Your thoughts of the conductor Osmo Vanska

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ravel30
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Your thoughts of the conductor Osmo Vanska

Post by ravel30 » Mon May 17, 2010 9:16 pm

This morning, I heard the second symphony of Beethoven on the CBC. It was a recording by Osmo Vanska and the Minnesota Orchestra. I was totally blown away by that performance and I was very impressed by the quality of the sound too. It was amazingly clear in fact.

Then I realized that it was probably the 12 times that I have heard about this conductor since the beginning of the year. I heard some of his recordings of the Sibelius' symphonies and I was very impressed too.

In any cases, I would be very curious to know your opinion about this conductor. Am I okay to see that this conductor in very interesting to listen to ? Which of his recordings would you recommend ? What are your thoughts on this conductor ?

On a different topics. How do you rate the Minnesota Orchestra ?

All the best,

Matt.

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Re: Your thoughts of the conductor Osmo Vanska

Post by Chalkperson » Mon May 17, 2010 9:56 pm

I like him a lot...the same goes for his Orchestra's...
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Re: Your thoughts of the conductor Osmo Vanska

Post by Ted Quanrud » Mon May 17, 2010 10:29 pm

Although I live 500 miles from the Minnesota Orchestra, it is my local band. For many years, we have accepted the fact that it was not one of the country's top 10 orchestras. Today, it is in the top 5.

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Re: Your thoughts of the conductor Osmo Vanska

Post by Lance » Mon May 17, 2010 11:05 pm

What I have heard of Osmo Vanska I have enjoyed. I just don't collect his recordings except in a few cases, mostly collaborations, such as the new issue of Tchaikovsky's complete piano concertos with the Minnesota Orchestra, Stephen Hough, piano [Hyperion 67711-12].

Many of these newer conductors on the scene today will have their following with younger collectors of recordings or those who simply want to have everything by everybody. I am always open to hearing any new conductor, singer or instrumentalist today as these artists represent the future of music. My general feeling in many cases, however, is that I don't hear the individualism of conductors today, nor do I hear music touched by the heart from pianists and other instrumentalists (for the most part) that I heard yesterday (meaning from the 1950s to around 1985 or so). I do hear clarity of playing, but often expressionless, and I often times hear impeccable accuracy and technique. But itoften stops there.

The Minnesota Orchestra had some pretty amazing conductors from what we might call the "golden age," such as Dimitri Mitropoulos who went on to the New York Philharmonic, and Eugene Ormandy who went on the Philadelphia Orchestra. These conductors both came from a different kind of cloth (more so in the case of Mitropoulos) where "showmanship" was less important than attempting to capture the spirit of the composer, especially in the case of Mitropoulos. Ormandy had his good days too, and since his death, he probably has more of a cult following today than he had when he was alive. After all, under his baton, the Philadelphia Orchestra was in a class by itself, as was the New York Philharmonic, Chicago Symphony, Cleveland Orchestra, and Boston Symphony. Even listening to old 78-rpm transfers of Mitropoulos/Minneapolis and Ormandy/Minneapolis one still hears some ravishing and memorable moments musically despite the quality of recording, which was always improving with each passing year.

Vanska has already emerged as one of the most talented conductors around today. I wish him well. He seems to have the ability to bring out the best in his orchestras, and Heaven knows, we need them!
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Re: Your thoughts of the conductor Osmo Vanska

Post by maestrob » Tue May 18, 2010 12:04 pm

Lance:

You got there before me, and I agree that Minnesota is a fine band. It's worth noting that Stanisalaw Skrowaczewski made some excellent recordings with that orchestra for Vox during the 1970's that were released on DBX discs in very high fidelity sound, later released on CD (Bartok, Ravel, Stravinsky).

Vanska's Beethoven is powerful stuff, but I'm not collecting it at the moment as I'm happy with HVK 1963, Toscanini and some HIP sets.

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Re: Your thoughts of the conductor Osmo Vanska

Post by Seán » Tue May 18, 2010 12:52 pm

I really like Vanska's Sibelius recordings. I have his Beethoven set on order so I will let you know what I think of that when I get a chance to listen to it. I understand that Sir Chalkie rates his Beethoven set very highly indeed. :wink:
Seán

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Re: Your thoughts of the conductor Osmo Vanska

Post by ravel30 » Tue May 18, 2010 3:01 pm

Seán wrote:I really like Vanska's Sibelius recordings. I have his Beethoven set on order so I will let you know what I think of that when I get a chance to listen to it. I understand that Sir Chalkie rates his Beethoven set very highly indeed. :wink:
:D The blessing of Sir Chalkie is always a big plus in my book :D . Thank you in advance for letting me know. His recordings of the Sibelius' symphonies are quite amazing. I have only listened to his 5th and 6th and really liked them.

Matt.

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Re: Your thoughts of the conductor Osmo Vanska

Post by ravel30 » Tue May 18, 2010 3:05 pm

Ted Quanrud wrote:Although I live 500 miles from the Minnesota Orchestra, it is my local band. For many years, we have accepted the fact that it was not one of the country's top 10 orchestras. Today, it is in the top 5.
That is a very interesting comment Ted. I have a special love for the state of Minnesota and to learn that their orchestra is rated that high warms my heart :D .

What do you consider to be the Top 5 orchestras in America ? That is a question that I always wondered. I always thought that it was among:

Cleveland Orchestra
Boston Orchestra
Los Angeles Philarmonic
Chicago Symphony Orchestra
New York Philarmonic
Philadelphia Philarmonic

but now I keep hearing about the San Francisco Symphony orchestra, the Minnesota Orchestra, Atlanta Symphony orchestra and many more.

Matt

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Re: Your thoughts of the conductor Osmo Vanska

Post by Seán » Tue May 18, 2010 3:47 pm

Matt, you ought to look out across the pond because not only do we Europeans have the greatest composers but we also have some of the best orchestras too: Royal Concertgebouw, London Symphony, Vienna Philharmonic, Berlin Philharmonic, et al. :wink:
Seán

"To appreciate the greatness of the Masters is to keep faith in the greatness of humanity." - Wilhelm Furtwängler

ravel30
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Re: Your thoughts of the conductor Osmo Vanska

Post by ravel30 » Tue May 18, 2010 3:51 pm

Seán wrote:Matt, you ought to look out across the pond because not only do we Europeans have the greatest composers but we also have some of the best orchestras too: Royal Concertgebouw, London Symphony, Vienna Philharmonic, Berlin Philharmonic, et al. :wink:
Sean, trust me I am well aware of the quality orchestra that can be found in Europe. I don't think that I have ever been disappointed by a recording made by any of the four orchestras that you mentionned :D . The LSO is probably my favorite in the lot but the Concertgebouw is so amazing.

Matt.

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Re: Your thoughts of the conductor Osmo Vanska

Post by Donaldopato » Tue May 18, 2010 4:43 pm

Vanska has done wonders with the Minnesota Orchestra in the last few years. As Lance noted, this was once the orchestra of Ormandy, Skrowaczewski, Mitropoulos and Dorati, and thus has had a long history of wonderful live and recorded performances.

Vanska's Beethoven with the Minnesota is quite remarkable; good solid reading free of mannerisms and with brisk but not outlandish tempi. Strangely, I was not as taken with his Sibelius.
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Re: Your thoughts of the conductor Osmo Vanska

Post by Wallingford » Tue May 18, 2010 7:55 pm

As far as I can tell: a fine all-around maestro who keeps the orchestra in the public eye & its virtuosity level up. Haven't noticed how he's notably better than the others, and I'd have to listen a bit more to see if he's maintained Minneapolis's uniquely quirky sonority (all that chilly air....hasta have some effect) which Eije Oue was able to bring back after its indistinguishable blah sound from the Marriner years.
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Re: Your thoughts of the conductor Osmo Vanska

Post by Heck148 » Tue May 18, 2010 8:21 pm

the only Vanska recording I've heard [Karelia music complete] was so bad, so disappointing, that I've not wanted to spend any more $$ on him.
his "Karelia" not even close to the wonderful Barbirolli version [suite], or the excerpts by Gibson or Fennell. no comparison.

maybe I'll look for a freebie to sample -

Ted Quanrud
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Re: Your thoughts of the conductor Osmo Vanska

Post by Ted Quanrud » Tue May 18, 2010 10:38 pm

ravel30 wrote:
Ted Quanrud wrote:Although I live 500 miles from the Minnesota Orchestra, it is my local band. For many years, we have accepted the fact that it was not one of the country's top 10 orchestras. Today, it is in the top 5.
That is a very interesting comment Ted. I have a special love for the state of Minnesota and to learn that their orchestra is rated that high warms my heart :D .

What do you consider to be the Top 5 orchestras in America ? That is a question that I always wondered. I always thought that it was among:

Cleveland Orchestra
Boston Orchestra
Los Angeles Philarmonic
Chicago Symphony Orchestra
New York Philarmonic
Philadelphia Philarmonic

but now I keep hearing about the San Francisco Symphony orchestra, the Minnesota Orchestra, Atlanta Symphony orchestra and many more.

Matt
Hi Matt --

My top five U.S. orchestras list is personal, entirely subjective, in no particular order and subject to change. Here goes:

New York Philharmonic
Minnesota Orchestra
Chicago Symphony
San Francisco Symphony
Either the Boston Symphony or Los Angeles Philharmonic

The next five are:

Either the Boston Symphony or Los Angeles Philharmonic
Cleveland Orchetra
Philadelphia Orchestra
Pittsburgh Symphony
Atlanta Symphony

My criteria include sound (of course) both collective (especially the strings) and individual; and repertoire. Is it adventuresome and do the standards stand out.

In the end, all this is almost meaningless. Many lesser regarded and completely unheralded ensembles across the country are quite capable or providing delightful performances.

Heck148
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Re: Your thoughts of the conductor Osmo Vanska

Post by Heck148 » Tue May 18, 2010 10:43 pm

FWIW - the principal bassoonist in the Minnesota Orchestra is definitely one of the world's finest - John Miller...great player, nice guy.

ravel30
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Re: Your thoughts of the conductor Osmo Vanska

Post by ravel30 » Wed May 19, 2010 9:00 pm

Ted Quanrud wrote:
ravel30 wrote:
Ted Quanrud wrote:Although I live 500 miles from the Minnesota Orchestra, it is my local band. For many years, we have accepted the fact that it was not one of the country's top 10 orchestras. Today, it is in the top 5.
That is a very interesting comment Ted. I have a special love for the state of Minnesota and to learn that their orchestra is rated that high warms my heart :D .

What do you consider to be the Top 5 orchestras in America ? That is a question that I always wondered. I always thought that it was among:

Cleveland Orchestra
Boston Orchestra
Los Angeles Philarmonic
Chicago Symphony Orchestra
New York Philarmonic
Philadelphia Philarmonic

but now I keep hearing about the San Francisco Symphony orchestra, the Minnesota Orchestra, Atlanta Symphony orchestra and many more.

Matt
Hi Matt --

My top five U.S. orchestras list is personal, entirely subjective, in no particular order and subject to change. Here goes:

New York Philharmonic
Minnesota Orchestra
Chicago Symphony
San Francisco Symphony
Either the Boston Symphony or Los Angeles Philharmonic

The next five are:

Either the Boston Symphony or Los Angeles Philharmonic
Cleveland Orchetra
Philadelphia Orchestra
Pittsburgh Symphony
Atlanta Symphony

My criteria include sound (of course) both collective (especially the strings) and individual; and repertoire. Is it adventuresome and do the standards stand out.

In the end, all this is almost meaningless. Many lesser regarded and completely unheralded ensembles across the country are quite capable or providing delightful performances.
Thanks a lot for your ranking Ted. Very interesting. The CSO will always have a special place in my heart. Can't really explain why. I am just amaze each time I listen to them. Now I am very intrigued by the Minnesota Orchestra.

Matt.

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Re: Your thoughts of the conductor Osmo Vanska

Post by maestrob » Thu May 20, 2010 11:38 am

ravel30:

If you're intrigued by the orchestra itself, you might take a gander at this, one of their finest recent CDs:

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Re: Your thoughts of the conductor Osmo Vanska

Post by Seán » Sat May 22, 2010 7:16 am

ravel30 wrote:This morning, I heard the second symphony of Beethoven on the CBC. It was a recording by Osmo Vanska and the Minnesota Orchestra. I was totally blown away by that performance and I was very impressed by the quality of the sound too. It was amazingly clear in fact.

Then I realized that it was probably the 12 times that I have heard about this conductor since the beginning of the year. I heard some of his recordings of the Sibelius' symphonies and I was very impressed too.

In any cases, I would be very curious to know your opinion about this conductor. Am I okay to see that this conductor in very interesting to listen to ? Which of his recordings would you recommend ? What are your thoughts on this conductor ?

On a different topics. How do you rate the Minnesota Orchestra ?

All the best,

Matt.
This is my one only set of MO recordings, they make a gorgeous sound. I have no hesitation in recommending this Vanska/MO Beethoven cycle:
Image

http://www.google.ie/imgres?imgurl=http ... s%3Disch:1

and Vanska's Sibelius recordings with the Lahti are well worth having. In fact this 16 CD box set is a steal:
Image

http://www.google.ie/imgres?imgurl=http ... s%3Disch:1
Seán

"To appreciate the greatness of the Masters is to keep faith in the greatness of humanity." - Wilhelm Furtwängler

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Re: Your thoughts of the conductor Osmo Vanska

Post by absinthe » Sun May 23, 2010 6:49 am

I have one of his recordings on NMC: Thea Musgrave's music. That was ok.

I'm waiting for his recording of Bruckner 4 but the main worry is it's on BIS.
I recently had bad experience with BIS: the recording engineers being FAR too interventionist
without understanding (by which I mean recognising the demands of, and particularly the orchestral
balance of) the music. So I'll borrow it before buying, always supposing I like the interpretation.
He's only done one other Bruckner symphony but with the 4th he's up against
quite some competition, even if someone is looking specifically for this 1888 revision.

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Re: Your thoughts of the conductor Osmo Vanska

Post by stefanher » Sun May 23, 2010 8:30 am

Where can you now "borrow" recordings in the uk? There used to be something called public libraries but they have moved their budget to computers & the latest best sellers. I couldn't even get a copy of Pickwick Papers from my local.

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Re: Your thoughts of the conductor Osmo Vanska

Post by Cyril Ignatius » Fri May 28, 2010 2:42 pm

Vanska is clearly one of the best conductors on the scene today. I saw him conducting the National Symphony in a French concert, the Spring he accepted the MN Orchestra post. And that following September, I had just gotten out of the hospital in MN, and managed to see his opening performance (Rachmaninoff) with the MN Orchestra before I returned to Virginia. By all accounts, he is top of the line, and he and the Minnesota Orchestra are an especially good marriage. It is fair to say that the Minnesota Orchestra under Vanska is one of the top few orchestras in the world for both Beethoven and Sibelius. I have since watched him twice conducting the Minnesota Orchestra in my home town at the Minnesota Beethoven Festival, where they will once again perform this Summer.
Cyril Ignatius

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Re: Your thoughts of the conductor Osmo Vanska

Post by RebLem » Sat May 29, 2010 5:09 am

My Top Six Orchestras:

Boston Symphony--been doing better in recent years under Levine, holding steady now that its largely without him.

The MET Orchestra--it has something in common with the Boston Symphony, I forget what it is. :wink:

Chicago Symphony--still one of the greatest, but its been going mostly downhill, though not precipitously, since Solti's death.

Cleveland Orchestra--same thing as Chicago, its been in a slow, but not precipitous decline, except longer--since the death of George Szell in 1970. Under great guest conductors, though, it still sounds as good as ever.

Philadelphia Orchestra--still a great orchestra; if they get Jurowski, they could be the fastest rising orchestra in the country within a few years.

NYPO--still plagued by what was once the worst hall in the world. George Szell was right--tear it down to the ground and start over. They sound better in Pyongyang than they do in New York, but there's nothing wrong with the players, and on tour, they are magnificent, I am told.

In the second rank, but getting closer to the front rank, are, in no particular order:

Pittsburgh Symphony--its always been near the top of the second rank, but Manfred Honeck promises to bring it to new heights.

Minnesota Orchestra--I am not anywhere near as enthused by Vanska as nearly everyone else seems to be. I thought his Beethoven symphony set rather ordinary, and disappointing, frankly. I do have it. But, they do have one of the best halls in the country outside the Boston Symphony and the MET, and that counts for something, too.

St. Louis Symphony--plugging along at Powell Hall.

Cincinnati Symphony--its been recording more in the last ten to fifteen years, and that has helped; also, one of the better halls around.

Detroit Symphony--its perpetually lurching from one economic crisis to another, but this orchestra must have something going for it, because they just keep doggedly plugging along.

Los Angeles Philharmonic--its a fine orchestra. Its been damn good ever since Klemperer led them in the mid-1930's. Certainly the pop publicity machine is with Dudamel, whether he measures up to the scrutiny of the cognoscenti remains to be seen.

San Francisco Symphony--I am not as enamoured of MTT as lots of people are, either, but this is still a fine orchestra.

Seattle Symphony--its had some scandals recently, don't know what's been happening there lately.

Dallas Symphony--one of the fastest rising orchestras anywhere.

Houston Symphony--getting better, but a little more slowly than their compatriots in Dallas.

Atlanta Symphony--the late Robert Shaw was to conducting what Buddy Ryan was to football. Absolutely unbeatable when he was working under the direction of a great conductor/coach with a large, overarching vision, not so good when he was the man in charge. He directed the choruses for both the Toscanini 1950's recording of the Beethoven Ninth, and the Szell recording, two of the greatest performances ever done, and Shaw had a lot to do with it, especially in the case of the Toscanini. I eagerly went out and bought his Atlanta Symphony recording of the Ninth when it came out and was sorely disappointed. Atlanta is at its best when it is recording fine works that are infrequently recorded, like Hindemith's Requiem for those we Love "When Lilacs Last in the Dooryard Bloom'd." It usually is not so impressive in more standard fare.

Baltimore Symphony--lots of good publicity and good will for appinting America's first female music director, it seems to be rising in critical esteem as well.

National Symphony--despite all kinds of money going into it, and good podium leadership, it just doesn't seem to be able to rise above the also-rans. Don't know why.
Last edited by RebLem on Sun May 30, 2010 11:27 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Your thoughts of the conductor Osmo Vanska

Post by Seán » Sat May 29, 2010 2:15 pm

RebLem wrote:My Top Six Orchestras:

Boston Symphony--been doing better in recent years under Levine, holding steady now that its largely without him.

The MET Orchestra--it has something in common with the Boston Symphony, I forget what it is. :wink:

Chicago Symphony--still one of the greatest, but its been going mostly downhill, though not precipitously, since Solti's death.

Cleveland Orchestra--same thing as Chicago, its been in a slow, but not precipitous decline, except longer--since the death of George Szell in 1970. Under great guest conductors, though, it still sounds as good as ever.

Philadelphia Orchestra--still a great orchestra; if they get Jurowski, they could be the fastest rising orchestra in the country within a few years.

NYPO--still plagued by what was once the worst hall in the world. George Szell was right--tear it down to the ground and start over. They sound better in Pyongyang than they do in New York, but there's nothing wrong with the players, and on tour, they are magnificent, I am told.

In the second rank, but getting closer to the front rank, are, in no particular order:

Pittsburgh Symphony--its always been near the top of the second rank, but Manfred Honeck promises to bring it to new heights.

Minnesota Orchestra--I am not anywhere near as enthused by Vanska as nearly everyone else seems to be. I thought his Beethoven symphony set rather ordinary, and disappointing, frankly. I do have it. But, they do have one of the best halls in the country outside the Boston Symphony and the MET, and that accounts for something, too.

St. Louis Symphony--plugging along at Powell Hall.

Cincinnati Symphony--its been recording more in the last ten to fifteen years, and that has helped; also, one of the better halls around.

Detroit Symphony--its perpetually lurching from one economic crisis to another, but this orchestra must have something going for it, because they just keep doggedly plugging along.

Los Angeles Philharmonic--its a fine orchestra. Its been damn good ever since Klemperer led them in the mied-1930's. Certainly the pop publicity machine is with Dudamel, whether he measures up to the scrutiny of the cognoscenti remains to be seen.

San Francisco Symphony--I am not as enamoured of MTT as lots of people are, either, but this is still a fine orchestra.

Seattle Symphony--its had some scandals recently, don't know what's been happening there lately.

Dallas Symphony--one of the fastest rising orchestras anywhere.

Houston Symphony--getting better, but a little more slowly than their compatriots in Dallas.

Atlanta Symphony--the late Robert Shaw was to conducting what Buddy Ryan was to football. Absolutely unbeatable when he was working under the direction of a great conductor/coach with a large, overarching vision, not so good when he was the man in charge. He directed the choruses for both the Toscanini 1950's recording of the Beethoven Ninth, and the Szell recording, two of the greatest performances ever done, and Shaw had a lot to do with it, especially in the case of the Toscanini. I eagerly went out and bought his Atlanta Symphony recording of the Ninth when it came out and was sorely disappointed. Atlanta is at its best when it is recording fine works that are infrequently recorded, like Hindemith's Requiem for those we Love "When Lilacs Last in the Dooryard Bloom'd." It usually is not so impressive in more standard fare.

Baltimore Symphony--lots of good publicity and good will for appinting America's first female music director, it seems to be rising in critical esteem as well.

National Symphony--despite all kinds of money going into it, and good podium leadership, it just doesn't seem to be able to rise above the also-rans. Don't know why.
That is comprehensive and very interesting too.
Seán

"To appreciate the greatness of the Masters is to keep faith in the greatness of humanity." - Wilhelm Furtwängler

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Re: Your thoughts of the conductor Osmo Vanska

Post by Cyril Ignatius » Sat May 29, 2010 4:32 pm

Perhaps there is no truly objective measure of a professional orchestra's rank, that isn't open to challenge. But any list that doesn't have Pittsburgh and Minnesota in the top tier I simply can't agree with. Certain conductors combine with an already outstanding orchestra - and some stay long enough to build the orchestra themselves. Both Stokowski and Ormandy led a Philadelphia Orchestra that was top tier tear after year. And Furtwangler and Karajan with Berlin. New York and Chicago are longstanding powerhouses. Cleveland was obviously top tier for a good long time. Today, Pittsburgh and Minnesota are in that position.
Cyril Ignatius

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