was a strong motivator back then...

    We don't see that kind of situation today...tho it certainly doesn't mean it cannot happen...ie - I think Nelsons in Boston, is getting some excellent results with the BSO...

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