Author Topic: The Art of George Szell (György Széll)  (Read 21616 times)

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Offline mc ukrneal

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Re: The Art of George Szell (György Széll)
« Reply #40 on: March 12, 2010, 07:14:47 AM »
You don't buy Szell discs (or Toscanini, Fürtwängler, Walter or Columbia/Sony Bernstein) expecting state of the art recording. If you must have that, then yes, look elsewhere. If you want superb interpretations and orchestral execution second to none, then you gobble up every Szell/Cleveland disc you can find. By the way, I've never heard a Szell recording (other than a few pirates) that sounded "terrible." Those Columbia recordings, even from the 50s, even in mono, are okay to very good; the ear quickly adjusts even to the poorest sounding discs.

Sarge

I understand your point, but not everyone has the same level of tolerance for older recordings. What may sound ok to one person may sound terible to another.

But to stay positive, I can recommend his Tchaikovsky Symphony 5 as being a pretty good version (not my favorite, but has many good moments). Takes a bit of time to get going in the fourth movement (picks up good steam by about minute 4-5), but pretty good everywhere else.
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Offline donaldopato

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Re: The Art of George Szell (György Széll)
« Reply #41 on: March 12, 2010, 07:16:21 AM »
I have all of these and can attest that they are rock solid, exciting and classic performances. Good tempi, powerful performances and quite decent sonics that do not blur the textures. The Fleisher Piano Concerti have never been bettered, perfectly combining grace, elegance and technical prowess.

You would not be disappointed.
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Offline Sergeant Rock

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Re: The Art of George Szell (György Széll)
« Reply #42 on: March 12, 2010, 07:33:27 AM »
I understand your point, but not everyone has the same level of tolerance for older recordings. What may sound ok to one person may sound terible to another.

Admittedly I don't think of Szell's recordings to be "older recordings." They were being made when I was becoming a classical music junkie. I heard Szell live often. It's a little hard for me to accept that those performances are now considered "historical"...but I guess they are...and I guess I am too  ;D

As a native of northeastern Ohio, and a Szell fanboy, I should recuse myself from this discussion  ;)

Sarge
the phone rings and somebody says,
"hey, they made a movie about
Mahler, you ought to go see it.
he was as f*cked-up as you are."
                               --Charles Bukowski, "Mahler"

Offline mc ukrneal

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Re: The Art of George Szell (György Széll)
« Reply #43 on: March 12, 2010, 07:42:24 AM »
Admittedly I don't think of Szell's recordings to be "older recordings." They were being made when I was becoming a classical music junkie. I heard Szell live often. It's a little hard for me to accept that those performances are now considered "historical"...but I guess they are...and I guess I am too  ;D

As a native of northeastern Ohio, and a Szell fanboy, I should recuse myself from this discussion  ;)

Sarge

Uh oh, I wasn't trying to imply anything about your youth! Honest!  :o
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Offline Sergeant Rock

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Re: The Art of George Szell (György Széll)
« Reply #44 on: March 12, 2010, 07:44:05 AM »
Uh oh, I wasn't trying to imply anything about your youth! Honest!  :o

 ;D :D ;D  No need to feel bad...the bathroom mirror does it to me every morning.

Sarge
the phone rings and somebody says,
"hey, they made a movie about
Mahler, you ought to go see it.
he was as f*cked-up as you are."
                               --Charles Bukowski, "Mahler"

Offline drogulus

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Re: The Art of George Szell (György Széll)
« Reply #45 on: March 12, 2010, 08:06:34 AM »


     Many of the Szell recording have quite good sound. It's not SOTA even for the era, though. As for performances, they certainly rank with the best set of a single orchestra and conductor. I have a good number of the Essential Classics and they are just that, essential. I have Beethoven, Mahler, Stravinsky, Ravel, Walton, Schubert and Dvorak. They are all excellent.

     
But, errrrr, some of those discs are in terrible sound, a reason in and of itself not to pick them up.

     They are dated, yes. However the sound is clear and in some cases quite good. The weaknesses I notice are a lack of low end and a greying out due to the age of the tapes (some frequency and dynamic restriction). Not one of the CDs I have presents a problem in this regard though I realize people have different tolerances for aged recordings. I consider myself medium intolerant. I don't like mono, for example. All of my Szell recordings are stereo, the oldest from 1957.
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Online Brian

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Re: The Art of George Szell (György Széll)
« Reply #46 on: March 12, 2010, 09:13:03 AM »
Easy: because just about any Szell Sony disc will offer a top-notch performance.

His Brahms Four was a pretty considerable disappointment to me.

Offline Sergeant Rock

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Re: The Art of George Szell (György Széll)
« Reply #47 on: March 12, 2010, 09:18:13 AM »
His Brahms Four was a pretty considerable disappointment to me.

Since Kleiber's is your reference Fourth (right?) your disappointment doesn't surprise me. Szell's Brahms is very un-Kleiber-like. Of course it's for that very reason I love it  8)

Sarge
the phone rings and somebody says,
"hey, they made a movie about
Mahler, you ought to go see it.
he was as f*cked-up as you are."
                               --Charles Bukowski, "Mahler"

George

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Re: The Art of George Szell (György Széll)
« Reply #48 on: March 12, 2010, 10:02:25 AM »
You don't buy Szell discs (or Toscanini, Fürtwängler, Walter or Columbia/Sony Bernstein) expecting state of the art recording. If you must have that, then yes, look elsewhere. If you want superb interpretations and orchestral execution second to none, then you gobble up every Szell/Cleveland disc you can find. By the way, I've never heard a Szell recording (other than a few pirates) that sounded "terrible." Those Columbia recordings, even from the 50s, even in mono, are okay to very good; the ear quickly adjusts even to the poorest sounding discs.

Sarge

Ditto!

Saved me some typing buddy!

I will also echo the posts saying buy whatever Szell you can get your hands on.

kishnevi

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Re: The Art of George Szell (György Széll)
« Reply #49 on: March 12, 2010, 02:50:49 PM »

As a native of northeastern Ohio, and a Szell fanboy, I should recuse myself from this discussion  ;)

Sarge

Nonsense,  that merely gives you special expertise.

But don't slight the non Sony Szell;  there is his evil twin brother EMI Szell.   The recording I have from the evil twin brother is Des Knaben Wunderhorn, with Schwarzkopf and Fischer-Dieskau as the soloists--which alone should tell you how good it is.

Offline MichaelRabin

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Re: The Art of George Szell (György Széll)
« Reply #50 on: March 12, 2010, 10:26:14 PM »
I got my eye on the Beethoven PC 3 & 4 remastered disc with Flesher and Szell. Any comments please on this beside the post above? Thanks.

Offline Sergeant Rock

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Re: The Art of George Szell (György Széll)
« Reply #51 on: March 13, 2010, 03:16:04 AM »
But don't slight the non Sony Szell;  there is his evil twin brother EMI Szell.   The recording I have from the evil twin brother is Des Knaben Wunderhorn, with Schwarzkopf and Fischer-Dieskau as the soloists--which alone should tell you how good it is.

Oh, I'm not slighting the non-Sony Szell. Not at all. Besides the EMI Szell we have the Philips Szell (a great Sibelius 2 and Beethoven 5 with the Concertgebouw) and the Decca Szell (my favorite Tchaikovsky 4, the complete incidental music to Egmont). But Michael asked specifically for Sony recommendations because of the MDT sale.

Sarge
the phone rings and somebody says,
"hey, they made a movie about
Mahler, you ought to go see it.
he was as f*cked-up as you are."
                               --Charles Bukowski, "Mahler"

Offline Superhorn

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Re: The Art of George Szell (György Széll)
« Reply #52 on: March 13, 2010, 07:58:19 AM »
  There's no denying that Szell was a master conductor and unsurpassed as a technician. His Cleleland recordings are polished to a fare-thee-well.
  Yet, I've always found them much too carefully controlled and lacking in spontaneity. Some of these recordings can be downright wooden at times.
 There's frequently a kind of exaggeratedly clipped and abrupt phrasing, and a lack of
 color and warmth, which might be partially due to the dry,grayish recorded sound.
  In general, I prefer the recordings Szell made with the Concertgebouw  and other orchestras, which are very different.
 When Maazel succeeded Szell and started recording with the orchestra for Decca
  and moved to a more resonant recording venue, I could scarcely recognize the sound of the orchestra any more; suddenly it sounded so warm,resonant and
 colorful. 
  Not every one liked Maazel's work in Cleveland during the 70s and early 80s, but
he made some really good recordings with them,such as the complete Prokofiev Romeo&Juliet, Porgy and Bess, La Mer and Poem of Ecstasy to name only a few.

Scarpia

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Re: The Art of George Szell (György Széll)
« Reply #53 on: March 13, 2010, 08:02:34 AM »
Not every one liked Maazel's work in Cleveland during the 70s and early 80s, but
he made some really good recordings with them,such as the complete Prokofiev Romeo&Juliet, Porgy and Bess, La Mer and Poem of Ecstasy to name only a few.

Also the Pini di Roma.  It is also a outrage (IMO) that Maazel's Cleveland Brahms cycle has never been reissued.

Online Brian

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Re: The Art of George Szell (György Széll)
« Reply #54 on: March 19, 2010, 10:16:10 AM »
Since Kleiber's is your reference Fourth (right?) your disappointment doesn't surprise me. Szell's Brahms is very un-Kleiber-like. Of course it's for that very reason I love it  8)

Sarge

I like Kleiber, Ormandy, and to lesser extents Janowski (new on PentaTone), Gielen ... Szell's is very different from all four, particularly that fourteen-minute opening movement.  ;)

Franco

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Re: The Art of George Szell (György Széll)
« Reply #55 on: March 19, 2010, 10:46:48 AM »
I looked over the first page and didn't see these, but someone must have mentioned them already - my favorite Szell/Cleveland recordings are the Beethoven Piano Concertos (all 5) with Leon Fleisher.   The Triple Concerto is good too.



[This is not the cover of my sets, but for some reason they weren't to be found using Google Image searching.]

The Beethoven Symphonies are not too shabby either.

Offline Sergeant Rock

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Re: The Art of George Szell (György Széll)
« Reply #56 on: March 20, 2010, 10:42:32 AM »
I like Kleiber, Ormandy, and to lesser extents Janowski (new on PentaTone), Gielen ... Szell's is very different from all four, particularly that fourteen-minute opening movement.  ;)

Now don't exaggerate, Brian....it's only 13 minutes and 22 seconds long  ;)

That is surprising, actually...that Szell is slower than Bernstein in Vienna and not much faster than Celibidache! I love all three performances though...they allow one to wallow in Brahms  ;D 8)

Sarge
the phone rings and somebody says,
"hey, they made a movie about
Mahler, you ought to go see it.
he was as f*cked-up as you are."
                               --Charles Bukowski, "Mahler"

Offline Sergeant Rock

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Re: The Art of George Szell (György Széll)
« Reply #57 on: March 20, 2010, 10:53:11 AM »
Also the Pini di Roma.  It is also a outrage (IMO) that Maazel's Cleveland Brahms cycle has never been reissued.

I have the box of LPs but I'd like to see it on CD too, joining the Szell and Dohnányi cycles from Cleveland.

Sarge
the phone rings and somebody says,
"hey, they made a movie about
Mahler, you ought to go see it.
he was as f*cked-up as you are."
                               --Charles Bukowski, "Mahler"

Renfield

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Re: The Art of George Szell (György Széll)
« Reply #58 on: March 20, 2010, 12:01:31 PM »
Now don't exaggerate, Brian....it's only 13 minutes and 22 seconds long  ;)

That is surprising, actually...that Szell is slower than Bernstein in Vienna and not much faster than Celibidache! I love all three performances though...they allow one to wallow in Brahms  ;D 8)

Sarge

The 4th is the only one from Szell's cycle that I lack, and this is making me very tempted indeed to rectify that oversight...

Offline Coopmv

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Re: The Art of George Szell (György Széll)
« Reply #59 on: March 21, 2010, 05:06:24 AM »
Is his Beethoven Symphonies cycle OOP?