Receive a weekly collection of news, features and reviews
Yes you are correct Parla in saying that Solti was a household name. I do feel that since his passing his reputation has suffered somewhat.The "screaming skull"image did him no favours.I have not personally warmed to his recordings,save one,I thought his rendition of The Rite of Spring was exiting and well suited to his style.
Whether he is up there with the greats, I will leave others to judge. I do agree with Oscar that Solti's legacy at Chicago does not compare with Reiner,there is no shame in that. What an act to follow.
As a pastime I sell classical LP records mainly to the Far East.I have for a long time given up trying to sell Solti records there is no market for them.Ansermet on the other hand.....they fly out of the door! Of course I am not claiming this as a survey of any great relevance,but it is a fact.
The "screaming skull" image did him no favours.
Some people, including certain critics, love to stick a label on musicians, who are then lumbered with it for ever (Klemperer 'slow'; Arrau likewise; Karajan 'smooth'). If people are influenced by this into not buying his records then I am sorry for them for having no judgement of their own. I cannot comment on the taste of people in the Far East or on Ernest Ansermet as I know very little about either though if they consider Lang Lang ("Bang Bang") a great pianist then....
P.S. @ 50millliarden. You weren't specifically included in the "ignorant" brigade since I noticed that you had quite a lot of his recordings.
I'm not a great Solti fan but I hope, Adrian, that my possession of quite a few Solti CDs and past attendance at many of his concert and opera performances will let me off the "ignorant brigade" hook.
Anyway there will always be differences of opinion on the greatness of different musicians but one thing I think is a fact and a remarkable one. That is, that the combination of the combined team of Solti and Culshaw led to recordings that were greater than the sum of those two constituent parts. Solti's willingness to work in the studio for something uniquely different from a concert performance fitted hand-in-glove with what Culshaw was aiming for at the time, and the synergy of their partnership contributed in no small measure to the success of Decca at that time and led to a series of recordings (not all conducted by Solti, nor produced by Culshaw) which remains the golden age of recording for many of us. I can't think of many more obvious candidates for SACD re-issue.
My only regret is that because of Culshaw's enthusiasm for Solti, Decca soon lost any further interest in recording other great (some would argue greater) conductors in their roster: Knappertsbusch, Böhm, Schuricht.
Like Chris, I've heard Solti countless times in the concert hall and opera house, giving performances which were utterly unforgettable (e.g. Otello, some of his Mahler) as well as some which weren't remotely at that exalted level yet still enjoyable and illuminating. But I could replace Solti's name in what I've just written with a whole roster of other conductors and it would still be valid.
I have goodness only knows how many of his CDs, and the same thing can be said for them. As it can of Klemperer, Bernstein, Abbado......well, you get my drift.
As Parla and Chris - and possibly others in the thread - have said, the achievement of the Decca recording the Ring was undeniably monumental, even though it did lead Decca to ignore others, as Chris has suggested.
I never had the opportunity to see Solti conduct unlike other posters but I have several recordings which I enjoy: Die Frau Ohne Schatten, the Ring cycle, Bartok's Concerto for Orchestra, Schubert ninth symphony, Siegfried Idyll, Mahler symphonies, etc. I don't find his style hard-driven or aggressive. He just had bags of energy and enthusiasm.
I agree with Adrian in that it is too easy to jump on the band wagon and pigeon-hole conductors in this way. When you do that, you lose sight of the actual music and its composer and become too pre-occupied with classifying interpretations.
By the way, the man behind oscar.olavarria, I love your current spoof character. You aren't really Alan Partridge are you?!
sorry, Im not the person you thinks, thanks for your concepts, the idea is to make an enjoyable and heater -but always repectful- conversation, is very pleasant to me to take part in this forum! oscar.olavarria
Dear Oscar, no disrespect intended. I enjoy reading your well-informed and entertaining posts! This thread has made me listen again to some Solti recordings, some of which were the first CD's I bought. The exciting performances and first class recordings helped me discover Bartok and Mahler in particular.
Solti "Desert Island Discs " (limited to 8):
1° Elgar Symphony 1
2° Mahler Symphony 1 (LSO)
3° Verdi "Falstaff" (with Geraint Evans)
4° Wagner "Meistersinger" (with CSO)
5° Beethoven 9th (1st version)
6° Strauss: "Die Frau Ohne Schatten"
7° Haydn "The Seasons"
8° Strauss: Lieder (with Kiri Te Kanawa).
I have another lot in mind for a second stay.
Impressive, Adrian3. No Solti's "Ring" for your first stay in the "Desert Island"? Anyway, I detest...deserts and, while I adore islands, I have no time to visit them but only for occasional short leisure visits. So, no time for selecting discs for that purpose.
Just for the record, I fully agree that these 8 discs selected for the "purpose" are truly wonderful recordings and performances.
And here are the maestro's own 8 choices when he was cast away in 1966.
1. Verdi Requiem - Dies Irae (NBC/Toscanini)
2. Mozart String Quintet No4 - (Pro Arte Quartet)
3. Churchill's 1940 "Blood, toil, tears and sweat" speech
4. Wagner - Love duet from Tristan (Flagstad/Suthaus)
5. Schumann Piano Concerto - (Lipatti/Karajan)
6. Mahler 10th Symphony - (Philadelphia/Ormandy)
7. Shakespeare Sonnet No 138 - (John Gielgud)
8. Verdi - Falstaff Act 2, scene 1 - (Toscanini)
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