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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Lenny may have been "full of shit," but he engaged more people with his "Young People's Concerts," never mind his Harvard Lectures than any one before him, as it comes to the matter of bringing ordinary people to MUSIC and making the structure and sense of music more SENSIBLE. To dare to REACH OUT to engage people about classical music is important and necessary, especially in a day and age where public schools cut such teaching out without so much as a second thought. Tilson-Thomas looks like he was TRYING to do the same with his "Keeping Score" series, but I think he may have been shooting too high with it. That said, I STILL think his piece on the Shostokovich 5th is nothing short of BRILLIANT.

That completely aside, one of the things I'm PROUDEST about regarding The Cleveland Orchestra is how they reach out to the community at large, bringing school children from throughout Cuyahoga County to Severance Hall to teach them about classical music. They've been doing it since I was in 4th grade, 50 years ago. It left an indelible impression on me, and it's one of the reasons I have the appreciation I have for classical music NOW.
I've always had a soft spot for Korngold, speaking of movie music. I once saw on The Classical Music Showcase this scene from Die Tote Stadt this captivating duet with a bare-chested soprano. With all the porno on the Internet, I found this one of the most erotic works of art I've ever experienced.
When I think of Korngold, my instant association is The Sea Hawk, the swashbuckler with Errol Flynn. As soundtracks go, that one smokes!
Speaking of Lenny, his Berlin Wall Beethoven Ninth has to be the worst major conducting of that I have ever heard. I remember the first time I heard it on the radio. It was so bad I had to listen to the end to find out who was responsible.


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