Discussion:
Hurwitz editorial on conductors
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Bob Harper
2018-08-12 22:24:52 UTC
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I suspect many will have seen tis, though I hadn't until just a few
minutes ago:

https://www.classicstoday.com/putting-conductors-in-their-place-sexual-harassment-and-the-death-of-the-maestro-myth/

Somewhat grumpy, but then that's Hurwitz's thing.

Comments?

Bob Harper
Randy Lane
2018-08-12 22:32:08 UTC
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Reminds me a great deal of the opinions of Oakland Athletics General Manager Billy Beane about baseball managers. Overrated.
Bob Harper
2018-08-12 22:44:16 UTC
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On 8/12/18 3:32 PM, Randy Lane wrote:
> Reminds me a great deal of the opinions of Oakland Athletics General Manager Billy Beane about baseball managers. Overrated.
>
Interesting lateral thinking :)

Bob Harper
Randy Lane
2018-08-12 22:46:26 UTC
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Contrary to his telling of an artistic crisis in Cleveland after Szell died I trumpet the music making of the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra after the death of Sir Thomas Beecham as the legacy of a truly great Leader, which is what we all ought expect of "legendary" orchestra conductors IMHO. Listen to RPO recordings in the early 1960s from the likes of Colin Davis, John Barbiroli, and Georges Pretre to name a few and I think you can hear what I mean.
O
2018-08-13 01:35:30 UTC
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In article <f3a38499-1a99-4779-af26-***@googlegroups.com>,
Randy Lane <***@gmail.com> wrote:

> Contrary to his telling of an artistic crisis in Cleveland after Szell died I
> trumpet the music making of the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra after the death
> of Sir Thomas Beecham as the legacy of a truly great Leader, which is what we
> all ought expect of "legendary" orchestra conductors IMHO. Listen to RPO
> recordings in the early 1960s from the likes of Colin Davis, John Barbiroli,
> and Georges Pretre to name a few and I think you can hear what I mean.

It isn't that society is trying to get male conductors, or male film
producers to change. Society is trying to get all males to change, or,
to phrase it better, to readjust society such that some male behavior,
tolerated in the past, will no longer be tolerated.

Society has made these shifts before, in recent times. Homosexuality
was universally condemned as little as 40 years ago as deviant and
unwed pregnancy a badge of permanent dishonor. Now the standards of
behavior are being spelt out to the men of the world, most notably
because men are generally very bad at perceiving hints.

-Owen, stereotype intentional.
Tassilo
2018-08-13 02:25:23 UTC
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My God, Hurwitz is a self-satisfied windbag.
-dg
m***@gmail.com
2018-08-13 02:52:29 UTC
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On Sunday, August 12, 2018 at 10:25:26 PM UTC-4, Tassilo wrote:
> My God, Hurwitz is a self-satisfied windbag.
> -dg

He bores me.
Bob Harper
2018-08-13 03:50:15 UTC
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On 8/12/18 7:25 PM, Tassilo wrote:
> My God, Hurwitz is a self-satisfied windbag.
> -dg
>
Ya think?

Bob Harper
Frank Berger
2018-08-13 03:37:10 UTC
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On 8/12/2018 6:24 PM, Bob Harper wrote:
> I suspect many will have seen tis, though I hadn't until just a few
> minutes ago:
>
> https://www.classicstoday.com/putting-conductors-in-their-place-sexual-harassment-and-the-death-of-the-maestro-myth/
>
>
> Somewhat grumpy, but then that's Hurwitz's thing.
>
> Comments?
>
> Bob Harper

I would prefer to see people responding thoughtfully to Hurwitz's
article rather then viscerally. I thought it was moderately interesting,
made a few good points, and thought he was no more arrogant or full of
himself than a million other columnists we read every day.
jrsnfld
2018-08-13 05:38:25 UTC
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The essential points of the editorial aren't far off the mark...orchestras have become so uniformly marvelous these days that it is more and more difficult to see the individual stamp of the conductor. And yet conductors are still important--to morale, to marketing, and to the music.

The dependence of the marketing machinery on personality cult of the conductor as the "face" of the orchestra seems difficult to overcome. Even now, marketing depends on easily defined personality--and the occasional freshness of a new conductor is always an opportunity to stoke audience excitement.

San Francisco is blessed to have MTT for so long, and yet, is the third or fourth go round on a piece still as exciting as the first, even if the interpretation and the playing are ever improving? It's not like the *personality* is getting more distinctive, more defined.

Even a good conductor gets "old'--with the musicians and the audiences alike. Goodness knows Ormandy was less and less of an exciting commodity in the late years, even as his Fabulous Philadelphians remained fabulous.

Gatti wasn't around long enough to make a mark or get stale. To say the Concertgebouw won't miss Gatti, or to compare the personal stamp he left on that orchestra to the personal stamp of a Szell or a Karajan is terribly disingenuous of Hurwitz. Gatti's tenure is a mere blip compared to those illustrious partnerships Hurwitz is citing.

Interesting, too: how soon we forget how long it took for Philadelphia to be Ormandy's sound, and not Stokowski's. Maybe due to the war it was easier for the Concertgebouw to transition out from the personal stamp of Mengelberg. The "crisis" in Cleveland is vastly overblown--Szell's death left them in the lurch, so a couple of years of gap in leadership was inevitable, but the parade of candidates in that time, plus Leinsdorf's return, was a guarantee of excellence in its own right. Kertesz, Abbado, Maazel (Fruhbeck-deBurgos and Kubelik too)--what great options! Even then, Dohnanyi was still talking about Szell getting all the credit for his orchestra's success in the 1980s and 90s.

More likely it was due to intelligent music director choices that fit the personality of the orchestra. Ditto with Welser-Most. By contrast, Muti quickly erased Ormandy's influence; Barenboim was a major switch after Solti, as was Haitink a change thereafter, and Abbado a clean break from Karajan. I'll bet Rattle is quite a contrast to Gergiev before him, in London.

I heard Cleveland in a transition, awaiting Dohnanyi's arrival. Leinsdorf, ever the caretaker, delivered a superb concert. The music was there, even if the marketing had gone into a lull.

--Jeff
dk
2018-08-13 06:21:43 UTC
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On Sunday, August 12, 2018 at 10:38:27 PM UTC-7, jrsnfld wrote:
>
> San Francisco is blessed to have MTT for so long,

You live around here ?!?

MTT is nothing more than
a cheerleader. To call
him a conductor is an
insult to music.

dk
vhorowitz
2018-08-13 08:11:53 UTC
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“Neither Furtwängler nor Toscanini would have been tolerated in today’s professional climate”.

What the hell did Furtwangler do to his orchestra members? What nonsense. I’m getting tired of one aspect of these articles....it’s simply lazy journalism not to at least give examples of those maestros who WERE genuinly warm and generous human beings. To pretend the don’t exist, or never existed simply perpetuates the publicity machine that creates and inflates the lesser (and nastier) figures past and present. To call out the genuine pathfinders who were also less than stellar human beings is not particularly helpful either. If we are to be deprived of the authentic masters ALONG with the incompetent poseurs, everyone loses. For a critic to not see the distinction puts him on the level of the uncomprehending concertgoer who IS incapable of hearing the difference between nonsense and greatness. I think we will see things change...well, they are already changing....but we will also see a different breed out there. Notice has been served.
dk
2018-08-13 08:31:06 UTC
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On Monday, August 13, 2018 at 1:11:56 AM UTC-7, vhorowitz wrote:
>
> “Neither Furtwängler nor Toscanini would have
> been tolerated in today’s professional climate”.

Neither Furtwängler nor Toscanini
had the slightest scents of humor.
They were pretentious gas bags.

dk
Herman
2018-08-13 09:50:25 UTC
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On Monday, August 13, 2018 at 10:31:08 AM UTC+2, dk wrote:
> On Monday, August 13, 2018 at 1:11:56 AM UTC-7, vhorowitz wrote:
> >
> > “Neither Furtwängler nor Toscanini would have
> > been tolerated in today’s professional climate”.
>
> Neither Furtwängler nor Toscanini
> had the slightest scents of humor.
> They were pretentious gas bags.
>
> dk

Scent of humor? How does that smell?

BTW you post a lot of stuff bookended by smilies to indicate you're trying to spread a scent of humor while everybody's holding his or her nose.

So maybe you're not that funny yourself?
dk
2018-08-15 21:12:39 UTC
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On Monday, August 13, 2018 at 5:50:27 PM UTC+8, Herman wrote:
> On Monday, August 13, 2018 at 10:31:08 AM UTC+2, dk wrote:
> > On Monday, August 13, 2018 at 1:11:56 AM UTC-7, vhorowitz wrote:
> > >
> > > “Neither Furtwängler nor Toscanini would have
> > > been tolerated in today’s professional climate”.
> >
> > Neither Furtwängler nor Toscanini
> > had the slightest scents of humor.
> > They were pretentious gas bags.
>
> Scent of humor? How does that smell?

Depends on the humor.

> BTW you post a lot of stuff bookended
> by smilies to indicate you're trying
> to spread a scent of humor while
> everybody's holding his or her nose.
>
> So maybe you're not that funny yourself?

I never tried to be funny.
I am a bookworm.

dk
m***@gmail.com
2018-08-13 11:48:50 UTC
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On Monday, August 13, 2018 at 4:31:08 AM UTC-4, dk wrote:
> On Monday, August 13, 2018 at 1:11:56 AM UTC-7, vhorowitz wrote:
> >
> > “Neither Furtwängler nor Toscanini would have
> > been tolerated in today’s professional climate”.
>
> Neither Furtwängler nor Toscanini
> had the slightest scents of humor.
> They were pretentious gas bags.
>
> dk

That's funny
Herman
2018-08-13 08:07:22 UTC
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Orchestras are of course much better, technically, than they used to be, but that doesn't mean they don't need a chief conductor, to keep the orchestra on its course and serve its musical needs.

Gatti was a strange choice, since his style and sound ideal doesn't really match the Concertgebouw. So in a way it's fortunate he's been ousted.

The post 1950s Concertgebouw has really been formed by Marius Flothuis and Bernard Haitink.
h***@gmail.com
2018-08-13 09:39:46 UTC
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On Monday, August 13, 2018 at 8:24:57 AM UTC+10, Bob Harper wrote:
> I suspect many will have seen tis, though I hadn't until just a few
> minutes ago:
https://www.classicstoday.com/putting-conductors-in-their-place-sexual-harassment-and-the-death-of-the-maestro-myth/
>

> Somewhat grumpy, but then that's Hurwitz's thing.
>

> Comments?
>
> Bob Harper


I disagree about it not being paramount to find potential great conductors. If, as is probably very true, that orchestras are far better these days, then it will fall to the one or two conductors that can stretch these orchestras to a peak, whereby performances and recordings DO stand out. As rare as hen's teeth these days, to find these distinctive people.

It isn't, for nothing that many of our purchases involve the likes of Szell, Reiner, Bernstein, Celi, (who was possibly the biggest gas-bag of them all). Who is left these days? Muti, Haitink, Thielemann ? Most conductors these days are mere kappelmeisters. Barely proficient drivers in charge of Lamborghinis, driving dull uninteresting routes.


Ray Hall, Taree
Herman
2018-08-13 09:57:31 UTC
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On Monday, August 13, 2018 at 11:39:49 AM UTC+2, ***@gmail.com wrote:
> Celi, (who was possibly the biggest gas-bag of them all).

I had the bad luck of landing on a Youtube video of Celibidache rehearsing with the Berlin Philharmonic in some familiar symphonic piece. Bruckner I believe.

They play three notes and C. stops them and starts talking like a museum docent to a group of visitors.
Ed Romans
2018-08-14 11:27:42 UTC
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On Monday, August 13, 2018 at 10:39:49 AM UTC+1, ***@gmail.com wrote:
>
> It isn't, for nothing that many of our purchases involve the likes of Szell, Reiner, Bernstein, Celi, (who was possibly the biggest gas-bag of them all). Who is left these days? Muti, Haitink, Thielemann ? Most conductors these days are mere kappelmeisters. Barely proficient drivers in charge of Lamborghinis, driving dull uninteresting routes.
>

Ignoring conductors like Celi who took liberties with the score, what makes Reiner and Szell (and a mass of other conductors from that era) less dull than most conductors today? I mean if you have to separate the overall polish of the Lamborghini from the route.

Ed

Ed
h***@gmail.com
2018-08-14 12:07:03 UTC
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-Ignoring conductors like Celi who took
-liberties with the score, what makes
-Reiner and Szell (and a mass of other
-conductors from that era) less dull than -most conductors today?

Mainly a large and consistent recorded legacy that has endured. Only time will eventually determine who of the present crop of conductors will endure. So far, I am not sure who presently stands out amongst the crowd.

Any suggestions?

Ray Hall, Taree
Ed Romans
2018-08-14 20:04:42 UTC
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On Tuesday, August 14, 2018 at 1:07:06 PM UTC+1, ***@gmail.com wrote:
> I am not sure who presently stands out amongst the crowd.
>
> Any suggestions?
>

Limiting it to conductors I've heard live in the UK, there are plenty of youngish conductors who have produced well received recordings - I've just got an excellent Britten disc from Edward Gardner on Chandos. But if you wanted some conductors who stand out by having a more individualistic approach you could include people like Vladimir Jurowski (especially), Robin Ticciati and Mark Wigglesworth.

Ed
Herman
2018-08-14 12:27:25 UTC
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On Tuesday, August 14, 2018 at 1:27:46 PM UTC+2, Ed Romans wrote:

>
> Ignoring conductors like Celi who took liberties with the score, what makes Reiner and Szell (and a mass of other conductors from that era) less dull than most conductors today? I mean if you have to separate the overall polish of the Lamborghini from the route.
>
A lot of people just happen to remain attached to the recordings they "imprinted" on, i.e. heard at an impressionable young age. That's why, on this group, conductors who worked for US record companies are most often mentioned. These were the records that were most easily available to many RMCR denizens of this group.

Another generation, in another place will have other unforgettable favorites.
Ricardo Jimenez
2018-08-14 00:34:11 UTC
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On Sun, 12 Aug 2018 15:24:52 -0700, Bob Harper
<***@comcast.net> wrote:

>I suspect many will have seen tis, though I hadn't until just a few
>minutes ago:
>
>https://www.classicstoday.com/putting-conductors-in-their-place-sexual-harassment-and-the-death-of-the-maestro-myth/
>
>Somewhat grumpy, but then that's Hurwitz's thing.
>
>Comments?
>
>Bob Harper

I go further than Hurwitz. I don't think sacking any conductor or
soloist is that big a loss to the classical music world. The loss to
music from a tribunal forcing Tchaikovsky to commit suicide (if that
really happened) outweighs, by far, any recent loss caused by
political correctness. That is the closest historical analogy that
comes to mind.
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