I hope this group will welcome from time to time discussions of conductors, as in some circles they are almost the auteurs of the work, usually those who get the rosettes in the Penguin Guide.  But if you've ever heard the last concert of Bernstein (Britten's "Sea Interludes" and Beethoven's Seventh, you know that Lenny had his groupies, and boy do they gush and cheer the finale.  From all I see and hear of Duhamel I suspect that we'll be hearing a lot about "rock star" conductors (yet the proof is in the playing and he does bring new life to old warhorses).  Who is better with Berlioz, Davis or Gardiner?  What might the Spanish conductor Argenta have become but for an automobile wreck?  There are a lot of possibilities.

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I remember once watching Osawa at Tanglewood. He moved so gracefully, almost fluid. How about the Rachmaninoff Piano Concerto #2 with soloist Peter Serkin.

What a night. I live in Florida now for the last 20 years. No mountains, so the night and setting in the Bershires will always stay with me.
I can tell you this re: conductors: Welser-Möst knows his way around opera ... but do not, I repeat, DO NOT trust him with Ravel or Debussy! A year and change ago, he ATTEMPTED to tackle Debussy's Iberia - it was stiff, had no fluidity or life - the man had NO CLUE.

Now, on the other hand, I ALSO heard his predecessor, Christoph von Dohnanyi take on Ravel's Daphnis & Chloe Suite No. 2 - he OWNED it ... with sforzandi at the end that would blow you back three rows!

Re: Ozawa - can't say I have a lot of his work in my collection, but he did a Scheherazade which was DELICIOUS ... or I thought so, anyway!

Oh, and thinking of Bernstein - his Mahler 2nd ... the FIRST one he did ... which is now available on the Bernstein Century series on Sony/Columbia - don't hesitate, don't THINK ... GET IT!
No thanks. Mahler bores me to tears. Much ado about nothing.
To each his own. I sat through a performance of the Bruckner 8th a couple weeks ago. Decent performance? Yeah, I suppose so, but there isn't one melody I could carry away from it.

And that's the way it is.
-- Walter Cronkite
You want melodies, try pop.
I find melodies all over Prokofiev, Shostakovich, even Lutoslawski ... never mind something like Debussy's Image for Piano ... but Bruckner? I find him euphonious, but in no way melodic ... and because of that, in no way memorable.

Brahms, Beethoven ... hell, even Liszt (whom I don't care for much at all) develop MELODIES ... as did Mahler with his Symphonies One and Two (and anyone who doesn't like the subtitle, "The Resurrection" can go fish!). Maybe I need more exposure to Bruckner to get him ... but so far ... no, no grade.
James and Loren, I'm not absolutely sure about the following, it was a long time ago. I believe I heard Lenny say, " the study of classical music leaves off with Mahler and Bruckner."

Does this seem plausible?

Maybe he meant that they were the last composers and music went to jazz and pop. I
I've also heard it said (I think as sort of a general aphorism) that you either like Mahler and hate Bruckner or vice versa. [shrug] Mahler I like in places; Bruckner maybe here and there ... but I'll take Prokofiev and Shostakovich over the both of 'em!
Again, to each his own. I rate Mahler higher than the three others.

Boulez once compared Mahler and Shostakovich using an olive oil metaphor: he said than Shostakovitch is like a "fifteenth cold pressed" Mahler. Also my opinion ;-)
Exactly what a "'fifteenth cold pressed' Mahler" is, I haven't the foggiest. I WILL admit to being a HUGE Prokofiev fan in my youth, but the more I learn about Shostakovich (with the piece that PBS and Michael Tilson-Thomas did on his 5th Symphony adding to it), the more I feel like Dmitri is likely the most outstanding Russian composer of the 20th century and one of the finest classical composers of all time.
I think Lenny was full of shit. Modern music began with the Vienese School and spread west by Schoernberg; but it was Berg, Alban Berg, who almost singlehandedly invented modern music (taking it almost fully out of the hands of the Romantics -- Schoernberg was unique). Had Berg not come along, we could have avoided all those angst-ridden 1950s movie soundtracks, and especially the SciFi and horror genre scores.
Don't forget Debussy and Stravinsky. While not as radical as the Viennese School, they were still great innovators. 1913 (Le Sacre du Printemps, Jeux) was a milestone of modern music.




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