Classical Music Forum banner
1 - 2 of 2 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,309 Posts
I enjoy a handful of Szell's recordings. The very smooth and warm recording of Mahler's Symphony #4 that he made with the Cleveland Orchestra and Judith Raskin ruined every other recording of Mahler 4 for me becuase it is that good. The Mozart recordings of the Clarinet Concerto and Sinfonia Concertante made with in-house musicians is equally flawless. The Prokofiev Piano Concertos #1 & 3that were made with Gary Graffman are also very good. That said, Szells recordings of Beethoven and Brahms are very muscular but seem to lack warmth and spontaneity to my ears. I read somewhere that those who heard Szell live were deeply impressed and that may be part of the problem, in that we don't always know how well a conductor's musical vision can be captured in the studio compared to the concert hall.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,309 Posts
A lot of people here have identified Szell as "surgical" and "stiff". I don't think of Szell as a surgeon, but more as a master chef; and Szell himself was a gourmet cook. Like master chef, Gordon Ramsey who is known for blowing his top on Master Chef and Hell's Kitchen, Szell was a stern taskmaster and led the orchestra with a firm hand. Szell deserves much credit for transforming the Cleveland Orchestra from second or even third rate to world class. In the Mozart Clarinet Concerto and Sinfonia Concertante, Szell relies upon in-house musicians who satisfy as well, or even better, as any big name that could have been brought in from the outside. But as a master chef, Szell's approach is one of balance: too much seasoning and you can't taste the food; not enough seasoning and the food taste like nothing.

George Szell; Gordon Ramsey; at work:

Glasses Chin Hand Gesture Finger
Food Tableware Window Table Plant
 
1 - 2 of 2 Posts
This is an older thread, you may not receive a response, and could be reviving an old thread. Please consider creating a new thread.
Top