Discussion:
Szell Box
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Bob Harper
2018-10-18 23:42:22 UTC
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Mine arrived in today's mail.My wife said it would take me a year to get
through it. She's probably right :) But it will be time well spent.

Bob Harper
operafan
2018-10-19 00:12:02 UTC
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Post by Bob Harper
Mine arrived in today's mail.My wife said it would take me a year to get
through it. She's probably right :) But it will be time well spent.
Bob: Save yourself some time and skip the two Brahms piano concertos with Serkin. The piano sound is thin and hard, and the performances are inferior to the Fleisher/Szell recordings in the box, which have improved the piano sound over the most recent Sony reissues.

There are a ton of wonderful performances in the box, and nearly all of the discs I've heard so far are significantly better than prior CD reissues. The Firebird Suite and Mahler 4 sound really good, for example.
Oscar
2018-10-19 00:15:44 UTC
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Sure you want to open it? Szell sells.
m***@gmail.com
2018-10-19 03:11:44 UTC
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Post by Oscar
Sure you want to open it? Szell sells.
Interesting point. I have it still wrapped - it also weighs a ton
Bob Harper
2018-10-19 14:08:17 UTC
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Post by Oscar
Sure you want to open it? Szell sells.
Too late :)

Bob Harper
Oscar
2018-10-25 04:48:08 UTC
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Hurwitz on Thee Box:

<< Go ahead. Pull out any disc at random. Chances are you’ll be holding a reference recording for the work in question. Based on the recorded evidence, George Szell was simply the finest conductor of the 20th century. No one else approached him... [the rest behind pay wall] >>
g***@gmail.com
2018-10-25 05:12:30 UTC
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Post by Oscar
<< Go ahead. Pull out any disc at random. Chances are you’ll be holding a reference recording for the work in question. Based on the recorded evidence, George Szell was simply the finest conductor of the 20th century. No one else approached him... [the rest behind pay wall] >>
https://itunes.apple.com/ke/album/sir-thomas-beecham-in-his-own-words-story-finest-conductor/id336249194
Herman
2018-10-25 07:36:07 UTC
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Post by Oscar
<< Go ahead. Pull out any disc at random. Chances are you’ll be holding a reference recording for the work in question. Based on the recorded evidence, George Szell was simply the finest conductor of the 20th century. No one else approached him... [the rest behind pay wall] >>
He got one sentence wrong. "Based on the evidence" should be: "Based on the opinions of the reviewers".
drh8h
2018-10-25 13:26:12 UTC
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Post by Herman
Post by Oscar
<< Go ahead. Pull out any disc at random. Chances are you’ll be holding a reference recording for the work in question. Based on the recorded evidence, George Szell was simply the finest conductor of the 20th century. No one else approached him... [the rest behind pay wall] >>
He got one sentence wrong. "Based on the evidence" should be: "Based on the opinions of the reviewers".
It is still all personal. In a head-to-head for a given work, I can find many instances in which Toscanini or Furtwängler, not to mention on occasion Beecham, Koussevitzky, Klemperer, Bernstein, etc., etc., is far superior. Even a first listen to Solti's Bruckner 3 a few months ago showed a more sympathetic interpretation than GS's rather plain penny reading of the notes. John Ardoin's report of Callas overhearing Szell conducting LvB 8 on a car radio is instructive. She sure didn't think he was the finest. The one supreme favorite I have among Szell recordings is the stereo Slavonic Dances. It and the pre-war Talich are my standards for these ever-fresh gems.

Dennis
Frank Berger
2018-10-25 13:36:03 UTC
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Post by drh8h
Post by Herman
Post by Oscar
<< Go ahead. Pull out any disc at random. Chances are you’ll be holding a reference recording for the work in question. Based on the recorded evidence, George Szell was simply the finest conductor of the 20th century. No one else approached him... [the rest behind pay wall] >>
He got one sentence wrong. "Based on the evidence" should be: "Based on the opinions of the reviewers".
It is still all personal. In a head-to-head for a given work, I can find many instances in which Toscanini or Furtwängler, not to mention on occasion Beecham, Koussevitzky, Klemperer, Bernstein, etc., etc., is far superior. Even a first listen to Solti's Bruckner 3 a few months ago showed a more sympathetic interpretation than GS's rather plain penny reading of the notes. John Ardoin's report of Callas overhearing Szell conducting LvB 8 on a car radio is instructive. She sure didn't think he was the finest. The one supreme favorite I have among Szell recordings is the stereo Slavonic Dances. It and the pre-war Talich are my standards for these ever-fresh gems.
Dennis
Is the above your opinion? Is it based on the evidence? Herman wants to
know.
drh8h
2018-10-25 13:53:47 UTC
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Post by Frank Berger
Post by drh8h
Post by Herman
Post by Oscar
<< Go ahead. Pull out any disc at random. Chances are you’ll be holding a reference recording for the work in question. Based on the recorded evidence, George Szell was simply the finest conductor of the 20th century. No one else approached him... [the rest behind pay wall] >>
He got one sentence wrong. "Based on the evidence" should be: "Based on the opinions of the reviewers".
It is still all personal. In a head-to-head for a given work, I can find many instances in which Toscanini or Furtwängler, not to mention on occasion Beecham, Koussevitzky, Klemperer, Bernstein, etc., etc., is far superior. Even a first listen to Solti's Bruckner 3 a few months ago showed a more sympathetic interpretation than GS's rather plain penny reading of the notes. John Ardoin's report of Callas overhearing Szell conducting LvB 8 on a car radio is instructive. She sure didn't think he was the finest. The one supreme favorite I have among Szell recordings is the stereo Slavonic Dances. It and the pre-war Talich are my standards for these ever-fresh gems.
Dennis
Is the above your opinion? Is it based on the evidence? Herman wants to
know.
No, a commentary on Hurwitz's opinion.
Herman
2018-10-25 13:54:43 UTC
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Post by Frank Berger
Is the above your opinion? Is it based on the evidence? Herman wants to
know.
why don't you let me do my talking, and you do yours?
Frank Berger
2018-10-25 14:33:46 UTC
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Post by Herman
Post by Frank Berger
Is the above your opinion? Is it based on the evidence? Herman wants to
know.
why don't you let me do my talking, and you do yours?
It was my opinion, based on evidence, that you wanted to know. I was
just sharing.
u***@gmail.com
2018-10-25 23:52:32 UTC
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Post by Frank Berger
Post by Herman
Post by Frank Berger
Is the above your opinion? Is it based on the evidence? Herman wants to
know.
why don't you let me do my talking, and you do yours?
It was my opinion, based on evidence, that you wanted to know. I was
just sharing.
IIRC a line in a Clint Eastwood Dirty Harry movie Harry Callahan says 'opinions are like ass holes, everyone has one'.
Frank Berger
2018-10-25 13:32:07 UTC
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Post by Herman
Post by Oscar
<< Go ahead. Pull out any disc at random. Chances are you’ll be holding a reference recording for the work in question. Based on the recorded evidence, George Szell was simply the finest conductor of the 20th century. No one else approached him... [the rest behind pay wall] >>
He got one sentence wrong. "Based on the evidence" should be: "Based on the opinions of the reviewers".
Wrong. It's an opinion based on the evidence. It should be taken for
granted that a reviewer is giving his opinion. Can you imagine every
review stating "It is my opinion that....." Hurwitz saying it is "based
on the evidence" is at worst redundant.
8***@gmail.com
2018-10-25 14:29:02 UTC
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Post by Frank Berger
Post by Herman
Post by Oscar
<< Go ahead. Pull out any disc at random. Chances are you’ll be holding a reference recording for the work in question. Based on the recorded evidence, George Szell was simply the finest conductor of the 20th century. No one else approached him... [the rest behind pay wall] >>
He got one sentence wrong. "Based on the evidence" should be: "Based on the opinions of the reviewers".
Wrong. It's an opinion based on the evidence. It should be taken for
granted that a reviewer is giving his opinion. Can you imagine every
review stating "It is my opinion that....." Hurwitz saying it is "based
on the evidence" is at worst redundant.
Here here! A rational statement. Thank you.

Now, much as I am fascinated by hearing you all go off on half a thought, and because the full review is behind the paywall, I thought I'd give you a good chuck of what I was saying so at least you have the benefit of complete sentences if you wish to continue your discussion. So here is the complete thought (though not the entire review):

"Based on the recorded evidence, George Szell was simply the finest conductor of the 20th century. No one else approached him in the consistently exalted quality of the results that he achieved. His recordings of the Viennese classics: Haydn, Mozart, Beethoven, and Schubert, have been in the catalog nearly constantly since the 1950s, and deservedly so. They are stunning. In the romantic repertoire, his Schumann was legendary, his Mendelssohn perfection itself, his Brahms nearly so, and his Dvorák uniformly exceptional (including this happily remastered Piano Concerto with Rudolf Firkusny). He owned the two Brahms piano concertos. His collaborations with soloists–Fleisher, Graffman, Serkin, Casadesus, Browning, and Horowitz (in a smoking live Tchaikovsky First Piano Concerto)–were almost all spectacular.

Although he played much more contemporary music than was preserved on disc, those recordings that he did make often became instant classics: works by Walton, Hindemith, Barber, Bartók, Kodály, and Prokofiev. His Richard Strauss was incomparable and carried with it the imprimatur of the composer himself. The two discs of Wagner opera excerpts remain unequaled. Although he came late to Bruckner and Mahler, with the exception of a relatively tepid live rendition of the latter’s Sixth Symphony, the results there were otherwise equally persuasive. In short, the 106 discs in this attractively packaged box represent an unparalleled achievement in terms of musical excellence."
h***@gmail.com
2018-10-25 14:37:56 UTC
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Post by 8***@gmail.com
"Based on the recorded evidence, George Szell was simply the finest conductor of the 20th century. No one else approached him in the consistently exalted quality of the results that he achieved. His recordings of the Viennese classics: Haydn, Mozart, Beethoven, and Schubert, have been in the catalog nearly constantly since the 1950s, and deservedly so. They are stunning. In the romantic repertoire, his Schumann was legendary, his Mendelssohn perfection itself, his Brahms nearly so, and his Dvorák uniformly exceptional (including this happily remastered Piano Concerto with Rudolf Firkusny). He owned the two Brahms piano concertos. His collaborations with soloists–Fleisher, Graffman, Serkin, Casadesus, Browning, and Horowitz (in a smoking live Tchaikovsky First Piano Concerto)–were almost all spectacular.
Although he played much more contemporary music than was preserved on disc, those recordings that he did make often became instant classics: works by Walton, Hindemith, Barber, Bartók, Kodály, and Prokofiev. His Richard Strauss was incomparable and carried with it the imprimatur of the composer himself. The two discs of Wagner opera excerpts remain unequaled. Although he came late to Bruckner and Mahler, with the exception of a relatively tepid live rendition of the latter’s Sixth Symphony, the results there were otherwise equally persuasive. In short, the 106 discs in this attractively packaged box represent an unparalleled achievement in terms of musical excellence."
Interesting. IIRC, there are four discs of Wagner excerpts in the Szell box, if you include the mono Ring disc. Perhaps Hurwitz was copy/pasting from earlier reviews.

Hank
8***@gmail.com
2018-10-25 21:59:59 UTC
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Post by h***@gmail.com
Post by 8***@gmail.com
"Based on the recorded evidence, George Szell was simply the finest conductor of the 20th century. No one else approached him in the consistently exalted quality of the results that he achieved. His recordings of the Viennese classics: Haydn, Mozart, Beethoven, and Schubert, have been in the catalog nearly constantly since the 1950s, and deservedly so. They are stunning. In the romantic repertoire, his Schumann was legendary, his Mendelssohn perfection itself, his Brahms nearly so, and his Dvorák uniformly exceptional (including this happily remastered Piano Concerto with Rudolf Firkusny). He owned the two Brahms piano concertos. His collaborations with soloists–Fleisher, Graffman, Serkin, Casadesus, Browning, and Horowitz (in a smoking live Tchaikovsky First Piano Concerto)–were almost all spectacular.
Although he played much more contemporary music than was preserved on disc, those recordings that he did make often became instant classics: works by Walton, Hindemith, Barber, Bartók, Kodály, and Prokofiev. His Richard Strauss was incomparable and carried with it the imprimatur of the composer himself. The two discs of Wagner opera excerpts remain unequaled. Although he came late to Bruckner and Mahler, with the exception of a relatively tepid live rendition of the latter’s Sixth Symphony, the results there were otherwise equally persuasive. In short, the 106 discs in this attractively packaged box represent an unparalleled achievement in terms of musical excellence."
Interesting. IIRC, there are four discs of Wagner excerpts in the Szell box, if you include the mono Ring disc. Perhaps Hurwitz was copy/pasting from earlier reviews.
Hank
No, much as you enjoy speculating. I was referring to the most common prior CD incarnations of the performances, which those who do not yet own the box might remember best.

Dave H
Herman
2018-10-26 13:08:13 UTC
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Post by 8***@gmail.com
Here here! A rational statement. Thank you.
Inevitably, I have a bunch of Szell recordings, which I generally like just fine.

However the idea that there is one single best conductor of the 20th century who also happens to "own the Brahms concertos is just ridiculous.

It's wonderful ad copy, though.
Herman
2018-10-26 13:09:11 UTC
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On Friday, October 26, 2018 at 3:08:16 PM UTC+2, Herman wrote:



Sorry the quote was even better "simply the finest conductor of the 20 th century"
r***@gmail.com
2018-10-26 17:18:24 UTC
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I agree with the many in this thread about Szell. He was a great conductor who consistently made fine recordings with a great orchestra. But the greatest? Not exactly. As I have so many recordings from the box already, I decided I didn't need it.

For me his Richard Strauss is up there with Kempe and Maazel. His Slavonic Dances gives way to Kubelik for shade and inflection, his Walton peerless, his Mahler 4th a tad stodgy, a Mahler 6th adagio to die for, and his Bartok as crisp as anything, and his Haydn penetrating.

One of the greats no less, no more.

Ray Hall, Taree
8***@gmail.com
2018-10-27 14:31:43 UTC
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Post by Herman
Sorry the quote was even better "simply the finest conductor of the 20 th century"
To let the discussion devolve into the usual, "I prefer so-and-so's recording of work X to Szell's" seems to me to miss the point entirely,.There are many Szell performances that are not my personal favorites, but to refuse to acknowledge their superior qualities would be foolish. You don't have to like something "best" to admit that it may be excellent, even great.

Also, just about every single person here miss-quotes or deliberately misconstrues my original comment (unsurprisingly, I have to say). If I had said "Szell was the greatest conductor of the 20th century, period" I could understand a raised eyebrow or two. But that's not what I wrote. I wrote, "Based on the recorded evidence, George Szell was simply the finest conductor of the 20th century. No one else approached him in the consistently exalted quality of the results that he achieved."

So, if this statement is so outrageous, I would be interested in knowing who, by these criteria, did as well, or better, than Szell when it comes to consistent excellence of commercially produced recordings over a similar range of time, repertoire, and size of discography? No one has mentioned any possible alternatives. So who are they and why?

Dave H
m***@gmail.com
2018-10-27 15:03:44 UTC
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Post by 8***@gmail.com
Post by Herman
Sorry the quote was even better "simply the finest conductor of the 20 th century"
To let the discussion devolve into the usual, "I prefer so-and-so's recording of work X to Szell's" seems to me to miss the point entirely,.There are many Szell performances that are not my personal favorites, but to refuse to acknowledge their superior qualities would be foolish. You don't have to like something "best" to admit that it may be excellent, even great.
Also, just about every single person here miss-quotes or deliberately misconstrues my original comment (unsurprisingly, I have to say). If I had said "Szell was the greatest conductor of the 20th century, period" I could understand a raised eyebrow or two. But that's not what I wrote. I wrote, "Based on the recorded evidence, George Szell was simply the finest conductor of the 20th century. No one else approached him in the consistently exalted quality of the results that he achieved."
So, if this statement is so outrageous, I would be interested in knowing who, by these criteria, did as well, or better, than Szell when it comes to consistent excellence of commercially produced recordings over a similar range of time, repertoire, and size of discography? No one has mentioned any possible alternatives. So who are they and why?
Dave H
I thought the issue was Hurwitz ridiculous remark that if you take any of the Szell CDs at random, chances are you will have THE recording of the work.
8***@gmail.com
2018-10-27 15:47:33 UTC
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Post by m***@gmail.com
I thought the issue was Hurwitz ridiculous remark that if you take any of the Szell CDs at random, chances are you will have THE recording of the work.
Once again, a comment that fails to take into account what I wrote. I said "reference recording," not "THE" recording or "the best" recording. I hope I don't have to explain the difference. And I didn't even say "THE" reference recording, merely "A" reference recording--that is, one among possibly several.

Dave H
8***@gmail.com
2018-10-27 15:56:01 UTC
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Post by 8***@gmail.com
Post by m***@gmail.com
I thought the issue was Hurwitz ridiculous remark that if you take any of the Szell CDs at random, chances are you will have THE recording of the work.
Once again, a comment that fails to take into account what I wrote. I said "reference recording," not "THE" recording or "the best" recording. I hope I don't have to explain the difference. And I didn't even say "THE" reference recording, merely "A" reference recording--that is, one among possibly several.
Dave H
And BTW, I didn't say "you will have" either as a definitive statement--I said "chances are you'll be holding"--just a strong probability. I don't understand why any of this is controversial. Szell's reputation in this respect should be a non-issue by now..

Dave H
Herman
2018-10-28 04:00:09 UTC
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Post by 8***@gmail.com
Post by 8***@gmail.com
Post by m***@gmail.com
I thought the issue was Hurwitz ridiculous remark that if you take any of the Szell CDs at random, chances are you will have THE recording of the work.
Once again, a comment that fails to take into account what I wrote. I said "reference recording," not "THE" recording or "the best" recording. I hope I don't have to explain the difference. And I didn't even say "THE" reference recording, merely "A" reference recording--that is, one among possibly several.
Dave H
And BTW, I didn't say "you will have" either as a definitive statement--I said "chances are you'll be holding"--just a strong probability. I don't understand why any of this is controversial. Szell's reputation in this respect should be a non-issue by now..
Dave H
I don't think it's "controversial" - that's just more advertising talk.

I think it's foolish.
Frank Berger
2018-10-28 04:34:23 UTC
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Post by Herman
Post by 8***@gmail.com
Post by 8***@gmail.com
Post by m***@gmail.com
I thought the issue was Hurwitz ridiculous remark that if you take any of the Szell CDs at random, chances are you will have THE recording of the work.
Once again, a comment that fails to take into account what I wrote. I said "reference recording," not "THE" recording or "the best" recording. I hope I don't have to explain the difference. And I didn't even say "THE" reference recording, merely "A" reference recording--that is, one among possibly several.
Dave H
And BTW, I didn't say "you will have" either as a definitive statement--I said "chances are you'll be holding"--just a strong probability. I don't understand why any of this is controversial. Szell's reputation in this respect should be a non-issue by now..
Dave H
I don't think it's "controversial" - that's just more advertising talk.
I think it's foolish.
I am certain Dave meant what he says he meant. I just don't think
anyone (including me) is a discerning enough reader to see through the
hyperbolic and obtuse writing.
Oscar
2018-10-28 05:08:16 UTC
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I am certain Dave meant what he says he meant. I just don't think anyone (including me) is a discerning
enough reader to see through the hyperbolic and obtuse writing.
I knew what Dave meant. It's why I posted it. I know _a_ reference recording does not equate to "best" and "nonpareil". Still, the hyperbole is amusing, and it's not my fault that the money quotes I posted are "above the fold", i.e. not by accident. The topic sentence of the article plainly is: "George Szell was simply the finest conductor of the 20th century."
8***@gmail.com
2018-10-28 06:11:33 UTC
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Post by Oscar
I am certain Dave meant what he says he meant. I just don't think anyone (including me) is a discerning
enough reader to see through the hyperbolic and obtuse writing.
I knew what Dave meant. It's why I posted it. I know _a_ reference recording does not equate to "best" and "nonpareil". Still, the hyperbole is amusing, and it's not my fault that the money quotes I posted are "above the fold", i.e. not by accident. The topic sentence of the article plainly is: "George Szell was simply the finest conductor of the 20th century."
No, Oscar. The "topic sentence" is the complete sentence, not the half of it that you single out. It's fine to disagree with it, but at least describe it correctly.

Dave H
Bob Harper
2018-10-28 05:50:06 UTC
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Post by 8***@gmail.com
Post by 8***@gmail.com
Post by m***@gmail.com
I thought the issue was Hurwitz ridiculous remark that if you take any of the Szell CDs at random, chances are you will have THE recording of the work.
Once again, a comment that fails to take into account what I wrote. I said "reference recording," not "THE" recording or "the best" recording. I hope I don't have to explain the difference. And I didn't even say "THE" reference recording, merely "A" reference recording--that is, one among possibly several.
Dave H
And BTW, I didn't say "you will have" either as a definitive statement--I said "chances are you'll be holding"--just a strong probability. I don't understand why any of this is controversial. Szell's reputation in this respect should be a non-issue by now..
Dave H
Like, I suspect, several of us here, I can only say that it's time to
stop the rubble-bouncing. Szell was a very great conductor, and many of
his performances are outstanding; some are as good as any ever recorded.
Can we just leave it there?

Bob Harper
Oscar
2018-10-28 06:12:39 UTC
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I agree, Bob. Can’t argue that the box isn’t filled with many outstanding (reference) recordings very well-made. I love his Haydn, for example. One of the most anticipated conductor boxed sets ever, and it delivered. Between Szell Complete and Decca’s La Nilsson, my disc player is working overtime.
8***@gmail.com
2018-10-28 06:33:50 UTC
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Post by Bob Harper
Like, I suspect, several of us here, I can only say that it's time to
stop the rubble-bouncing. Szell was a very great conductor, and many of
his performances are outstanding; some are as good as any ever recorded.
Can we just leave it there?
Bob Harper
What is it about my initial statement that you all fear--that prevents you from addressing it on its own terms, as it was written? If you want to settle for the usual wishy-washy relativism that's your right, but it doesn't diminish the value or the truth of the initial claim. Szell was more than "a very great conductor." He was an orchestra builder of such charisma and high standards that his reputation lingers on in Cleveland to this day. Dohnanyi famously said of him, "We give a great concert, and Szell gets a great review." I can state categorically that there is not another similar figure on the podium in 20th century music about whom this is true.

This does not mean that there are not other figures who were equally great in other ways, or that, as you say, Szell was necessarily the best at everything he did. But for what he did do, taken in toto, he was the best, and the evidence for it is not just the recordings themselves, but in part the unique enthusiasm with which the appearance of the Sony box was greeted in this group, as well as the hissy fit thrown over the way the set was marketed and distributed. I suspect that many, if not most, would have agreed with the sentiments contained in my original statement had anyone else said it, and if the answer to that is that none of you would be so "foolish" as to risk uttering such a thing, then more's the pity.

Dave H
Oscar
2018-10-28 07:05:37 UTC
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What is it about my initial statement that you all fear...
Oscar : Siegfried :: Dave : the bear.
Ed Romans
2018-10-28 13:04:36 UTC
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Post by 8***@gmail.com
Post by Bob Harper
Like, I suspect, several of us here, I can only say that it's time to
stop the rubble-bouncing. Szell was a very great conductor, and many of
his performances are outstanding; some are as good as any ever recorded.
Can we just leave it there?
Bob Harper
What is it about my initial statement that you all fear--that prevents you from addressing it on its own terms, as it was written? If you want to settle for the usual wishy-washy relativism that's your right, but it doesn't diminish the value or the truth of the initial claim. Szell was more than "a very great conductor." He was an orchestra builder of such charisma and high standards that his reputation lingers on in Cleveland to this day. Dohnanyi famously said of him, "We give a great concert, and Szell gets a great review." I can state categorically that there is not another similar figure on the podium in 20th century music about whom this is true.
This does not mean that there are not other figures who were equally great in other ways, or that, as you say, Szell was necessarily the best at everything he did. But for what he did do, taken in toto, he was the best, and the evidence for it is not just the recordings themselves, but in part the unique enthusiasm with which the appearance of the Sony box was greeted in this group, as well as the hissy fit thrown over the way the set was marketed and distributed. I suspect that many, if not most, would have agreed with the sentiments contained in my original statement had anyone else said it, and if the answer to that is that none of you would be so "foolish" as to risk uttering such a thing, then more's the pity.
Dave H
I don't really discern that Szell would obviously win a contest for more reference recordings across a wider repertoire than other conductors, and, although I understand this was not your point, he certainly wouldn't win a contest for recordings often cited as the absolute best by many critics in many countries. Maybe his Slavonic Dances, Mahler 4, Strauss with Schwarzkopf, and a few others would be in the latter category.

I would probably accept (although I haven't heard all his records and subjectively I am not a big Szell fan) that he maintained a very high technical standard in his recordings with no duds, appropriate style, no ragged ensemble, no routine playing etc.

Well then how about Szell vs Dorati or Szell vs Karajan who Szell admired. Dorati maintained high standards across a large number of records overlapping Szell's during the same era even if he didn't train an orchestra to the level of Szell. Karajan (even if people don't like him) made a large number of "high quality records" from the 1950s to 70s which are often mentioned as reference recordings or the absolute best. At a guess I would have thought Karajan would beat Szell on numbers.

Ed
operafan
2018-10-29 23:03:34 UTC
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Post by Ed Romans
I don't really discern that Szell would obviously win a contest for more reference recordings across a wider repertoire than other conductors, and, although I understand this was not your point, he certainly wouldn't win a contest for recordings often cited as the absolute best by many critics in many countries. Maybe his Slavonic Dances, Mahler 4, Strauss with Schwarzkopf, and a few others would be in the latter category.
How about Brahms Concerto 1 with Curzon, both Brahms piano concertos and the Beethoven concertos with Fleisher, Schubert 9, Mozart Sinfonia Concertante and Clarinet Concerto, Beethoven 5th symphony with Amsterdam, Strauss Don Juan, Dvorak Symphonies 7-9? These are often cited as classic recordings. A contest for whose performance is ABSOLUTE BEST in any classic piece will never reach close to 100% agreement.
Ed Romans
2018-10-30 09:23:23 UTC
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Post by operafan
Post by Ed Romans
I don't really discern that Szell would obviously win a contest for more reference recordings across a wider repertoire than other conductors, and, although I understand this was not your point, he certainly wouldn't win a contest for recordings often cited as the absolute best by many critics in many countries. Maybe his Slavonic Dances, Mahler 4, Strauss with Schwarzkopf, and a few others would be in the latter category.
How about Brahms Concerto 1 with Curzon, both Brahms piano concertos and the Beethoven concertos with Fleisher, Schubert 9, Mozart Sinfonia Concertante and Clarinet Concerto, Beethoven 5th symphony with Amsterdam, Strauss Don Juan, Dvorak Symphonies 7-9? These are often cited as classic recordings. A contest for whose performance is ABSOLUTE BEST in any classic piece will never reach close to 100% agreement.
I accept your last point but obviously I only really meant statistically based on everything I have ever read from many sources - e.g. Carlos Kleiber's Beethoven 5th is far more likely to be recommended as a classic recording by many people probably compared to any other recording, and certainly compared to Szell's. Similarly I don't perceive Szell's Don Juan as being oft-mentioned. Szell is out-mentioned in Straus in general by Kempe, Karajan, Reiner, Krauss, Bohm etc (except for the 4 last songs with Schwarzkopf).

I would probably accept the Brahms/Beethoven concertos (these are about my own favourite Szell recordings) are closer to the often cited as the absolute best category. Maybe some of the Dvorak crops up now and again - there's also the Cello Concerto from Berlin with Fournier which might be a contender. Maybe some Mozart and Haydn symphonies crop up now and again. Maybe sometimes Schumann and Mendelssohn. But given the vast number of recordings of this repertoire I think here Szell falls into the sometimes mentioned, rather than the often mentioned.

But you could say similar things about half a dozen other conductors, and probably more about some of them. So I don't think that Szell stands out.

Ed
h***@gmail.com
2018-10-30 11:45:59 UTC
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I speak for myself. Over the past decade I've bought the complete Toscanini sets (both EMI and RCA); the Karajan 60s, 70s, and 80s boxes; the three Mercury boxes which feature loads of Dorati; Stokowski's complete stereo Columbia, RCA, Decca and (almost complete) EMI; the Maazel Cleveland set; and most recently the Szell. I've gotten more enjoyment out of the Szell box than any other set by any single conductor. Which isn't to say there aren't some cases where I prefer others over Szell - not to mention repertoire that Szell never touched (Scheherazade and Rite of Spring come to mind). But for the works he did record, he had an extraordinarily high batting average - at least to my ears.

Then again, I am a Clevelander and I won't pretend to call myself unbiased.

Hank
g***@gmail.com
2018-11-04 01:36:46 UTC
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I speak for myself. Over the past decade I've bought the complete Toscanini sets (both EMI and RCA); the Karajan 60s, 70s, and 80s boxes; the three Mercury boxes which feature loads of Dorati; Stokowski's complete stereo Columbia, RCA, Decca and (almost complete) EMI; the Maazel Cleveland set; and most recently the Szell. I've gotten more enjoyment out of the Szell box than any other set by any single conductor. Which isn't to say there aren't some cases where I prefer others over Szell - not to mention repertoire that Szell never touched (Scheherazade and Rite of Spring come to mind)...
Is it possible that he never recorded those pieces (as well as THE PLANETS) because the Columbia execs felt that they would compete with Bernstein's recordings of those pieces?
h***@gmail.com
2018-11-04 13:35:04 UTC
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Post by g***@gmail.com
I speak for myself. Over the past decade I've bought the complete Toscanini sets (both EMI and RCA); the Karajan 60s, 70s, and 80s boxes; the three Mercury boxes which feature loads of Dorati; Stokowski's complete stereo Columbia, RCA, Decca and (almost complete) EMI; the Maazel Cleveland set; and most recently the Szell. I've gotten more enjoyment out of the Szell box than any other set by any single conductor. Which isn't to say there aren't some cases where I prefer others over Szell - not to mention repertoire that Szell never touched (Scheherazade and Rite of Spring come to mind)...
Is it possible that he never recorded those pieces (as well as THE PLANETS) because the Columbia execs felt that they would compete with Bernstein's recordings of those pieces?
AFAIK Szell never conducted them in concert, either.

Hank
j***@gmail.com
2018-11-04 21:22:30 UTC
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On Sunday, November 4, 2018 at 8:35:08 AM UTC-5, ***@gmail.com wrote:
not to mention repertoire that Szell never touched (Scheherazade and Rite of Spring come to mind)...
In The Label: The Story of Columbia Records, Gary Marmorstein quotes Szell as calling Scheherazade "scheissdreck".
Bob Harper
2018-10-28 16:43:03 UTC
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Post by 8***@gmail.com
Post by Bob Harper
Like, I suspect, several of us here, I can only say that it's time to
stop the rubble-bouncing. Szell was a very great conductor, and many of
his performances are outstanding; some are as good as any ever recorded.
Can we just leave it there?
Bob Harper
What is it about my initial statement that you all fear--that prevents you from addressing it on its own terms, as it was written? If you want to settle for the usual wishy-washy relativism that's your right, but it doesn't diminish the value or the truth of the initial claim. Szell was more than "a very great conductor." He was an orchestra builder of such charisma and high standards that his reputation lingers on in Cleveland to this day. Dohnanyi famously said of him, "We give a great concert, and Szell gets a great review." I can state categorically that there is not another similar figure on the podium in 20th century music about whom this is true.
This does not mean that there are not other figures who were equally great in other ways, or that, as you say, Szell was necessarily the best at everything he did. But for what he did do, taken in toto, he was the best, and the evidence for it is not just the recordings themselves, but in part the unique enthusiasm with which the appearance of the Sony box was greeted in this group, as well as the hissy fit thrown over the way the set was marketed and distributed. I suspect that many, if not most, would have agreed with the sentiments contained in my original statement had anyone else said it, and if the answer to that is that none of you would be so "foolish" as to risk uttering such a thing, then more's the pity.
Dave H
I guess Dave's answer to my question is NO, you must agree with me IN
EVERY PARTICULAR, or I will dismiss you from my presence. That's OK,
Dave; to tell the truth I'm not sure I would enjoy being in your presence.

Oh, and no, I don't 'fear' anything about your statements, original or
repeated.

Bob Harper
8***@gmail.com
2018-10-28 18:24:40 UTC
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Post by Bob Harper
I guess Dave's answer to my question is NO, you must agree with me IN
EVERY PARTICULAR, or I will dismiss you from my presence. That's OK,
Dave; to tell the truth I'm not sure I would enjoy being in your presence.
Oh, and no, I don't 'fear' anything about your statements, original or
repeated.
Bob Harper
The answer is certainly "No" as long as you refuse to address what I actually wrote, and wish to put words in my mouth. Of course no one has to agree with me in every particular, or any particular. I enjoy it when people do not. I post here now and again for the same reason as everyone else--to talk about music and recordings. If you are offended by the fact that I am willing to defend vigorously what I wrote, then that is not my problem.

Dave H
m***@gmail.com
2018-10-28 19:57:11 UTC
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Post by 8***@gmail.com
Post by Bob Harper
I guess Dave's answer to my question is NO, you must agree with me IN
EVERY PARTICULAR, or I will dismiss you from my presence. That's OK,
Dave; to tell the truth I'm not sure I would enjoy being in your presence.
Oh, and no, I don't 'fear' anything about your statements, original or
repeated.
Bob Harper
The answer is certainly "No" as long as you refuse to address what I actually wrote, and wish to put words in my mouth. Of course no one has to agree with me in every particular, or any particular. I enjoy it when people do not. I post here now and again for the same reason as everyone else--to talk about music and recordings. If you are offended by the fact that I am willing to defend vigorously what I wrote, then that is not my problem.
Dave H
Oh give it up already = you sound so defensive and ridiculous. We know what you wrote and what you meant - it was pure hyperbole and we all know that - except you
8***@gmail.com
2018-10-28 21:37:16 UTC
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Post by m***@gmail.com
Oh give it up already = you sound so defensive and ridiculous. We know what you wrote and what you meant - it was pure hyperbole and we all know that - except you
So, now you speak for the entire group--and me too! Nice to know. If that is how I sound to you (or anyone else) so be it. Evidently, most here did not know what I meant, judging from the tenor of the commentary on it. If you've had enough, feel free to stop talking. It's that simple.

Dave H
m***@gmail.com
2018-10-28 21:52:32 UTC
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Post by 8***@gmail.com
Post by m***@gmail.com
Oh give it up already = you sound so defensive and ridiculous. We know what you wrote and what you meant - it was pure hyperbole and we all know that - except you
So, now you speak for the entire group--and me too! Nice to know. If that is how I sound to you (or anyone else) so be it. Evidently, most here did not know what I meant, judging from the tenor of the commentary on it. If you've had enough, feel free to stop talking. It's that simple.
Dave H
If you can't take the criticism, stop posting!!! Its that simple
8***@gmail.com
2018-10-28 22:49:57 UTC
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Post by m***@gmail.com
If you can't take the criticism, stop posting!!! Its that simple
If I couldn't take criticism I wouldn't post here at all. I am posting precisely because I can take the criticism. Do you think for one minute I didn't know it was coming? That I don't now who I'm dealing with? Actually, the criticism directed at me has been quite mild, however misinformed some of it may be. Believe me, I'm just having a relaxing Sunday chatting about the Szell box. Perhaps you should follow your own advice.

Dave H
Oscar
2018-10-28 23:20:16 UTC
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Do you think manager Dave Roberts should be canned if Dodgers lose the Series, Dave? Two awesome, dominant outings on consecutive nights by his starting pitchers (Buehler and Hill), only to remove them from game right when it was most critical to finish off the opponent.
O
2018-10-29 14:21:40 UTC
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Post by Oscar
Do you think manager Dave Roberts should be canned if Dodgers lose the
Series, Dave? Two awesome, dominant outings on consecutive nights by his
starting pitchers (Buehler and Hill), only to remove them from game right
when it was most critical to finish off the opponent.
Well, they lost. But it wasn't Roberts who lost the series, they were
beaten by a better team.

-Owen
Oscar
2018-10-29 18:32:56 UTC
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Post by O
Well, they lost. But it wasn't Roberts who lost the series, they were
beaten by a better team.
The outlook wasn't brilliant for the Mudville nine that day;
the score stood four to two, with but one inning more to play.
And then when Cooney died at first, and Barrows did the same,
a sickly silence fell upon the patrons of the game.

A straggling few got up to go in deep despair. The rest
clung to that hope which springs eternal in the human breast;
they thought, if only Casey could get but a whack at that –
they'd put up even money, now, with Casey at the bat.

But Flynn preceded Casey, as did also Jimmy Blake,
and the former was a lulu and the latter was a cake,
so upon that stricken multitude grim melancholy sat,
for there seemed but little chance of Casey's getting to the bat.

But Flynn let drive a single, to the wonderment of all,
and Blake, the much despised, tore the cover off the ball;
and when the dust had lifted, and the men saw what had occurred,
there was Jimmy safe at second and Flynn a-hugging third.

Then from five thousand throats and more there rose a lusty yell;
it rumbled through the valley, it rattled in the dell;
it knocked upon the mountain and recoiled upon the flat,
for Casey, mighty Casey, was advancing to the bat.

There was ease in Casey's manner as he stepped into his place;
there was pride in Casey's bearing and a smile on Casey's face.
And when, responding to the cheers, he lightly doffed his hat,
no stranger in the crowd could doubt 'twas Casey at the bat.

Ten thousand eyes were on him as he rubbed his hands with dirt;
five thousand tongues applauded when he wiped them on his shirt.
Then while the writhing pitcher ground the ball into his hip,
defiance gleamed in Casey's eye, a sneer curled Casey's lip.

And now the leather-covered sphere came hurtling through the air,
and Casey stood a-watching it in haughty grandeur there.
Close by the sturdy batsman the ball unheeded sped—
"That ain't my style," said Casey. "Strike one," the umpire said.

From the benches, black with people, there went up a muffled roar,
like the beating of the storm-waves on a stern and distant shore.
"Kill him! Kill the umpire!" shouted someone on the stand;
and it's likely they'd have killed him had not Casey raised his hand.

With a smile of Christian charity great Casey's visage shone;
he stilled the rising tumult; he bade the game go on;
he signaled to the pitcher, and once more the spheroid flew;
but Casey still ignored it, and the umpire said: "Strike two."

"Fraud!" cried the maddened thousands, and Echo answered fraud;
but one scornful look from Casey and the audience was awed.
They saw his face grow stern and cold, they saw his muscles strain,
and they knew that Casey wouldn't let that ball go by again.

The sneer is gone from Casey's lip, his teeth are clenched in hate;
he pounds with cruel violence his bat upon the plate.
And now the pitcher holds the ball, and now he lets it go,
and now the air is shattered by the force of Casey's blow.

Oh, somewhere in this favored land the sun is shining bright;
the band is playing somewhere, and somewhere hearts are light,
and somewhere men are laughing, and somewhere children shout;
but there is no joy in Mudville — mighty Casey has struck out.
Oscar
2018-10-28 23:22:46 UTC
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Based on the evidence, the most dominant starting pitching by two starters on consecutive nights in World Series history in 21st C.
Bob Harper
2018-10-29 03:32:10 UTC
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Post by 8***@gmail.com
Post by m***@gmail.com
If you can't take the criticism, stop posting!!! Its that simple
If I couldn't take criticism I wouldn't post here at all. I am posting precisely because I can take the criticism. Do you think for one minute I didn't know it was coming? That I don't now who I'm dealing with? Actually, the criticism directed at me has been quite mild, however misinformed some of it may be. Believe me, I'm just having a relaxing Sunday chatting about the Szell box. Perhaps you should follow your own advice.
Dave H
Has anyone else had the feeling that Dave is channeling our old friend
Michael Schaffer? I wonder: Do they know each other? :).

Bob Harper
m***@gmail.com
2018-10-29 14:31:28 UTC
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Post by Bob Harper
Has anyone else had the feeling that Dave is channeling our old friend
Michael Schaffer? I wonder: Do they know each other? :).
Bob, that was a dick move. Seriously.

It's not only unfair to Dave, but obscures many of Schaffer's offenses which were quite different from anything we've seen here in this thread.
Bob Harper
2018-10-29 22:04:51 UTC
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Post by m***@gmail.com
Post by Bob Harper
Has anyone else had the feeling that Dave is channeling our old friend
Michael Schaffer? I wonder: Do they know each other? :).
Bob, that was a dick move. Seriously.
It's not only unfair to Dave, but obscures many of Schaffer's offenses which were quite different from anything we've seen here in this thread.
You know, after I posted that I had second thoughts, but if it's
possible to delete a post I don't now how. Let me say that I went OTT
and I'm sorry I let my exasperation get the better of me. That
exasperation, unfortunately, is not lessened by Dave's most recent post,
which is filled just the kind of assumed superiority that I don't like.
I grant that he knows more about music than I--he is, or was, a
professional; I'm a mere listener--but the nasty edge still bothers me.
If that qualifies as sanctimony, I guess I'll just have to live with it.

Bob Harper
m***@gmail.com
2018-10-30 02:39:19 UTC
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Post by Bob Harper
Post by m***@gmail.com
Post by Bob Harper
Has anyone else had the feeling that Dave is channeling our old friend
Michael Schaffer? I wonder: Do they know each other? :).
Bob, that was a dick move. Seriously.
It's not only unfair to Dave, but obscures many of Schaffer's offenses which were quite different from anything we've seen here in this thread.
You know, after I posted that I had second thoughts, but if it's
possible to delete a post I don't now how. Let me say that I went OTT
and I'm sorry I let my exasperation get the better of me. That
exasperation, unfortunately, is not lessened by Dave's most recent post,
which is filled just the kind of assumed superiority that I don't like.
I grant that he knows more about music than I--he is, or was, a
professional; I'm a mere listener--but the nasty edge still bothers me.
If that qualifies as sanctimony, I guess I'll just have to live with it.
Bob Harper
It doesn't matter how much music you know or don't know - if you can't share that information in a way that others accept then it really doesn't matter. I share your reservations about the aura of condescension in his posts.
Herman
2018-10-29 06:53:34 UTC
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Post by m***@gmail.com
If you can't take the criticism, stop posting!!! Its that simple
Lets not talk this way. RCMR has a pretty solid history of driving out any poster that knows anything.
Bob Harper
2018-10-29 13:33:44 UTC
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Post by Herman
Post by m***@gmail.com
If you can't take the criticism, stop posting!!! Its that simple
Lets not talk this way. RCMR has a pretty solid history of driving out any poster that knows anything.
There's no problem with knowing stuff. It's how a poster uses that
knowledge that sometimes turns people off and causes resentment among
others.

Bob Harper
8***@gmail.com
2018-10-29 14:06:06 UTC
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Post by Bob Harper
There's no problem with knowing stuff. It's how a poster uses that
knowledge that sometimes turns people off and causes resentment among
others.
Bob Harper
Actually, there IS a big problem here with knowing stuff, and there always has been. One of the biggest issues with a forum like this is that we are dealing with a huge disparity in knowledge and experience, never mind the question of attitude, personalities, and approach to any given subject. This is especially true when posters choose to remain anonymous and hide behind their screen names and, often, their ignorance of the subject at hand. It's very easy to pretend. And yet, the group operates on the theoretical basis that everyone's opinion has equal merit, and everyone has equal rights to say whatever they wish. These issues just come with the territory, and I am not suggesting that it should be any different. But let's not kid ourselves.

One problem that could be easily eliminated, however, is the petty, petulant finger-wagging by the sanctimonious few (get the hint, Bob?) who set themselves up as arbiters of the discourse and, lacking anything of substance to add to the conversation, decide to attack posters on the pretext of disliking their "tone," both real and imagined. If anything turns people off and causes resentment, I would suggest, it ought to be that.

Dave H
Oscar
2018-10-31 01:08:03 UTC
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Actually, there IS a big problem here with knowing stuff, and there always has been...
To wit, yr new review Edward Gardner's Elgar 2 on Chandos. The opening salvo, the topic sentence, is a doozy:

<< It is an invariable rule that every self-respecting British label has to record the Elgar Symphonies (and other stuff) every few years, just to try to convince the rest of the world that this composer really matters. Of course, the rest of the world seldom notices or cares, but I suppose it’s the thought that counts. >>

What else is there to say to that? Tom Deacon is a knowledge contributor to the group, and like you a non-musician. He would disagree that the music of Edward Elgar, in toto, doesn't matter.
http://www.theguardian.com/music/2014/may/21/elgar-second-symphony-barenboim-staatskapelle-berlin-review
Ordered, of course. Simply couldn't resist. The Elgar 2 is arguably the greatest symphony written in the
20th Century.
--
TD
And yes, that is the full text of an original topic posting by Mr. Deacon https://tinyurl.com/ybe5c9v9
Adam Dubin
2018-10-31 03:48:00 UTC
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Just received mine today. So far (listening to several early stereo and earlier mono CDs) I am incredibly impressed by the sound restorations, Just now I’m listening to the Mozart’s 2-piano concerto with Robert & Gaby Casadesus—the sound blowing away the Odyssey LP that I’ve otherwise enjoyed for 40 years. This is the first official CD reissue this (and so many of these) have had. And I’m sure the new remasterings of the others are better than previous CD reissues, especially those of the ‘80s-90s. I haven’t been so excited by a new classical CD release since the Sony Masterworks Heritage series 20 yrs ago.
m***@gmail.com
2018-10-31 05:01:42 UTC
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Post by Oscar
What else is there to say to that? Tom Deacon is a knowledge contributor to the group, and like you a non-musician. He would disagree that the music of Edward Elgar, in toto, doesn't matter.
That's not what he said. He said that British labels have a mission to prove that Elgar matters as much as other composers. You could even read it as them wanting to make people believe he matters as much as any composer. What he didn't say was the Elgar's music doesn't matter at all. Take out "really" and you could read it a bit more harshly, but you still wouldn't be able to tell what Hurwitz's own opinion is. He's simply saying that the labels are driven by a sense of mission.

Is that true? I have no idea. It might be a simple case of them selling better better than others. I'm not reading that part of the review as investigative journalism, just a bit of dirt tossed in the eye of those labels and their excesses. It is an interesting claim that doesn't warrant a ton of thought. Or offense.
8***@gmail.com
2018-10-31 17:45:59 UTC
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Post by m***@gmail.com
That's not what he said. He said that British labels have a mission to prove that Elgar matters as much as other composers. You could even read it as them wanting to make people believe he matters as much as any composer. What he didn't say was the Elgar's music doesn't matter at all. Take out "really" and you could read it a bit more harshly, but you still wouldn't be able to tell what Hurwitz's own opinion is. He's simply saying that the labels are driven by a sense of mission.
Exactly. Do I think Elgar was an important composer, historically? No. Was he a great composer (qualitatively)? Yes.

Dave H
Bob Harper
2018-10-31 23:36:55 UTC
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Post by 8***@gmail.com
Post by m***@gmail.com
That's not what he said. He said that British labels have a mission to prove that Elgar matters as much as other composers. You could even read it as them wanting to make people believe he matters as much as any composer. What he didn't say was the Elgar's music doesn't matter at all. Take out "really" and you could read it a bit more harshly, but you still wouldn't be able to tell what Hurwitz's own opinion is. He's simply saying that the labels are driven by a sense of mission.
Exactly. Do I think Elgar was an important composer, historically? No. Was he a great composer (qualitatively)? Yes.
Dave H
I think I understand the distinction you're making. And I think the
'Yes' to the second question is of more importance than the 'No' to the
first.

Bob Harper
jrsnfld
2018-11-01 22:33:04 UTC
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Post by m***@gmail.com
That's not what he said. He said that British labels have a mission to prove that Elgar matters as much as other composers. You could even read it as them wanting to make people believe he matters as much as any composer. What he didn't say was the Elgar's music doesn't matter at all. Take out "really" and you could read it a bit more harshly, but you still wouldn't be able to tell what Hurwitz's own opinion is. He's simply saying that the labels are driven by a sense of mission.
Maybe he meant that, but that's also not what the review says. What it states in the opening of that review is ambiguous but indicative of another point of view. In literal terms, the review neither says British labels have such a mission nor that Elgar matters. The review leaves that judgement to the reader, then proceeds to review Chandos's latest effort in this regard quite negatively.

The sum impression of the opening sentence wording, in context, is that the reviewer feels these repeated releases of Elgar symphonies by British labels are often unnecessary and unsuccessful promotion on behalf of the composer. This is reinforced in the second sentence which says the world seldom cares (without evidence, we can only assume this is the reviewer's subjective impression--does the world care less about a new Chandos Elgar 2 than about a new Chandos Copland cycle or piano recital of Tchaikovsky's Seasons?).

This message is further reinforced by the negativity toward the Gardner recording in particular.

A reviewer trying to say that Elgar is a great composer and/or worthy of "frequent" new releases, or that the world is mistaken to ignore these recordings, would certainly not have chosen to state his opening in this way.

Also, keep in mind, to cite these incessant "every few years" releases of Elgar 2 by Chandos, the review lists three: Gibson (1977), Thomson (1986, during the early digital boom), and now Gardner, some three decades later! (Left out was Hickox, from 2006--one recording per decade) This statement, then, is hyperbole. Why the exaggeration? To say that these releases *feel* too often--in the reviewer's mind.

Whether the author meant it or not, the review denigrates Elgar and British record companies unnecessarily--implying Chandos makes Elgar recordings out of obligation rather than musical or economic merit.

--Jeff
m***@gmail.com
2018-11-02 11:43:37 UTC
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Post by jrsnfld
The sum impression of the opening sentence wording, in context, is that the reviewer feels these repeated releases of Elgar symphonies by British labels are often unnecessary and unsuccessful promotion on behalf of the composer.
That's pretty much what I got, too.
Post by jrsnfld
This message is further reinforced by the negativity toward the Gardner recording in particular.
OK.
Post by jrsnfld
A reviewer trying to say that Elgar is a great composer and/or worthy of "frequent" new releases, or that the world is mistaken to ignore these recordings, would certainly not have chosen to state his opening in this way.
This is getting tortured.
Post by jrsnfld
Whether the author meant it or not, the review denigrates Elgar and British record companies unnecessarily--implying Chandos makes Elgar recordings out of obligation rather than musical or economic merit.
I don't disagree that he's denigrating Chandos as a punishment for releasing weak-tea recordings that don't seem to justify the effort. Truth or not- and I think you'd have to be a fool to read this as science - I feel this is fair game for a critic.

However, I don't read all this as denigrating Elgar. Yes, it lacks a positive statement on the composer. Doesn't bother me.

I don't take ClassicsToday all that seriously, but perhaps if I were paying my precious cash into it I might be more demanding and as concerned as some here. I can't afford such a commitment. Perhaps it is too easy for me to accept these liberties as part of the fun of the critical endeavor. My general sense is that too much effort is being put into correcting him, but if it matters to you, go ahead, speak your concerns.
Herman
2018-11-02 12:33:07 UTC
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Post by m***@gmail.com
My general sense is that too much effort is being put into correcting him, but if it matters to you, go ahead, speak your concerns.
Jeff made his points in a factual and succint fashion.
m***@gmail.com
2018-11-02 14:25:17 UTC
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Post by Herman
Post by m***@gmail.com
My general sense is that too much effort is being put into correcting him, but if it matters to you, go ahead, speak your concerns.
Jeff made his points in a factual and succint fashion.
That's an odd claim. Forgetting brevity, which I tend to do, what matters are Jeff's judgments, all of whihc are non-factual. It's not a "fact" that Hurwitz denigrated Elgar. That's a an interpretation. And that opinion is perfectly well the equal of my sense that he didn't. Even if Hurwitz claims he didn't, which I feel he tried to do, that doesn't matter- you could still argue otherwise. I respect that and simply disagree.
jrsnfld
2018-11-02 18:57:49 UTC
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Post by m***@gmail.com
Post by jrsnfld
The sum impression of the opening sentence wording, in context, is that the reviewer feels these repeated releases of Elgar symphonies by British labels are often unnecessary and unsuccessful promotion on behalf of the composer.
That's pretty much what I got, too.
Post by jrsnfld
This message is further reinforced by the negativity toward the Gardner recording in particular.
OK.
Post by jrsnfld
A reviewer trying to say that Elgar is a great composer and/or worthy of "frequent" new releases, or that the world is mistaken to ignore these recordings, would certainly not have chosen to state his opening in this way.
This is getting tortured.
Post by jrsnfld
Whether the author meant it or not, the review denigrates Elgar and British record companies unnecessarily--implying Chandos makes Elgar recordings out of obligation rather than musical or economic merit.
I don't disagree that he's denigrating Chandos as a punishment for releasing weak-tea recordings that don't seem to justify the effort. Truth or not- and I think you'd have to be a fool to read this as science - I feel this is fair game for a critic.
Punishment is a good word! I don't relate to this need to punish.
Post by m***@gmail.com
However, I don't read all this as denigrating Elgar. Yes, it lacks a positive statement on the composer. Doesn't bother me.
I don't take ClassicsToday all that seriously, but perhaps if I were paying my precious cash into it I might be more demanding and as concerned as some here. I can't afford such a commitment. Perhaps it is too easy for me to accept these liberties as part of the fun of the critical endeavor. My general sense is that too much effort is being put into correcting him, but if it matters to you, go ahead, speak your concerns.
I don't read ClassicsToday often, and I've probably spent less time on this thread than you have. But this review demonstrates something about classical music and about the nature of criticism.

Critics model the conversations the rest of us have about music. What's the benefit of talking about through hyperbole and vitriol? I have mixed feelings, but ultimately don't like either.

Ultimately, classical music--including its health and our conversations around the music itself--suffers more from these critical devices than it benefits.

Admittedly, classical music criticism has long fostered hyperbole (think Jim Svejda). So does sports commentary. Also vitriol (i.e., Virgil Thomson). These are ways critics garner attention, but the key is not to use such props without purpose.

Brits (ought to and do) care more about British music than anyone else. What does the critical point there? "Punishing" Chandos becomes a personal need, not a purposeful criticism. The props become diversion.

Interestingly, this thread started due to hyperbole. And "simply" is a loaded word. Readers sense (quite rightly) the arrogance of implying that knowledgeable people could not disagree about Szell's primacy.

While hyperbole gets people to talk, it flirts with annoyance-. Or is it worse? Is it perpetuating elitism in classical music to use hyperbole to cut off--not just facts, as in the case of the Elgar review--the opinions of "lesser" listeners? The author honestly embraces disagreement outside of the context of the review, but does the opposite in the review. Hyperbole isn't just about undercutting facts--it's about undercutting dissent, and in this case, undercutting the reader.

My interest is in the nature of criticism--even criticism that, in these cases, I'm actually more inclined to agree with than not.

--Jeff
Oscar
2018-11-02 19:59:14 UTC
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Excellent post, Jeff. Thank you.
m***@gmail.com
2018-11-02 21:24:58 UTC
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Post by Oscar
Excellent post, Jeff. Thank you.
Yes, quite thoughtful, and not something I'm prepared to say I've digested complete yet. But this is an interesting claim:

"Critics model the conversations the rest of us have about music."

I think there's an elaborate argument to be made about how we depend on critics for information, and they shape the way we discuss things. But for myself, I'm not sure how much they matter. I won't speak for everyone else, but I think you risk overstating their power.

You do make some good points about hyperbole, but again, I don't see the vernacular of the review as one worthy of a lot of intellectual respect. I'm ready to look past hyperbole because I know that bringing a bit of cricus into the forum just keeps things lively. He's a salesman, too, not just someone with ideas. And I refuse to see him as a whole lot more.

As for elitism in classical music, I'm really not sure how much this is "produced" due to the behavior of privileged people (in this case DH) so much as just an inevitable byproduct of class and culture in those raised to appreciate it and the artform itself, which is demanding of its audience in ways that are more extreme than many other artforms, musical or otherwise.
m***@gmail.com
2018-11-02 14:33:13 UTC
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Post by jrsnfld
Also, keep in mind, to cite these incessant "every few years" releases of Elgar 2 by Chandos, the review lists three: Gibson (1977), Thomson (1986, during the early digital boom), and now Gardner, some three decades later! (Left out was Hickox, from 2006--one recording per decade) This statement, then, is hyperbole. Why the exaggeration? To say that these releases *feel* too often--in the reviewer's mind.
Whether the author meant it or not, the review denigrates Elgar and British record companies unnecessarily--implying Chandos makes Elgar recordings out of obligation rather than musical or economic merit.
I'm going to give points to Jeff for precision here because Chandos doesn't record the Elgar symphonies every few years. What is true is that frequency of releases of Elgar symphonies has accelerated. Wouldn't you agree that there's a lot of Elgar on the market? Because of that, I accept the point that there could be too much. That's not exactly what DH wrote, so I'll give it to Jeff for being narrowly right. There was a point to be made: that a saturated market doesn't warrant new recordings of Elgar, and that perhaps the labels are motivated by something other than economic merit (because there can't be much) and musical merit (because there isn't much here, at least in his view).

Yes, some hyperbole. I still don't feel that offended.
Ed Romans
2018-11-02 16:53:32 UTC
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Post by m***@gmail.com
I'm going to give points to Jeff for precision here because Chandos doesn't record the Elgar symphonies every few years. What is true is that frequency of releases of Elgar symphonies has accelerated. Wouldn't you agree that there's a lot of Elgar on the market? Because of that, I accept the point that there could be too much. That's not exactly what DH wrote, so I'll give it to Jeff for being narrowly right. There was a point to be made: that a saturated market doesn't warrant new recordings of Elgar, and that perhaps the labels are motivated by something other than economic merit (because there can't be much) and musical merit (because there isn't much here, at least in his view).
To be honest I don't think I have never noticed that there are Elgar symphony recordings by Gibson, Thomson or Hickox, although I have them in other things. I would have thought that Chandos rarely sell any of their existing Elgar symphony recordings, so why shouldn't they release a new recording by a living conductor who is reasonably well known in the UK for conducting both British and non-British stuff?

If you went to one of the few remaining bricks and mortar stores in the UK then they are more likely to have this Gardner version and the recent Barenboim version as about the only versions in stock rather than the classic recordings of the past like Boult or Barbirolli.

Ed

Ed
Andrew Clarke
2018-11-02 23:52:29 UTC
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Post by jrsnfld
Whether the author meant it or not, the review denigrates Elgar and British record companies unnecessarily--implying Chandos makes Elgar recordings out of obligation rather than musical or economic merit.
--Jeff
Even Dave hasn't approached the giddy heights of a couple of members of this group who suggested that the reason why a Brit reviewer was lukewarm about a recent recording of Dvorak string quintets was that he/she was about to publish a review of a new recording of British compositions, and needed to make Dvorak look bad in order to make the Brit music sound much better in comparison!

Is Dvorak a great composer? Yes. Are the string quintets great Dvorak? IMO, no. Are the string quartets great Dvorak? Oh yes. Are the Rubbra quartets great? IMO very much so, but the record shops of the world are hardly awash with recordings of them, not even from British recording companies.

With regard to rerecording repertoire, I'd suggest that different generations can have a different and refreshing "take" on the music of the past, which record companies may feel is worth recording - or had better, if they want to stay in business.

Interestingly, Kyrill Petrenko has a fondness for Elgar 2, so it'll probably get more outings at the Philharmoniker than it used to. You can see and hear his interpretation - together with Beethoven PC3 - at the Virtual Concert Hall.

Andrew Clarke
Canberra
John Hood
2018-11-03 02:14:26 UTC
Reply
Permalink
Post by Andrew Clarke
Post by jrsnfld
Whether the author meant it or not, the review denigrates Elgar and British record companies unnecessarily--implying Chandos makes Elgar recordings out of obligation rather than musical or economic merit.
--Jeff
Even Dave hasn't approached the giddy heights of a couple of members of this group who suggested that the reason why a Brit reviewer was lukewarm about a recent recording of Dvorak string quintets was that he/she was about to publish a review of a new recording of British compositions, and needed to make Dvorak look bad in order to make the Brit music sound much better in comparison!
Is Dvorak a great composer? Yes. Are the string quintets great Dvorak? IMO, no. Are the string quartets great Dvorak? Oh yes. Are the Rubbra quartets great? IMO very much so, but the record shops of the world are hardly awash with recordings of them, not even from British recording companies.
With regard to rerecording repertoire, I'd suggest that different generations can have a different and refreshing "take" on the music of the past, which record companies may feel is worth recording - or had better, if they want to stay in business.
Interestingly, Kyrill Petrenko has a fondness for Elgar 2, so it'll probably get more outings at the Philharmoniker than it used to. You can see and hear his interpretation - together with Beethoven PC3 - at the Virtual Concert Hall.
Andrew Clarke
Canberra
You shouldn't have got me started on String Quartets. Firstly, I
disagree with you on the Dvorak Quintets but agree with you on Rubbra
who I have championed for years.

As to the recordings of string quartets, I have two observations:

1. Amazon US returns 10,000 results for Beethoven String Quartets and
2,000 and 3,000 for Bartok and Shostakovich respectively - I know they
are marvellous but sheesh...

2. From my perspective there is a 'Top 50' list of string quartets that
are recorded and also make up the majority of the standard touring
repertoire. I once chatted with a visiting quartet and they had never
heard of Morton Feldman.

I could go on but won't unless someone wants to prolong this topic :)

JH
Andrew Clarke
2018-11-03 10:04:25 UTC
Reply
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Post by John Hood
Post by Andrew Clarke
Post by jrsnfld
Whether the author meant it or not, the review denigrates Elgar and British record companies unnecessarily--implying Chandos makes Elgar recordings out of obligation rather than musical or economic merit.
--Jeff
Even Dave hasn't approached the giddy heights of a couple of members of this group who suggested that the reason why a Brit reviewer was lukewarm about a recent recording of Dvorak string quintets was that he/she was about to publish a review of a new recording of British compositions, and needed to make Dvorak look bad in order to make the Brit music sound much better in comparison!
Is Dvorak a great composer? Yes. Are the string quintets great Dvorak? IMO, no. Are the string quartets great Dvorak? Oh yes. Are the Rubbra quartets great? IMO very much so, but the record shops of the world are hardly awash with recordings of them, not even from British recording companies.
With regard to rerecording repertoire, I'd suggest that different generations can have a different and refreshing "take" on the music of the past, which record companies may feel is worth recording - or had better, if they want to stay in business.
Interestingly, Kyrill Petrenko has a fondness for Elgar 2, so it'll probably get more outings at the Philharmoniker than it used to. You can see and hear his interpretation - together with Beethoven PC3 - at the Virtual Concert Hall.
Andrew Clarke
Canberra
You shouldn't have got me started on String Quartets. Firstly, I
disagree with you on the Dvorak Quintets but agree with you on Rubbra
who I have championed for years.
1. Amazon US returns 10,000 results for Beethoven String Quartets and
2,000 and 3,000 for Bartok and Shostakovich respectively - I know they
are marvellous but sheesh...
2. From my perspective there is a 'Top 50' list of string quartets that
are recorded and also make up the majority of the standard touring
repertoire. I once chatted with a visiting quartet and they had never
heard of Morton Feldman.
I could go on but won't unless someone wants to prolong this topic :)
AFAIC you can go right ahead, John.

Andrew Clarke
Canberra
Andrew Clarke
2018-11-03 14:13:33 UTC
Reply
Permalink
Post by Andrew Clarke
Post by John Hood
Post by Andrew Clarke
Post by jrsnfld
Whether the author meant it or not, the review denigrates Elgar and British record companies unnecessarily--implying Chandos makes Elgar recordings out of obligation rather than musical or economic merit.
--Jeff
Even Dave hasn't approached the giddy heights of a couple of members of this group who suggested that the reason why a Brit reviewer was lukewarm about a recent recording of Dvorak string quintets was that he/she was about to publish a review of a new recording of British compositions, and needed to make Dvorak look bad in order to make the Brit music sound much better in comparison!
Is Dvorak a great composer? Yes. Are the string quintets great Dvorak? IMO, no. Are the string quartets great Dvorak? Oh yes. Are the Rubbra quartets great? IMO very much so, but the record shops of the world are hardly awash with recordings of them, not even from British recording companies.
With regard to rerecording repertoire, I'd suggest that different generations can have a different and refreshing "take" on the music of the past, which record companies may feel is worth recording - or had better, if they want to stay in business.
Interestingly, Kyrill Petrenko has a fondness for Elgar 2, so it'll probably get more outings at the Philharmoniker than it used to. You can see and hear his interpretation - together with Beethoven PC3 - at the Virtual Concert Hall.
Andrew Clarke
Canberra
You shouldn't have got me started on String Quartets. Firstly, I
disagree with you on the Dvorak Quintets but agree with you on Rubbra
who I have championed for years.
1. Amazon US returns 10,000 results for Beethoven String Quartets and
2,000 and 3,000 for Bartok and Shostakovich respectively - I know they
are marvellous but sheesh...
2. From my perspective there is a 'Top 50' list of string quartets that
are recorded and also make up the majority of the standard touring
repertoire. I once chatted with a visiting quartet and they had never
heard of Morton Feldman.
I could go on but won't unless someone wants to prolong this topic :)
AFAIC you can go right ahead, John.
Andrew Clarke
Canberra
Starting off with the Poms: there's Britten of course, but also Peter Maxwell Davies (The Naxos Quartets, which I haven't heard yet), Peter Racine Fricker (clearly inspired by Bartok), Rubbra as mentioned, Tippett (I adore the 2nd), Lennox Berkeley.

Andrew Clarke
Canberra

"British music always puts me in mind of a cow looking over a gate." - Constant Lambert
"American music always puts me in mind of a cowboy looking over a gate" - Aaron Copland (attrib.)
8***@gmail.com
2018-11-03 15:22:48 UTC
Reply
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Post by Andrew Clarke
Post by jrsnfld
Whether the author meant it or not, the review denigrates Elgar and British record companies unnecessarily--implying Chandos makes Elgar recordings out of obligation rather than musical or economic merit.
--Jeff
Starting off with the Poms: there's Britten of course, but also Peter Maxwell Davies (The Naxos Quartets, which I haven't heard yet), Peter Racine Fricker (clearly inspired by Bartok), Rubbra as mentioned, Tippett (I adore the 2nd), Lennox Berkeley.
Andrew Clarke
Canberra
Boccherini: historically important, astonishingly inventive, shamefully neglected, and often just plain gorgeous.
Franz Krommer: a treasure-trove of unknown gems awaiting discovery.

Dave H
John Hood
2018-11-04 00:23:21 UTC
Reply
Permalink
Post by 8***@gmail.com
Post by Andrew Clarke
Post by jrsnfld
Whether the author meant it or not, the review denigrates Elgar and British record companies unnecessarily--implying Chandos makes Elgar recordings out of obligation rather than musical or economic merit.
--Jeff
Starting off with the Poms: there's Britten of course, but also Peter Maxwell Davies (The Naxos Quartets, which I haven't heard yet), Peter Racine Fricker (clearly inspired by Bartok), Rubbra as mentioned, Tippett (I adore the 2nd), Lennox Berkeley.
Andrew Clarke
Canberra
Boccherini: historically important, astonishingly inventive, shamefully neglected, and often just plain gorgeous.
Franz Krommer: a treasure-trove of unknown gems awaiting discovery.
Dave H
Lately I am enthralled by Welshman Daniel Jones and a relatively obscure
Belgian Romantic composer Guillaume Lekeu's only SQ - he died at 24. I
have also been investigating American composers from the 1950s including
Milton Babbitt and Roger Sessions. I could probably come up with 100
more ...

JH
Andrew Clarke
2018-11-04 01:48:02 UTC
Reply
Permalink
Post by John Hood
Post by 8***@gmail.com
Post by Andrew Clarke
Post by jrsnfld
Whether the author meant it or not, the review denigrates Elgar and British record companies unnecessarily--implying Chandos makes Elgar recordings out of obligation rather than musical or economic merit.
--Jeff
Starting off with the Poms: there's Britten of course, but also Peter Maxwell Davies (The Naxos Quartets, which I haven't heard yet), Peter Racine Fricker (clearly inspired by Bartok), Rubbra as mentioned, Tippett (I adore the 2nd), Lennox Berkeley.
Andrew Clarke
Canberra
Boccherini: historically important, astonishingly inventive, shamefully neglected, and often just plain gorgeous.
Franz Krommer: a treasure-trove of unknown gems awaiting discovery.
Dave H
Lately I am enthralled by Welshman Daniel Jones and a relatively obscure
Belgian Romantic composer Guillaume Lekeu's only SQ - he died at 24. I
have also been investigating American composers from the 1950s including
Milton Babbitt and Roger Sessions. I could probably come up with 100
more ...
JH
I haven't heard any of the eight by Sir Charles Stanford, whose secular music seems to be enjoying a bit of a revival. His chamber music for other ensembles suggests that they might be well worth hearing?

I'd forgotten about Daniel Jones.

Andrew Clarke
Canberra
Oscar
2018-11-04 02:57:26 UTC
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I hope you haven’t forgotten about Grace Williams, Mr. Clarke.
Andrew Clarke
2018-11-04 07:48:19 UTC
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Post by Oscar
I hope you haven’t forgotten about Grace Williams, Mr. Clarke.
I can't forget someone I've never heard of. W.G. Grace, yes. Kenneth Williams, yes. But Grace Williams? Google sheds more light on her career, but there appear to be no string quartets. And this thread is about string quartets, bach.

I forgot to mention the Australian Alfred Hill's enormous output of string quartets, some of which were later rearranged as symphonies. Then there's Peter Sculthorpe's various works for string quartet as well. I think Richard Meale wrote three of them, the first couple atonal but the third in the style of late Beethoven, and none the worse for it.

Andrew Clarke
Canberra
Herman
2018-11-04 14:31:52 UTC
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Post by Andrew Clarke
Post by Oscar
I hope you haven’t forgotten about Grace Williams, Mr. Clarke.
I can't forget someone I've never heard of. W.G. Grace, yes. Kenneth Williams, yes. But Grace Williams? Google sheds more light on her career, but there appear to be no string quartets. And this thread is about string quartets, bach.
I forgot to mention the Australian Alfred Hill's enormous output of string quartets, some of which were later rearranged as symphonies. Then there's Peter Sculthorpe's various works for string quartet as well. I think Richard Meale wrote three of them, the first couple atonal but the third in the style of late Beethoven, and none the worse for it.
Andrew Clarke
Canberra
I cannot help but detect a faint Anglophone preference, although it seems the Usual Suspect i.e. Robert Simpson (15 quartets) has not been mentioned yet.
c***@gmail.com
2018-11-04 14:38:15 UTC
Reply
Permalink
Post by Herman
Post by Andrew Clarke
Post by Oscar
I hope you haven’t forgotten about Grace Williams, Mr. Clarke.
I can't forget someone I've never heard of. W.G. Grace, yes. Kenneth Williams, yes. But Grace Williams? Google sheds more light on her career, but there appear to be no string quartets. And this thread is about string quartets, bach.
I forgot to mention the Australian Alfred Hill's enormous output of string quartets, some of which were later rearranged as symphonies. Then there's Peter Sculthorpe's various works for string quartet as well. I think Richard Meale wrote three of them, the first couple atonal but the third in the style of late Beethoven, and none the worse for it.
Andrew Clarke
Canberra
I cannot help but detect a faint Anglophone preference, although it seems the Usual Suspect i.e. Robert Simpson (15 quartets) has not been mentioned yet.
I don't know how we got here from "Szell Box" and I'm no Anglophile, but I do recommend Benjamin Frankel's five string quartets. In general, a composer who should be much better known.

AC
Andrew Clarke
2018-11-04 21:29:22 UTC
Reply
Permalink
Post by c***@gmail.com
Post by Herman
Post by Andrew Clarke
Post by Oscar
I hope you haven’t forgotten about Grace Williams, Mr. Clarke.
I can't forget someone I've never heard of. W.G. Grace, yes. Kenneth Williams, yes. But Grace Williams? Google sheds more light on her career, but there appear to be no string quartets. And this thread is about string quartets, bach.
I forgot to mention the Australian Alfred Hill's enormous output of string quartets, some of which were later rearranged as symphonies. Then there's Peter Sculthorpe's various works for string quartet as well. I think Richard Meale wrote three of them, the first couple atonal but the third in the style of late Beethoven, and none the worse for it.
Andrew Clarke
Canberra
I cannot help but detect a faint Anglophone preference, although it seems the Usual Suspect i.e. Robert Simpson (15 quartets) has not been mentioned yet.
I don't know how we got here from "Szell Box" and I'm no Anglophile, but I do recommend Benjamin Frankel's five string quartets. In general, a composer who should be much better known.
AC
We got here because I thought that a discussion of string quartets that are rarely heard (but should be) is a much more fruitful topic for discussion than when or if a relatively small number of Americans got their Szell boxes already.

Andrew Clarke
Canberra
Herman
2018-11-05 06:56:49 UTC
Reply
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Post by Andrew Clarke
We got here because I thought that a discussion of string quartets that are rarely heard (but should be) is a much more fruitful topic for discussion than when or if a relatively small number of Americans got their Szell boxes already.
Andrew Clarke
Canberra
Think again.

After all the (com)miseration about the price of the Szell box and how long it took to get it delivered, now it's about the chances of selling the boxes for a profit as soon as the supply has run out.

Yes, these are the same people that complained the box was too expensive at a ridiculously low original price.
m***@gmail.com
2018-11-05 17:58:57 UTC
Reply
Permalink
Post by Herman
Post by Andrew Clarke
We got here because I thought that a discussion of string quartets that are rarely heard (but should be) is a much more fruitful topic for discussion than when or if a relatively small number of Americans got their Szell boxes already.
Andrew Clarke
Canberra
Think again.
After all the (com)miseration about the price of the Szell box and how long it took to get it delivered, now it's about the chances of selling the boxes for a profit as soon as the supply has run out.
Yes, these are the same people that complained the box was too expensive at a ridiculously low original price.
No I didn't complain about that issue - what is wrong with you?? you accuse me of being greedy and now you are accusing me of something I never did?? I never realized you were the judge of morality here. I'll try to remember that in the future.
Frank Berger
2018-11-05 19:01:05 UTC
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Permalink
Post by m***@gmail.com
Post by Herman
Post by Andrew Clarke
We got here because I thought that a discussion of string quartets that are rarely heard (but should be) is a much more fruitful topic for discussion than when or if a relatively small number of Americans got their Szell boxes already.
Andrew Clarke
Canberra
Think again.
After all the (com)miseration about the price of the Szell box and how long it took to get it delivered, now it's about the chances of selling the boxes for a profit as soon as the supply has run out.
Yes, these are the same people that complained the box was too expensive at a ridiculously low original price.
No I didn't complain about that issue - what is wrong with you?? you accuse me of being greedy and now you are accusing me of something I never did?? I never realized you were the judge of morality here. I'll try to remember that in the future.
Herman frequently mistakes simpe discussion for angst.

Mark Zimmer
2018-11-05 15:13:54 UTC
Reply
Permalink
Post by Andrew Clarke
Post by c***@gmail.com
Post by Herman
Post by Andrew Clarke
Post by Oscar
I hope you haven’t forgotten about Grace Williams, Mr. Clarke.
I can't forget someone I've never heard of. W.G. Grace, yes. Kenneth Williams, yes. But Grace Williams? Google sheds more light on her career, but there appear to be no string quartets. And this thread is about string quartets, bach.
I forgot to mention the Australian Alfred Hill's enormous output of string quartets, some of which were later rearranged as symphonies. Then there's Peter Sculthorpe's various works for string quartet as well. I think Richard Meale wrote three of them, the first couple atonal but the third in the style of late Beethoven, and none the worse for it.
Andrew Clarke
Canberra
I cannot help but detect a faint Anglophone preference, although it seems the Usual Suspect i.e. Robert Simpson (15 quartets) has not been mentioned yet.
I don't know how we got here from "Szell Box" and I'm no Anglophile, but I do recommend Benjamin Frankel's five string quartets. In general, a composer who should be much better known.
AC
We got here because I thought that a discussion of string quartets that are rarely heard (but should be) is a much more fruitful topic for discussion than when or if a relatively small number of Americans got their Szell boxes already.
Andrew Clarke
Canberra
I'll put in a plug for Arensky's string quartets. Wonderful stuff.
Andrew Clarke
2018-11-05 12:52:27 UTC
Reply
Permalink
Post by c***@gmail.com
Post by Herman
Post by Andrew Clarke
Post by Oscar
I hope you haven’t forgotten about Grace Williams, Mr. Clarke.
I can't forget someone I've never heard of. W.G. Grace, yes. Kenneth Williams, yes. But Grace Williams? Google sheds more light on her career, but there appear to be no string quartets. And this thread is about string quartets, bach.
I forgot to mention the Australian Alfred Hill's enormous output of string quartets, some of which were later rearranged as symphonies. Then there's Peter Sculthorpe's various works for string quartet as well. I think Richard Meale wrote three of them, the first couple atonal but the third in the style of late Beethoven, and none the worse for it.
Andrew Clarke
Canberra
I cannot help but detect a faint Anglophone preference, although it seems the Usual Suspect i.e. Robert Simpson (15 quartets) has not been mentioned yet.
I don't know how we got here from "Szell Box" and I'm no Anglophile, but I do recommend Benjamin Frankel's five string quartets. In general, a composer who should be much better known.
AC
It turns out that I've already heard a bit of Benjamin Frankel without knowing it. Like many British composers he wrote a lot of film music to make ends meet: one of these films was the immortal 1952 film of Oscar Wilde's 'The Importance of Being Ernest' with Michael Redgrave, Michael Denison, Joan Greenwood, Dorothy Tutin, Margaret Rutherford and the terrifying Dame Edith Evans. The musical demands of this production were not great.

He also wrote a piece of light music called "Carriage and Pair" which I seem to have known all my life: it's included in one of the four discs recorded by Ronald Corp and the New London Orchestra.

Wikipedia notes that performances of his work dried up after his death: the BBC, which ought to know better, seems to have abandoned any performances of the music of his generation altogether, so if there is a dastardly plot by the Brits to promote their own composers over others, regardless of merit, the BBC hasn't heard of it.

Wikipedia notes that CPO are issuing recordings of Frankel, and I'm happy to notice that there is an Australian connection, with the Queensland Orchestra and the Australian SQ responsible for a lot of it. I will definitely be downloading the complete string quartets (Nomos Quartet) and probably more, as I'm interested in British music of this period.

Incidentally Alan Rawsthorne, also a prolific composer for the movies, wrote three string quartets that are also worth listening to. No 'diluted gin and tonic' about him, although like his friend Constant Lambert, rather more water and a lot less alcohol might have improved both his health and his bank balance.

Thanks for reminding me of Frankel,

Andrew Clarke
Canberra
r***@gmail.com
2018-11-05 14:35:32 UTC
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Permalink
http://www.musicweb-international.com/frankel/frankel.htm

Above is a link to Benjamin Frankel, courtesy of MusicWeb. Very interesting, and which informs us that Frankel was a jazz pianist and hot fiddler, as well as band arranger in his earlier career, as well as is more widely known, as a film composer of some merit.

His star glittered more in Germany than in the UK, and via CPO and Werner Albert, who had a strong association with the Queensland SO, the set of 8 symphonies plus some overtures can be got as a set of 4 CDs on CPO.

Strong works, and no more challenging than someone coming to say, Janacek, for the first time.

Well worth a listen, and if not as well known as Walton, RVW, etc., easily on a par artistically, and Frankel definitely deserves better exposure.

Ray Hall, Taree
graham
2018-11-04 15:32:52 UTC
Reply
Permalink
Post by Herman
Post by Andrew Clarke
Post by Oscar
I hope you haven’t forgotten about Grace Williams, Mr. Clarke.
I can't forget someone I've never heard of. W.G. Grace, yes. Kenneth Williams, yes. But Grace Williams? Google sheds more light on her career, but there appear to be no string quartets. And this thread is about string quartets, bach.
I forgot to mention the Australian Alfred Hill's enormous output of string quartets, some of which were later rearranged as symphonies. Then there's Peter Sculthorpe's various works for string quartet as well. I think Richard Meale wrote three of them, the first couple atonal but the third in the style of late Beethoven, and none the worse for it.
Andrew Clarke
Canberra
I cannot help but detect a faint Anglophone preference, although it seems the Usual Suspect i.e. Robert Simpson (15 quartets) has not been mentioned yet.
Nor Stenhammar.
Andrew Clarke
2018-11-04 21:08:20 UTC
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Post by Herman
Post by Andrew Clarke
Post by Oscar
I hope you haven’t forgotten about Grace Williams, Mr. Clarke.
I can't forget someone I've never heard of. W.G. Grace, yes. Kenneth Williams, yes. But Grace Williams? Google sheds more light on her career, but there appear to be no string quartets. And this thread is about string quartets, bach.
I forgot to mention the Australian Alfred Hill's enormous output of string quartets, some of which were later rearranged as symphonies. Then there's Peter Sculthorpe's various works for string quartet as well. I think Richard Meale wrote three of them, the first couple atonal but the third in the style of late Beethoven, and none the worse for it.
Andrew Clarke
Canberra
I cannot help but detect a faint Anglophone preference, although it seems the Usual Suspect i.e. Robert Simpson (15 quartets) has not been mentioned yet.
It all started with John Hood's comment re Rubbra and string quartets that never get played and are rarely, if ever, recorded. so I changed the subject line to "String Quartets we never hear but should", which hardly anybody seems to have noticed. From Rubbra it seemed natural to move onto other British string quartets, not to mention a couple of Australians, e.g. Alfred Hill, the Mendelssohn of the bush.

If you want to widen the discussion to non-Anglophone composers, go right ahead. Nobody's stopping you.

Andrew Clarke
Canberra
Andrew Clarke
2018-11-04 01:41:12 UTC
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Post by 8***@gmail.com
Post by Andrew Clarke
Post by jrsnfld
Whether the author meant it or not, the review denigrates Elgar and British record companies unnecessarily--implying Chandos makes Elgar recordings out of obligation rather than musical or economic merit.
--Jeff
Starting off with the Poms: there's Britten of course, but also Peter Maxwell Davies (The Naxos Quartets, which I haven't heard yet), Peter Racine Fricker (clearly inspired by Bartok), Rubbra as mentioned, Tippett (I adore the 2nd), Lennox Berkeley.
Andrew Clarke
Canberra
Boccherini: historically important, astonishingly inventive, shamefully neglected, and often just plain gorgeous.
Franz Krommer: a treasure-trove of unknown gems awaiting discovery.
Dave H
Actually, Dave, we're talking string quartets here (see the amended subject line) but to stretch a point (by one chair) I'm impressed by Boccherini's string quintets with 2 cellos. (OT but the 12 cello concertos are great as well.)

Andrew Clarke
Canberra
Herman
2018-11-03 03:09:02 UTC
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Post by Andrew Clarke
Is Dvorak a great composer? Yes. Are the string quintets great Dvorak? IMO, no.
Hell, yes they are great.
m***@gmail.com
2018-10-29 14:35:23 UTC
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Post by Herman
Post by m***@gmail.com
If you can't take the criticism, stop posting!!! Its that simple
Lets not talk this way. RCMR has a pretty solid history of driving out any poster that knows anything.
Agreed. The subject at hand is hardly substantial enough to warrant much emotion, and DH seems to be the one here who is aware of that.
Paul
2018-10-26 01:39:24 UTC
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Post by Oscar
<< Go ahead. Pull out any disc at random. Chances are you’ll be holding a reference recording for the work in question. Based on the recorded evidence, George Szell was simply the finest conductor of the 20th century. No one else approached him... [the rest behind pay wall] >>
That goes way too far, but the box is a wonderful achievement and puts Szell's art in the best possible light.
m***@gmail.com
2018-10-26 03:44:18 UTC
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Post by Paul
Post by Oscar
<< Go ahead. Pull out any disc at random. Chances are you’ll be holding a reference recording for the work in question. Based on the recorded evidence, George Szell was simply the finest conductor of the 20th century. No one else approached him... [the rest behind pay wall] >>
That goes way too far, but the box is a wonderful achievement and puts Szell's art in the best possible light.
Of course it does it was a stupid remark
Frank Berger
2018-10-26 12:59:37 UTC
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Post by Paul
Post by Oscar
<< Go ahead. Pull out any disc at random. Chances are you’ll be holding a reference recording for the work in question. Based on the recorded evidence, George Szell was simply the finest conductor of the 20th century. No one else approached him... [the rest behind pay wall] >>
That goes way too far, but the box is a wonderful achievement and puts Szell's art in the best possible light.
Of course it does it was a stupid remark
That comment goes way to far.
Frank Berger
2018-10-26 13:00:45 UTC
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Post by Frank Berger
Post by m***@gmail.com
Post by Paul
Post by Oscar
<< Go ahead. Pull out any disc at random. Chances are you’ll be
holding a reference recording for the work in question. Based on the
recorded evidence, George Szell was simply the finest conductor of
the 20th century. No one else approached him... [the rest behind pay
wall] >>
That goes way too far, but the box is a wonderful achievement and
puts Szell's art in the best possible light.
Of course it does it was a stupid remark
That comment goes way to far.
too
Tassilo
2018-10-27 23:42:01 UTC
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Post by Oscar
George Szell was simply the finest conductor of the 20th century. No one else approached him...
What B-- Sh--.

-dg
Jon Bell
2018-10-19 11:13:29 UTC
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Post by Bob Harper
Mine arrived in today's mail.My wife said it would take me a year to get
through it. She's probably right :) But it will be time well spent.
According to the "last played" field in iTunes, I started to listen to
mine on Aug. 21. (I was on the road when it arrived from Amazon on Aug.
11.) I'm now at about disc 80, so I probably have about three weeks to
go. It's definitely been great meeting "old friends and acquaintances"
again.
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