Musicians we saw/heard live

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Musicians we saw/heard live

I've never seen this done anywhere and I'd like to initiate. Listening to recordings at home is certainly rewarding, but attending a live performance in its way gives different and unique experiences to the listener. I have gone to many live concerts and recitals, especially when I was young, wanting to experience the world class musicians at least once each in my lifetime. I would like to know, whoever is willing to share, which musicians of note (or worth) this forum members saw/heard live in their lifetime. I myself, relying mostly on memory, did make the list a while back ago and saved it on my computer. So here they are, in no particular order;

Kiri Te Kanawa, Janet Baker, Jessye Norman, Luciano Pavarotti, Claudio Arrau, Kathleen Battle, Eugene Ormandy, Herbert von Karajan, Georg Solti, Carlo Maria Giulini, Leonard Bernstein, Evgeny Svetlanov, Edo de Waart, Maxim Shostakovich, Yuja Wang, Franco Corelli, Renata Tebaldi, Placido Domingo, Tatiana Troyanos, Mirella Freni, Montserrat Caballe, Hermann Prey, Pierre Boulez, Esa-Pekka Salonen, Olli Mustonen, Arcadi Volodos, Helene Grimaud, Olga Kern, Konstantin Lifschitz, Luis Lima, Diana Soviero, Evgeny Kissin, Colin Davis, Bernard Haitink, Sergiu Celibidache, Claudio Abbado, Mstislav Rostropovich, Alfred Brendel, Maurizio Pollini, Martha Argerich, Radu Lupu, Nathan Milstein, Gidon Kremer, Itzhak Perlman, Seiji Ozawa, Viktoria Mullova, Katia & Marielle Labeque, Andrew Davis, Marino Formenti, Christoph von Dohnanyi, Christoph Eschenbach, Christopher Parkening, Salvatore Accardo, Julian Bream, Rudolf Firkusny, Daniel Barenboim, Lazar Berman, Jon Vickers, Heather Harper, Thomas Allen, Gwyneth Jones, Helen Donath, Stuart Burrows, James King, Riccardo Muti, Riccardo Chailly, Gil Shaham, Kyung Wha Chung, Charles Dutoit, Yo-Yo Ma, Josef Suk, Isaac Stern, Myung Whun Chung, Zubin Mehta, Lorin Maazel, Vladimir Ashkenazy, Valentina Lisitsa, Stephanie Chase, Anne-Sophie Mutter, Uto ughi, Andrew Litton, Kurt Sanderling, Jerzy Maksymiuk, Andre Watts, Neeme Jarvi, Carlos Paita, Joan Sutherland, Richard Bonynge, Marilyn Horne, Lucia Popp, Charles Mackerras, Gunther Herbig, Peter Schreier, Vladimir Horowitz, Klaus Tennstedt, Michael Tilson Thomas, Kurt Masur, Jean-Philippe Collard, Ida Haendel, Angelika Kirchschlager, Cecile Ousset, Murray Perahia, Jean-Pierre Rampal, James Galway, Rafael Fruhbeck de Burgos, Elly Ameling, Emanuel Ax, Alicia de Larrocha, Hilary Hahn, Heinz Holliger, Stephen Hough, Trevor Pinnock, The Romeros, Andres Segovia, Carl St.Clair, Jorge Mester, Enrique Diemecke, Thomas Stewart, Yuri Temikanov, Mariss Jansons, Michel Plasson, Ludovic Morlot, Paavo Jarvi, Hugh Wolff, Vladimir Atlantov, Anna Moffo, Jard van Nes, Christine Brewer, Clifton Forbis, Thomas Moser, Violeta Urmana, Willard White, Ivo Pogorelich, Shlomo Mintz, Frederica von Stade, Herbert Blomstedt, Valery Gergiev, Erich Leinsdorf, Simon Rattle, Sian Edwards, Wolfgang Sawallisch, Gerard Schwarz, Giuseppe Sinopoli, Rudolf Serkin, Minoru Nojima, Krystian Zimerman, Misha Dichter, Robert Lloyd, Matthias Goerne, Teresa Berganza, García Navarro, Claudio Scimone, Charles Groves, Alexander Toradze, Lilya Zilberstein, Iona Brown..
 Surely not every concert by these musicians was good to great, even though a lot of them were. Then quite a few were average to sub-par and some were horrible even. I don't go to concert much these days though, the biggest reason being there aren't that many musicians who interest me greatly to go to see live vs. the ticket price (plus driving, parking and other hassles involved.. AND the seemingly fast-deteriorating audience etiquette).


DDG

 

Musicians I've heard

I wish I had saved all the program booklets from concerts I've been attending since the 1940s.  I do remember Pierre Monteux who was in San Francisco for so many years.  Then there was Bruno Walter and Bruckner's 4th Symphony.  As you may know the work begins with an important horn solo of 4 notes repeated once (I think).  Well,the San Francisco Symphony's horn section was not among the greatest and the principal managed to make a botch of it.  I said to myself "STOP - Do it again".  Of course Walter wasn't going to embarass anyone and the work proceeded.  Then there was the time that Rafael Kubelik conducted Smetana's Ma Vlast WITH AN INTERMISSION, no less, something not done these days.  I still remember a couple of patrons walking down the center aisle in Czech garments just before the work began.  More memorable yet was Hans Schmidt-Isserstedt conducting Britten's War Requiem.  He asked that no applause be given at the conclusion, a most moving experience indeed.  No doubt other, more recent incidents will come to mind but that's enough of living again what I call the good old days.  Just thought of something else - the Jupiter Symphony Chamber Players of New York City.  They are a living tribute to the conductor Jens Nygaard who founded and conducted the Jupiter Symphony.  Unfortunately for me I was to hear him conduct only once before his untimely death a few years ago - Franck's Symphony and a Shostakovich Violin Concerto.  That program paper I still have.

Bliss
Live

Mehta VPO Bruckner 9 - A few bars after a brass error in the first movement, a neighbor's hearing aid started buzzing pp at about C10. The third movement was redeemed. Compared to the phone ring at the end of Gilbert NYPO Mahler 9 that I read about, perhaps somewhat more tolerable.

Which Evegeny Svetlanov concert? USSR SO? I never heard him live, but in the concert recording of his with the BPO, 4 months before Karajan died, the orchestra sound is quite different than Karajan on DG. How was the Karajan live Mahler 9 vs the recording?

Most memorable live

Well, by far the most memorable concerts I heard live were by Celibidache in Munich, be it in Bruckner or Ravel or Shostakovich or Beethoven or any other composer - every single one was more magic than the other, and they represent the pinnacle of musical experiences in my life. Other precious concerts in Munich were by Giulini. In opera the most memorable were at La Scala by Abbado (Macbeth, Il Viaggio a Reims, etc.) and Kleiber (Otello) but also Ozawa (Oneghin) and even Maazel (Turandot, Aida). I also very much enjoyed concerts by Rostropovich conducting the LSO. Most memorable soloist concerts are/were by Rostropovich, Zimmerman, Perahia and Barenboim. The only concert I ever walked out of since I couldn't stand the playing was actually by the latter, Barenboim, a Tchaikovsky 5 which was unbearably dull and unmusical. Recent top orchestral concerts include several by Harding (Stockholm and London), Rattle (BPO and LSO) and Neeme Järvi. Sadly I never saw Bernstein nor Karajan live.

exciting reading

Some lived before my time, others never came to where I lived at various points in my life, still others I missed because of my ignorance. It seems though each of us who posted had lasting experience which remains in our fond memories. I felt the excitement reading the posts. Yes, it would have been lovely for myself to have seen Walter, Monteux, Mravinsky (from Parla in another thread), Kleiber.. O well..

And tjh, I think the live sound I remember and the DG sound of K's BPO are different. I am sure the difference in halls, my preferred siting section also play the part, not to mention my unreliable aural memory. Just the impressions are left, not the minute details. And the M9, we are talking about something that happened almost 35 years ago. I think the CD came out not long after the concert, and my memory faded and I kind of assumed the two were the same. By the way, I prefer the initial issue over the Karajan Gold edition. The first one gives me harrowing feeling, vs. the latter sounds artificial at best. Ultimately I think the listening live in an actual concert and listening at home through the stereo are two different experiences, even though my focus is music on both occasions. I have the Testament Svetlanov BPO CD, and perhaps that sound is more like the K's BPO sound I heard than DG's? And I saw Svetlanov in D.C. when he brought his own orchestra. The main item was Shostakovich 5th and I remember that they had more double basses than other orchestras I saw, giving their sound a strong foundation. It was a fantastic concert and he was generous to give several encores. In one of them, he showed his fun-loving side by literally dancing and one time tapping the side of the podium comically with both hands. In another, he started the piece and left the stage and let the orchestra just played itself into a frenzy. 

 

DDG

 

 

Memorable concerts.

As I have mentioned in previous and different threads, I miss the magic (if I may use this term) of the concerts in the Golden Era of the 60s and 70s (unfortunately, the 50s were too early for me). In another thread, I mentioned three concerts of great impact on me with Mravinsky and the Leningrad P.O. (in the 60s), Karajan/BPO and Bernstein/VPO (in the 70s). 

In the 80s, a concerto of Rostropovich in his signature Concerto by Dvorak was a most memorable one along with an exquisite recital of Paul Badura-Skoda, who ended his program with a stunning Gaspard de la Nuit.

In the vocal repertory, the trio Sutherland, Horne, Pavarotti (in separate recitals and in different decades) left an indelible mark with their unique vocal style, artistic commitment and most impressive voices of various qualities.

Although I am quite pessimistic of the decline in artistic values, the lack of highly committed emotional performances and the well-spotted "fast-deteriorating audience etiquette", I had the chance to attend some highly interesting and even rewarding concerts, particularly in Chamber and Instrumental Music and, very occasionally, in Orchestral and Choral Music, very rarely in Opera.

In Choral Music, there was a highly charged and musical enough performance of Harnoncourt with BPO on Schubert's Mass in A-flat and a superb account of Verdi's Requiem with Chailly in Leipzig (but with a very uneven cast of singers).

In Chamber Music, a most memorable cycle of Shostakovich Quartets with the Jerusalem Quartet (plus the Piano Quintet with S. Hough) in Berlin, a unique concert of Prazak Quartet in their beloved Beethoven and few concerts of the quite talented Zemlinsky Quartet (their Dvorak's "American" String Quartet was magnificent indeed).

In Instrumental Music, one of the late recitals of Brendel (in Berlin) and a phenomenal one by Mitsuko Uchida on Beethoven (including the "Hammerklavier"!).

In the flops, a recital of Bartoli (in US), where her small voice was revealed to its "glory" and a recital of Mutter/Orkis lost in the unfavorable for this kind of intimate recitals size of Carnegie Hall (in the 90s).

More to follow, if needed.

Parla

an addition to the list and a further comment on Mahler 9th

I am adding Garrick Ohlsson to the original list, not that it matters great deal. He didn't leave a strong impression with me (nothing negative though) except that his beer belly and jolly demeanor might fit more to a French horn player in an orchestra than a solo pianist, whatever that means.

My appreciation of M9 has evolved over the years; Largely thanks to the overwhelming impression of that live Karajan concert at the Ambassador Auditorium, his live recording on DG, even though I acquired many recordings in the meantime, reigned supreme in my estimation for many years. That was till I bought Bernstein BPO CD also on DG. I wasn't a big fan of Bernstein in Mahler till then, probably not now either, but that performance thoroughly surpassed K's in every aspect. Now that was a shocker. As I said, I kind of identified the K's CD with my AA concert which in my mind was the absolute experience. I was confused, to say the least. Then I encountered more great M9 performances on the internet like live Nézet-Séguin/Rotterdam, live Chailly/Concertgebouw, live Haitink with a youth orchestra, another Haitink in his last concert with Concertgebouw as its music director.. they were not necessarily greater than K's but offered different but still equally valid perspectives. Definitely my idea of the top recording got blurred further. Then about two years ago on YouTube I discovered Klemperer's live concert with Jerusalem SO. Now this was a completely different interpretation and somehow made all the other M9s I'd known so far sounding way precious. I don't know what will come next, if at all, and I still appreciate the other recordings, of course the Little K's also, but at the moment this Big K's is my desert island M9, towering over anything else I heard including his own on EMI. Below is the detailed story of the occasion if anyone is interested. https://goo.gl/zStGLP Click on the GP49's comment and it will expand. That YT account is closed now, but the same performance is here to listen to in its entirety. https://goo.gl/CBQBKv

DDG

The ahem 9 (+ l & r)

I also prefer the Bernstein BPO over the Karajans, though for the throat clearing at the end of the Bernstein, the participant concentration could not be 100% sustained like the Karajan concert you reported.

 

In the Mahler symphonies my preference are the first and last movements of the Third (a work Karajan never conducted), also the 4th movement of Das Lied von der Erde.

 

In the Russians, Karajan's repertoire was no match against Svetlanov's.  The power of those Melodya recordings (Islamey stands out) are shattering.  (A bit more akin to the HvK Liszt recordings and 60s Beethoven).  Your description of the Svetlanov concert matches well a wild booklet picture of him in one of the RCA Borodin versions.

to tjh:

I also love Mahler 3rd, but I think I like all of his symphonies actually. And I find it interesting that you mentioned 4th mvt in Das Lied instead of the usual last mvt, but who's to decide? Both Karajan and Svetlanov are two of my handful favorite conductors. Svetlanov means more to me than Mravinsky among Russian conductors; it is like love vs. respect. His Rachmaninov 2nd symphony on Japanese label Canyon Classic is my absolute favorite orchestral recording. It is an ultra-romantic and devastating performance captured in a superlative sonics. That particular set is out of print, but now Exton took over the whole 4 CD set. Also Warner Classic has it on a single CD, I was told a while ago by an Amazonian.

Earlier I stated that I'd idolized Karajan in my youth and thought he was everything but not any more (I don't idolize any human being now - only love or adoration would be the highest form of outpouring from me). Karajan's territory with me has definitely shrunk over time as I was discovering more recordings from other conductors, many times not necessarily he was bad in them but I simply found others more satisfying. I have both 60's and 70's Beethoven sets on LPs, and I remember my excitement when I got them. But over time they have been superseded by Asahina or Klemperer likes. I still immensely treasure his Boheme, Butterfly, Death & Transfiguration (LD), Metamorphosen (analog preferred), Alpine Symphony (DVD), Tristan (LP or Toshiba EMI only, not the general EMI releases) - especially the last two. And some Sibelius..

DDG

 

Mahler, his Opus and some of "his" conductors.

I never found pleasing to listen to all these quite long, often heavily orchestrated Symphonies by Mahler, although I appreciate them to a high degree at least for their scope and form (love versus respect). Normally, I had to choose the movement I have to indulge in for the relatively few days of the year I have to turn to this composer.

In this vein, I find his Fourth the most substantive, coherent, pleasant, sensible and meaningful Symphony, with a "lighter", more transparent orchestration (no trombones!) and few but well-justified crescenti to crown some of the most emotional musically inspired pages of Mahler's output (Third Movement). Unfortunately, a couple of live performances I managed to attend could not do full justice to this wonderful work.

Likewise, I found his Song cycles as very meaningful in their concise but full in musicality and sensitivity scores. Das Lied von der Erde is one of a kind masterpiece. 

Fortunately, in Berlin, an underrated, overlooked but quite talented, inspired and very committed conductor, namely Eliahu Inbal, offered (in 2003-2005) some eye-opening and highly emotional performances of Mahler's Ninth, Sixth (and some more) with the Orchestra of Konzerthaus (the second major Orchestra of the city). After this experience, I realised that those enormous heavily orchestrated Symphonies should be experienced predominantly in live performances and in their entirety for reaching their maximum effect.

Recordingwise, I prefer Bernstein in Mahler for his great emotional involvement. I do not believe this composer had ever been Karajan's strong point of reference. Abbado seemed to me a polished well-balanced resolve, at least in his recordings. In a couple of live performances, in Berlin, he seemed to me more involved and meaningful both musically and emotionally.

Parla

Of beauty, and picking lotus

The first part of the 4th mvt of Das Lied is to me perhaps the best music that Mahler came up with.

I heard a great live broadcast of Eschenbach Chicago SO in the 3rd Symphony with a rarely well taken 1st movement tempi. (The brass, too, was very ... devoted). Inbal's Fr RSO 7th, especially the finale, is first rate.

I regrettably passed a chance to attend a VPO 4th conducted by Maazel shortly before he passed. May be next time, another Mahler, was a fancy at a cost of never to see the conductor live.

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