Author Topic: Standout Conductors  (Read 2854 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

Offline dylanesque

  • Full Member
  • *
  • Posts: 43
Standout Conductors
« on: March 17, 2013, 03:53:02 PM »
As a relative newbie I must say of all the conductors I have heard thus far Carlos Kleiber has stood out for me. His Beethoven 5&7 and Brahms 4 are so fabulous . I can hear every instrument so clearly and everything seems so crisp in these recordings. I read somewhere it was perhaps due to him being German ( precise) yet having Latin flair?. Anyways pity he did not do lots more recordings. I probably will buy others by him just because of the quality of the ones I have.
Regards Darren

Offline xochitl

  • Full Member
  • *
  • Posts: 237
  • Location: walla walla
Re: Standout Conductors
« Reply #1 on: March 17, 2013, 10:41:44 PM »
when i started out i always gravitated to the most 'distinctive' performers/conductors, but now, after a decade-plus i find  the greatest pleasure comes from those who mess with the score the least and represent the composer better.

curious:  what conductors have you heard?  i used to be a huge Bernstein fan as a teen [i'm 26 now]

Offline dylanesque

  • Full Member
  • *
  • Posts: 43
Standout Conductors
« Reply #2 on: March 18, 2013, 02:26:40 AM »
when i started out i always gravitated to the most 'distinctive' performers/conductors, but now, after a decade-plus i find  the greatest pleasure comes from those who mess with the score the least and represent the composer better.

curious:  what conductors have you heard?  i used to be a huge Bernstein fan as a teen [i'm 26 now]
I must admit I made this thread after a bottle of the red stuff . To be fair I have bought excellent recordings recently as I have done research on this very forum before purchasing.
Bernstein I enjoy watching on YouTube as he seems very theatrical and great to watch. Maybe it's the video quality but I feel some sections of his Mahler seem muddy and showtime.
I have heard and like Simon Rattle and particularly like his Eroica.
Klemperer I really like his Mozart 39,40 and 41.Also like his Mahler 2 although the tempo seems slow to me compared to Boulez version.
I strongly dislike tempo being too fast and andante being rushed and hurried. I prefer music to be slower or just right ,rather than too fast if that makes Sense:)
Funny enough in the rock world the likes of Prince(at his peak) and Bob Dylan would play songs live completely differently than recorded versions . They have the right to do so but I hate that. Like you mention you can't beat someone sticking to a score .
I assume Kleiber does as they sound perfect recordings so far?
Anyway sorry for the thread it's in the wrong section and should be in composers bit.
« Last Edit: March 18, 2013, 02:28:37 AM by dylanesque »

Offline jochanaan

  • Veteran member
  • *
  • Posts: 4700
    • Musician, Music Instructor and Piano Tuner
Re: Standout Conductors
« Reply #3 on: March 24, 2013, 06:21:08 PM »
Carlos Kleiber was awesomely gifted, but had a reputation for being erratic and a sort of "free spirit."  Yet he did leave some of the greatest recordings in history--as did his father, Erich Kleiber.  To this day, I cannot imagine a greater Marriage of Figaro than the one from the 1950s with Erich Kleiber leading the Vienna Philharmonic and some of the top singers of the day such as Cesare Siepi (Figaro) and Lisa della Casa (the Countess).

Some say that recordings, as opposed to concerts, should be "faithful to the score" without excessive personality.  But the more I listen (and play music), the more I have come to think that a "lack of personality" is almost always a bad thing.  Even the great conductors who were known as literalists, such as George Szell, Lorin Maazel, Herbert von Karajan and especially Arturo Toscanini, had tremendous personalities; and most of them would even do some "editing" on occasion.

(Did you know that "being faithful to the score" is a relatively recent development in music history?  In earlier ages, performers were expected to add things to the written music, to "make it their own;" a singer or player who couldn't improvise ornamentations or cadenzas was considered deficient.  Even Felix Mendelssohn, one of the greatest literalists in the early Romantic period, added brass and beefed up the orchestra for his revival of Bach's Saint Matthew Passion.  It's only from the mid-Nineteenth Century that you find musicians like Giuseppe Verdi saying "I do not allow singers or conductors to create.")
Imagination + discipline = creativity

Offline dylanesque

  • Full Member
  • *
  • Posts: 43
Standout Conductors
« Reply #4 on: March 25, 2013, 07:57:11 AM »
Carlos Kleiber was awesomely gifted, but had a reputation for being erratic and a sort of "free spirit."  Yet he did leave some of the greatest recordings in history--as did his father, Erich Kleiber.  To this day, I cannot imagine a greater Marriage of Figaro than the one from the 1950s with Erich Kleiber leading the Vienna Philharmonic and some of the top singers of the day such as Cesare Siepi (Figaro) and Lisa della Casa (the Countess).

Some say that recordings, as opposed to concerts, should be "faithful to the score" without excessive personality.  But the more I listen (and play music), the more I have come to think that a "lack of personality" is almost always a bad thing.  Even the great conductors who were known as literalists, such as George Szell, Lorin Maazel, Herbert von Karajan and especially Arturo Toscanini, had tremendous personalities; and most of them would even do some "editing" on occasion.

(Did you know that "being faithful to the score" is a relatively recent development in music history?  In earlier ages, performers were expected to add things to the written music, to "make it their own;" a singer or player who couldn't improvise ornamentations or cadenzas was considered deficient.  Even Felix Mendelssohn, one of the greatest literalists in the early Romantic period, added brass and beefed up the orchestra for his revival of Bach's Saint Matthew Passion.  It's only from the mid-Nineteenth Century that you find musicians like Giuseppe Verdi saying "I do not allow singers or conductors to create.")
Great stuff as usual Jochanaan.I never knew what you mentioned about performers adding to the score. Seems rather odd . I can imagine the temptation with Baroque composers like Bach and Handel being to modernise their work.

Offline huntsman

  • Full Member
  • *
  • Posts: 171
  • Location: Jo'Burg, South Africa
  • Currently Listening to:
    Fritz Delius...for the month of April. (Ok, and May!)
Re: Standout Conductors
« Reply #5 on: April 12, 2013, 07:35:38 AM »
Good points raised.

I'm really not sure if I will ever reach the point where I can tell conductors apart, even in the same work.

I mean sure, if the one conductor is very slow and the other very fast, I will note the difference, but I do envy (in the nicest possible way), you chaps your ability to differentiate so well.

RAP - Add a C to improve it...

Offline Holden

  • Veteran member
  • *
  • Posts: 1979
Re: Standout Conductors
« Reply #6 on: April 12, 2013, 12:40:50 PM »
At an earlier stage of my classical music collecting I often looked for recordings by conductors as opposed to works. Carlos Kleiber was not among them as I had already heard better peformances of the LvB 5&7 (though not on one CD) Fritz Reiner was one of the early ones who excelled in a variety of music. Ferenc Fricsay rarely made a recording that I was not very happy with. Toscanini was a genius as was Furtwangler though he had a smaller repertoire. For stereo Beethoven I sought out Bruno Walter and Andre Cluytens.

Then came some odd bods who were not well known. They included Rene Leibowitz who just seemed to shine with everything he did. I found Mengelberg fascinating in his off beat interpretations.

Nowadays, I don't avidly seek conductors (but will always listen to anything new from the list above) but rather seek interpretaions of works botold and new (to me) that get recommendations from this forum.
Cheers

Holden

Offline bigshot

  • Full Member
  • *
  • Posts: 697
  • Location: United States
Re: Standout Conductors
« Reply #7 on: April 12, 2013, 12:56:20 PM »
To me, the standout conductors are Stokowski, Toscanini and Bernstein. They put an individual mark on the music they conducted so you knew who it was before you even looked at the CD cover. Other conductors are excellent, but those are the ones that are truly unique.

Offline Mirror Image

  • Veteran member
  • *
  • Posts: 54875
  • Claude Debussy (1862 - 1918)
  • Location: Northeast GA, US
  • Currently Listening to:
    ...brume au-dessus de l'eau...
Re: Standout Conductors
« Reply #8 on: April 12, 2013, 05:00:51 PM »
Recently Rafael Kubelik has been under my radar pretty heavily with his Hartmann and Bruckner recordings. The guy was an outstanding conductor. He could communicate his ideas in a completely unhindered way. I also still highly respect his Mahler and Dvorak recordings and of course his Smetana.
“Works of art make rules but rules do not make works of art.” - Claude Debussy

Offline Geo Dude

  • Veteran member
  • *
  • Posts: 1346
  • Pipe Organ Addict
    • My Blog
  • Location: Texas, US
  • Currently Listening to:
    Beethoven, Berlioz, Couperin, Debussy, Haydn, Lully, Rameau, Ravel
Re: Standout Conductors
« Reply #9 on: April 28, 2013, 09:47:16 AM »
I'm going to give you a list of conductors that are either HIP (historically informed performance and period instrument) conductors or conductors that use modern instruments that are HIP-influenced.  You may find that you don't like period instruments or material done in the HIP style, but there's no way to know for sure unless you try. :)

Frans Bruggen; John Eliot Gardiner; Nikolaus Harnoncourt; Philippe Herreweghe; Christopher Hogwood; Jos von Immerseel; Charles Mackerras; Andrew Manze; Marc Minkowski; Jordi Savall; Bruno Weil

These should give you a good start if you decide to explore that area.

Offline jochanaan

  • Veteran member
  • *
  • Posts: 4700
    • Musician, Music Instructor and Piano Tuner
Re: Standout Conductors
« Reply #10 on: May 12, 2013, 08:49:27 AM »
Good points raised.

I'm really not sure if I will ever reach the point where I can tell conductors apart, even in the same work.

I mean sure, if the one conductor is very slow and the other very fast, I will note the difference, but I do envy (in the nicest possible way), you chaps your ability to differentiate so well.
You'll learn with experience--like we all did. :)

Some of my favorites:
Wolfgang Sawallisch (especially in High Romantic music: his Schumann, Brahms and Dvorak are among the very best)
Jascha Horenstein (especially Carl Nielsen and Mahler)
Sergiu Celibidache (legendary Bruckner)
Sir Charles Mackerras
Daniel Barenboim
Riccardo Muti
Marin Alsop

(There may be some younger conductors who've escaped my notice; I haven't listened to a lot of classical music lately--career pressures and personal-life difficulties. >:()
Imagination + discipline = creativity

Offline huntsman

  • Full Member
  • *
  • Posts: 171
  • Location: Jo'Burg, South Africa
  • Currently Listening to:
    Fritz Delius...for the month of April. (Ok, and May!)
Re: Standout Conductors
« Reply #11 on: May 13, 2013, 12:46:37 AM »
Lots of great info - thanks fellas!

Recent additions to my meagre collection:

Sirs John Barbirolli, Charles Mackerras, Neville Marriner, Malcolm Sargent, Charles Groves and Thomas Beecham,
Vernon Handley
Richard Hickox
Georg Solti
Jordi Savall
Eugen Jochum
Bernard Haitink
Jacob Lindberg, and
Rinaldo Alessandrini

Only listened to some of the Lords so far, but I'm as happy as a pig in ...well, very happy!
RAP - Add a C to improve it...

Offline Geo Dude

  • Veteran member
  • *
  • Posts: 1346
  • Pipe Organ Addict
    • My Blog
  • Location: Texas, US
  • Currently Listening to:
    Beethoven, Berlioz, Couperin, Debussy, Haydn, Lully, Rameau, Ravel
Standout Conductors
« Reply #12 on: May 13, 2013, 09:43:53 AM »
Good to hear.  Which Mackerras recordings did you pick up?

Offline huntsman

  • Full Member
  • *
  • Posts: 171
  • Location: Jo'Burg, South Africa
  • Currently Listening to:
    Fritz Delius...for the month of April. (Ok, and May!)
Re: Standout Conductors
« Reply #13 on: May 14, 2013, 12:46:55 AM »
I got a Janacek collection as well as Delius' 150th Anniversary collection. Started in on the latter which I am really enjoying, but still to touch the rest.

So much music, so little time...!  ;D
RAP - Add a C to improve it...

Offline John Vale

  • Newbie
  • *
  • Posts: 4
  • Location: Chesterfield UK
Re: Standout Conductors
« Reply #14 on: May 31, 2013, 09:48:08 AM »
Surprised that no one as far as i can see has mentioned Gustavo Dudamel, Christian Thielmann, Tony Pappano, Michael Tilson-Thomas or Ricardo Chailly. The Dude is my favourite cos of incredible enthusiam and championing of lesser known Latin American music. Thielmann's mastery of Beethoven is unsurpassed amongst ccurrent maestros.Tony Pappano  has made ROH orchestra amongst the greatest opera orchestras in the world, Michael Tilson-Thomas with SFSO has an amazing way of explaining music to stupid people like me! and Ricardo Chailly - well I just want to hug the guy - if I was a musician which i am definitely not! then he wuld be the one I would most like to work with = particularly love his Mahler and Bruckner