Stanislaw Skrowaczewski

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Donaldopato
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Stanislaw Skrowaczewski

Post by Donaldopato » Wed Feb 06, 2008 9:03 pm

In the Recommended Bruckner thread, I mentioned Stanislaw Skrowaczewski's Saarbrücken Radio Symphony Orchestra Bruckner cycle. Chalkperson mentioned that Skrowaczewski was highly under rated as a conductor. I would have to agree and like Chalkperson, I never heard a recording of his I did not like.

I heard him live just once with the Minnesota Orchestra on tour with the Shostakovich 5th as the major work. A long ago concert at the University of Illinois. (Remember that one MaestroDJS?)

His Ravel with the Minnesota Orchestra originally in Vox Box is wonderful, as is the Minnesota Shostakovich 5th on an old Mercury disc (OP now it seems) and his Bruckner is overall very good.

Someone, I read once, compared him to Martinon in his musicality and overall excellence combined with an unfortunate neglect of his work.

Anyone else enjoy this fine conductor's work?
Great spirits have always encountered violent opposition from mediocre minds. - Albert Einstein

Lance
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Post by Lance » Wed Feb 06, 2008 9:23 pm

Indeed, I first came to know Skrowaczewski's work through his recording of Chopin's Piano Concerto #1 in E Minor with Artur Rubinstein [RCA]. I also have many LP and CD recordings of the conductor on the Mercury and Biddulph labels and an outstanding privately-issued set of 12 CDs of the Minneapolis/Minnesota Orchestra. Skrowaczewski appears on Volumes 6 and 7 in that series. On Mercury, his recordings with pianist Gina Bachauer are exempary, as is his work with pianist Byron Janis and cellist Janos Starker. But his orchestral recordings, such as the Schubert Symphonies 5 and 8 and Rosamunde Incidental Music and his Prokofiev Romeo & Juliet Suites 1 and 2 are outstanding. His recording for EMI [73317] of the complete works for piano and orchestra of Chopin with pianist Alexis Weissenberg was a must-have for me.

Is Skrowaczewski underrated? Yes, I believe so. He had become somewhat of an "accompanying" conductor very much in the way Walter Susskind did, the latter who was also a fine conductor in his own right but outside of Saint Louis, Mo., didn't have too much of an opportunity to display his talents.
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Heck148
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Post by Heck148 » Wed Feb 06, 2008 10:20 pm

I used to hear Skrowaczewski frequently when he conducted Philadelphia at their summer concerts in Saratoga, NY...
esp memorable was a fine Brahms 3rd he and the orchestra gave....tough piece, and they nailed it .

Chalkperson
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Post by Chalkperson » Wed Feb 06, 2008 11:05 pm

His Ravel disc has been re-issued by Musical Fidelity as a SACD...spectacular sound...his Shostakovich 1+5+6+10 are available with the Halle Orchestra on three discs, well worth investigating...his Beethoven Cycle on OEHMS has just been released as a box set also...

Darryl
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Post by Darryl » Thu Feb 14, 2008 4:18 pm

He did a great job with several of the Beethoven symphonies at Saarbruecken. I only have 1-4 from that cycle, but the Eroica is now one of my favorites.

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Post by Chalkperson » Thu Feb 14, 2008 4:26 pm

Darryl wrote:He did a great job with several of the Beethoven symphonies at Saarbruecken. I only have 1-4 from that cycle, but the Eroica is now one of my favorites.
That whole cycle is First Class and now available as a box set...
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Darryl
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Post by Darryl » Thu Feb 14, 2008 4:32 pm

That orchestra is tight! Sometimes thin sounding in the strings; other times fine. I've so many recordings of the late symphonies, I didn't get around to them in the new cycle.

jserraglio
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Post by jserraglio » Thu Feb 14, 2008 5:12 pm

I heard Skrowaczewski conduct at the pre-renovated Avery Fisher Hall in the late 70's and was impressed though I hated the sound of the hall. I was seated on the right side of that concrete coffin and couldn't hear the orchestra clearly. In spite of the wretched acoustics, Skrowaczewski made a huge impression on me, I have been following his work ever since.

dirkronk
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Post by dirkronk » Thu Feb 14, 2008 5:17 pm

I've enjoyed Skrowaczewski's work very much, indeed--including many of the Mercury items that Lance mentioned, the Ravel that Donaldopato noted, as well as others:

- his Beethoven overture set (marred by phase problems in the original Vox Turnabout LPs, they're supposed to be corrected in the CD transfers--and I'm lookin' for 'em. They're GOOD.)

- his Prokofiev R&J suite done for Vox Candide was, if anything, even more exciting as performance AND as sound than his Mercury version (but the long LP sides made for some minor inner groove distortion in the last minutes). Plus, he did some equally exciting Stravinsky and other 20th century stuff for Candide, Vox and Turnabout, much of it superbly recorded by Aubort & Nickrenz.

- his Schubert Great C symphony, originally on Mercury and later on a Philips budget label, was occasionally raw in sound but very propulsive and exciting in execution. The same might be said for his Shostakovich symphony #5 from that source--another favorite--and IIRC he did the Mendelssohn sym #4 "Italian" in similarly thrilling fashion (not up to the fleet refinement of van Beinum's gorgeous COA mono version, but zippy and engaging enough to maintain a place in my collection for the past few decades).

I haven't sampled his later Shostakovich that's been talked about online these past several years, but I'll take notes as this thread expands and see if I can't track down the items that other folks recommend.

Cheers,

Dirk

Jack Kelso
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Post by Jack Kelso » Fri Feb 15, 2008 2:53 am

Darryl wrote:That orchestra is tight! Sometimes thin sounding in the strings; other times fine. I've so many recordings of the late symphonies, I didn't get around to them in the new cycle.
If you're referring to Saarbrücken---yes, it is a fine ensemble. I believe it was Hans Zender who built up that orchestra....or was it another...?!

Jack
"Schumann's our music-maker now." ---Robert Browning

pizza
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Post by pizza » Fri Feb 15, 2008 6:18 am

He has an interest in music of all periods and his recorded repertoire is extensive. In addition to the Bruckner cycle, I have an excellent recording he made of Bartok's Music for Strings, Percussion & Celesta and Divertimento for String Orchestra, originally released on a Vox Cum Laude LP and remastered and re-released on CD by Mobile Fidelity. I like it even more than Reiner's.

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Post by diegobueno » Mon Feb 18, 2008 5:03 pm

He's a decent composer too. I enjoyed playing his trio for clarinet, bassoon and piano.

PGS
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Post by PGS » Tue Feb 19, 2008 12:24 pm

Anyone knows where someone could find scores of his compositions? Personally, I have problems locating scores for most contemporary artists. I can't even find scores of my natives Skalkottas or Mitropoulos... Maybe I'm a bad googler :lol:
"When doing something good, expect nothing in return. Your reward will find its way eventually"

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