Discussion:
Fritz Reiner information required
(too old to reply)
Derrick Fawsitt
2005-11-08 20:48:44 UTC
Permalink
I have a musical friend who is currently looking for all information
about Fritz Reiner and recordings. Other than looking up the available
websites on him, is there any person who is willing to share information
or stories about the great Conductor or who can advise about the best
sources of information so I can pass it on to my friend.
I would be most grateful for any kind of response to this query. In fact
he is one of my favourite recording artists and I hope to build up my
own library of his recordings in time. All my thanks in anticipation,
--
Derrick Fawsitt
Vaneyes
2005-11-08 21:29:04 UTC
Permalink
Post by Derrick Fawsitt
I have a musical friend who is currently looking for all information
about Fritz Reiner and recordings. Other than looking up the available
websites on him, is there any person who is willing to share information
or stories about the great Conductor or who can advise about the best
sources of information so I can pass it on to my friend.
I would be most grateful for any kind of response to this query. In fact
he is one of my favourite recording artists and I hope to build up my
own library of his recordings in time. All my thanks in anticipation,
Fritz had a tiny beat, and in the right light you'd swear he was Count
Dracula.

Regards
Paul Goldstein
2005-11-08 21:23:14 UTC
Permalink
Post by Derrick Fawsitt
I have a musical friend who is currently looking for all information
about Fritz Reiner and recordings. Other than looking up the available
websites on him, is there any person who is willing to share information
or stories about the great Conductor or who can advise about the best
sources of information so I can pass it on to my friend.
I would be most grateful for any kind of response to this query. In fact
he is one of my favourite recording artists and I hope to build up my
own library of his recordings in time. All my thanks in anticipation,
Philip Hart's biography is an excellent resource. It includes what seems to be
a pretty thorough discography, as well as a repertoire list.
rkhalona
2005-11-09 01:32:00 UTC
Permalink
Post by Paul Goldstein
Post by Derrick Fawsitt
I have a musical friend who is currently looking for all information
about Fritz Reiner and recordings. Other than looking up the available
websites on him, is there any person who is willing to share information
or stories about the great Conductor or who can advise about the best
sources of information so I can pass it on to my friend.
I would be most grateful for any kind of response to this query. In fact
he is one of my favourite recording artists and I hope to build up my
own library of his recordings in time. All my thanks in anticipation,
Philip Hart's biography is an excellent resource. It includes what seems to be
a pretty thorough discography, as well as a repertoire list.
The original poster may want to take a look at the recently issued
biography of Reiner
by Kenneth Morgan

http://www.press.uillinois.edu/f05/morgan.html

It also contains a discography and takes a somewhat different approach
to Hart's biography.
(it goes into more depth regarding Reiner's approach to making music).
Both are definitely worth having.

RK
a***@hotmail.com
2005-11-12 04:00:27 UTC
Permalink
Post by Paul Goldstein
Post by Derrick Fawsitt
I have a musical friend who is currently looking for all information
about Fritz Reiner and recordings. Other than looking up the available
websites on him, is there any person who is willing to share information
or stories about the great Conductor or who can advise about the best
sources of information so I can pass it on to my friend.
I would be most grateful for any kind of response to this query. In fact
he is one of my favourite recording artists and I hope to build up my
own library of his recordings in time. All my thanks in anticipation,
Philip Hart's biography is an excellent resource. It includes what seems to be
a pretty thorough discography, as well as a repertoire list.
Concerning that repertoire list, it includes ARIADNE AUF NAXOS.

Does anyone know if that was the 1912 original version or the 1916
revised version?

Reiner did record the SUITE FROM LE BOURGEOUIS GENTILHOMME after the
war for RCA which includes music from ARIADNE...
Raymond Hall
2005-11-12 05:37:57 UTC
Permalink
Post by a***@hotmail.com
Reiner did record the SUITE FROM LE BOURGEOUIS GENTILHOMME after the
war for RCA which includes music from ARIADNE...
A Le Bourgeouis Gentilhomme, that I can hardly imagine EVER being surpassed.
But then Reiner was a superb Straussian. As is often found with the RCA
Reiner re-re-releases, the couplings keep getting changed.

Ray H
Taree
a***@hotmail.com
2005-11-12 05:42:19 UTC
Permalink
Before he came to the U.S., didn't Reiner know Strauss personally?
Raymond Hall
2005-11-12 05:54:12 UTC
Permalink
Post by a***@hotmail.com
Before he came to the U.S., didn't Reiner know Strauss personally?
According to Peter Gutmann, this was certainly the case. Friend, colleague
and advocate.

http://www.classicalnotes.net/columns/reiner.html

The referral to the Strauss coupling of Sinfonia Domestica / Le Bourgeouis
Gentilhomme, was indeed the coupling I had when on LP.

Ray H
Taree
Michael Schaffer
2005-11-12 06:06:55 UTC
Permalink
Post by a***@hotmail.com
Before he came to the U.S., didn't Reiner know Strauss personally?
Indeed he did. Remember, Reiner worked in Dresden for several years.
Strauss was particularly fond of the opera house and the famous Kapelle
to which he dedicated his Alpensinfonie, and the opera in Dresden saw
several major Strauss premieres. I can understand to a certain degree
why after having been in Dresden, Reiner couldn't help but yell at the
orchestras he conducted afterwards because they could never give him
that same kind of stylistically secure and natural playing. Still, I
don't see that as an excuse for abusing people.
Strauss, BTW, was a very highly respected conductor himself. He didn't
need to yell and harass people either to gain that respect and to get
people to follow his direction. He just showed up.
Heck51
2005-11-09 02:46:33 UTC
Permalink
The Hart biography is quite good, and it has a good discography, and
repertoire lists...

there are jillions of Reiner stories around.

an excellent source of info by prominent musicians who played for him
may be available at the International Double Reed Society website -
http://idrs.colorado.edu

there have been wonderful interviews with players who played for
Reiner, like Leonard Sharrow [principal bassoon] Ray Still [principal
oboe] and Jerry Sirucek [2nd oboe]
rkhalona
2005-11-09 06:11:06 UTC
Permalink
Post by Heck51
The Hart biography is quite good, and it has a good discography, and
repertoire lists...
there are jillions of Reiner stories around.
an excellent source of info by prominent musicians who played for him
may be available at the International Double Reed Society website -
http://idrs.colorado.edu
there have been wonderful interviews with players who played for
Reiner, like Leonard Sharrow [principal bassoon] Ray Still [principal
oboe] and Jerry Sirucek [2nd oboe]
Hart's book is full of such stories. Reiner was notorious for putting
players through their paces
(Herseth used to refer to this process as "spending time in Reiner's
barrel). Perhaps my favorite story, as told by Hart, is one that
backfired on Dr. Reiner:
When he asked the first trumpet in Cinncinatti to play the opening
notes of Zarathustra, Reiner first whistled the notes. The first
trumpet gave Reiner his instrument and told him:
"You play it, I can whistle too."

RK
Heck51
2005-11-09 13:56:52 UTC
Permalink
Sharrow and Still added some great stories, Sirucek, too...
I work with a violist who played in the CSO during the Reiner years -
he's added a few of his own....

there was this bassist, who nearly got fired because of his size...he
was a very short fellow - when he sat upon his bass stool, he actually
appeared taller than when he stood up straight, ie - when standing with
the orchestra to accept applause...he appeared to be shorter.

Reiner took notice of this anomaly, and became upset - he'd ask the
orchestra to stand, and this brazen fellow would 'sit down' [appear to
be lower]. he'd have the orchestra be seated, and this guy would
stand!! [appear taller]
Reiner was not about to accept this mutiny in the ranks!! so he calls
the poor fellow into his office. the bassist earnestly pleads his case,
claims innocence, swears that he is following Maestro's directions
exactly.

Reiner demands that the offending bass stool be produced so tangible
evidence can be observed - the bassist goes thru the motions -
standing, sitting on the stool...up, down, taller, shorter...

Reiner finally, and reluctantly, agrees to let the poor guy off, albeit
with lingering doubts as to the authenticity of the whole proceedings!!
Michael Schaffer
2005-11-10 07:21:23 UTC
Permalink
Post by Heck51
Sharrow and Still added some great stories, Sirucek, too...
I work with a violist who played in the CSO during the Reiner years -
he's added a few of his own....
there was this bassist, who nearly got fired because of his size...he
was a very short fellow - when he sat upon his bass stool, he actually
appeared taller than when he stood up straight, ie - when standing with
the orchestra to accept applause...he appeared to be shorter.
Reiner took notice of this anomaly, and became upset - he'd ask the
orchestra to stand, and this brazen fellow would 'sit down' [appear to
be lower]. he'd have the orchestra be seated, and this guy would
stand!! [appear taller]
Reiner was not about to accept this mutiny in the ranks!! so he calls
the poor fellow into his office. the bassist earnestly pleads his case,
claims innocence, swears that he is following Maestro's directions
exactly.
Reiner demands that the offending bass stool be produced so tangible
evidence can be observed - the bassist goes thru the motions -
standing, sitting on the stool...up, down, taller, shorter...
Reiner finally, and reluctantly, agrees to let the poor guy off, albeit
with lingering doubts as to the authenticity of the whole proceedings!!
I don't understand what so many people find so great about these
stories. I find them really sad. Being very demanding and intolerant of
bad performance is one thing, but all these stories suggest that Reiner
was deeply insecure and had some really severe problems which led him
to abuse his power over others. Harassing someone because he is short
is not funny, and has nothing to do with professional behavior.
There were a lot of conductors who got very good results from their
players simply because they were respected and people with natural
authority who didn't need to act the tyrant. Sick.
Raymond Hall
2005-11-10 08:07:57 UTC
Permalink
Post by Michael Schaffer
Post by Heck51
Reiner finally, and reluctantly, agrees to let the poor guy off, albeit
with lingering doubts as to the authenticity of the whole proceedings!!
I don't understand what so many people find so great about these
stories. I find them really sad. Being very demanding and intolerant of
bad performance is one thing, but all these stories suggest that Reiner
was deeply insecure and had some really severe problems which led him
to abuse his power over others. Harassing someone because he is short
is not funny, and has nothing to do with professional behavior.
There were a lot of conductors who got very good results from their
players simply because they were respected and people with natural
authority who didn't need to act the tyrant. Sick.
It is a sad reflection upon Reiner's sense of power and humanity, but still
very funny.

It is said, as you probably know, that when Reiner died, several members of
the CSO attended his funeral, if only to finally make sure the barsteward
had really died.

A few more beers would have been drunk on that day.

Ray H
Taree
Derrick Fawsitt
2005-11-10 09:28:49 UTC
Permalink
Post by Raymond Hall
Post by Michael Schaffer
Post by Heck51
Reiner finally, and reluctantly, agrees to let the poor guy off, albeit
with lingering doubts as to the authenticity of the whole proceedings!!
I don't understand what so many people find so great about these
stories. I find them really sad. Being very demanding and intolerant of
bad performance is one thing, but all these stories suggest that Reiner
was deeply insecure and had some really severe problems which led him
to abuse his power over others. Harassing someone because he is short
is not funny, and has nothing to do with professional behavior.
There were a lot of conductors who got very good results from their
players simply because they were respected and people with natural
authority who didn't need to act the tyrant. Sick.
It is a sad reflection upon Reiner's sense of power and humanity, but still
very funny.
It is said, as you probably know, that when Reiner died, several members of
the CSO attended his funeral, if only to finally make sure the barsteward
had really died.
A few more beers would have been drunk on that day.
Ray H
Taree
Just to say, as the original poster, I have been reading and relishing
the above posts and have been passing them on via email to my friend. I
have yet to hear his comments but will in turn pass them on to you all
as he does not belong to this NG and cannot therefore reply directly.

Please, please keep them coming and all my thanks to you all for taking
the time to contribute.
--
Derrick Fawsitt
Ivailo Partchev
2005-11-10 14:15:43 UTC
Permalink
Post by Raymond Hall
It is a sad reflection upon Reiner's sense of power and humanity, but still
very funny.
It is said, as you probably know, that when Reiner died, several members of
the CSO attended his funeral, if only to finally make sure the barsteward
had really died.
A few more beers would have been drunk on that day.
Which somehow fails to explain why we collect Reiner's recordings to
this very day, rather than those that came about later.
J. Teske
2005-11-10 18:12:20 UTC
Permalink
On Thu, 10 Nov 2005 15:15:43 +0100, Ivailo Partchev
Post by Ivailo Partchev
Post by Raymond Hall
It is a sad reflection upon Reiner's sense of power and humanity, but still
very funny.
It is said, as you probably know, that when Reiner died, several members of
the CSO attended his funeral, if only to finally make sure the barsteward
had really died.
A few more beers would have been drunk on that day.
Which somehow fails to explain why we collect Reiner's recordings to
this very day, rather than those that came about later.
There were quite a few abusive conductors up through the mid 20th
century. Toscannini, Reiner, Szell, Rodzinski to name a few. Some were
imperious, but not really abusive (Von Karajan). Given the nature of
orchestras today, unionization, blind auditions, grievances, this
would be hard to pull off nowadays at least to the degree that these
talented despots could. A firing from an orchestra is quite rare. For
one the hiring process is different. The conductor is not the sole
arbiter of hiring (although they can make it difficult for someone
they wish to get rid of.) Usually hiring is done by a committee of
leading players along with the conductor. The days of a conductor
pointing at someone and saying "You...Out!" are long gone.

We of course still buy their recordings because even if they were
personally figurative bastards, they were also musical geniuses.
Never underestimate the power of orchestral players to ignore
invectives from the podium. We have all received so much criticism
(abusive or otherwise) just in the process of our training, that we
develop pretty thick skins by the time we can play at an orchestral
level.

Jon Teske, violinist
bpnjensen
2005-11-10 18:18:16 UTC
Permalink
Post by J. Teske
We of course still buy their recordings because even if they were
personally figurative bastards, they were also musical geniuses.
Never underestimate the power of orchestral players to ignore
invectives from the podium. We have all received so much criticism
(abusive or otherwise) just in the process of our training, that we
develop pretty thick skins by the time we can play at an orchestral
level.

Jon Teske, violinist <

True, but there are also the Kubeliks and the Fricsays that prove the
old adage about catching more flies with honey than vinegar. You know,
the conductors you guys willingly play your hearts out for. How do
they draw the best work from their musicians? Or, in the end, is it
really just the individual musician that sets the standard?

Regardless, we are grateful for your thick skins and ability to fend
off the attacks.

Bruce Jensen
Heck51
2005-11-10 19:37:40 UTC
Permalink
Jon Teske writes:

<<We of course still buy their recordings because even if they were
personally figurative bastards, they were also musical geniuses.
Never underestimate the power of orchestral players to ignore
invectives from the podium. We have all received so much criticism
(abusive or otherwise) just in the process of our training, that we
develop pretty thick skins by the time we can play at an orchestral
level. >>

this is correct. when in school, I played for Walter Hendl, who was
Reiner's clone, understudy, [his assistant in Chicago] who imitated him
in every way...a fine conductor, Hendl was really a rather miserable
human being - like Reiner, scathing, domineering, bullying, sarcastic.
He was a great conductor, he knew just what he wanted, how to fix
things, but a real prick.
still, I liked playing for him, because every performance had the
potential to be superb.

after enduring a real tyrant like him, any other any "podium pontiff"
I've encountered since, who attempted such posturing, has been a joke
to me...
Raymond Hall
2005-11-10 22:02:06 UTC
Permalink
Post by Raymond Hall
It is a sad reflection upon Reiner's sense of power and humanity, but
still very funny.
It is said, as you probably know, that when Reiner died, several members
of the CSO attended his funeral, if only to finally make sure the
barsteward had really died.
A few more beers would have been drunk on that day.
Which somehow fails to explain why we collect Reiner's recordings to this
very day, rather than those that came about later.
We certainly do. I never said Reiner wasn't a magician of a musician. There
are far too many of his CSO recordings that testify to that.

Ray H
Taree
Brian Park
2005-11-11 06:04:53 UTC
Permalink
Post by Raymond Hall
It is said, as you probably know, that when Reiner died, several members
of the CSO attended his funeral, if only to finally make sure the
barsteward had really died.
A few more beers would have been drunk on that day.
Ray H
Taree
I have a friend who studied under bassoonist Wilbur Simpson. A while back
he told me of a time when Simpson had a bunch of his students over at his
place for dinner or something and was reminiscing about his experiences of
playing under Reiner. He said that his palms were often sweating from
nervousness during rehearsals because of Reiner's famously sadistic
tendencies. After a bunch of funny anecdotes, however, Simpson's wife
apparently chimed in and said matter of factly, "Yeah, he was extremely
tough on his players, but the orchestra also never sounded better."

I remember reading interviews with musicians like Bud Herseth, Clark Brody,
Philip Farkas, Arnold Jacobs, and others. (I actually had the chance to
personally talk to Bud Herseth and ask him about his famous incident with
Reiner when the orchestra was reheasing Also sprach Zarathustra.) All of
them had their individual stories where Reiner gave them a hard time for one
reason or another. But they also respected him very deeply and played their
butts off for him.

Like others have said, the results speak for themselves. Of the CSO
recordings that I own, the majority of them were conducted by Reiner. And I
suspect I'm not alone here.

Brian Park
Arlington Heights, IL
rkhalona
2005-11-12 01:59:46 UTC
Permalink
Post by Raymond Hall
Post by Michael Schaffer
Post by Heck51
Reiner finally, and reluctantly, agrees to let the poor guy off, albeit
with lingering doubts as to the authenticity of the whole proceedings!!
I don't understand what so many people find so great about these
stories. I find them really sad. Being very demanding and intolerant of
bad performance is one thing, but all these stories suggest that Reiner
was deeply insecure and had some really severe problems which led him
to abuse his power over others. Harassing someone because he is short
is not funny, and has nothing to do with professional behavior.
There were a lot of conductors who got very good results from their
players simply because they were respected and people with natural
authority who didn't need to act the tyrant. Sick.
It is a sad reflection upon Reiner's sense of power and humanity, but still
very funny.
It is said, as you probably know, that when Reiner died, several members of
the CSO attended his funeral, if only to finally make sure the barsteward
had really died.
A few more beers would have been drunk on that day.
According to Hart's biography, no one from Chicago showed up at
Reiner's funeral.

RK
a***@hotmail.com
2005-11-12 04:28:34 UTC
Permalink
Hasn't it been said?:

- Show me an orchestra that likes its conductor and I'll show you a
lousy orchestra.
Michael Schaffer
2005-11-12 04:54:38 UTC
Permalink
By whom? That whole notion that the orchestral musician is the enemy or
a servant that has to be beaten into playing well is nonsense.
And again, I am not talking about being demanding and strict. I was
talking about torturing people without reason and that I find it odd
that people find these stories entertaining.
Post by a***@hotmail.com
- Show me an orchestra that likes its conductor and I'll show you a
lousy orchestra.
a***@hotmail.com
2005-11-12 05:02:49 UTC
Permalink
But are you happy with the results today where the situation is almost
the the exact opposite of what it was in Reiner's time?:

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/health/main.jhtml?xml=/health/2005/11/08/ndance07.xml&sSheet=/health/2005/11/08/ixhmain.html
a***@hotmail.com
2005-11-12 05:04:04 UTC
Permalink
In other words, can art continue to exist without authority?
Michael Schaffer
2005-11-12 05:18:26 UTC
Permalink
Post by a***@hotmail.com
In other words, can art continue to exist without authority?
And again, I am not talking about being demanding and strict. I was
talking about torturing people without reason and that I find it odd
that people find these stories entertaining.
Michael Schaffer
2005-11-12 05:29:43 UTC
Permalink
Post by a***@hotmail.com
But are you happy with the results today where the situation is almost
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/health/main.jhtml?xml=/health/2005/11/08/ndance07.xml&sSheet=/health/2005/11/08/ixhmain.html
Despite PC, orchestral standards these days are higher than ever
before. In case you didn't know: there is no ass grabbing involved in
rehearsing an orchestra, and there never was.
a***@hotmail.com
2005-11-12 05:38:33 UTC
Permalink
What about Klemperer?
Steven de Mena
2005-11-12 05:38:01 UTC
Permalink
Post by Michael Schaffer
By whom? That whole notion that the orchestral musician is the enemy or
a servant that has to be beaten into playing well is nonsense.
And again, I am not talking about being demanding and strict. I was
talking about torturing people without reason and that I find it odd
that people find these stories entertaining.
If this sort of behaviour happened in the U.S. workplace these days there
would be a lawsuit. I, too, find it odd Michael.

Steve
a***@hotmail.com
2005-12-02 08:36:05 UTC
Permalink
Post by a***@hotmail.com
- Show me an orchestra that likes its conductor and I'll show you a
lousy orchestra.
Here is the exact quote and source:

- Show me an orchestra that likes its conductor and I'll show you a
lousy orchestra.

Goddard Lieberson
Michael Schaffer
2005-12-02 09:18:42 UTC
Permalink
Post by a***@hotmail.com
Post by a***@hotmail.com
- Show me an orchestra that likes its conductor and I'll show you a
lousy orchestra.
- Show me an orchestra that likes its conductor and I'll show you a
lousy orchestra.
Goddard Lieberson
It may be a "quote" from someone, but it is still nonsense. There are
many conductors who work/ed on the highest level and were generally
liked by orchestras. Giulini, Bernstein, Kubelik, Solti, Jansons,
Levine just a few of many names that come to mind spontaneously of
people that are often characterized as being/having been friendly and
well liked, and, miraculously, still achieve(d) excellent results
without throwing childish tantrums.
a***@hotmail.com
2005-12-02 10:24:51 UTC
Permalink
I was just trying to prove that I didn't make up that quote.

According to Hart's bio, Bernstein liked studying under Koussevitszky
rather than Reiner because K. was more humane.

Concerning B.'s conducting style, he was known to make unorthodox
'motions'.

When R. saw a film clip of B. doing one of them, R. said:

- He didn't learn that from me.
Heck51
2005-12-02 14:17:57 UTC
Permalink
from PittsSO website:

Leonard Bernstein on Reiner, 1989: "He was a genius, apart from all
other conductors I've ever known. He was tyrannical, he was cruel, he
was bitter, he was ruthless in his treatment of us if we didn't know
what was happening. His standards were incredibly high, and I bless him
for it."

Reiner on Leonard Bernstein, 1944: "Wait until you see that kid conduct
tonight. Mit einem Schmiss [with fiery verve]! Watch out for him. He's
going to make a real career."
a***@hotmail.com
2005-12-02 10:34:38 UTC
Permalink
- We cannot learn without pain.

Aristotle
Matthew B. Tepper
2005-12-02 15:20:14 UTC
Permalink
"Michael Schaffer" <***@gmail.com> appears to have caused the following
letters to be typed in news:1133515122.219788.93190
Post by Michael Schaffer
Post by a***@hotmail.com
Post by a***@hotmail.com
- Show me an orchestra that likes its conductor and I'll show you a
lousy orchestra.
- Show me an orchestra that likes its conductor and I'll show you a
lousy orchestra.
Goddard Lieberson
It may be a "quote" from someone, but it is still nonsense. There are
many conductors who work/ed on the highest level and were generally
liked by orchestras. Giulini, Bernstein, Kubelik, Solti, Jansons,
Levine just a few of many names that come to mind spontaneously of
people that are often characterized as being/having been friendly and
well liked, and, miraculously, still achieve(d) excellent results
without throwing childish tantrums.
I was just mentioning Monteux and the LSO in some other context. They
LOVED their Maître! And, at least under him, they were hardly lousy.
--
Matthew B. Tepper: WWW, science fiction, classical music, ducks!
My personal home page -- http://home.earthlink.net/~oy/index.html
My main music page --- http://home.earthlink.net/~oy/berlioz.html
To write to me, do for my address what Androcles did for the lion
I ask you to judge me by the enemies I have made. ~ FDR (attrib.)
J. Teske
2005-12-02 16:52:11 UTC
Permalink
On Fri, 02 Dec 2005 15:20:14 GMT, "Matthew B. Tepper"
Post by Matthew B. Tepper
letters to be typed in news:1133515122.219788.93190
Post by Michael Schaffer
Post by a***@hotmail.com
Post by a***@hotmail.com
- Show me an orchestra that likes its conductor and I'll show you a
lousy orchestra.
- Show me an orchestra that likes its conductor and I'll show you a
lousy orchestra.
Goddard Lieberson
It may be a "quote" from someone, but it is still nonsense. There are
many conductors who work/ed on the highest level and were generally
liked by orchestras. Giulini, Bernstein, Kubelik, Solti, Jansons,
Levine just a few of many names that come to mind spontaneously of
people that are often characterized as being/having been friendly and
well liked, and, miraculously, still achieve(d) excellent results
without throwing childish tantrums.
I was just mentioning Monteux and the LSO in some other context. They
LOVED their Maître! And, at least under him, they were hardly lousy.
Back when I was in college (60-64), the Minnesota Orchestra (aka
Minneapolis Symphony) would come to the U of Wisconsin campus once
each year. Once, after the concert, several members of the orchestra
went to a local watering spot for our legendary bratwurst and beer. We
were seated near then and they invited me, my girlfriend (now wife)
and a couple other college age musical friends to join them. We got
into a discussion of conductors (although they would not discuss
Skrowaszeski who was their MD at the time.) They all said they loved
playing under Monteux and loved the man, but they also said playing
under him was a bit of a crap shoot as he was very inconsistant with
himself. He might do something in rehearsal one way and do something
quite different in concert; or, between concerts in a weekend series.
They seemed to love him for this trait.

I regret he was never anywhere where I was and I never saw him live.
Apparently none of them ever played under Reiner (these were all
fairly young string players) who was quite ill at that time and didn't
even conduct Chicago all that much. I used to see the Chicago play in
Milwaukee when my high school orchestra would go for a "field trip",
but I never saw Reiner with them. Just the [bad] luck of the draw.
I did see Beecham though.

Jon Teske, violinist

Jon Teske, violiniist

Bob Harper
2005-11-11 19:26:45 UTC
Permalink
Post by Michael Schaffer
I don't understand what so many people find so great about these
stories. I find them really sad. Being very demanding and intolerant of
bad performance is one thing, but all these stories suggest that Reiner
was deeply insecure and had some really severe problems which led him
to abuse his power over others. Harassing someone because he is short
is not funny, and has nothing to do with professional behavior.
There were a lot of conductors who got very good results from their
players simply because they were respected and people with natural
authority who didn't need to act the tyrant. Sick.
Well, OK, but you're judging a man born in the 19th Century by 21st
Century PC standards, aren't you? Then too, remember that these events
occurred in the period 1954-62, nearly a half century ago, during a
period when authority in general was much more respected than is the
case today. Besides, I don't think people find these stories great
because they enjoy hearing how abusive Reiner could be, but rather for
how they illuminate a towering figure in conducting history.

Bob Harper
rkhalona
2005-11-12 02:05:59 UTC
Permalink
Post by Michael Schaffer
I don't understand what so many people find so great about these
stories. I find them really sad. Being very demanding and intolerant of
bad performance is one thing, but all these stories suggest that Reiner
was deeply insecure and had some really severe problems which led him
to abuse his power over others. Harassing someone because he is short
is not funny, and has nothing to do with professional behavior.
There were a lot of conductors who got very good results from their
players simply because they were respected and people with natural
authority who didn't need to act the tyrant. Sick.
I think we fin humor in the human condition. Like many other great
conductors,
Reiner was a dictator, but he also had a sense of humor. The Cinnci
story is my favorite because it is one of the few recorded stories
where an orchestral player put him in his place. Regardless of whether
you liked Reiner as a person, or as a music-maker, there is no denying
that he was a superb orchestral builder. Such excellence doesn't come
without a price.

RK
Michael Schaffer
2005-11-12 03:11:12 UTC
Permalink
Post by rkhalona
Post by Michael Schaffer
I don't understand what so many people find so great about these
stories. I find them really sad. Being very demanding and intolerant of
bad performance is one thing, but all these stories suggest that Reiner
was deeply insecure and had some really severe problems which led him
to abuse his power over others. Harassing someone because he is short
is not funny, and has nothing to do with professional behavior.
There were a lot of conductors who got very good results from their
players simply because they were respected and people with natural
authority who didn't need to act the tyrant. Sick.
I think we fin humor in the human condition. Like many other great
conductors,
Reiner was a dictator, but he also had a sense of humor. The Cinnci
story is my favorite because it is one of the few recorded stories
where an orchestral player put him in his place. Regardless of whether
you liked Reiner as a person, or as a music-maker, there is no denying
that he was a superb orchestral builder. Such excellence doesn't come
without a price.
RK
I don't doubt that, but that doesn't change the fact that being strict
and demanding and authoritarian is one thing, abusing one's position to
harass other people is just disgusting behavior. There were a lot of
other conductors with equal or greater abilities who didn't have to
behave like that to get their players' respect and achieve great
results. I don't know if there is any connection, but I also find most
Reiner recordings that I have listened to mechanical and sterile, if
well rehearsed and executed. But not well played in the sense of alive
music making. There isn't much musical life in there.
When I read about these stories (right now, I am also reading Hart's
biography), I suspect more and more that he wasn't that good after all
and just took recourse to terrorizing players to make up for his lack
of natural authority.
While Reiner was in Chicago, Giulini began his long association with
the orchestra and he got very good and very musical results from them,
apparently without terrorizing anybody. From what I heard, Giulini was
very demanding but also very friendly. Or take Solti who was equally
focussed on mechanical "perfection". But I hear that he was actually
very friendly and got along well with the players while he was in
Chicago.
Or Karajan who was a very distanced person but who took care of his
players, even visited them in the hospital when they were sick and sent
his private doctors to look after them.
Or Bernstein who also got great results from orchestras without being
an asshole.
Or Jansons who built a world-class ensemble from a provincial orchestra
in Oslo but is still an extremely nice guy (I played under him).
Or, or, or, or...
JohnGavin
2005-11-12 03:24:11 UTC
Permalink
Post by Michael Schaffer
Post by rkhalona
Post by Michael Schaffer
I don't understand what so many people find so great about these
stories. I find them really sad. Being very demanding and intolerant of
bad performance is one thing, but all these stories suggest that Reiner
was deeply insecure and had some really severe problems which led him
to abuse his power over others. Harassing someone because he is short
is not funny, and has nothing to do with professional behavior.
There were a lot of conductors who got very good results from their
players simply because they were respected and people with natural
authority who didn't need to act the tyrant. Sick.
I think we fin humor in the human condition. Like many other great
conductors,
Reiner was a dictator, but he also had a sense of humor. The Cinnci
story is my favorite because it is one of the few recorded stories
where an orchestral player put him in his place. Regardless of whether
you liked Reiner as a person, or as a music-maker, there is no denying
that he was a superb orchestral builder. Such excellence doesn't come
without a price.
RK
I don't know if there is any connection, but I also find most
Reiner recordings that I have listened to mechanical and sterile, if
well rehearsed and executed. But not well played in the sense of alive
music making. There isn't much musical life in there.
I don't agree at all with this assessment of Reiner's recordings. They
are just about all classics IMO. They are very much alive musically,
and are extraordinary in the perfection of balances, musical line and
logic. Why not conclude that some great musicians might not have been
nice people and leave it at that?
Heck51
2005-11-12 04:23:43 UTC
Permalink
"I don't agree at all with this assessment of Reiner's recordings."

Very few people agree with that assessment.

Reiner is well known as a great conductor, a superb musician, and a
rather miserable person...
one of his principal players says it well:

"Incidentally, it is strange to me that the critics in this country
are still unable to evaluate the greatness of Fritz Reiner.
How do they account for the permanence in the catalog of
almost all of the Reiner records made in the short ten years
or less that he was here? I see so many lists of conductors
and he is seldom mentioned. Just listen to the breadth of his
repertoire on CD and in each catagory he has few peers!
People like Maazel, Muti, Mehta, Slatkin, Masur, Von
Dohnanyi, Ormandy, and a host of others should not be
mentioned in the same world."

Ray Still (40 years first Oboe, Chicago Symphony)
Northwestern University, Evanston, IL.

from the Pittsburgh SO website:

Reiner on Leonard Bernstein, 1944: "Wait until you see that kid conduct
tonight. Mit einem Schmiss [with fiery verve]! Watch out for him. He's
going to make a real career."

Leonard Bernstein on Reiner, 1989: "He was a genius, apart from all
other conductors I've ever known. He was tyrannical, he was cruel, he
was bitter, he was ruthless in his treatment of us if we didn't know
what was happening. His standards were incredibly high, and I bless him
for it."
rkhalona
2005-11-12 03:29:03 UTC
Permalink
Post by Michael Schaffer
Post by rkhalona
Post by Michael Schaffer
I don't understand what so many people find so great about these
stories. I find them really sad. Being very demanding and intolerant of
bad performance is one thing, but all these stories suggest that Reiner
was deeply insecure and had some really severe problems which led him
to abuse his power over others. Harassing someone because he is short
is not funny, and has nothing to do with professional behavior.
There were a lot of conductors who got very good results from their
players simply because they were respected and people with natural
authority who didn't need to act the tyrant. Sick.
I think we fin humor in the human condition. Like many other great
conductors,
Reiner was a dictator, but he also had a sense of humor. The Cinnci
story is my favorite because it is one of the few recorded stories
where an orchestral player put him in his place. Regardless of whether
you liked Reiner as a person, or as a music-maker, there is no denying
that he was a superb orchestral builder. Such excellence doesn't come
without a price.
RK
I don't doubt that, but that doesn't change the fact that being strict
and demanding and authoritarian is one thing, abusing one's position to
harass other people is just disgusting behavior. There were a lot of
other conductors with equal or greater abilities who didn't have to
behave like that to get their players' respect and achieve great
results. I don't know if there is any connection, but I also find most
Reiner recordings that I have listened to mechanical and sterile, if
well rehearsed and executed. But not well played in the sense of alive
music making. There isn't much musical life in there.
When I read about these stories (right now, I am also reading Hart's
biography), I suspect more and more that he wasn't that good after all
and just took recourse to terrorizing players to make up for his lack
of natural authority.
While Reiner was in Chicago, Giulini began his long association with
the orchestra and he got very good and very musical results from them,
apparently without terrorizing anybody. From what I heard, Giulini was
very demanding but also very friendly. Or take Solti who was equally
focussed on mechanical "perfection". But I hear that he was actually
very friendly and got along well with the players while he was in
Chicago.
Or Karajan who was a very distanced person but who took care of his
players, even visited them in the hospital when they were sick and sent
his private doctors to look after them.
Or Bernstein who also got great results from orchestras without being
an asshole.
Or Jansons who built a world-class ensemble from a provincial orchestra
in Oslo but is still an extremely nice guy (I played under him).
Or, or, or, or...
First, let me say that I sympathize with your argument. My favorite
conductors are (or at least are known as) "nice guys", but I have come
to recognize that there is no connection between being a nice guy and
delivering a great performance.
In the words of that genius, Jim Morrison: people are strange.
Reiner had a special way of capturing players' attention and holding
them under his spell.
That is very clear from the interviews with people who played under
him.
Whether you or I like him really doesn't matter, as painful as that may
sound.
There is a great moment in the "Great Conductors" video where
Mengelberg is discussed and Haitink opines that he wishes he had paid
more attention to the conductor when he was young, because at the time
he was known in Holland as a bad guy (a Nazi collaborator). Here was
another magician of the podium.
Reiner was a damn good conductor, which doesn't mean everyone will like
him.

RK
John Wilson
2005-11-10 17:45:21 UTC
Permalink
Post by rkhalona
Post by Heck51
The Hart biography is quite good, and it has a good discography, and
repertoire lists...
there are jillions of Reiner stories around.
an excellent source of info by prominent musicians who played for him
may be available at the International Double Reed Society website -
http://idrs.colorado.edu
there have been wonderful interviews with players who played for
Reiner, like Leonard Sharrow [principal bassoon] Ray Still [principal
oboe] and Jerry Sirucek [2nd oboe]
Hart's book is full of such stories. Reiner was notorious for putting
players through their paces
(Herseth used to refer to this process as "spending time in Reiner's
barrel). Perhaps my favorite story, as told by Hart, is one that
When he asked the first trumpet in Cinncinatti to play the opening
notes of Zarathustra, Reiner first whistled the notes. The first
"You play it, I can whistle too."
RK
My favorite Reiner story is what his wife said about him after he was
gone. It seems that after Fritz passed away Carlotta would on
occasions have a few more cocktails than was good for her and as the
alcohol began to have an effect she would begin to wax lyrical about
how the orchestral musicians just loved my husband. ;-)

John
Heck51
2005-11-10 19:27:42 UTC
Permalink
John Wilson writes:

<<she would begin to wax lyrical about
how the orchestral musicians just loved my husband. ;-) >>

on the same line - an interviewer was talking with Reiner about his
career, performances, etc...
he asked Reiner something about - your name probably wouldn't appear on
the list of most popular conductors amongst orchestra
musicians...would it??

Reiner: "Oh, they don't all hate me, just the Bad musicians!!"
p***@hotmail.com
2005-11-11 20:21:53 UTC
Permalink
Post by Heck51
The Hart biography is quite good, and it has a good discography, and
repertoire lists...
there are jillions of Reiner stories around.
an excellent source of info by prominent musicians who played for him
may be available at the International Double Reed Society website -
http://idrs.colorado.edu
there have been wonderful interviews with players who played for
Reiner, like Leonard Sharrow [principal bassoon] Ray Still [principal
oboe] and Jerry Sirucek [2nd oboe]
I've always liked Leonard Rose's take on Reiner:

"Fritz Reiner, a masterful musician and superb conductor, scheduled but
three concerts during the academic year at Curtis. Simple arithmetic
dramatizes my in-adequacies and lack of familiarity with the symphonic
repertoire: In the course of four years we gave a total of twelve
concerts. Of course Reiner did teach us something of inestimable value.
He was mean, nasty, sadistic, and sarcastic, and left us well prepared
to face conductors of a similar disposition."

Peter Schenkman
Brian Park
2005-11-09 19:38:11 UTC
Permalink
I have a musical friend who is currently looking for all information about
Fritz Reiner and recordings. Other than looking up the available websites
on him, is there any person who is willing to share information or stories
about the great Conductor or who can advise about the best sources of
information so I can pass it on to my friend.
I would be most grateful for any kind of response to this query. In fact
he is one of my favourite recording artists and I hope to build up my own
library of his recordings in time. All my thanks in anticipation,
--
Derrick Fawsitt
If you are near a major university, the music library may have archived
copies of PODIUM magazine from the Fritz Reiner Society. These issues are
gems and contain a wealth of information (and several memorable anecdotes)
about Reiner's life and musicmaking, many of which come from interviews of
musicians who played under Reiner in Pittsburgh, the Met, and of course
Chicago. There are also important articles about his wife, Carlotta, and
composers he personally knew (R. Strauss, Bartok, and Stavinsky, to name
three). I came across several issues of this magazine during my days at the
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

Brian Park
Chicago, IL
a***@hotmail.com
2005-11-12 04:15:05 UTC
Permalink
You may wish to read LIVING STEREO BIBLE which would discuss Reiner's
RCA stereo recordings.

Of those, the LSB says that SCHEHEREZADE is the best.
Brian Cantin
2005-11-12 20:48:59 UTC
Permalink
Post by a***@hotmail.com
You may wish to read LIVING STEREO BIBLE which would discuss Reiner's
RCA stereo recordings.
Of those, the LSB says that SCHEHEREZADE is the best.
Best as a recording, or as a performance?
a***@hotmail.com
2005-11-12 18:45:05 UTC
Permalink
Post by Brian Cantin
Post by a***@hotmail.com
You may wish to read LIVING STEREO BIBLE which would discuss Reiner's
RCA stereo recordings.
Of those, the LSB says that SCHEHEREZADE is the best.
Best as a recording, or as a performance?
Best of his LIVING STEREO recordings.
a***@hotmail.com
2005-11-13 05:23:08 UTC
Permalink
You know how those audiophiles are. They are less interested in music
and more interested in sonics.

The LSB proclaims that the best Living Stereo recording ever made was
Fiedler's 1954 Gaite Parissienne lp.

Can you believe it?

As I always say, when it comes to audiophiles and the French
repertoire, you don't want to get caught in the middle of an argument
between the MUNCHkins and those PARAYsites.
Norman M. Schwartz
2005-11-13 17:09:43 UTC
Permalink
Post by a***@hotmail.com
You know how those audiophiles are. They are less interested in music
and more interested in sonics.
Is that why performers pay mega bucks for an instrument that sounds as they
prefer? They are audiophiles, right?
Gerard
2005-11-13 20:02:01 UTC
Permalink
Post by Norman M. Schwartz
Post by a***@hotmail.com
You know how those audiophiles are. They are less interested in
music and more interested in sonics.
Is that why performers pay mega bucks for an instrument that sounds
as they prefer? They are audiophiles, right?
And instrument builders? Or composers who write for those audiophile
instruments?
a***@hotmail.com
2005-11-14 03:41:44 UTC
Permalink
Post by Gerard
Post by Norman M. Schwartz
Post by a***@hotmail.com
You know how those audiophiles are. They are less interested in
music and more interested in sonics.
Is that why performers pay mega bucks for an instrument that sounds
as they prefer? They are audiophiles, right?
And instrument builders? Or composers who write for those audiophile
instruments?
But aren't there recordings that have great sonics but are lousy
performances?
a***@hotmail.com
2005-11-14 04:00:44 UTC
Permalink
Post by a***@hotmail.com
Post by Gerard
Post by Norman M. Schwartz
Post by a***@hotmail.com
You know how those audiophiles are. They are less interested in
music and more interested in sonics.
Is that why performers pay mega bucks for an instrument that sounds
as they prefer? They are audiophiles, right?
And instrument builders? Or composers who write for those audiophile
instruments?
But aren't there recordings that have great sonics but are lousy
performances?
Like Ormandy's?
Paul Goldstein
2005-11-12 19:47:29 UTC
Permalink
Speaking of Reiner: I had never heard the Reiner/CSO Hebrides Overture until
today, when I played it on an LP included in a Time-Life box set devoted to
Mendelssohn. Wow! This is a sensational recording and a great performance. It
is amazing that such a classic is unavailable on CD, but that seems to be the
case. Or am I missing something?

The box also includes a superb suite of Midsummer Night's Dream music with
Martinon and the CSO. I didn't remember this from the LP era; it too is of
course unavailable on CD. As you might expect, the Chicago brass have a field
day with this wonderful music. But it's not just the brass; Martinon is superb
as well, as he usually was in whatever he conducted (not just French music).
Brian Park
2005-11-14 04:51:28 UTC
Permalink
Post by Paul Goldstein
Speaking of Reiner: I had never heard the Reiner/CSO Hebrides Overture until
today, when I played it on an LP included in a Time-Life box set devoted to
Mendelssohn. Wow! This is a sensational recording and a great performance. It
is amazing that such a classic is unavailable on CD, but that seems to be the
case. Or am I missing something?
The Reiner Hebrides Overture recording was once available on CD as a
coupling with his recordings of Brahms' 3rd Symphony (another tremendous
performance) and Schubert's 5th. It was on a BMG/RCA Gold Seal CD release,
which to my knowledge, has been withdrawn for a few years now.

Brian Park
bpnjensen
2005-11-14 14:45:58 UTC
Permalink
Post by Brian Park
The Reiner Hebrides Overture recording was once available on CD as a
coupling with his recordings of Brahms' 3rd Symphony (another
tremendous
performance) and Schubert's 5th. It was on a BMG/RCA Gold Seal CD
release,
which to my knowledge, has been withdrawn for a few years now.

Brian Park>

Here it is, at Amazon - only around $19...but it's the last one :-)

http://tinyurl.com/9h42p

Bruce Jensen
Paul Goldstein
2005-11-14 16:11:58 UTC
Permalink
Post by Brian Park
Post by Paul Goldstein
Speaking of Reiner: I had never heard the Reiner/CSO Hebrides Overture until
today, when I played it on an LP included in a Time-Life box set devoted to
Mendelssohn. Wow! This is a sensational recording and a great performance. It
is amazing that such a classic is unavailable on CD, but that seems to be the
case. Or am I missing something?
The Reiner Hebrides Overture recording was once available on CD as a
coupling with his recordings of Brahms' 3rd Symphony (another tremendous
performance) and Schubert's 5th. It was on a BMG/RCA Gold Seal CD release,
which to my knowledge, has been withdrawn for a few years now.
Yes, that's probably the only issue of that Reiner edition that I wanted but
failed to get when the getting was good.
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