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Posted on 3 Jun 2012 10:36:08 BDT
I haven't followed this discussion, but just noticed a review of a book about Szell:

http://www.fanfaremag.com/content/view/48055/10253/

GEORGE SZELL: A Life of Music. By Michael Charry. Urbana, Chicago and Springfield: U of Illinois Press, 2011. 412 pp. Hardback. 32 illustrations. $35

Posted on 3 Jun 2012 15:23:59 BDT
Piso Mojado says:
Thanks, Rasmus. I have that Szell biography. I believe Austen Biss has read it, also perhaps others here. Charry was assistant conductor to Szell at Cleveland for some years and is good on Szell's American career, less good on his European one.

In reply to an earlier post on 3 Jun 2012 18:27:45 BDT
Rasmus & Piso - thanks Piso. All I would say is that it is immaculately researched and contains invaluable info but it is rather a dry read. If you are a Szell fan, don't hesitate, buy it. But have a good book handy for bedtimes.

Austen

Posted on 3 Jun 2012 19:28:55 BDT
JayJayDee says:
I seem to remember that the Szell 10th (rump) came out with the Sixth at mid price from CBS in poorly transferred sound on vinyl. It was the first time I heard the Purgatorio! Second time was Wyn Morris (still ANNOYINGLY awaiting CD release, perhaps because it has no available coupling from Philips).
And I have found it hard to shake off the initial disappointment at the pinched sound quality of that CBS pressing. Mahler, more than most, benefits richly from exemplary recording.

In reply to an earlier post on 3 Jun 2012 20:20:40 BDT
Yes, you are right. That was the first appearance of the broadcast performance of the sixth. The subsequent 'Great Performances' issue had vastly improved sound. That's for the 6th. The 10th has always sounded great to my ears. When it was first issued on Epic, it had that odd coupling with Walton.

In reply to an earlier post on 3 Jun 2012 20:26:26 BDT
Last edited by the author on 4 Jun 2012 03:23:58 BDT
John Ruggeri says:
I saw George Szell only once @ 1967 when he took the Cleveland Orchestra to my College,
Villanova University, in PA - USA. The concert was given in the gym and it was a Knockout
performance of Beethoven's 7th Symphony.

What a great conductor in everything I have heard and his Brahms solo or with solists is always special for me.

In reply to an earlier post on 3 Jun 2012 20:43:28 BDT
I am reading it in conjunction with Trollope..............such bliss

Posted on 3 Jun 2012 21:05:04 BDT
JayJayDee says:
John,
Szell's Beethoven 7th - the apotheosis of the dance - in a gym.
How perfect!
And great for aerobics.

In reply to an earlier post on 3 Jun 2012 23:52:31 BDT
John Ruggeri says:
JayJayDee says:

John,
Szell's Beethoven 7th - the apotheosis of the dance - in a gym.
How perfect!
And great for aerobics.
====================
Friend

Now I understand why there were cheerleaders in the last movement;-)

Regards-John

Posted on 9 Jun 2012 15:40:04 BDT
What a wonderful thread about the genius musician George Szell who I was privileged to meet briefly in Salzburg in 1969 at the rehearsal of his VPO Beethoven concert (now on Orfeo). Contributions from Paul Myers make it especially interesting, and thank you Paul for your white lie which gave us the sublime Szell Mahler 4.
Commenting on earlier posts I would point out that the Berlin Das Lied referred to could not have been recorded there as the Orchestra were not in Berlin on the date given. I suspect it is from Severance Hall.And yes Janet Baker performed the work with Szell and it is preserved in one of the Orchestra's own boxed sets. Also stunning are recordings of the Verdi Requiem with Baker et al. I have heard a Severance Hall tape and a Carnegie Hall CD, the former is clearer in impact. I agree with the post about the live Cesar Frank symphony with the NYPO, a knockout.
Bruckner 8 has been mentioned and versions by the Concertgebouw and Cleveland referred to, but there is also a superb live VPO version available (from 1968) in excellent sound. I notice also that a live Szell Bruckner 3 video(from 1966) has been put up on YouTube, a remarkable display of Szell at work.
I disagree with the posts on Szell stereo Italian symphony. Described to me in London by a visiting Orchestral member who played at the recording as a miracle, for me this is exquisite, scintillating, songful, with superb balance and subtle rubatos and amazing articulation.The coupling however I prefer in the Concertgebouw version.
Other notable items, a superb live Pathetique from the Blossom Centre, a YouTube Blossom Mahler 4 with Schwarzkopf, and an astonishing, even by Szell standards, Sibelius 2nd from Tokyo, his last recording.This morning Szell's 1962 version of the Dvorak concerto with Fournier was first choice in the Building a Library series on BBC radio three, also chosen by France Musique critics a couple of years back, a classic of the Gramophone.
Strange then that Szell (and indeed Stokowski) did not make it into the Gramophone magazine's recently announced Hall of Fame (top 50 ). As Sir Neville Cardus said, Szell was the most commanding and trustworthy of all conductors since Toscanini.

In reply to an earlier post on 9 Jun 2012 15:46:45 BDT
Piso Mojado says:
Bravo, David Fenton!

In reply to an earlier post on 11 Jun 2012 09:36:10 BDT
Bravo ! Bravo ! David Fenton.

In reply to an earlier post on 11 Jun 2012 09:44:46 BDT
Mr.Fenton - thank you for your most heartwarming post on the genius of George Szell. I do not have time now for a considered reply, just off for some grandchild sitting. But I look forward to it on my return in a couple of days. Just to say quickly, I envy you, I wish I had met him, to talk to. But Paul Myers, a very close friend and near neighbour is a source of wonderful Szell stories. Maybe my family will send me to Cleveland and a live concert by the orchestra on their home territory for my approaching 75th birthday. Well, it doesn't hurt to dream. A bientot.

Austen Biss
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