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Hungarians had a great influence on conducting.
on 19 July 2014
To understand Fricsay (1914-1963) we should look at the Hungarian musical background. Nikisch (1855-1922) the Hungarian conductor changed the profession from that of the image of a timebeater. He influenced the modern view of a subjective but authoritative orchestral educator, who was able to bring out all the musical substance from the score and the orchestra through long rehearsals. Nikisch was the mentor of fellow countryman Reiner who taught Bernstein. Before this, Reiner (1888-1963) won scholarships to train at the Budapest Academy of music, where he was taught by the great Hungarian composer Bela Bartok, whose work he championed.(REVIEWS BELOW) Also, Nikisch inspired the imagination of the young Hungarians, Szell, Ormandy, Fricsay (who died aged 48 from cancer), Dorati, Kertesz( drowned at 43),and Solti. However, Nikisch was the only role model of Furtwangler who stated " I learned the sound from Nikisch, how to work the sound out." He inspired, Abbado, Barenboim and Thielemann. Not forgetting Monteux, who was the mentor of the American Zinman. Even Von Karajan claimed a connection to Nikisch.
To fully understand the influence that these Hungarians had on conducting, I bought the DGG Berlin Philharmonic Centenary edition, so I could obtain the CD of Nikisch's 5th Symphony. Also Reiner's RCA, Fricsay's orchestrial recordings and Solti's Wagner Box sets. Along with the 107 CD Furtwangler(1886-1954) Legacy Set. Plus CDs of Szell and Dorati. But what of Fricsay. He went to the same music Academy as Reiner, and was taught composition by Kodaly and Piano by Bela Bartok. Fricsay also championed both these Hungarian composers, and his CDs of them are classics. Fricsay created a lean string sound and conducted the music with intensity. He was always listening, while he conducted with his hands, not with a baton. Reiner stated "a conductor needed to live a piece, heart and soul; he must feel intensely the music that he is conducting." This sums up Fricsay's approach to conducting. Fricsay illustrates how these Hungarian conductors put their heart and soul into their music making.
The box that holds the 45 CD's is made from tough cardboard, as is the slip case that covers it. The box is smaller then usual. The colours overall are white, red and grey. The tough slip case has on the back, wording against a white background; CD numbers, composers, music to be played, plus soloists. The box has a piece of protective foam at the back. The CD Sleeves are made from thin cardboard, and the CDs are easy to get out of the sleeves without splitting them. On the front there is the original picture, plus behind, the CD number, composer, music, track numbers, soloist and orchestra. The sleeves are very original, which can cause confusion. There are bonus pieces on many CDs, so above the front sleeve picture is the music to be played, but it may not be on the disc. For example, on CD 14 it states, De Falla's Nights in the gardens of Spain. However, it has been removed to CD 20. Look at the index in the booklet, if you become confused. This only happens a few times. Readers demanded original covers, now they have them. The CD is red, with CD number, composer, pieces to be played, soloists and orchestra. You cannot get lost.
The booklet has track listing. That is, composers, music to be played, soloists and orchestra, plus dates recorded. Pictures of the conductor. Essay's in English, French and German. Ferenc Fricsay-A personal view by Tully Porter. Ferenc Fricsay's partnership with DGG by Elsa Schiller. On tour with Fricsay by Yehudi Menuhin. A index with composer, music and CD number. If you wish to know more about Fricsay, you can download more information, there is a password in the booklet. Now to the sound. Although I have searched to see if there are any details about what has been done to renew the sound, I have found none. However, I am sure it has been remastered. On my new CD player, the sound is good, I have no complaints and I own many box sets. The sound seems the same as those with technical jargon. You may wonder why I give you, the reader, so much information. So you can make up your own mind whether you wish to buy the set or not. Personally, I like this box set.
I shall go across the page. Firstly, the composer, then recording date, whether Stereo or Mono, Music, soloist and orchestra, plus remarks from me.
BARTOK: (1961)STEREO. Piano concerto's Nos 1,(1960) 2 & 3. Geza Anda- Piano. Radio -Symphonie-orchestra Berlin. (1951) MONO. Violin Concerto No 2. Tibor Varga-Violin. Berlin Phil. (1954)Two Portraits. Rudolf Schulz. (1953)Dance suite. RIAS- Symphonie-Orchester Berlin.(1957) MONO. Concerto for Orchestra. Radio-symphonie Orchester Berlin.(1954) Music for Strings, percussion and Celesta. RIAS Symphonie-Orchester Berlin. (Grand Prix du Disque-Paris.) (1953)Divertimento for string orchestra. (1955) Piano concerto No 3. Monique Haas. RIAS-Symphonie- Orchester Berlin. STEREO. Rhapsody for Piano and Orchestra. Geza Anda-Piano. Radio-Symphonie-Orchester Berlin. The piano concerto recordings are rather special. Both Anda and Fricsay show a feeling for the music. It is very urgent. Fricsay has a total identifcation with Bartok, his former teacher. He uderstands its idiom and creates an authentic atmosphere. BEETHOVEN: (1960) STEREO. Piano Concerto No 3. Annie Fischer- Piano. Bayerisches Staatsorchester.(1961).Personally, I like the playing by Fischer with Fricsay. The largo is beautifully done. Concerto for piano, violin and cello in c Major. Anda-piano. Schneiderhan-violin. Fournier-Cello. Radio-symphonie-Orchester. This is very well played. With three great artists this should be so. Berlin.(1953) MONO. Symphony No 1.Dances in a Mozart manner. No 8. Berlin Phil. Swift tempi, as Beethoven should be played.(1960) STEREO. No 3 'Eroica'.Quick tempi and energetically played.(1958) MONO.Leonore 3 overture. Intense and swift tempi. HANDEL: Harp Concerto in B flat major. BEETHOVEN:(1962) STEREO. Symphony No 5 too slow. & 7. Gradually builds up to a climax in the last movement. Berlin Phil.(1958) STEREO. Overture to Egmont. Symphony No 9. Seefried, Forrester, Haefliger, Fischer-Dieskau. Berlin Phil. Full of vitality. The adagio is beautiful. The 5th symphony is the only one that Fricsay has made a mess of, the rest are worth while owning.
BERLIOZ:(1951-1953) MONO. Le Carnaval Romain.Orchestre Lamoureux,Paris. La Damnation de Faust. Ballet des Sylphes. RIAS Symphonie-orchester Berlin. March hongroise Berlin Phil. BORODIN: In the Steppes of central Asia. Prince Igor. Polovtsian Dances. RIAS- Symphonie- Orchester Berlin. MUSSORGSKY: Night on the bare Mountain. RIAS_symphonie- Orchester Berlin. (1960) STEREO. GOUNOD: Faust Ballet Music. Waltz. The mono works are superb.(1950-1957) MONO. ROSSINI: Overtures. La Scala di Seta. Berlin Phil. Semiramide. Il Signor Bruschino. RIAS-Symphonie- Orchester Berlin. L' italiana in Algeri. Berlin Phil. Tancredi. La gazza ladra. Il barbiere di Siviglia. Il viaggio a Riems. Swift tempi. RIAS- Symphonie- orchester Berlin. BIZET: Carmen suite. Ballet music. Radio- symphonie-orchester Berlin.Carmen suite shows what a fine opera conductor he was.
(1951) MONO .BLACHER: Variations on a theme of Paganini. Piano Concerto No 1. (Final) Rondo. Allegro. Gerty Herzog piano. (1956) LIEBERMANN: Furioso for orchestra. RIAS Symphonie-Orchester Berlin.(1963)STEREO. VON EINEM: Ballade.(1962) Piano Concerto. Gerty Herzog Piano.Adagio is memorable. Radio-symphonie-orchester Berlin.(1950- 1957) MONO. EGK: Little Abraxas Suite. French Suite after Rameau for large orchestra. VON EINEM: Capriccio for orchestra. HENZE: Ballet variations. FORTNER: Symphony. Finale. LIEBERMANN: Suite on Swiss folk songs. RIAS- Symphonie-Orchester Berlin. (1950- 1956) MONO. HINDEMITH: Symphonic Dances. HARTMANN: Adagio Appassionato. Final from Symphony No 2. Symphony No 6. VON EINEM: Dantons Tod. MARTIN: Petite Symphonie Concertante. RIAS Symphonie-Orchester Berlin. Fricsay captures the intensity of the music and treats the pieces as if they were classics, which they are.
(1961)(STEREO) BRAHMS: Piano concerto no 2. Anda -piano. Berlin Phil. Anda brings all his Romantic passion to this music. Fricsay's conducting produces an emotional background for Anda's conception of this fine piece. (1962) Concerto for Violin and cello in A minor. Schneiderhan violin. Starker cello. Radio symphonie-orchester Berlin. This work still sounds fresh and warm. Fricsay shapes the work splendidly. (1957) MONO. FRANCK: Symphonic Variations. Margrit Weber.(1958) BRAHMS: Variations on a theme by Haydn. Radio-symphonie-Orchester Berlin. Symphony No 2. Vienna Phil.The 4th Movement flows like Furtwangler,whom he heard in his student days.Fricsay builds up the tension. (1953) MONO. DVORAK: Violin concerto in A minor. Johanna Martzy violin.(1959) STEREO. BRUCH: Violin concerto No 1. Morini's tender performance of the slow movement is memorable. GLAZUNOV Violin concerto in A minor. Both with Erica Morini. Radio-symphonie-Orchester Berlin.(1956-1958) MONO. DEBUSSY: Prelude A L' apres-midi D'un faune.Fricsay has recreated the sound world of Debussy. RIAS-symphonie-orchester Berlin. Danse sacree et Danse profane. Zabaleta -Harp. Radio- symphonie-Orchester Berlin. DUKAS: L'Apprenti sorcier. Orchestre Lamoureux,Paris. RAVEL: Introduction et Allegro. Zabaleta-Harp. Radio- symphonie-Orchester berlin. La Valse. Bolero. RIAS- Symphonie-orchester Berlin.(1953) MONO. DVORAK: Symphony No 9. RIAS-Symphonie- Orchester Berlin. Very Swift, not as emotional as the 1960 version. By then Fricsay was ill with cancer, from which he was to die a few years later. SMETANA: Ma Vlast. The Moldau. From Bohemia's Wood and fields. (1960) STEREO. Symphony No 9. SMETANA: Ma Vlast. The Moldau. Berlin Phil. LIZST: Les Preludes. Radio- Symphonie-orchester Berlin. Liszt being Hungarian, brought out the best in Fricsay.
(1957) MONO. DE FALLA: Nights in the Gardens of Spain. FRANCAIX: Concertino for Piano and Orchestra. Radio-Symphonie-Orchester Berlin. Honegger: Concertino for piano and orchestra. RIAS- symphonie-Orchester Berlin.(1961) STEREO TCHEREPNIN: 10 Bagatelles for Piano and orchestra. RACHMANINOV: Rhapsody on a theme of Paganini. Radio-Symphonie-Orchester Berlin. Margrit Weber piano. (1954) MONO. PROKOFIEV: Symphony No 1. 'Classical'.(1958) GLIERE: Symphony No 3.RIAS- Symphonie-Orchester Berlin. "There is no question of the composer offending the rules of Soviet realism". Penguin Guide 1977. Very droll. (1952-1955)(MONO) HAYDN: Symphony No 44.' Mourning'. No 48. 'Marie Theresa' No 95. No 98. No 100. 'Military' No 101.'The Clock'. RIAS- Symphony-Orchester Berlin. The slow movements have an inner quality that few conductors achieve.(STEREO) KODALY: Hary Janos Suite. Symphony in C major.Radio-Symphony-Orchester Berlin. Dances of Marosszek. Dances of Galanta. Hary Janos Suite. Fricsay puts his passion and intensity into these Hungarian pieces, by his former teacher.
MENDELSSOHN: Violin Concerto. Schneiderhan violin. Radio -symphonie-orchester Berlin. LIZST: Hungarian Rhapsody No 1 & 4. SARESATE: Zacharias- Violin. HUBAY:Hejre Kati. Zacharias -Violin. Schneiderhan and Fricsay, combine to create a new look at a old war horse.(1961) STEREO. MOZART: Symphony No 29.(1960) No 39. Maurerische Trauermusik. Adagio and Fugue in C minor. Radio-symphony- Orchestra. (1960) STEREO. No 40.(1961) No 41.'Jupiter'.(1960) Serenade in G major. 'Eine kleine Nachtmusik.' MONO. No 29. No 35. 'Haffner'. No 41. 'Jupiter'. RIAS- Symphonie- Orchester Berlin. (1958)(MONO) Clarinet Concerto in A major. Geuser Clarinet. Piano Concerto No 20. Clara Haskil piano. (1960)STEREO. Concert Rondo for piano and orchestra in D major. Concert rondo for piano and orchestra in A major. Annie Fischer piano Bayerisches Staatsorchester. (1956) MONO. Piano Concerto No 19 Berlin Phil.(1957) Piano Concerto No 27. Bayerisches Staatsorchester. Fricsay's version of Mozart is worth the price of this set alone. He seems to capture the spirit of the composer.
(1955) MONO. ROSSINI: arr Respighi. La Boutique Fantasque RIAS Symphonie- Orchestra Berlin. The fun in this suite comes alive in Fricsay's conducting. (1957)RIMSKY-KORSAKOV: Scheherazade. Rudolf Schulz violin. Radio- Symphonie- orch Berlin.There is an intensity about this work that Fricsay brings to the fore. Here the conductor allows the music to flow in all its Russian glory.(1958) MONO. SCHUBERT: Symphony No 8. "Unfinished".(1955) SCHUMANN: Symphony No 1 "Spring." As the work should be played, quick and in the great romantic tradition.(1958) VON WEBER: Clarinet Concerto No I. Geuser-Clarinet. Radio-Symphonie- Orchestra Berlin.(1961) STEREO. JOHANN STRAUSS 11: Die Fledermaus Overture. Annen Polka. Kaiser-Walzer. Tritsch-Tratsch-Polka. JOHANN STRAUSS 1: Radetzky Marsch. JOHANN STRAUSS 11: Ander Schonen, Blauen Donau. Eljen a Magyar!. G'schicten Aus den Wienerwald. (1950-1953) MONO. JOHANN STRAUSS 11: An der schonen, Blauen Donau. Wiener Blut. Perpetuum Mobile. JOHANN STRAUSS 11 & JOSEF STRAUSS: Pizzicato -Polka.Berlin Phil. JOHANN STRAUSS: Die Fledermaus: Overture. Die Zigeunerbaron: overture. Fruhlingsstimmen. Rosen aus dem Suden. Morgenblatter. Annen-Polka. Tritsch-Tratsch-Polka. JOHANN STRAUSS 1 Radetzky-Marsch. RIAS -Symphonie- Orchester Berlin. These waltz's suit Fricsay style of conducting perfectly, bringing to the fore his rhythmic sense which could make the orchestra dance. MONO. RICHARD STRAUSS:Don Juan. Duett- Concertino for Clarinet, Bassoon, strings and harp.Geuser Clarinet, Fugmann Bassoon. (1957) Burleske in D minor for piano and orchestra. Margrit Weber. RIAS- Symphonie- orchester Berlin. (1951) Till Eulenspiegels Lustige Streiche. Berlin Phil.
STRAVINSKY:(1954) MONO. The Rite of Spring. (1954) Petrouchka: RIAS- Symphonie- Orchester Berlin.(1963) STEREO. Movements for piano and orchestra. Margrit Weber piano.(1951) MONO. Capriccio for Piano and orchestra. Haas piano. Divertimento from the Fairy's Kiss.(1961) STEREO. Invitation to the dance. Konzertstuck in F minor. Margrit Weber. (1952) MONO.TCHAIKOVSKY: Symphony No 4. (1958) Swan Lake Suite. The sleeping beauty Waltz. The Nutcracker suite. Waltz of the flowers. Eugene Onegin waltz. Radio symphonie orchester-Berlin. Fricsay had a sense of the dance in his conducting, as these ballet pieces show. (1950) MONO.Symphony No 5. Berlin Phil. 1812 overture. (1953)MONO. Symphony No 6. Berlin phil. Fricsay had a feeling for the 4th-6th symphonies.With often fast tempi. The last movement of the 6th symphony captures the pathos. Violin concerto. Yehudi Menuhin-Violin. RIAS-symphonie-Orchester Berlin.(1953) MONO. Serennade for strings in C major. RIAS -Symphony- Orchester Berlin.STEREO. Symphony No 6. Radio- symphony- Orchester Berlin. (1952-1960)MONO & STEREO. VERDI: Overtures, Preludes and Ballets. PONCHIELLI: Dance of the Hours. Very quick tempi, with sheer emotional music making. Verdi unlike you have ever heard him. No wonder he was a fine opera conductor. (1964)MONO. FRICSAY at rehearsals. Ma Vlast The Moldau with a performance as well. Hope you like this set as I did.