Surprising Work Performed by a Conductor

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jserraglio
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Surprising Work Performed by a Conductor

Post by jserraglio » Tue Sep 05, 2017 7:58 am

Which work or composer did you never expect to hear performed by a particular conductor?

My entry is the Brahms Ein Deutsches Requiem / Pierre Boulez, BBCSO, with Heather Harper and Hermann Prey July 20, 1973, London.

maestrob
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Re: Surprising Work Performed by a Conductor

Post by maestrob » Tue Sep 05, 2017 12:01 pm

The first idea that comes to mind is Ozawa's recording! in Boston of Mahler VIII, which shows that he simply had no affinity for Mahler at all.

This is a good question, and deserves some reflection.....

John F
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Re: Surprising Work Performed by a Conductor

Post by John F » Tue Sep 05, 2017 6:39 pm

Mossolov's "Iron Foundry" conducted by Arturo Toscanini. He included it in two 1933 concerts with the New York Philharmonic. It wasn't broadcast so I'll never hear it.
John Francis

THEHORN
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Re: Surprising Work Performed by a Conductor

Post by THEHORN » Tue Sep 05, 2017 7:03 pm

I like that Mahler 8th . Ozawa has recorded all nine Mahler symphonies with the BSO for Philips . I haven't heard 1,2, 7 and 9 , but the others are pretty good . Ozawa's Mahler is somewhat more restrained than some other Mahlerians, but not at all dull .

Ricordanza
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Re: Surprising Work Performed by a Conductor

Post by Ricordanza » Thu Sep 07, 2017 6:06 am

Speaking of Mahler, my first hearing of Mahler 5 was at a Philadelphia Orchestra summer concert (at the Mann Music Center) conducted by someone not generally considered a Mahlerian--Charles Dutoit. As I recall (it was quite a few years ago), it was a fine performance.

maestrob
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Re: Surprising Work Performed by a Conductor

Post by maestrob » Thu Sep 07, 2017 12:46 pm

Several years back, I bought a DVD of Massenet's Manon with Netrebko led by, of all people, Barenboim. It's quite good, and I heartily recommend it: he had to learn the work on short notice, but all went well!

Image

R Gifford
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Re: Surprising Work Performed by a Conductor

Post by R Gifford » Thu Sep 07, 2017 6:45 pm

After years of HIP performances Roger Norrington turned to the symphonies of Ralph Vaughan-Williams--five symphonies in studio performances on Decca (2, 3, 4, 5 and 6) and live performances of all nine, except for No. 7, and in Berlin, of all places. There may be other performances unknown to me. What surprises me is that Norrington really has the RVW sound down pat and the performances are really excellent. Now RN/RVW is a really unusual combination of conductor/composer. I also find that George Szell has four William Walton recordings to his credit. Aside from the brief Delius Irmelin Prelude, these Walton recordings are the only examples of Szell conducting any Twentieth century British works on record. I'd include Szell/Walton as an example of unusual composer/conductor combination.

jbuck919
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Re: Surprising Work Performed by a Conductor

Post by jbuck919 » Fri Sep 08, 2017 2:48 pm

Danny Kaye, who could not read music, going on the road to conduct just a handful of works, including a surprisingly good Beethoven's Fifth. ;)

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.
-- Johann Sebastian Bach

jserraglio
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Re: Surprising Work Performed by a Conductor

Post by jserraglio » Sun Sep 10, 2017 8:46 am

jserraglio wrote:
Tue Sep 05, 2017 7:58 am
My entry is the Brahms Ein Deutsches Requiem / Pierre Boulez, BBCSO, with Heather Harper and Hermann Prey July 20, 1973, London.
I was wrong. Boulez performed a good amount of Brahms during his time at the Philharmonic:

Brahms Violin Concerto (1976 and 1975)
Brahms Symphony No. 1 (1976)
Brahms Double Concerto (1976)
Brahms Academic Festival Overture (1975)
Brahms Variations on a Theme by Haydn (1975)
Brahms Symphony No. 4 (1974)
Brahms Concerto for Piano No. 2 (1973)
Brahms Serenade No. 2 (1973)

maestrob
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Re: Surprising Work Performed by a Conductor

Post by maestrob » Sun Sep 10, 2017 11:34 am

There's a funny story about Boulez/Brahms Piano Concerto I, told to me by a former cellist in the Cleveland orchestra at the time. It seems that Boulez couldn't get the introduction to work: everything was just too slow. Over and over, he tried, but he just couldn't get the right tempo. Finally, somebody spoke up, saying: "Maestro, it's in 2!" Boulez, having no sense of the music, had been conducting in 6, which dragged everything! :lol:

I saw Boulez in a live telecast of Mahler VII. The first movement dragged terribly: he conducted it in 8 (one pulse for each note), when it should be done in 4.

Obviously, he was doing his learning in public, which is no place for a "Great Conductor" to do so. His instincts were fine in Debussy/Ravel and other XXth century music, but he lacked a feel for German Romantics, not surprising.

jserraglio
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Re: Surprising Work Performed by a Conductor

Post by jserraglio » Sun Sep 10, 2017 12:51 pm

Well, at least he learned. I heard him conduct the M7 in Severance Hall in the 1990s and it was terrific.

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