Receive a weekly collection of news, features and reviews
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).
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!
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).
"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.
""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
Dear Oscar, I'm not that young at all, as at least you may guess. I grew up with at least some of these recordings too.
The quote you refer to is not mine; it is from the site of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra! They write (as a summary) that statement. Not me! So, if you think it is "incomplete" or anything else, complain to the Orchestra's site management.
By the way, read carefully my post again. You may not miss the point(s) again.
I'm staying out of this hornet's nest, but just re:parla "if you're 44 you aren't young": 44 WAS young at the time for a conductor to take the biggest and most expensive recording project of all time on his shoulders. Decca took a huge risk by employing him and not going for one of the big old Wagner names. Like someone said here already, it was mostly Culshaw's preference for Solti that signed the deal (back in that time, producers were prepared - and allowed - to take big risks... an attitude sorely lacking in the recording inductry nowadays.)
So I wasn't talking about his absolute age, but of his age compared to the reputed Wagner conductors of his time.
Also, someone mentioned his "agressive" style, his ability to charge every piece he encountered with tremendous energy. Something that works very well with the early 20th century masters I already mentioned. Once could add Strauss too: his Salome and Elektra are still classics, and probably the most satisfying renditions on record. But both operas traditionally benefit from a conductor who emphasizes the energy, turmoil and violence which are inherent to the pieces.
I'm sure you will disagree with me, but the fact that he was hugely succesful in the repertoire that fitted his approach like a glove but sometimes failed when it didn't match his style makes him - in my opinion - a "one trick pony" conductor. Not that he isn't in good company in that respect. A conductor like Celibidache may be the stellar opposite of Solti, but his style was equally one-sided. Or even Klemperer and Walter, though I generally value their recordings much higher than Solti's and Celi's.
EDIT: I see I still managed to stick my head into the hornets' nest anyway. Ah well... ;)
Solti's style wasn't always and eternally "aggressive": he had a recording career lasting fifty years and his style evolved considerably during that time. Is his "Siegfried Idyll" with the VPO, made in the mid 60s aggressive? Or his "Parsifal"? Or any of his Chicago recordings made in the last ten years of his life. Or his Beethoven 9th recorded at the Proms with the LPO in 1986 and visible on Youtube? And what a reception he got from the audience! Incredible even by prommers' standards. (Now some snob is going to pop up and say the prommers applaud anyone.) There is a huge silent majority out there which loves Solti's conducting. Why are they silent? Because they are listening to his music making rather than ignorantly throwing brickbats and carping, people who have only a handful of his records and who rarely if ever went to hear him conduct in the concert hall or opera house. Incidentally, he used to get a huge welcome at Carnegie Hall, greater than Karajan.
Adrian, in your fervor to defend Solti you apparently failed to notice that at least two-thirds of my messages consist of pure praise.
I do own a lot of his recordings, and I do enjoy them frequently, but I wisely confine my listening to the genres in which he excelled. And to me, that's his opera records and recordings of early 20th century music, not his Bruckner, Mahler or Beethoven.
Too bad you chose to call people who don't agree with you "ignorant" and accuse them of carping or mudslinging. I'd love to have a decent discussion about great musicians like Solti - but it's frustrating and tiresome if people who fail to speak exclusively in superlatives about said musicians are automatically targeted and silenced by the unconditionally loyal fans.
In the Klemperer thread, parla said he didn't like his records. So be it. It wouldn't occur to me to call him ignorant or otherwise scold him for sullying old Otto's reputation. It's mostly a matter of taste anyway.
50m, I still believe a conductor of mid forties is not that young. In any case, he has demonstrated what he can or cannot do. Solti was a household name in the concert halls and he had started his recording legacy at the time of the "most expensive recording project".
As for Klemperer, allow me to correct you, I never said I didn't like his records. I just attributed specific qualities and lack of others (flexibility, refinement, etc.). I also said I admire some of his very classic recordings (Missa Solemnis, Mahler's 2nd, Das Lied von der Erde). It's a a bit more than taste anyway. I will call it perception of the work concerned. So, if the performance fits in, it works fine.
Join the Club today and receive all three great Gramophone products for just £106 per year.
An £86 saving than if bought separately.
The latest news, features, blogs and reviews delivered weekly to your inbox!
User our new store map to help you find your nearest Gramophone stockist
If you are a library, university or other organisation that would be interested in an institutional subscription to Gramophone please click here for further information.
Gramophone is brought to you by Mark Allen Group
Gramophone is part of MA Music, Leisure and TravelAbout Mark Allen Group | International licensing