Veteran Conductor Otmar Suitner Dies

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THEHORN
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Veteran Conductor Otmar Suitner Dies

Post by THEHORN » Tue Jan 19, 2010 9:55 am

Austrian-born conductor Otmar Suitner ,87, has recently passed away in Berlin . Most of his career was in the former East Germany , where he served for many years as music director of the Berlin State Opera, currently led by Daniel Barenboim , and of its orchestra, the Staatskapelle,Berlin.
He was also closely associated with the Staatskapelle,Dresden and made numerous recordings with both orchestras.
I have his excellent live recording on Berlin Classics of Pfitzner's great opera Palestrina, with Peter Screier in the title role.
Suitner was not well-known in America , but was highly regarded in Germany and Austria . He had a long and distinguished career .
He was a distinguished Wagnerian and Straussian, among other things, and made cycles of the symphonies of Beethoven, Dvorak and other composers .

Jack Kelso
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Re: Veteran Conductor Otmar Suitner Dies

Post by Jack Kelso » Tue Jan 19, 2010 10:51 am

I own at least a few recordings of Suitner. Oddly, he impressed more as a Kapellmeister type of conductor (like Willy Boskovsky).....and just let the music play itself.

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

maestrob
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Re: Veteran Conductor Otmar Suitner Dies

Post by maestrob » Tue Jan 19, 2010 10:53 am

Suitner led the first CD issue of the complete Beethoven symphonies, on the Denon label: they were very good.

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Donaldopato
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Re: Veteran Conductor Otmar Suitner Dies

Post by Donaldopato » Tue Jan 19, 2010 1:54 pm

I don't think his Beethoven is available anymore, but a lot of his work is on the Berlin Classics label. Never a flashy conductor, but one that consistently produced some fine recordings.

His Dvorak cycle is quite good and one of his finest achievements. It is right up there with Kertez in my opinion.
Great spirits have always encountered violent opposition from mediocre minds. - Albert Einstein

pizza
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Re: Veteran Conductor Otmar Suitner Dies

Post by pizza » Wed Jan 20, 2010 4:26 am

Suitner's recording of Bruckner 8 and 1 with Staatskapelle Berlin on Berlin Classics is one of the finest.

John F
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Re: Veteran Conductor Otmar Suitner Dies

Post by John F » Wed Jan 20, 2010 6:08 am

Kapellmeister is the right word for Otmar Suitner. In my one Bayreuth summer, I got him instead of Karl Böhm conducting the Ring cycle, but apart from sharing Böhm's (and Wieland Wagner's) preference for fast tempos, he wasn't anywhere near the same league. Heinrich Hollreiser, Otmar Suitner, Peter Schneider - reliable conductors who got on with the show but never, to my ears, showed the slightest spark of individuality or imagination. Opera houses depend on such routiniers - not every performance can be expected to meet festival standards - but when hired by actual festivals or to make records, they are out of place and drag down the artistic results.
John Francis

Marc
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Re: Veteran Conductor Otmar Suitner Dies

Post by Marc » Wed Jan 20, 2010 12:08 pm

AFAIK, Suitner 'did' the Bayreuth Ring in 1967, being a last time replacement for Böhm, who went ill.

Isn't it a bit drastic to 'condemn' a conductor to just a Kapellmeister (though there's nothing wrong in being a Kapellmeister IMO), because of this one experience?

My guess is that Suitner has performed and also recorded hundreds of times, and that one should come with more examples to conclude that at festivals or at recordings he is out of place and drag[s] down the artistic results.

I can't say anything drastic positive or negative about Suitner, because I don't have many recordings with him. But I do cherish 'his' Dresdner Zauberflöte, with a.o. Peter Schreier and Helen Donath. And I also appreciate his interpretations of the String Serenades of Dvorak and Tchaikovsky.

Suitner, being an Austrian himself, was very important for the position of modern classical music (and composers) in the former DDR. He fought hard for their acknowledgement, against the ruling communist view which regarded them as being 'decadent'.

During his period as conductor, the Staatskapelle Dresden (and later Berlin also) became known worldwide for their beautiful sound. I think that's part of Suitner's legacy. A quality that's still appreciated by nowadays conductors who wave the batôn at those places.

John F
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Re: Veteran Conductor Otmar Suitner Dies

Post by John F » Thu Jan 21, 2010 7:24 am

Marc wrote:AFAIK, Suitner 'did' the Bayreuth Ring in 1967, being a last time replacement for Böhm, who went ill.
Suitner also conducted "Der fliegende Holländer" and "Tannhäuser" at Bayreuth, and took the third Ring cycle in 1966 after Böhm had conducted the premiere and first repetition of Wieland Wagner's new production. In 1967 Böhm conducted "Die Walküre" and "Götterdämmerung" in the first two cycles, so whatever the state of his health, he wasn't incapacitated. But he was certainly saving himself, as he passed "Das Rheingold" and "Siegfried" to Suitner, who also conducted the summer's last Ring cycle complete as he had in 1966, and that's the one I heard.
Marc wrote:Isn't it a bit drastic to 'condemn' a conductor to just a Kapellmeister (though there's nothing wrong in being a Kapellmeister IMO), because of this one experience?
How do you know I was speaking from just "this one experience"? That isn't actually so, but as this was the most ambitious work I heard him (or anybody!) conduct, and at the Bayreuth Festival no less (where no excuses could to be made because of East Germany's being cut off from the rest of the world's major talents), I focused on that. And why not?

I'm not trying to persuade anyone that Suitner was as mediocre as I say he was. Just offering my opinion, and I'd have stopped there if you hadn't questioned my qualifications to have it. There are quite a few clips from Suitner-conducted performances and recordings in YouTube, and others can check them out if they like. I heard nothing there to change my mind, but others are free to differ - and to say so. I won't complain if they do, whatever their opinions may be based on.
John Francis

Marc
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Re: Veteran Conductor Otmar Suitner Dies

Post by Marc » Thu Jan 21, 2010 9:46 am

John F wrote:
Marc wrote:Isn't it a bit drastic to 'condemn' a conductor to just a Kapellmeister (though there's nothing wrong in being a Kapellmeister IMO), because of this one experience?
How do you know I was speaking from just "this one experience"? That isn't actually so, but as this was the most ambitious work I heard him (or anybody!) conduct, and at the Bayreuth Festival no less (where no excuses could to be made because of East Germany's being cut off from the rest of the world's major talents), I focused on that. And why not?

I'm not trying to persuade anyone that Suitner was as mediocre as I say he was. Just offering my opinion, and I'd have stopped there if you hadn't questioned my qualifications to have it. There are quite a few clips from Suitner-conducted performances and recordings in YouTube, and others can check them out if they like. I heard nothing there to change my mind, but others are free to differ - and to say so. I won't complain if they do, whatever their opinions may be based on.
I hear you. Fair enough.
No offense, disrespect or real complaint meant btw. I only reacted because the 1967 Ring experience was the only example you mentioned to backup your rather generalizing conclusions about Suitner. And that seemed a bit harsh.

Well, Suitner was kinda specialized in Mozart, Strauss and Wagner, or so they say. Lucky for you (and all of us :)) that there are still a lot of good performers left to make our own preferred choices.

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