I am not a Solti s "fan", and this are my reasons!!

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I am not a Solti s "fan", and this are my reasons!!

previously, I need explain to you that Im not a Georg Solti s fan like probably you are, and thats because of a half a dozen recordings from him I bought in 80th years, which were Tchaikovskys Pathetique symphony, Schuberts 9th or "The Great" symphony, Beethoven "Eroica" symphony, Mozarts concertos for 2 and 3 pianos, with Andras Schiff and Daniel Barenboim, etc. Those were expensive but at the same time dispensable recordings, and they were the cause of my disbelief and certain anthipathy against this conductor. Later I also saw a video from him conducting I dont remember what piece, and I could see him moving clumsily like a "boxer"in the podium, and I found him absolutely unaesthetic, and that was really a torture for me, and after that I avoided during 10 years or more to buy a disc from him. Only recently my opinion about him has been enhancing, after hear Elgars violin concerto version with korean violinist Kyun Wha Chung, recording in which the best in my opinion is precisely orchestral accompaniment nothing more than by Solti, and Beethovens Eroica symphony with Chicago Symphony Orchestra recorded in 70s, recording which is inmensely superior than posterior from the 80s with the same orchestra (even the sound!), CD that Ive bought by the first time. But also Ive heard from him Bruckners 7th symphony and Mahlers 2nd symphony, and I think he got only mediocre results in that performances. In something works I consider preferables Karajan or Bemsteins versions, inclusive. Sorry, Im not a Soltis "fan". I am wrong or not??oscar.olavarria

RE: I am not a Solti s "fan", and this are my reasons!!

Like you Oscar I am not a fan,but then I ask myself why ? I hate to say it, but is it, his is not a fashionable name at the present time.
Georg Solti was an excellent pianist as well as conductor - His first ever recording was accompanying the violinist Georg Kulenkampff in all three Brahms violin sonatas (the only Solti recording I listen too with any regularity).His entire career was spent with,for me the greatest label,Decca,who thought the world of him indeed he was the house conductor.The producer John Culshaw made clear in his Autobiography "Putting the Record Straight"how much he rated Solti as a musician and man.
If that is not enough,there is the magnificent Decca stereo recording of the Wagner entire Ring cycle,with Solti conducting the Vienna Phil.One of the all time peaks of recording history.

Yet with all this,his name today has been pushed too the margins of musical history.......a strange one.

RE: I am not a Solti s "fan", and this are my reasons!!

To judge someone on just a few records and his podium manner, which in any case evolved over the years, seem very poor reasons to me for disliking a musician.

"On the margin of musical history"?? Where have you been this year - Solti's centenial, in case you didn't know, and marked by birthday concerts in Chicago, New York, Budapest, Frankfurt and Munich and even (better than nothing) two exhibitions in London? Riccardo Muti created a Sir Georg Solti conductors' competition on taking up the reins in Chicago and there was already one in existence in Frankfurt. There is also a Solti Academy, run by Kiri Te Kanawa, at Grossetto in Italy and a Solti chamber orchestra (and a brass band) in Budapest.

Both Muti and Gergiev (who conducted the Chicago birthday concert, using the World Orchestra for Peace, founded by Solti) greatly admire Solti and they themselves are among the top five living great conductors so their opinion is worth having.

Adrian

I think Solti was at his best

I think Solti was at his best with colorful, modern classic scores. His gift was to give every score an impressive multicolored veneer. In that respect he resembled Stokowski.

But multicolored doesn't always mean multilayered.
Solti's recordings can be pretty dull sometimes, if you look past the glossy orchestral shine. And maybe he didn't always make the right choices repertoire-wise. Many of his recordings of the great classical-romantic repertoire (Bruckner, Mahler) that benefited from his great gift for orchestral color were heralded as unbeatable in their time - but have been surpassed since then by more ideomatic, more "layered" versions. Are there still fans of his Mahler cycle?

I think his true strength lied in early 20th century music. His Bartok was amazing, and still is. And of course Wagner, but let's not forget he was still a young man when the Culshaw Ring was recorded. His penchant of getting lost in shiny orchestral gloss wasn't that prominent yet, a treat he shared with Karajan (who was also a wonderful, genial conductor when he was young, and became increasingly boring and predictable when he got older).

RE: I think Solti was at his best

50milliarden wrote:
I think Solti was at his best with colorful, modern classic scores. His gift was to give every score an impressive multicolored veneer.usic. His Bartok was amazing, and still is. And of course Wagner, but let's not forget he was still a young man when the Culshaw Ring was recorded. His penchant of getting lost in shiny orchestral gloss wasn't that prominent yet, a treat he shared with Karajan (who was also a wonderful, genial conductor when he was young, and became increasingly boring and predictable when he got older).

There seems to be some contradiction here: there is much more to Bartok than "a multicoloured veneer". I also think Solti was very different from Stokowski and Karajan in that he put a premium on respect for the score: mere orchestral gloss was not for him. He was a superb conductor of Mozart and his Mahler hasn't gone out of date. Unfortunately, his wonderful Festival Hall performance of the 5th didn't make it onto disc but his 1st and 2nd with the LSO and his 6th, 7th and 8th with the CSO can still stand up to any rival. It is odd that you should consider him a great Bartok and Wagner conductor and then proceed to dismiss the rest of his work.

Incidentally, he was not "a young man" when he recorded "The Ring": he was in his fifties.

Adrian

RE: I think Solti was at his best

Adrian, orchestral gloss and respect for the score don't have to be contradictions. Karajan's late recordings may sound like Mantovani, but one can't accuse him of deviating too much from the score. There's no written rule that you can't perform Eine Kleine Nachtmusik with the complete BPO string section and making it sound like a Star Wars soundtrack.
Deviating too much of the composer's intentions, ok - but that's another category, in which a LOT of old and contemporary recordings can be placed.

And maybe I didn't make my point clear about Bartok: I'm not saying that Bartok's music is merely superficial veneer, far from that. I just think that Solti had a natural feeling for his music, which allowed him to go "deep" where he sometimes failed to penetrate the surface in other composers' music.

And he WAS a young man when he started the Ring recordings. 44, if we count the "test" recording of the Walküre III act with Flagstadt, which was done a year before the Ring project started officially.

RE: I am not a Solti s "fan", and this are my reasons!!

I can fully subscribe to Adrian3 very wisely written posts.

I'm surprised you, 50m, consider a man at mid-forties as a "young man". For a conductor, it is a mature age, I can assure you, as well as for almost any artist.

Solti was a great conductor of the past century: He was an integral and most vital part of The Recording of the Century. His Operatic recordings were almost always an event of at least increased interest, normally inviting some of the best singers, producers, etc. of the time. Apart from Wagner and Bartok, his Mozart, Mahler, Beethoven, Elgar and quite a few other composers' works were a trademark of a man with genuine passion for the music played and the composer's score. I have never been really indifferent, bored or anything negative with his recordings. Some of them are still at the top of my collection.

Another important factor not to be neglected or overlooked is the genuine love of the musicians, singers, artists worked with him as well as the respect and appreciation of producers, such as the unique and legendary John Culshaw.

Finally, it is really funny to judge a conductor for his "podium manner" (as very nicely Adrian3 put it). When I saw a video of Toscanini conducting Beethoven, I found him extremely amusing, but when I concentrated on the music performed, I stood in awe...

As for whether Solti's name "has been pushed too the margins of musical history" (History Man), I have my doubts: With such a revitalisation of his entire (almost) recording legacy on Decca and a unique Deluxe Limited Edition of the "Ring" plus all the other activities mentioned by Adrian3, I trust his name is back to the forefront of the Classical Music field.

Parla

RE: I am not a Solti s "fan", and this are my reasons!!

"his 1st and 2nd with the LSO and his 6th, 7th and 8th with the CSO can still stand up to any rival..." (Adrian)

 

curiosly none of those recordings figures like a reference for that works, because exists consensus about that the best #1 is Kubelik-Bavarian (DG), the best 2nd Zubin Mehta-Vienna (DECCA), the 5th Rudolf Barshai-Youth German Orch (Laurel, Brilliant), the 6th Barbirolli, Karajan, Bernstein but in any case not Soltis version, which I find noisy, explosive, exhausting, the best 7th Abbado-Lucerna (DG), etc. How you explain this, Adrian?? oscar.olavarria

RE: I am not a Solti s "fan", and this are my reasons!!

"To judge someone on just a few records and his podium manner, which in
any case evolved over the years, seem very poor reasons to me for
disliking a musician" (Adrian wrote)

 

Dear Adrian,  for me there are something emblematic works that serves to me to value conductors quality, and those are precisely Beethoven s Eroica symnphony, Schuberts 9th symphony, etc and in this case Solti simply reproved the test! oscar.olavarria

RE: I am not a Solti s "fan", and this are my reasons!!

Till Adrian3 decides to reply, I hope he will allow me to intervene:

So, Mr. Oscar, where did you find that "exists consensus" about all these performances you refer to. There might be a tendency among different reviewers or critics or magazines, but there cannot possibly be a definitive consensus on performances, recordings etc. First of all, everything starts from what and how you perceive the work in question. If you consider that Eroica should be a bold, aggressive, fast, energetic, powerful work, you may opt for different conductors, even different orchestras, while if you consider that there should be refinement of sound, clarity of the music lines of the orchestration and harmony, beauty of the instruments' tone etc, you may prefer quite different conductors (and orchestras).

In any case, Adrian clearly said that the Symphonies he mentioned "can still stand up to any rival"; he did not claimed any "reference".

As for your post #8, it does not answer almost at all the observation of Adrian that "to judge someone on just few records and his podium manner...seem very poor reasons...). I don't wish to enumerate a great number of conductors who either did never touch or failed in the two Symphonies you mentioned in your post (Eroica and Schubert's "Great") and they are still considered significant conductors and great musicians (after all). Does the names of Mravinsky, Svetlanov, Karl Richter or Gielen ring any bell, querido Oscar?

Parla

RE: I am not a Solti s "fan", and this are my reasons!!

I just finished watching 'Ratatouille' with my son and when I saw this thread I remembered the fantastic words of Anton Ego (voiced by Peter O'Toole):

"In many ways, the work of a critic is easy. We risk very little yet
enjoy a position over those who offer up their work and their selves to
our judgment. We thrive on negative criticism, which is fun to write and
to read. But the bitter truth we critics must face is that, in the
grand scheme of things, the average piece of junk is more meaningful
than our criticism designating it so..."

Ego aside, let me add my thoughts here...

Of course it is fine to prefer one conductor to another. I have to say that when I had the chance to hear Solti live (which was only seldom and most at the opera house) I always felt the performance was a satisfying experience. The Elektra I heard was certainly far better than Gergiev and although many have alredy mentioned Wagner I would say Solti's way with Strauss operas was propulsive and carrided great momentum. However I am not sure he ever made Salome sound like Mendelssohn, as I think Strauss wished!

It's funny that people mention Mahler. I studiously avoided Solti's Mahler for quite a few years out of a fear that is would be too technicolor for my ears but last year I acquired the set (at a ridiculous price). Maybe it lacks a little in tenderness but the vitality of the music shines through. It has muscle and sinew and what I hear is a confidence in the rightness of the music - Solti seems to be saying that Mahler needs no excuses. That's an attitude I like. I would not place any of the symphonies as first choice, but they offer their own perspective on the works and that is all we should ask for. It should also be noted that the Chicago Symphony Orchestra under his stewardship was a pretty amazing orchestra, with an awe-inspiring brass section that burned very hot in the right music. When Barneboim took over I had the chance to hear the orchestra again live and while still a formidable ensemble they had lost something.

Somebody also mentioned Karajan. When I was growing up the two conductors seemed two be the two stars of classical music, a rivalry that extended to Decca and DG. Certainly at the time both were hyped and as somebody said their reputations have declined in the period since their deaths. I suspect this is just what happens and that over time a balanced view will follow. For me, all the talk of Karajan and Mantovani is most certainly at odds with a significant number of his recordings. For every James Galway story (which are amusing) there is another that paints a more rounded picture. Karajan, on his mettle, was a great conductor. Three discs remain personal favourites to this day: the Hoenegger symphonies (adventurous repetoire indeed for the time), an incredible Beethoven 9 from Bayreuth which, even in mono, sets my pulse racing and one of hs final discs, a Wagner recital with Jesse Norman. This recording contains for me the finest Siegfried Idyll I have ever heard and a version of Tristan und Isolde's Prelude and Liebstod that is the summation of a life's work. If you have not heard this recording I suggest giving it a try. If you have not seen the accompanying video, then most certainly give that a look - Jesse Norman's face at the rehearsal where she listens to Karajan and the VPO rehearsal is marvellous.

 

 

Naupilus

RE: I am not a Solti s "fan", and this are my reasons!!

I'm sure we've "done" Sollti previously in another post but can't remember which but I agree entirely with Parla's post #6. I haved just watched the BBC documentary on Solti on the I-Player which I missed when it was broadcast last Friday; quite fascinating with brief excerpts from the documentary the BBC made of the Ring recording. (Can those outside UK access the I Player?).

For example he made the so-so Covent Garden orchestra into a first class ensemble which shows the virtuosity he developed in popular Italian pieces on the early (Decca recorded)  Living Stereo LP "Venice" (reissued on a Classic Records LP with the original glossy fold-out sleeve).

RE: I am not a Solti s "fan", and this are my reasons!!

So, Mr. Oscar, you still cannot (or do not wish to) get it. It is OK, if you don't like Solti. However, you don't have to degrade him in order to convince anybody else about your judgement. From what you may see from the responses so far, there is none to share (to a great extent) your view.

As for CSO, please kindly note that the Orchestra had two great conductors before Reiner (Rodzinski and Kubelik), while Solti took over from Jean Martinon (1963-1968) and not from Reiner directly. The CSO site refers (as a summary) to the Reiner years as follows:

"Under Reiner's leadership, the Orchestra made several landmark recordings for RCA Records, including Bartok's Concerto for Ortchestra, Strauss' Ein Heldenleben and Prokofiev's Alexander Nevsky".

For Solti, the summary goes :

"Solti served as music director for twenty-two years and is credited with greatly extending and enhancing the Orchestra's worldwide reputation, leading the first overseas tour in 1971".

SO, from the two very small summaries, the Orchestra does not seem to consider Solti as a "spoiler" of the institution but rather as someone who contributed to its increased reputation and initiated the first ever exposure of the Orchestra in the rest of the world. For Reiner, they are confined to his recording legacy. Which, apparently, is what counts for you, dear Oscar. However, reality (and Life) is much more than mere recordings...

Buenos dias, Oscar!

Parla

RE: Re I'm not a Solti Fan

Walter Legge answered him: "Solti....worse is nothing!!"oscar.olavarria

I don't know quite what that remark is supposed to mean but there are two factors to take into account: Solti was working for a rival label and Legge was none too pleased when Decca got in first with a "Rheingold" (in his pique he claimed it wouldn't sell). Secondly, his judgements were not infallible: in "On and Off the Record" he is strongly critical of Bernstein (also working for a rival label).

Adrian

RE: Re I'm not a Solti Fan

"Secondly,his judgements were not infallible:he is strongly critical of Bernstein"

I read that as - Anyone who criticises Bernstein is guilty of poor judgement.

Bernstein was good,but not THAT good.

RE: Re I'm not a Solti Fan

""Under Reiner's leadership, the Orchestra made several landmark
recordings for RCA Records, including Bartok's Concerto for Ortchestra,
Strauss' Ein Heldenleben and Prokofiev's Alexander Nevsky" (Parla said)

 

that is notoriously incomplete, and what about Mahlers 4th symphony recording (a classic!), Tchaikovskys Pathetique symphony, Rimsky Korsakovs Scheherazade, Moussorgskys Pictures at an exhibition, Beethovens 1st,3th, 5th, 6th, 6th, 7th and 9th, and numerous recordings with Emil Gilels, Rubinstein, Heifetz (Tchaikovsky and Brahms violin concertos, also a classic!), Van Cliburn, etc??.

Dear parla, you are too young, but in my case I new that works and I grew with that recordings in vynil format at that time. Cheers oscar.olavarria

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