Beethoven 9 Symphonies w/Boston SO - Leinsdorf

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Beethoven 9 Symphonies w/Boston SO - Leinsdorf

Post by Lance » Mon Mar 05, 2012 3:30 am

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Leinsdorf / Boston Symphony
The Beethoven Symphonies, complete

All on five (5) CDs. $23/USD or less!

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Re: Beethoven 9 Symphonies w/Boston SO - Leinsdorf

Post by Lance » Wed Mar 07, 2012 9:07 pm

My copy arrived today. I'm delighted and anxious to delve into some of the symphonies that I have not heard in a long, long time. I am really NOT buying newly-released Beethoven symphony sets. I have quite enough at this stage in life and since this is a reissue at an attractive price - and fills in the ones I missed on CD - I wanted to get it. It is, after all, the BOSTON Symphony Orchestra!
Lance G. Hill
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When she started to play, Mr. Steinway came down and personally
rubbed his name off the piano. [Speaking about pianist &*$#@+#]

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Re: Beethoven 9 Symphonies w/Boston SO - Leinsdorf

Post by Chalkperson » Wed Mar 07, 2012 10:17 pm

Lance wrote:My copy arrived today. I'm delighted and anxious to delve into some of the symphonies that I have not heard in a long, long time. I am really NOT buying newly-released Beethoven symphony sets. I have quite enough at this stage in life and since this is a reissue at an attractive price - and fills in the ones I missed on CD - I wanted to get it. It is, after all, the BOSTON Symphony Orchestra!
Unfortunately the great Boston Symphony Orchestra is Conducted by the not so great Erich Leinsdorf... :wink:
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Re: Beethoven 9 Symphonies w/Boston SO - Leinsdorf

Post by jbuck919 » Wed Mar 07, 2012 10:20 pm

Chalkperson wrote:
Lance wrote:My copy arrived today. I'm delighted and anxious to delve into some of the symphonies that I have not heard in a long, long time. I am really NOT buying newly-released Beethoven symphony sets. I have quite enough at this stage in life and since this is a reissue at an attractive price - and fills in the ones I missed on CD - I wanted to get it. It is, after all, the BOSTON Symphony Orchestra!
Unfortunately the great Boston Symphony Orchestra is Conducted by the not so great Erich Leinsdorf... :wink:
You'd prefer maybe a complete Beethoven with Seiji Ozawa? (I'm not sure I want you to answer that. :wink: )

There's nothing remarkable about it. All one has to do is hit the right keys at the right time and the instrument plays itself.
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Re: Beethoven 9 Symphonies w/Boston SO - Leinsdorf

Post by Chalkperson » Wed Mar 07, 2012 10:28 pm

jbuck919 wrote:
Chalkperson wrote:
Lance wrote:My copy arrived today. I'm delighted and anxious to delve into some of the symphonies that I have not heard in a long, long time. I am really NOT buying newly-released Beethoven symphony sets. I have quite enough at this stage in life and since this is a reissue at an attractive price - and fills in the ones I missed on CD - I wanted to get it. It is, after all, the BOSTON Symphony Orchestra!
Unfortunately the great Boston Symphony Orchestra is Conducted by the not so great Erich Leinsdorf... :wink:
You'd prefer maybe a complete Beethoven with Seiji Ozawa? (I'm not sure I want you to answer that. :wink: )
I would not even want a sandwich with Ozawa, even if I was starving... :mrgreen:
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Re: Beethoven 9 Symphonies w/Boston SO - Leinsdorf

Post by Lance » Thu Mar 08, 2012 12:59 am

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Erich Leinsdorf

I know ... there's a lot of talk about Erich Leinsdorf (Landauer). He was a hard man to please in many ways and probably was not always happy with himself. STILL, he made the grade with many great orchestras, was a leading conductor with many stellar artists. He must have done something right to achieve the status that he did. I'm sure if Boston didn't recognize his innate talents (whatever they were, including being a pianist), he would never have been at the helm of that orchestra for as long as he was, or with many others, including the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra.

I'm delighted to have Leinsdorf's Beethoven 9 - for comparison or for sheer enjoyment. Ultimately, he will be recognized for his musical achievements ... it usually happens that way after we have had an opportunity to re-evaluate an artist long after his passing. It happened that way with Mengelberg, Weingartner, Clemens Krauss, and myriad others.
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When she started to play, Mr. Steinway came down and personally
rubbed his name off the piano. [Speaking about pianist &*$#@+#]

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Re: Beethoven 9 Symphonies w/Boston SO - Leinsdorf

Post by RebLem » Thu Mar 08, 2012 4:30 am

I remember that when the Leinsdorf set first came out, the LPs of the 9th also had Schoenberg's Survivor of Warsaw on it.

When I was a child, our family took Look magazine. And I remember that one week, they did a feature article on erich Leinsdorf. He was contracted by the MET to be their director of German repertoire in 1938, and he got out of Austria just a few months ahead of the Anchluss, but his visa was only a temporary one. He got to stay in the US because a then young, freshman Congressman from Texas by the name of Lyndon Baines Johnson took up the cudgels on his behalf. Leinsdorf became a US citizen in 1942, and was devoted to the career of LBJ for the rest of his life. He also maintained an intense interest of politics; he subscribed to the Congressional Record and read at least some of it every day Congress was in session.

Leinsdorf may have been ascerbic and hard to get along with, but he is something of a favorite of mine. One of my favorite recordings of his is his Die Walkure. I do remember the Beethoven symphony set (I borrowed a friend's copy at the time, though I never bought it) as a set of very good performances indeed. But, alas, my budget at the moment is very, very tight and tax time is coming up. I do not know how much I will owe, so I am holding off even on small purchases like this one for the time being.
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Re: Beethoven 9 Symphonies w/Boston SO - Leinsdorf

Post by maestrob » Thu Mar 08, 2012 12:42 pm

Leinsdorf was a mostly very good conductor: he generally got the tempo right, but he lacked an ear for sound quality. His Walkure was very good, as were his Boheme and Butterfly (w/Anna Moffo, her recording debut in a complete opera). His Aida w/Price/Domingo is not bad. His Mahler I was excellent, but the last movement of Mahler III just seems wrong to me (too slow). His best work was in the set of Prokofiev symphonies and concerti (w/John Browning): somehow the harshness of the Boston sound suits Prokofiev's music. Also, his recording of Brahms Concerti, I w/ Cliburn & II w/Richter, stand out as exceptionally good.

He is definitely a conductor that should be heard, then ranked below the greats. In a way, I understand his frustrations with the Boston orchestra which tended toward roughness of sound during his era: whether that was Leinsdorf's fault is debatable.

Toscanini was Leinsdorf's model in Beethoven (as in all his interpretations): HVK in Berlin (1963) had the same idea of copying Toscanini, but he had a better orchestra than Leinsdorf.

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Re: Beethoven 9 Symphonies w/Boston SO - Leinsdorf

Post by Chung » Thu Mar 08, 2012 12:50 pm

The only recordings in that set that really have me coming for more are Nos. 1, 8 and 9 (this last one is a favourite which is no doubt helped by the fine soloists). Leinsdorf's work on No. 6 is OK but the rest is basically one-and-done - bland and/or and uninvolving (esp. No. 3).

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Re: Beethoven 9 Symphonies w/Boston SO - Leinsdorf

Post by bigshot » Fri Mar 09, 2012 5:48 pm

I like Leinsdorf best for opera.

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Re: Beethoven 9 Symphonies w/Boston SO - Leinsdorf

Post by Werner » Fri Mar 09, 2012 9:36 pm

I felt that Leinsdorf's time in Boston was a good one. I'd felt that his Beethoven was an improvement over Munch's, not to mention Ozawa.

That doesn't strike me as surprising, considering his eminence in the German repertoire at the Met. And he took an active part in the pedagogical work at Tanglewood.

An aside of no historical significance: he was a passenger on the ship that took me on my voyage to America, the Dutch liner Volendam, in 1938.
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Re: Beethoven 9 Symphonies w/Boston SO - Leinsdorf

Post by John F » Sat Mar 10, 2012 12:44 am

This is the Boston Symphony's first and only Beethoven symphony cycle on records. Koussevitzky conducted a good deal of Beethoven, possibly all of the symphonies, but RCA Victor recorded him in only a few as they also had Toscanini and Stokowski under contract. Münch probably conducted all the Beethoven symphonies in Boston during his tenure, but again was upstaged on records by Toscanini from whom RCA Victor obtained its first Beethoven cycle. By the time Leinsdorf took over, the way to a cycle was clear. Nowadays it seems everyone who records a Beethoven symphony records all nine! Cf. David Zinman and Osmo Vanska. Not so in the '60s.

I haven't heard most of these recordings as I've generally found Leinsdorf's music-making unrewarding. No comment on them, then.
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Re: Beethoven 9 Symphonies w/Boston SO - Leinsdorf

Post by Lance » Wed Mar 14, 2012 2:14 am

Poor Leinsdorf, he seems to have taken a lot of punishment from people over the years. His autobiography exudes that if I remember correctly. I should re-read the book again. Leinsdorf and William Steinberg both seemed to have gone into a downward direction insofar as audience appeal is concerned. I had the pleasure of hearing and watching Steinberg conduct on a number of occasions. He should have had a bigger career. He was not a "showman" conductor in the least. I thought he also did great work in Pittsburgh. Steinberg's Boston years are spoken of with great affection ... they were just not long enough. Conductors seem to retain a cult status after so many years. For a while things were really hot with Leopold Stokowski. After his death, his records, old and new, were snapped up with vigour. You don't hear about him much today I was a great follower of Stokowski, still am, and even more so for Dimitri Mitropoulos who never really got his due in New York.

Has anybody entertained the thought of getting the Leinsdorf/Boston Symphony set of Beethoven symphonies. I'm soon to hear some of them again having received the set a short time ago.

Werner, on the boat Volendam, were you able to have a conversation with Leinsdorf who, at that time, was probably not well known at all. I also thought Leinsdorf did some good work in Cleveland if we can blieve the old Columbia Entré LPs. Maybe he should have stayed there. I guess Leinsdorf was a difficult man to please.
Werner wrote:I felt that Leinsdorf's time in Boston was a good one. I'd felt that his Beethoven was an improvement over Munch's, not to mention Ozawa.

That doesn't strike me as surprising, considering his eminence in the German repertoire at the Met. And he took an active part in the pedagogical work at Tanglewood.

An aside of no historical significance: he was a passenger on the ship that took me on my voyage to America, the Dutch liner Volendam, in 1938.
Lance G. Hill
Editor-in-Chief
______________________________________________________

When she started to play, Mr. Steinway came down and personally
rubbed his name off the piano. [Speaking about pianist &*$#@+#]

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Re: Beethoven 9 Symphonies w/Boston SO - Leinsdorf

Post by John F » Wed Mar 14, 2012 4:03 am

I haven't seen anything negative about William Steinberg. His recordings with the Pittsburgh Symphony were all praised at the time, and the few live concerts I heard were consistent with this. Leinsdorf was a quite different kettle of fish - cold fish. Whatever the virtues of his music-making, I never heard any passion in it.
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Re: Beethoven 9 Symphonies w/Boston SO - Leinsdorf

Post by maestrob » Wed Mar 14, 2012 11:33 am

John F wrote:I haven't seen anything negative about William Steinberg. His recordings with the Pittsburgh Symphony were all praised at the time, and the few live concerts I heard were consistent with this. Leinsdorf was a quite different kettle of fish - cold fish. Whatever the virtues of his music-making, I never heard any passion in it.
FWIW: I quite like his Boheme and Butterfly w/Anna Moffo...... :)

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