Author Topic: Conductors  (Read 27295 times)

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Offline knight66

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Re: Conductors
« Reply #40 on: June 24, 2007, 04:01:16 AM »
Sorry Greta, I have not been in performances with any of them. Some near misses, Colin Davis had been mooted for one concert, but was repalced well before hand. That happened quite a bit.

Mike
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Re: Conductors
« Reply #41 on: June 27, 2007, 08:17:21 AM »
I wish others would add to this thread...I see Ormandy mentioned. I have no memories of him unfortunately. My only reminder of him is that when I performed with his old orchestra at their summer venue, it was pointed out to us that the swish mobile podium was then the only air conditioned pidium in the world, designed to Ormandy's specifications.

Mike

Thanks for all the great stuff, Mike! Any brushes with Barbirolli or Walter?

Offline Nipper

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Re: Conductors
« Reply #42 on: July 02, 2007, 04:07:21 PM »
I will be guilty of putting up a "me too" post, but I do want to add my voice to the chorus thanking you for taking the time to share your reminiscences, Mike.

Offline Nipper

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Re: Conductors
« Reply #43 on: July 02, 2007, 04:46:56 PM »
For people interested in learning more about conductors, if you haven't seen the video "The Art of Conducting: Great Conductors of the Past," you might seek it out.  I have a copy on VHS, but I think it is out on DVD now (it's on Teldec Video). It has footage of famous conductors in both performance and rehearsal, with commentary by luminaries including J.E. Gardiner, Isaac Stern, Beecham, Menuhin, Szell, Bruno Walter, Otto Klemperer, Stokowski, Karajan, and others. There is one segment of Koussevitsky conducting the Egmont Overture that is just fantastic and lots of other good stuff besides.

Offline MishaK

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Re: Conductors
« Reply #44 on: July 02, 2007, 05:44:24 PM »
For people interested in learning more about conductors, if you haven't seen the video "The Art of Conducting: Great Conductors of the Past," you might seek it out.  I have a copy on VHS, but I think it is out on DVD now (it's on Teldec Video). It has footage of famous conductors in both performance and rehearsal, with commentary by luminaries including J.E. Gardiner, Isaac Stern, Beecham, Menuhin, Szell, Bruno Walter, Otto Klemperer, Stokowski, Karajan, and others. There is one segment of Koussevitsky conducting the Egmont Overture that is just fantastic and lots of other good stuff besides.

There is a second volume of the same as well: The Art of Conducting - Legendary Conductors of a Golden Era. This one features Celibidache, Furtwängler, E. Kleiber, Mravinsky, Munch, Mengelberg, Cluytens, Karajan, Scherchen, Talich, with commentary from inter alia Barenboim, Haitink and Menuhin.

As to the first set, which you mention, the full list of featured conductors is: Barbirolli, Beecham, Bernstein, Busch, Furtwängler, Karajan, Klemperer, Koussevitzky, Nikisch, Reiner, Stokowski, Strauss, Szell, Toscanini, Walter, Weingartner, with commentary inter alia by Gardiner, Stern, Menuhin, Knussen.
« Last Edit: July 09, 2007, 09:42:32 AM by O Mensch »

Offline knight66

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Re: Conductors
« Reply #45 on: July 04, 2007, 12:41:33 PM »
No Barbirolli or Walter from me I am afraid. I do like this story about Barbirolli....He was rehearsing Aida at Covent Garden, seemingly a spectacular production. Horses in the Triumphal Scene. Things were not going well, at one point one horse crapped onto the stage and Barbirolli remarked.....Everyone's a critic!


Mike
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I wasted time: and time wasted me.

Offline Soundproof

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Re: Conductors
« Reply #46 on: July 09, 2007, 01:45:43 AM »
Hmmm - this thread can be compared to being in a foreign city, just strolling along, feeling peckish and saying: "Let's pop inside there and eat!" - and coming upon the best restaurant in the region by happenstance.

Brilliant contributions, Mike!

Offline knight66

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Re: Conductors
« Reply #47 on: July 09, 2007, 03:31:46 AM »
Thanks indeed....Michel had hoped to read of Furtwangler and Szell, Klemperer and many others that were before my time, I am hoping others will pop by to fill in gaps and provide some overlaps.

Cheers,

Mike
DavidW: Yeah Mike doesn't get angry, he gets even.
I wasted time: and time wasted me.

uffeviking

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Conductors
« Reply #48 on: July 24, 2007, 02:29:52 PM »
(Was the category Conductors, in general, not a certain group, in the old forum? I can't find it!)

This afternoon I spent close to an hour watching Pierre Boulez rehearsing the Wiener Philharmoniker in concerts by Alban Berg's Three Pieces and his own Notations I-IV. An overwhelming revelation of those two pieces, which had always left me muttering: "Huh?" Oh no, today's session did not remove all the 'huhs', but I got closer to hearing what was being played. Some day I might even understand it completely because of Boulez's enlightening, informative chats in between.

What really impressed me was Boulez's miraculous talent for hearing. An example was a passage in Berg's Orchesterstück II Reigen. There are about one hundred musicians playing, what seemed to me, whatever they wanted to, however they wanted to, more like the sound I am used to when the entire orchestra is tuning up at the beginning of a concert. Boulez interrupts them and asks trumpet 3 to play for him a G. The young man does it. "No, no, wrong, try again". The trumpeter tries again; Boulez not satisfied and after the third try he hums a G for the musician, and he gets it right! Perfect! To me they all sounded the same. Now how on earth could Boulez detect this barely off-key G among the mass of other notes produced by the entire orchestra? He showed this same talent during his Notations IV. He asks three trombones to repeat a certain bar. No good. After repeated tries it is discovered that the mute of one trombonist is shaped different than the other two!

Have I helped you to understand why I love to watch DVDs? Even the videos of concerts are a revelation of what makes any classical piece of music worth my time and concentration. BTW, Boulez during rehearsal is so much more lively, even charming, than during regular performances.  :)

Offline Brewski

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Re: Conductors
« Reply #49 on: July 24, 2007, 02:34:43 PM »
Lis, thank you for this preview.  (I have this DVD but haven't watched it yet!  :'()

Boulez is supposed to be incredible with tuning, and your observation would bear this out.

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Offline PerfectWagnerite

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Re: Conductors
« Reply #50 on: July 24, 2007, 03:14:12 PM »

What really impressed me was Boulez's miraculous talent for hearing. An example was a passage in Berg's Orchesterstück II Reigen. There are about one hundred musicians playing, what seemed to me, whatever they wanted to, however they wanted to, more like the sound I am used to when the entire orchestra is tuning up at the beginning of a concert. Boulez interrupts them and asks trumpet 3 to play for him a G. The young man does it. "No, no, wrong, try again". The trumpeter tries again; Boulez not satisfied and after the third try he hums a G for the musician, and he gets it right! Perfect! To me they all sounded the same. Now how on earth could Boulez detect this barely off-key G among the mass of other notes produced by the entire orchestra? He showed this same talent during his Notations IV. He asks three trombones to repeat a certain bar. No good. After repeated tries it is discovered that the mute of one trombonist is shaped different than the other two!

Come on, it's total BS. Boulez just likes to do things like that even though the three G's may sound EXACTLY the same. He does it to make himself look good. Musicians go WOW because they say to themselves: he can tell the difference even though we can't tell a lick, he must be SPECIAL !

I met this one older gentlemen who used to play French horn at the NYPO (don't remember his name) at West End Records in NYC and he tells me Boulez LOVES doing things like that and after awhile musicians (those with good ears anyway) just tune him out. He has respect for the likes of Bernstein, Maazel and even Masur but things Boulez is just a quack.

Offline Brewski

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Re: Conductors
« Reply #51 on: July 24, 2007, 03:23:50 PM »
I met this one older gentlemen who used to play French horn at the NYPO (don't remember his name) at West End Records in NYC and he tells me Boulez LOVES doing things like that and after awhile musicians (those with good ears anyway) just tune him out. He has respect for the likes of Bernstein, Maazel and even Masur but things Boulez is just a quack.

Well, the horn player is entitled to his opinion, but I've heard more comments that would support Lis' observation.  (And I mean, let's face it: Boulez didn't exactly have a winning relationship with the NYPO. ;D)

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Offline Robert

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Re: Conductors
« Reply #52 on: July 24, 2007, 03:43:40 PM »
Come on, it's total BS. Boulez just likes to do things like that even though the three G's may sound EXACTLY the same. He does it to make himself look good. Musicians go WOW because they say to themselves: he can tell the difference even though we can't tell a lick, he must be SPECIAL !

I met this one older gentlemen who used to play French horn at the NYPO (don't remember his name) at West End Records in NYC and he tells me Boulez LOVES doing things like that and after awhile musicians (those with good ears anyway) just tune him out. He has respect for the likes of Bernstein, Maazel and even Masur but things Boulez is just a quack.

Talk about BS

Steve

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Re: Conductors
« Reply #53 on: July 24, 2007, 03:56:27 PM »
Come on, it's total BS. Boulez just likes to do things like that even though the three G's may sound EXACTLY the same. He does it to make himself look good. Musicians go WOW because they say to themselves: he can tell the difference even though we can't tell a lick, he must be SPECIAL !

I met this one older gentlemen who used to play French horn at the NYPO (don't remember his name) at West End Records in NYC and he tells me Boulez LOVES doing things like that and after awhile musicians (those with good ears anyway) just tune him out. He has respect for the likes of Bernstein, Maazel and even Masur but things Boulez is just a quack.

Bear in mind that in this example, Boulez detected dissonance coming from the player's instrument. That taken in context; the other trumpets, I don't find this at all unbelievable. As far as the industry goes, Boulez is known to have a very discriminating ear.

M forever

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Re: Conductors
« Reply #54 on: July 24, 2007, 04:35:03 PM »
Lis told the story completely wrong. Boulez didn't "tune" a single G over and over, he detected that the second trumpet was playing 3 or 4 wrong notes and looked into that, the trumpet player played the same notes again, technically correct, but the wrong notes again, and then they figured out that he had the transposition key wrong.
That Boulez can even hear that kind of stuff in an enormously complex atonal piece is astonishing beyond description. There are probably only a few people on the planet who can hear that well. That is not a trick or tick, and it earns him a lot of respect from really professional musicians. Because that is what it should be like but rarely is. A lot of conductors don't even hear much easier stuff precise. Which is of course not the way it should be. When a conductor can hear that precise (and that also means that he really knows and understands the piece), that makes him about as far away from a "quack" as possible.

Steve

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Re: Conductors
« Reply #55 on: July 24, 2007, 04:46:39 PM »
Lis told the story completely wrong. Boulez didn't "tune" a single G over and over, he detected that the second trumpet was playing 3 or 4 wrong notes and looked into that, the trumpet player played the same notes again, technically correct, but the wrong notes again, and then they figured out that he had the transposition key wrong.
That Boulez can even hear that kind of stuff in an enormously complex atonal piece is astonishing beyond description. There are probably only a few people on the planet who can hear that well. That is not a trick or tick, and it earns him a lot of respect from really professional musicians. Because that is what it should be like but rarely is. A lot of conductors don't even hear much easier stuff precise. Which is of course not the way it should be. When a conductor can hear that precise (and that also means that he really knows and understands the piece), that makes him about as far away from a "quack" as possible.

Your rendition of the story seems entirely more plausible. But, given his reputation, I was prepared to believe the story as Lis told it.  :)

uffeviking

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Re: Conductors
« Reply #56 on: July 24, 2007, 05:52:53 PM »
M forever: you sound as if you have seen this DVD. I have seen it too, - and just watched it again, digital camera at the ready! The trumpeter who was asked by Boulez to play a G was the very young one - s. screen shot -. In the photo it shows No. 2 lowering his instrument, a golden blurr on the photo because the camera had just switched from Boulez to the musician. You see the other two trumpeters with their instruments in their laps, they had not played the G requested by Boulez.

No, I am not in the mood to start a lengthy discussion about this observation, and especially not with a professional musician. I am just a listener - and observer!  ;D

Lilas Pastia

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Re: Conductors
« Reply #57 on: July 24, 2007, 06:34:39 PM »
I'd take this thread's title to mean it's about the conductor's art, not just Boulez'. Here's a video of Charles Munch rehearsing (in German) and conducting portions of Daphnis with the Hungarian State Orchestra (1966). Personally I don't care if the conductor has a 'surgical' ear. That may very well be his only attribute. What he communicates to the players is what counts.

springrite

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Re: Conductors
« Reply #58 on: July 24, 2007, 06:45:53 PM »

That Boulez can even hear that kind of stuff in an enormously complex atonal piece is astonishing beyond description. There are probably only a few people on the planet who can hear that well. That is not a trick or tick, and it earns him a lot of respect from really professional musicians. Because that is what it should be like but rarely is.

I have a couple of musicians tell me the exact same thing, and also telling me that conductors like Neemi Jarvi is the total opposite. As a joke some musicians would play the wrong notes and Jarvi had no idea whatsoever. I was at a dinner party and the musicians were joking about it.

Offline MishaK

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Re: Conductors
« Reply #59 on: July 24, 2007, 06:56:49 PM »
I have a couple of musicians tell me the exact same thing, and also telling me that conductors like Neemi Jarvi is the total opposite. As a joke some musicians would play the wrong notes and Jarvi had no idea whatsoever. I was at a dinner party and the musicians were joking about it.

Orchestra musicians will often do that on purpose to test a new guest conductor's mettle.

 

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