The best French/Swiss conductors (3 votes)

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Your best French conductors

Ansermet, Ernest
12
13%
Baudo, Serge
2
2%
Boulez, Pierre
11
12%
Cluytens, André
7
7%
Dervaux, Pierre
1
1%
de Froment, Louis
0
No votes
Dutoit, Charles
5
5%
Leibowitz, René
1
1%
Martinon, Jean
12
13%
Monteux, Pierre
18
19%
Munch, Charles
17
18%
Paillard, Jean François
0
No votes
Paray, Paul
7
7%
Plesson, Michel
1
1%
Pretre, George
0
No votes
Tortelier, Yan Pascal
0
No votes
Other:
0
No votes
 
Total votes: 94

piston
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The best French/Swiss conductors (3 votes)

Post by piston » Wed Dec 22, 2010 7:36 pm

You have three votes. Who are the more outstanding ones?
In the eyes of those lovers of perfection, a work is never finished—a word that for them has no sense—but abandoned....(Paul Valéry)

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Re: The best French/Swiss conductors (3 votes)

Post by josé echenique » Wed Dec 22, 2010 8:27 pm

Marc Minkowski and Christophe Rousset should have been mentioned. They are far more interesting than many in the list.

piston
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Re: The best French/Swiss conductors (3 votes)

Post by piston » Wed Dec 22, 2010 8:33 pm

That's why there's the "other" checkbox. As for more interesting -- always a subjective line.
In the eyes of those lovers of perfection, a work is never finished—a word that for them has no sense—but abandoned....(Paul Valéry)

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Re: The best French/Swiss conductors (3 votes)

Post by josé echenique » Wed Dec 22, 2010 8:41 pm

I think they deserve better than "other" :roll:

piston
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Re: The best French/Swiss conductors (3 votes)

Post by piston » Wed Dec 22, 2010 8:43 pm

Baroquely speaking, yes....
In the eyes of those lovers of perfection, a work is never finished—a word that for them has no sense—but abandoned....(Paul Valéry)

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Re: The best French/Swiss conductors (3 votes)

Post by stenka razin » Wed Dec 22, 2010 9:28 pm

The top three are definitely Monteux, Ansermet and Munch with Paray a very close 4th. 8)
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Re: The best French/Swiss conductors (3 votes)

Post by josé echenique » Wed Dec 22, 2010 10:05 pm

piston wrote:Baroquely speaking, yes....
Not only baroquely speaking. I rate Minkowski the finest Offenbach conductor since Markevitch.

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Re: The best French/Swiss conductors (3 votes)

Post by piston » Wed Dec 22, 2010 10:16 pm

It's true that I did not think to include light opera and opera bouffe conductors.
In the eyes of those lovers of perfection, a work is never finished—a word that for them has no sense—but abandoned....(Paul Valéry)

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Re: The best French/Swiss conductors (3 votes)

Post by piston » Wed Dec 22, 2010 10:21 pm

From a totally subjective point of view, I could also have included Marius Constant for his remarkable, unsurpassed, performance of Messiaen's Des canyons aux étoiles (even though it is very far removed from baroque music). Bernard Calmel is also a noteworthy conductor for having recorded works by Daniel-Lesur.

Very subjective, I tell you.
In the eyes of those lovers of perfection, a work is never finished—a word that for them has no sense—but abandoned....(Paul Valéry)

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Re: The best French/Swiss conductors (3 votes)

Post by josé echenique » Wed Dec 22, 2010 10:31 pm

piston wrote:It's true that I did not think to include light opera and opera bouffe conductors.
And Offenbach is so very difficult to conduct well. I certainly admire anyone who gets him right.

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Re: The best French/Swiss conductors (3 votes)

Post by diegobueno » Thu Dec 23, 2010 12:58 am

[comment removed]

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Re: The best French/Swiss conductors (3 votes)

Post by Seán » Thu Dec 23, 2010 2:00 pm

This is an interesting thread. I don't know enough to comment on the selection. At the time of writing the order of preference is:
Monteux;
Ansermet and
Munch

I suppose that I am surprised that Cluytens is not in the top three.
Seán

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Re: The best French/Swiss conductors (3 votes)

Post by Lance » Thu Dec 23, 2010 2:28 pm

Monteux, Munch, and Martinon - the "3 Ms!" I have much respect, too, for Ansermet, who has done much for recorded music and was really no slouch as a conductor - and also Paray and Cluytens (though isn't the latter Belgian? I guess his career, however, was established in France.)
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Re: The best French/Swiss conductors (3 votes)

Post by Fergus » Thu Dec 23, 2010 4:19 pm

With my limited knowledge of many of these conductors I have made the following choice:

Cluytens
Martinon
Munch

with an honourable mention for Plesson.

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Re: The best French/Swiss conductors (3 votes)

Post by bombasticDarren » Thu Dec 23, 2010 4:29 pm

I went for Boulez, Cluytens and Munch :)

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Re: The best French/Swiss conductors (3 votes)

Post by Heck148 » Thu Dec 23, 2010 5:50 pm

Seán wrote:This is an interesting thread. I don't know enough to comment on the selection. At the time of writing the order of preference is:
Monteux;
Ansermet and
Munch

I suppose that I am surprised that Cluytens is not in the top three.
same with Martinon.

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Re: The best French/Swiss conductors (3 votes)

Post by piston » Thu Dec 23, 2010 9:22 pm

He's in there, third place ex equo.
Baudo is not getting is fair share, IMHO. His Honegger stands out. Ergo, he is outstanding....
In the eyes of those lovers of perfection, a work is never finished—a word that for them has no sense—but abandoned....(Paul Valéry)

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Re: The best French/Swiss conductors (3 votes)

Post by josé echenique » Thu Dec 23, 2010 10:12 pm

piston wrote:He's in there, third place ex equo.
Baudo is not getting is fair share, IMHO. His Honegger stands out. Ergo, he is outstanding....
The one recording of Baudo I listen often is the Gluck Alceste in Orfeo, but not for his sake, but because of Jessye Norman and other distinguished singers. His conducting is very heavy handed and foreign to the XVIII Century. He could certainly take some classes from the likes of Gardiner and Minkowski.
For Honegger I usually go for Karajan, Jansons and Plasson.

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Re: The best French/Swiss conductors (3 votes)

Post by piston » Thu Dec 23, 2010 10:29 pm

His Honegger is excellent, much superior to Karajan or Plasson. Incidentally, he was the champion of Honegger, on Supraphon, when Karajan and the rest of the world really didn't care much.
In the eyes of those lovers of perfection, a work is never finished—a word that for them has no sense—but abandoned....(Paul Valéry)

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Re: The best French/Swiss conductors (3 votes)

Post by Chalkperson » Fri Dec 24, 2010 3:32 am

josé echenique wrote:I think they deserve better than "other" :roll:
I only Voted in the Other Category, I don't care that much for any other Conductor on that List...in fact my Vote won't even register, you have to name three...Jacques, please count me as Three Votes in the Other Category...
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Re: The best French/Swiss conductors (3 votes)

Post by val » Fri Dec 24, 2010 5:20 am

My favorite is Pierre Monteux: Beethoven's 2nd and 7th Symphonies, Debussy's Images and the excerpts of Le Martyre de Saint Sebastien, Ravel's Ma Mère L'Oye, La Valse, Bolero, Cesar Franck's Symphony ...

Then Pierre Boulez and his amazing recordings of Bartok, Schönberg, Stravinsky, Webern, Varèse, Messiaen and ... Boulez.

And also Paul Paray, with his remarkable version of the Symphonhie Fantastique, Saint-Saens 3rd Symphony, Schmitt, Ravel and even Mendelssohn (5th Symphony).

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Re: The best French/Swiss conductors (3 votes)

Post by Ricordanza » Fri Dec 24, 2010 8:04 am

Hard to choose, so I went with a totally arbitrary standard, voting for the only two of these conductors I ever saw in concert: Ansermet and Dutoit.

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Re: The best French/Swiss conductors (3 votes)

Post by CharmNewton » Fri Dec 24, 2010 11:28 am

Martinon and Monteux tie for first for me. Munch would be third. I'm most familiar with the work of these three gentlemen. Martinon conducted a very wide repertoire exceptionally well. He ably filled the shoes of Fritz Reiner in Chicago. Monteux is another conductor who seemed able to conduct just about anything. Munch could really whip up excitement.

Boulez in person is a warmer conductor than the Boulez heard on records, with a terrific ear for color and detail. He can make ugly contemporary music listenable from a coloristic point of view.

And I love the recordings of Paul Paray. Exciting and well disciplined, he reminds me a bit of Toscanini if not quite as intense as the latter.

John

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Re: The best French/Swiss conductors (3 votes)

Post by Wallingford » Fri Dec 24, 2010 3:06 pm

Munch now edges past Monteux, just ever so slightly.....
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Never mattered we were always ok
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Re: The best French/Swiss conductors (3 votes)

Post by Lance » Sat Dec 25, 2010 1:28 pm

I was just speaking with a protégé of Pierre Monteux ... John Covelli, the pianist/conductor who also studied piano with Carl Friedberg. Covelli was very pleased to know that Monteux still holds a special place among collectors, and a high place at that!
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Re: The best French/Swiss conductors (3 votes)

Post by Heck148 » Sat Dec 25, 2010 2:10 pm

Wallingford wrote:Munch now edges past Monteux, just ever so slightly.....
that is a joke, for sure. Monteux is one of the greats - a superb musician, and a wonderful orchestra builder/trainer as well.

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Re: The best French/Swiss conductors (3 votes)

Post by piston » Sat Dec 25, 2010 11:57 pm

Lance was right on the money! It's all about the three Ms -- Munch, Monteux, Martinon-- and the actual order between them is less relevant than the aggregate result.
In the eyes of those lovers of perfection, a work is never finished—a word that for them has no sense—but abandoned....(Paul Valéry)

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Re: The best French/Swiss conductors (3 votes)

Post by John F » Sun Dec 26, 2010 5:07 am

The only French or Francophone conductor whose records I've ever sought out is Pierre Monteux. Since he recorded much less Berlioz than I would have expected, and other French composers as well, I've accumulated quite a few LPs by Münch, Ansermet, and others for the repertoire. But in one way or another, none of them quite measures up.
John Francis

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Re: The best French/Swiss conductors (3 votes)

Post by RebLem » Sun Dec 26, 2010 5:53 am

Mine are Boulez, Cluytens, and Monteux. If I could add one more, it would be Georges Pretre. Boulez and Monteux need no defense, but perhaps Cluytens does. He did a cycle of Ravel orchestral works which I think is still the best one. Others on the list are of note, too, of course. For me, especially Serge Baudo for his recordings of the music if Arthur Honegger.
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Re: The best French/Swiss conductors (3 votes)

Post by josé echenique » Sun Dec 26, 2010 9:37 am

John F wrote:The only French or Francophone conductor whose records I've ever sought out is Pierre Monteux. Since he recorded much less Berlioz than I would have expected, and other French composers as well, I've accumulated quite a few LPs by Münch, Ansermet, and others for the repertoire. But in one way or another, none of them quite measures up.
I think the best Berlioz conductor before Colin Davis was not even French by birth: the great Igor Markevitch. I still think both his versions of the Symphonie Fantastique are some of the best, and his DG Damnation de Faust is the best conducted I have ever heard.

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Re: The best French/Swiss conductors (3 votes)

Post by dirkronk » Tue Dec 28, 2010 5:47 pm

I went with Monteux, Munch and Paray, based on the conductors from the group whose recordings I love to listen to most often. That said, I do have regrets that I could not include Leibowitz, whose interps almost always act as an aural Q-tip for me...and Ansermet and Martinon, who served to introduce me to so many classical pieces in my early collecting days.

Cheers,

Dirk

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Re: The best French/Swiss conductors (3 votes)

Post by dirkronk » Tue Dec 28, 2010 5:58 pm

val wrote:My favorite is Pierre Monteux: Beethoven's 2nd and 7th Symphonies...
And his 4th (all with the LSO)...my personal all-time favorite of that piece.

Dirk

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Re: The best French/Swiss conductors (3 votes)

Post by Chalkperson » Tue Dec 28, 2010 9:56 pm

John F wrote:The only French or Francophone conductor whose records I've ever sought out is Pierre Monteux. Since he recorded much less Berlioz than I would have expected, and other French composers as well, I've accumulated quite a few LPs by Münch, Ansermet, and others for the repertoire. But in one way or another, none of them quite measures up.
Glad to see that I am not alone here, and John does not care much for Heifitz either...now that i'm happy I shall return to my bed...
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Re: The best French/Swiss conductors (3 votes)

Post by piston » Wed Dec 29, 2010 6:14 pm

I have to disagree, Chalkie. Nothing like a French conductor to grasp the subtle language of a French composer. Interesting, isn't it, that the primary point of reference on this thread has been Berlioz, the most Germanic of French composers! Second in line is Saint-Saens. When people here state that they like this composer for his Berlioz interpretation, might as well call in the ever prolific Karajan!

To love French conductors is to love French composers. Obviously one won't if one doesn't like the latter.
In the eyes of those lovers of perfection, a work is never finished—a word that for them has no sense—but abandoned....(Paul Valéry)

piston
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Re: The best French/Swiss conductors (3 votes)

Post by piston » Wed Dec 29, 2010 6:30 pm

Try to imagine Karajan doing a Fauré or a Poulenc. Ain't that a riot?! :lol: How much Ravel did Karajan do?
I rest my case.
The real French composers aren't well represented in the Germanic conductor repertoire.
How could they be?! Their very purpose was to create a music distinct from what Karajan loved to perform.
In the eyes of those lovers of perfection, a work is never finished—a word that for them has no sense—but abandoned....(Paul Valéry)

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Re: The best French/Swiss conductors (3 votes)

Post by josé echenique » Wed Dec 29, 2010 7:17 pm

I have never liked either of Karajan´s recordings of Carmen, but I´m fond of his ethereal, dream-like Pélleas. I think he really likes that score.

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Re: The best French/Swiss conductors (3 votes)

Post by Chalkperson » Wed Dec 29, 2010 9:59 pm

piston wrote:I have to disagree, Chalkie. Nothing like a French conductor to grasp the subtle language of a French composer. Interesting, isn't it, that the primary point of reference on this thread has been Berlioz, the most Germanic of French composers! Second in line is Saint-Saens. When people here state that they like this composer for his Berlioz interpretation, might as well call in the ever prolific Karajan!

To love French conductors is to love French composers. Obviously one won't if one doesn't like the latter.
I always thought Berlioz was German until someone here pointed out he was French, that's no joke BTW, I enjoy French Baroque Music, but, for some unknown reason you deliberately left that kind of Conductor/Music out of your survey, I would have happily voted for...

Herve Niquet
Emanuelle Haim
Christophe Rousset
Mark Minkowski
William Christie (I know he's American.. :wink: )

I enjoy some French Chamber Music and that for Piano, their Orchestral Music leaves me unimpressed 75% of the time...French Baroque Music easily holds it's own against the German and Italian Baroque Music too, that is why i'm surprised you chose to ignore it's existence...
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Re: The best French/Swiss conductors (3 votes)

Post by Wallingford » Wed Dec 29, 2010 10:17 pm

piston wrote:I have to disagree, Chalkie. Nothing like a French conductor to grasp the subtle language of a French composer. Interesting, isn't it, that the primary point of reference on this thread has been Berlioz, the most Germanic of French composers! Second in line is Saint-Saens. When people here state that they like this composer for his Berlioz interpretation, might as well call in the ever prolific Karajan!

To love French conductors is to love French composers. Obviously one won't if one doesn't like the latter.
Hear, hear!

MY best example of a French conductor possessing all the secrets to doing a French piece would have to be The Sorcerer's Apprentice. VERY, very few maestros of non-Gallic sensibility know all the hurdles, all the little tempo ins and outs, that a Munch, a Dervaux, a Monteux, a Paray, a Gaubert, could know. I like least of all the Yankee interpretations: Levine & Bernstein. John Williams wasn't up to scratch, either, though that ultimately says little in his case.
If I could tell my mom and dad
That the things we never had
Never mattered we were always ok
Getting ready for Christmas day
--Paul Simon

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