Too bad most of his stuff is in mono. I think that I would tend to go with Karajan. It's hard to find a bad recording that he made. If his recording isn't great, then it is at least middle of the road. I'm looking at getting his recording of Bruckner 7 with Vienna. That recording goes for astronomical prices on ebay, but you can find newer pressings on heavy vinyl made from the original masters. I recently discovered that recording, and so far it's the only one that I prefer to my CSO/Barenboim.
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I find that there are certain conductors that younger classical collectors just don't know about. They get some idea in their head about it being "old fashioned" and they don't even consider them. Stokowski accomplished more than anyone else, with a career that spanned 70 years. He was just as vital a conductor in his 90s as he was in his 30s. He single handedly established classical music as a mainstream force in America and conducted debut recordings of composers and works that are still considered cutting edge. There is absolutely nothing "old fashioned" about Stokowski.
Stokowski has a huge stereo catalog on both RCA and Columbia. Add to that the BBC recordings and you have a stereo recorded legacy large enough to rival most current conductors... and that's not even counting his mono catalog which dwarfs most current conductors in both size and breadth of repetoire.
I find that there are certain conductors that younger classical collectors just don't know about. They get some idea in their head about it being "old fashioned" and they don't even consider them. Stokowski accomplished more than anyone else, with a career that spanned 70 years. He was just as vital a conductor in his 90s as he was in his 30s. He single handedly established classical music as a mainstream force in America and conducted debut recordings of composers and works that are still considered cutting edge. There is absolutely nothing "old fashioned" about Stokowski
Since I started listening to vinyl a few months ago, I have been leaning towards older conductors. I finally have a chance to listen to older recordings that don't sound terrible because of bad digital conversions. I popped in my Bruckner 4 with Klemperer a while back and realized that I can listen to older recordings. I'm listening to Stokowski's Beethoven 9 with London right now because I can. Not my favorite recording, but again, because I can. I was lucky to find some Walter recordings of Mahler in the clearance section at half priced books in almost perfect condition. I'd love to find a copy of him conducting the 5th.
Regarding Stokowski, I've always enjoyed his conducting. His interpretations are almost exactly what I wish to hear, but the cd's sounded so bad that I avoided them. I have a fair amount of conducting experience, mostly concert band, but I like to think that if I had the opportunity, I would conduct the piece similar to him. I never thought of any conductors being old fashioned. My problem with some of the older conductors is that several of them like all of their louder music to be very "marcato" while I tend to prefer the Solti style of a heavy attack with a sustained note. I remember a while back trying Wand's Bruckner 4 and just not agreeing at all with his style. I'm not trying to take away from his genius, but his interpretations just did not align with mine
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Zoiks Solti, Berlin. Considering some of the recordings he put out of Vienna I have a hard time putting him in the goosestepping crowd. Perhaps his later stuff in America was a little stilted and lifeless, but early Solti had an almost magical flow.
I think most of my approach stems from my concert band background playing tuba. I prefer symphonic music, but my earliest musical training was in concert band. We had to play at least one march every year for the competitions. At least in college, we got to avoid playing too many marches. I still think my preference changes from composer to composer, and sometimes I like both. I've got both the '63 BPO/Karajan and the VPO/Bohm on vinyl, and I like both of them. Well, slight preference to Karajan.
My favorite recording of Mahler's 5 is NYP/Mehta, and his training came in Vienna. I know that a lot of people prefer Berlin for Mahler, but not many European brass sections can reach the volumes that I think is needed for Mahler.
Thank you for passing on your knowledge to me. I consider myself fairly educated in most aspects of classical music, but I always enjoy conversing with somebody with more experience and knowledge
Haven't heard that. The Svetlanov I have is from his Soviet days as recorded by Melodiya.
Just how divided we can get on opinions was pointed out clearly in the last week. In BBC Music magazine this month there is an article about the best recording of the Tchaikovsky 6th. They listed the Furtwangler as one of the top choices, essential listenting. Just the week before, on Classics Today, editor David Hurwitz listed it in the infamous CDs From Hell. Personally, I find it a thrilling performance, never mind the dated sound.
Also, one set to avoid surprisingly: Neeme Jarvi on BIS. Just too cool, reserved and laid back.
Here is the Svetlanov. It's part of a big series, all in great sound. Sventanov was working to record all the major Russian repetoire. His Miyaskovsky set is desert island material.
Tchaikovsky isn't really in Furtwangler's range. He plays it like Bruckner... all contrasts and drama, with none of the Russian passion. Kind of like a fire without flames. The sound quality on that is just middlin' if they are talking about the 1938 and not some other version. I'd never put that on any top 10 list for Tchaikovsky... not even in the top 50. There are so many good Pathetiques, no need to bother with that one. Must have been a Furtie worshipper who wrote that for the BBC.
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Thanks for the tip. I had never heard Miakovsky before, but I love the other Russian greats, and a good symphony generally, so I went ahead and just picked up the complete symphonies with Svetlanov. I'm only on the first of the 16 (!) discs so far, but I'm liking it very much. Looking forward to the journey!
I love getting a box set of an artist I've never heard and diving into their world. With an open mind (and the cash to spare) some great enjoyment can be had...
I don't find him boring - just unpredictable. I think his early Chandos work was generally excellent, at times thrilling. His Glazunov set on Orfeo is still the best overall. Some of his opera recordings (Flaming Angel, Mazeppa) were brilliant. So I expected his Tchaikovsky to be whipped into a frenzy. Didn't happen. Even the finale of the 4th was a ho-hum run. But every now and then he turns in something really great. His more recent CHandos outings confirm that, except for a seriously misjudged Mahler 7. Maybe it's just that he does really well with off-the-beaten-track repertoire, but with more familiar music he's either bored or doesn't know what to do with it. And yet, when I heard him live in Detroit he gave an unexpectedly great reading of the Beethoven 3rd. The less known Schmidt 4th was not as well conducted.
I particularly enjoy his recording of Kalinnikov's symphonies from Chandos. There's another composer that died way before his time. He's a prime example of Russian composing; strong melodic content with very rich scoring.
His Prokofiev cycle is just ok. There are much better interpretations out there. I've only heard a few, but I would probably put Jarvi's towards the bottom. Does anybody have any other Prokofiev recommendations, particularly his symphonies?
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We should do a Spotify playlist of all our favorite classical recordings/albums. I'd love this as a way to discover new music and we can all subscribe and add music we find suitable.
Edited by Advil - 9/2/13 at 1:35pm