who is the greatest living conductor of standard repertoire?

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RE: who is the greatest living conductor of standard repertoire?

Tony, let me add Ivan Fischer to your distinguished list of fresher faces.  It seems Maestro Fischer can, (IMO,) do most if not all of the "basic repertoire" - Beethoven, Mahler, Dvorak and so on.  Best, Hal.

RE: who is the greatest living conductor of standard repertoire?

Yes Tony,I think you have forgotten one of the younger generation and that is Daniel Harding.He´s still rather young and I think he will have a fantastic career in years to come.

RE: who is the greatest living conductor of standard repertoire?

TonyF12 wrote:

Bernstein was fantastic but died in 1990 which is a slight impediment to be the greatest living conductor.  Where have you been for 20 years?

Sorry, lured off-topic slightly there by Adrian3.

I agree that Sir Colin Davis has exhibited considerable mastery in the standard concert and operatic repertoire... he must be in the pantheon.

Being a scouser I'm a great admirer of Petrenko; but it's early days yet!

RE: who is the greatest living conductor of standard repertoire?

I should add some remarks about my question.Of course music is different from sports and you can not say who is definietly the best in an objective way.If I were in forties I could not ask this question because the styles and goals of different cundoctors were basically different.You can not compare toscanini and furtwangler and say who is the best,because their styles are different.But these days most of the conductors have the same style and goal in the standard repertoire(I mean the most performed symphonies ,concertos ,operas).They want to perform the music in a precise and objective way ,so their results somehow sound  similare.(How many of us can detect  the conductor between recordings of beethoven 5 by maazel,haitink,muti and sawallish easily?).So I think that it is not an absurd or completely journalistic question.In another way if you buy a collection of symphonies and operas.. (nearly 70 cds)by each of living conductors and compare them,which one do you think will remain more interesting musically and less predictable and boring.

RE: who is the greatest living conductor of standard repertoire?

Without hesitation (or rival, as far as I'm concerned): Valery Gergiev. The only conductor who can rival the great ones of the past. He has a Furtwänglerian ability (which Barenboim would like to have but hasn't) to take risks and improvise. He has given us one of the greatest "Rites" on record (and in performance).

Adrian

RE: who is the greatest living conductor of standard repertoire?

There is nothing more futile than wondering who is the "greatest" in classical music, whether it be composers,conductors, instrumentalists or singers. People tend to equate the most famous with the greatest, but just because musician X is more famous than musician Y does not necessarily mean that X is the greater one.
Claudio Arrau never capured the public imagination they way Horowitz did, but he was never as flashy a performer. Yet he has always struck me as a more profound and penetrating interpreter of the piano repertoire than Horowitz.
There is absolutely no lack of great conductors today, despite the many fans who long for the "good old days", and there are some very talented young conductors who are beginning to gain international recognition, and have great potential.
Any age that has the likes of Abbado,Ashkenazy,Alsop, Bychkov,Barenboim,Blomstedt,Berglund,Boulez,Belohlavek,
Chailly,Conlon,Chung, Dutoit, Dohnanyi, Colin and Andrew Davis, Eschenbach,Elder, Ivan and Adam Fischer,Gergiev,Gardiner,Gielen,Haitink,Harnoncourt, Inbal, Neeme and Paavo Jarvi, Jansons,Janowski,
Levine,Luisi, Muti,Mehta,Maazel,Mackerras,Masur, Nagano,Norrington,Noseda, Ozawa,Previn, Pappano,Pesek,
Rattle,Rozhdestvensky, Slatkin, Salonen,Segerstam, Thielemann, Thomas, Temirkanov, Vanska, Weler-Most, De Waart, and Zinman, to name only some, has nothing to be ashamed about.

RE: who is the greatest living conductor of standard repertoire?

This is a long list containing virtually all today's known conductors! I think one has to distinguish between "great" and "well known".

Adrian

RE: who is the greatest living conductor of standard repertoire?

The whole concept of choosing a 'greatest' of anything in western classical music is flawed, in my opinion.  There are many conductors active today who have moments of greatness and the pleasure is in being able to enjoy each and every one of them through their live performances and/or recordings.

My favourites include Simon Rattle, Riccardo Chailly, Antonio Pappano, and Colin Davis.  I would struggle to choose one of these as a 'No.1' and, indeed, the choice could easily be confused further by recalling several more names.  Furthermore I would have to choose different favourites depending on the repertoire being discussed.  For Berlioz and Dvorak, Colin Davis would be my choice but in Mendelssohn and Brahms I have a special place for Chailly's approach.  For Beethoven there are several recordings I would struggle to live without, but ultimately I would have to go back to a long deceased conductor in the shape of Klemperer.

The beauty is in the variety and reducing such things to charts and polls does the music and it's interpreters an injustice.

RE: who is the greatest living conductor of standard repertoire?

While I agree that the game of "greatest" is highly subjective and nothing more than a game, I think a strong case can be made for Christian Thielemann. His repertoire consists almost entirely of "standard repertoire" and, based on broadast recordings that have come my way, he manages to shape familiar music in a way that makes it sound new. I look forward to his upcoming DVD set of Beethoven symphonies with the Wiener Philharmoniker, as well as his Brahms symphonies 2-4 in Munich next year. His Bruckner is second to none. While I would not want his performances to be the only ones I hear, I will say that he is probably the best out there in the traditional "German Romantic" repertoire.

That said, I have also been very interested in recent performances by Abbado & Harnoncourt. Haitink is fascinating. Of the (relatively) younger generation, Harding and Paavo Järvi have produced consistently wonderful performances. Dudamel seems like a work in progress, and it will be interesting to see how he develops in the standard repertoire (as opposed to the late-Romantic rep that been promoted as his forte).

RE: who is the greatest living conductor of standard repertoire?

Can't actually think of anyone as virtually all my standard repertoire recordings are from a previous generation and I wouldn't buy any by the present generation not least because far too many modern orchestral recordings have poor sound being made from edited and patched so-called "live" recordings made in venues which are acoustically unsuited to recording, in particular the Barbican and Berlin Philharmonie. That's why Karajan's recordings, for example were always made in the Jesus Christus Kirche by DG, EMI & Decca.   On the subject of pianists agree with totally with superhorn.

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