Interesting comment.I've just listened to Szell's cold, mechanical, stiff, clinical, robotic, simplistic, two-dimensional (add other negatives here) recording of Sibelius 2 with the Concertgebouw. It was good to recall how brilliantly Szell gets the perfect forward momentum (oh, I mean how relentlessly driven, flat, rushed, excessive, cool and detached he is). Next up will be his harsh, uncompromising, micromanaged, emotionless, automated, impersonal, cursory, persistent, steely, dogged, remote, unfeeling, icy, stoic, stoney, heartless, hollow and phlegmatic Eroica. Then I'm off to beat a bag of kittens with a baseball bat. :devil:
You did not count all the individual CDs that were released since Compact Disc was introduced. So I feel your analysis is somewhat flawed. I will not count the individual CDs released between Furtwangler and Szell."What's most striking is Furtwangler's willingness to sacrifice precision for the sake of passion." - New Yorker
Considering your contention that Szell is comparable to Furtwangler in the attention he garners today, I decided to compare their complete box sets on Amazon and the number of reviews each has received.
The Legacy - 107
Complete Recordings On Deutsche Grammophon and Decca - 93
Complete RIAS Recordings - 40
The Legend - Studio Recordings - 36
The Great EMI Recordings - 31
The Complete Columbia Album Collection - 61
The Warner Recordings - 50
Decca & Philips Recordings - 11
It seems perhaps that George does not "Szell" as well as Furtwangler. Kind of surprising when you consider that he recorded much more repertoire and with infinitely better sound quality.
I'm still awaiting some thoughts on this statement that I have put forth.Thank you to those who gave their thoughts to my last post about Szell. I asked two questions and the responses seemed to be more geared towards the second question. I would like to repost my first question and await any opinions from the TC community.
Obviously,some like Szell,some do not. My statement is;Most of the Szell recordings are between the late 1950''s until his death in 1970. Many(a large majority) have come to be regarded as contenders to be amongst what is know as "reference recordings. "
I read a comment somewhere. I'm sorry but I can't find the exact source but the statement was memorable. There was someone whoClose competition, for sure, they were all pretty miserable b**t**ds....Rodzinski had a volcanic temper, was given to summary firings, but so was Reiner...who was a domineering pr*ck...Szell was a micromanaging martinet....Stokowski and Mravinsky are way up on the podium tyrant list as well...
You're answer was perfectNot sure what answer you're looking for....for me, Szell's discography is of very large importance....He conducted a large repertoire very well....he was a "literalist" rather than a "Romantic"...with Cleveland, he built a really superb orchestra, definitely one of the "best ever"....I enjoy many of his recordings, tho I generally prefer Reiner and Toscanini, who had the same approach, but are usually more flexible and elastic in their phrasing, while still maintaining great precision....
Szell can really let loose, tho, and when he does it's wonderful - he had the instrument with his Clevelanders, these guys could really play...
His Beethoven symphonies are excellent, #7 is terrific, and Leonore #3 top of the heap...I enjoy his Haydn and Mozart also, very fine....tho I maybe prefer walter and Reiner by a very slight margin....we're talking top-notch stuff here....
So, for me, Szell occupies a pretty prominent place in my collection, and I listen to his efforts often...
great musician, great conductor, real a*sh*le of a person....but he's not alone in that category...
Great question. In his last season,Szell conducted Das Lied Von Der Erde. It was released-and never seen again-in a Cleveland release. I think it was the 75th Anniversary of Cleveland. There was also a Szell broadcast of Mahler 9. I have that as part of a Szell box from Cleveland Orchestra. I wish both were recorded in studio.What works that he didn't record do you wish that he had? Knowing what you know about your preferences and his approach, what additional Szell/Cleveland recordings would you will into existence with optimism that you'd find them really enjoyable/interesting?
Wow. Great info. Thank you. It sort of makes sense.Obviously this doesn't correct for number of recordings made nor the playlists spotify creates that would direct many 'casual' listeners who want some 'classical music', but for what it's worth here is the popularity of some conductors, including Szell, for Spotify listeners. Monthly listens:
There is an intervention with Szell if he would do any opera recordings. Although there are some opera recordings from Salzburg. And vocal recitals (Mahler-Schwarzkopf).Why is it Szell never recorded choral or opera works?
I find that interesting considering his style. This repertoire requires the ability to conduct a long legato line, the opposite of stiffness.
Interview. NOT intervention.There is an intervention with Szell if he would do any opera recordings. Although there are some opera recordings from Salzburg. And vocal recitals (Mahler-Schwarzkopf).
Paraphrasing. Rudolf Bing was asked if Szell was his own enemy. Bing replied,"Not as long as I am alive."
fluteman….great point. And Szell hired Robert Shaw to be the director of the Cleveland Orchestra Chorus. Shaw already had built a great reputation as a choral director. There should be no questions about Szell's ability and knowledge and a sense of importance of choral or opera. Non whatsoever.I'm not arguing with that, but I'd point out that his 1961 Beethoven 9th is famous, and I think justifiably so. He also recorded the Strauss Four Last Songs with Schwarzkopf. The problem may have been simply that Szell and the Cleveland Orchestra didn't have one of the major record labels behind them. They recorded for the smaller Epic label, and got minimal distribution in the UK with the British Columbia subsidiary of EMI, which doubtless didn't want to create competition for their own artists. The original 1963 release on a British Columbia 2-LP set of Szell's Beethoven 9th sells for thousands on the collector's market. American Columbia Masterworks (i.e., CBS), finally took over when Epic dropped classical music in 1967, but Szell died in 1970. Columbia then reissued most of the Szell/Cleveland records on its Odyssey label.