NYC Conductors

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lennygoran
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NYC Conductors

Post by lennygoran » Thu Sep 13, 2018 4:28 pm

As far as the Met is concerned I'm not a bit worried about this-can't speak about the Philharmonic. Len

https://www.nytimes.com/2018/09/11/arts ... -york.html

John F
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Re: NYC Conductors

Post by John F » Thu Sep 13, 2018 5:00 pm

Considering that James Levine was the Met's first music director in its long history, there has never before been the opportunity for both orchestras to change music directors at the same time. So of course it's a first. But so what?

As for "the potential to transform the city’s music scene," the potential is always there, but that's hardly news. As Tommasini says, Nézet-Séguin's agenda for the Met is unknown, if he has any - he may not. As for van Zweden, Tommasini suggests that the Philharmonic's agenda and new ideas may come not from him but from Deborah Borda, an administrator rather than an artist. The further I read into Tommasini's article, the more uncomfortable I am about both organizations' futures.

Of course, the proof of the pudding etc. etc., and we'll find out eventually, for better or worse.
John Francis

lennygoran
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Re: NYC Conductors

Post by lennygoran » Thu Sep 13, 2018 5:08 pm

:(
John F wrote:
Thu Sep 13, 2018 5:00 pm
Of course, the proof of the pudding etc. etc., and we'll find out eventually, for better or worse.
My season is already much worse-I was really counting on 3 or 4 operas from NYCO but I'm afraid I don't see the need to buy a single opera ticket from them-this has really left a gap for us. Regards, Len :(

maestrob
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Re: NYC Conductors

Post by maestrob » Fri Sep 14, 2018 11:14 am

Nezet-Seguin is the real deal: of all I've heard by him, only his Schumann didn't work for me (too fast and erratic tempi, with the result that the orchestra sounded cramped). As for Van Zweden, his early recordings were erratic, but he's got discipline now and is obviously willing to take on the new music that Borda wants him to do (as does Nezet-Seguin, according to reports). Both conductors have arrived in NYC at the right moment in their respective careers. Both the MET & NY Philharmonic are playing well now, so it's up to the new maestros to prove themselves. I believe we'll see good results in both houses.

John F
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Re: NYC Conductors

Post by John F » Fri Sep 14, 2018 11:42 am

Maybe you're right - I hope so. But for me, both conductors are at best of the second rank, as Alan Gilbert was before them. And if neither has an agenda for his tenure, or at least some major projects, they're lacking in what one of our presidents called "the vision thing," which Gilbert certainly did not lack. Both appear subordinate in artistic matters to their general managers as their predecessors were not. As I said, we'll find out.
John Francis

maestrob
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Re: NYC Conductors

Post by maestrob » Fri Sep 14, 2018 11:54 am

John F wrote:
Fri Sep 14, 2018 11:42 am
Maybe you're right - I hope so. But for me, both conductors are at best of the second rank, as Alan Gilbert was before them. And if neither has an agenda for his tenure, or at least some major projects, they're lacking in what one of our presidents called "the vision thing," which Gilbert certainly did not lack. Both appear subordinate in artistic matters to their general managers as their predecessors were not. As I said, we'll find out.
I don't quite agree with you, JohnF. From what I've heard from Nezet-Seguin, he has the potential to be a great maestro (try, if you can, to find his recent recording of Bruckner's first thoughts on his Third Symphony, as well as Nezet-Seguin's recent Rusalka and Carmen at the MET). Van Zweden's recent Mahler III w/Dallas, OTOH, had all the notes in place, but was unexciting (I gave it four stars, IIRC). That said, we'll see what he can do with a great orchestra. Hopefully, NY will inspire him to new heights. We'll all be listening.

John F
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Re: NYC Conductors

Post by John F » Fri Sep 14, 2018 2:54 pm

maestrob, I think we agree on who the first-raters have been. At the New York Philharmonic they were, first and foremost, Toscanini and Bernstein. If you believe that Nezet-Seguin or van Zweden is on that level, then as I've said before, our standards are profoundly different. If you don't believe that, then I don't see why you "don't quite agree" with me.

(As for "living in the past," thanks to recordings, the Toscanini/New York Philharmonic Beethoven 7th can be heard this afternoon, as fresh as it was in 1936; that experience is part of our present. Today's musicians must bear comparison not only with their currently active rivals but with more than a century of music-making on discs. You yourself rely almost exclusively on recordings for your judgments, for good reasons, and I have no quarrel with that. But there's no cut-off date before which recordings can or should be ignored.)
John Francis

maestrob
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Re: NYC Conductors

Post by maestrob » Sat Sep 15, 2018 11:24 am

To clarify, JohnF, I will say that Nezet-Seguin impresses me more than van Zweden so far. Whether he lives up to Toscanini's standards, well, I've heard great things on recordings that live up to the excitement of Bernstein, but I will evaluate what I hear as I hear it.

It's difficult to judge, because the conductor/orchestra relationship is quite different these days, and that can hold back the excitement that used to be at the core of a great maestro's music-making. I do say that YN-S has the potential to be another great conductor, whereas van Zweden has more experience under his belt and yet may be intimidated by the musicians at the NY Philharmonic, much as Nelsons currently does not quite dominate Boston yet.

We'll see what happens. Please keep us up to date as to your concert-going experiences.

jbuck919
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Re: NYC Conductors

Post by jbuck919 » Sat Sep 15, 2018 12:52 pm

maestrob wrote:
Fri Sep 14, 2018 11:54 am
John F wrote:
Fri Sep 14, 2018 11:42 am
Maybe you're right - I hope so. But for me, both conductors are at best of the second rank, as Alan Gilbert was before them. And if neither has an agenda for his tenure, or at least some major projects, they're lacking in what one of our presidents called "the vision thing," which Gilbert certainly did not lack. Both appear subordinate in artistic matters to their general managers as their predecessors were not. As I said, we'll find out.
I don't quite agree with you, JohnF. From what I've heard from Nezet-Seguin, he has the potential to be a great maestro (try, if you can, to find his recent recording of Bruckner's first thoughts on his Third Symphony, as well as Nezet-Seguin's recent Rusalka and Carmen at the MET). Van Zweden's recent Mahler III w/Dallas, OTOH, had all the notes in place, but was unexciting (I gave it four stars, IIRC). That said, we'll see what he can do with a great orchestra. Hopefully, NY will inspire him to new heights. We'll all be listening.
At the risk of insulting the memory of our late member Ralph Stein, one might question whether he is dealing with a great orchestra. The Philharmonic should be the greatest orchestra in the world, but it is not. Irrelevantly, here is a great orchestra with chorus in a movement that only a god could have written when he was stone deaf. It is surely the high point of any concertmaster's career.

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

John F
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Re: NYC Conductors

Post by John F » Sat Sep 15, 2018 2:47 pm

jbuck919 wrote: The Philharmonic should be the greatest orchestra in the world, but it is not.
There are so many different ways to judge an orchestra's qualities that I don't think you'd find much agreement on which is the world's greatest and why. The New York Philharmonic is a virtuoso ensemble, for sure; it can play almost anything accurately at sight, with perfect ensemble and beautiful tone, despite being handicapped by a hall with poor acoustics. What more could anyone want? Quite a lot, actually - imagination, passion, soul. These qualities can sometimes be imparted or brought out by an exceptional conductor, or the orchestra can catch fire on its own. I've heard some such performances from the New York Philharmonic, but no music director since Bernstein could make it happen so often.

For me, the Vienna Philharmonic is the world's greatest orchestra because, collectively and individually, its players have a style, sound, and musicianship all their own, compared with which other top orchestras including the New York Philharmonic tend to sound neutral or anonymous. Others may not value these qualities so highly or even recognize their presence or absence by ear. I'm reading Conrad L. Osborne's new book, "Opera as Opera," and while acknowledging that the Metropolitan Opera's orchestra plays brilliantly and beautifully, he doesn't think it gets to the heart of things (likewise James Levine, whose conducting he calls merely "blameless"). For me it's the world's second greatest opera orchestra, after the Vienna Philharmonic - whose main job, playing in the Vienna State Opera, may account for its special responsiveness compared with symphony orchestras'. So there it is.
John Francis

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