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There has been a veritable exodus of woodwind principals from the MetOpera in recent years...it used to have the highest pay scale, tho with lots of services...but many principals left the orchestra...in addition to Bouriakov and McGill:
Steven Williamson - clar - to Chicago
Eugene Izotov - oboe - to Chicago, then LAPO
Whitney Crockett - bssn - LAPO
That's a lot of positions to fill...
Peter Gelb is a ********. He has embraced high technology as the way to make traditional 19th century opera relevant today, and while technology is inevitably part of the scene these days and can't be ignored, it can't compensate if people don't find opera dramatically and musically compelling. If he doesn't think orchestra quality is important, why doesn't he replace it altogether with synthesizers and electric guitars, as has been done for many Broadway musicals? SMH.
 

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Peter Gelb is a ********. He has embraced high technology as the way to make traditional 19th century opera relevant today, and while technology is inevitably part of the scene these days and can't be ignored, it can't compensate if people don't find opera dramatically and musically compelling. If he doesn't think orchestra quality is important, why doesn't he replace it altogether with synthesizers and electric guitars, as has been done for many Broadway musicals? SMH.
The Met tried to pull a fast one during the covid shutdowns.....they put on some event, and rather than use their contracted musicians, tried to hire all substitutes, like a pick-up orchestra....I don't know how that came out....if they actually put the show on, or had to cancel it...that's really slimy in any case...
 

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The Met tried to pull a fast one during the covid shutdowns.....they put on some event, and rather than use their contracted musicians, tried to hire all substitutes, like a pick-up orchestra....I don't know how that came out....if they actually put the show on, or had to cancel it...that's really slimy in any case...
Yes, that was last year's New Year's Eve pay-per-view gala. This summer, the Met reached a deal with the orchestra including pay cuts, some but not all of which would be restored once box office revenues return to 90 percent of pre-pandemic levels, and reducing the number of full time members from 90 to 83.
 

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Returning to Szell,,,,
Someone questioned his lack of choral/operatic recordings.

Szell developed in the old tradition. Working through opera houses. That was through the 1930’s until the Nazi terror. Szell was a major conductor of the NYC Metropolitan in the mid 1940’s. Szell performed plenty of vocal/choral works. I have a performance of Beethoven/Missa Solemnis that is awe-inspiring. However,there is an interview with Szell in the 1960’s. He was asked if he would go back into opera. He said that he would not due to sub-optimal standards.

Any insinuation that Szell stayed away from vocal/operatic works is getting desperate.
 

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How many non-Met conductors of that period who worked in the United States did too many opera records? Always seemed like most of the American stuff I come across was Leinsdorf or Mitropoulous.


That, and when a record company which didn't have the Met contract released opera, it seemed like they'd just license an overseas recording from Decca or something, rather than find an American opera to record.
 

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Desperate? His lack of choral/opera output compared to his conducting peers of similar stature is conspicuous. There's nothing controversial about that statement. It's objectively true. I was just wondering the reason for it.
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.
 

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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.
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.
 

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I am going to try to type in an interview between Michael Charry and Myron Bloom. It was part of the liner notes to a CD release;Sony Classical,Szell,Cleveland-Richard Strauss,Don Quixote-Pierre Fournier,Don Juan,Horn Concerto 1 with Myron Bloom as soloist.
I hope there will be no auto-correct/spelling errors. Ok,here I go.

MYRON BLOOM REMEMBERS GEORGE SZELL.
by Michael Charry.

Myron Bloom was born in Cleveland,where he studied with Cleveland Orchestra second hornist Martin Morris. During my tenure as apprentice and associate conductor to Szell at the Cleveland(1961-1972) I had the opportunity to work with both Morris and his former pupil Bloom,who had become a matchless team. I asked Bloom how he first came to the Cleveland Orchestra:
Myron Bloom:I was playing at Marlboro,and Berl Senofsky(assistant concertmaster of the Cleveland Orchestra from 1951 to 1955) heard me play and arranged an audition with Szell. So I came to Cleveland,I played,and that was it. He hired me for third horn(in 1954). A year later,I got a call from Chicago saying, “We’d like to have you come and play first horn here.” I went to Szell and said,”I’ve been offered Chicago,first horn,and I want to take it.” Szell said to me,”Haven’t you heard? You’re going to be the next first horn of the Cleveland Orchestra.”

Michael Charry: Do you remember your first concerts as first horn,how that felt?
MB: I remember that whole first year. I was in a total state of shock. I’d walk on the stage and off like a zombie,my face white with fear and apprehension and panic-for the whole first year. I remember the first “Till Eulenspiegel.” Szell rode me mercilessly,and I was beside myself. I said,”I can’t let this go on.” This was my first experience with him in any way. I walked back,knocked on his door,and he said,”Yes,” and I walked in. Before I could say a word,I burst into tears. And he was so….sensitive. He embraced me. He was incredible.
MC: Tell me about playing the Strauss concerto.
MB: For the Strauss,Szell played the piano. I played the horn. We went right through it from beginning to end. He said,”Stunning.” Then with the orchestra,I just went right through it,never stopped. On the recording,I made just one insert,that was it. Right through from beginning to end.
MC:What else do you remember about playing with Szell?
MB: I remember everything I played with Szell and the orchestra. I remember the Mahler 9th very well. I know I’m patting myself on the back,but I can’t resist telling my Mahler Ninth story. We played the Mahler Ninth in New York and then took it to Boston. The Boston critic,Michael Steinberg,wrote a very long article in the Sunday paper,which featured me. It went on and on about me. He compared me with every other horn player then playing. It was such an ego bath for me,but it was well written,and(laughs) I believed it,of course. The next day in Boston,when I got in the elevator,there was Szell. We were alone,and he said,”Can I touch you?” A perfect straight line.
MC: You said,”Szell lives inside me all the time. “ Can you explain what that means to you?
MB: Szell’s way of music was to get everything clear and in order at first. Then the music-making could start. It couldn’t begin unless everything was right:rhythm,dynamics,articulation. But then when you began,when all that was in place……
MC:Then what happened?
MB:Magic.
 

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I don't think it can be seriously disputed that Szell was a great conductor. IMO, Toscanini and his disciples Reiner, Szell, Ormandy and Rodzinski raised the technical level of symphony orchestra playing in the US to sky high levels. That legacy hasn't disappeared completely, but economic pressures have taken their toll in recent years.
 

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For an excellent view of Szell and his relationships with his musicians - I highly recommend:

<<Tales from the Locker Room -
An Anecdotal Portrait of George Szell and his Cleveland Orchestras>>

by
Lawrence Angell
Bernette Jaffe

Personal stories and anecdotes of individuals and their dealings with Szell...

good read, and highly entertaining....
 

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Many great players, violinist David Nadian for example, spent their careers as studio musicians. Nadian briefly joined the New York Philharmonic as concertmaster, but found it not to his liking and soon returned to the studio.
Since you mention him, this is a real treat:


And to bring it back around he mentions that Szell was the "most helpful" conductor as a concerto accompanist (51:17).
 
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