Ozawa

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knotslip
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Ozawa

Post by knotslip » Thu Aug 30, 2007 1:09 pm

Just curious what people's thoughts were on Seiji Ozawa? I don't hear much talk about him on this forum but I do have several CD's and one DVD of him conducting...and them seem very good to me.

Your thoughts?

Thanks.

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Post by RebLem » Thu Aug 30, 2007 1:12 pm

I generally don't like him. I think most of his performances are pretty boring and lackluster. However, his set of the Prokofiev symphonies with the Berlin Phil is, IMO, magnificent.
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Post by Reed » Thu Aug 30, 2007 1:54 pm

Never been very fond of his recordings--there are better versions of all the pieces he's recorded, unless it's something so obscure that his is the only recording--for example, Sessions' Concerto for Orchestra.

He started out fairly strong as conductor of the Boston Symphony, but, as the years and decades rolled on, playing standards went way down. Many of the musicians complained that they couldn't follow his beat. And more than one remarked that the fact that he memorized scores, then returned to them years later without re-studying them, meant many nuances went unnoticed. He overstayed his time here, and many of us were thrilled when he left.

Under Levine, the orchestra has a different sound, louder, more Germanic, more Szell, less Munch. I miss some of the old sound, which we now hear only when Previn or Haitink are present as guest conductors, but I don't miss the clams and general lack of commitment.

So, I guess you could say, I will never be asked to be president of the Ozawa fan club.

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Post by pizza » Thu Aug 30, 2007 1:58 pm

As a younger conductor he was excellent. Many of his Ravinia Festival concerts with the CSO were very interesting and he had a knack for the more modern fare. Some of his recordings from the '60s and '70s are standouts, such as his Rite of Spring with the CSO. But his later work became run-of-the-mill and boring. I think his extended tenure in Boston contributed to his loss of vitality.

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Post by Lance » Thu Aug 30, 2007 2:38 pm

I've never been a great Ozawa fan. I have many of his recordings on LP or CD but they are not heard very often with one possible exception, a Mahler First Symphony he recorded for Deutsche Grammophon and I have that only on a DGG LP. I'm not sure if it was ever transferred to CD. He also made some RCA Victor recordings with pianist Leonard Pennario that I thought to be quite exceptional, but it was Pennario more than Ozawa who brought the music to bloom.

Probably the worst music I ever heard him conduct was a Strauss program on NPR. It lacked everything one came to expect from any conductor one might name who performed this music regularly. The tempos were slow and stodgy. I could not believe my years!
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Post by karlhenning » Thu Aug 30, 2007 2:45 pm

Reed wrote:So, I guess you could say, I will never be asked to be president of the Ozawa fan club.
I would like to ask you to be president of the Ozawa fan club.

Cheers,
~Karl
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Heck148
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Post by Heck148 » Thu Aug 30, 2007 3:00 pm

pizza wrote:As a younger conductor he was excellent. Many of his Ravinia Festival concerts with the CSO were very interesting and he had a knack for the more modern fare. Some of his recordings from the '60s and '70s are standouts, such as his Rite of Spring with the CSO.
other outstanding ones he did with CSO are Janacek Sinfonietta, Borodin, Polovetsian Dances, Britten "Kiddie Guide", and Pix @ Exhib'n [the latter two for RCA]
But his later work became run-of-the-mill and boring. I think his extended tenure in Boston contributed to his loss of vitality.
yes. too much of his conducting took on a prissy, overly fussy aspect..
overall, he improved the BSO over the Leinsdorf years [it could hardly have gotten worse], but this took forever, and was marred by declining morale, so-so playing, and Ozawa's inability to fill key principal positions.

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Post by Reed » Thu Aug 30, 2007 3:13 pm

Karl,

"If nominated, I will not run. If elected, I will not serve."

Or whatever the quote is. It's late in the work week and I'm brain dead. The perfect mood for appreciating Ozawa's "interpretations", or lack thereof.

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Post by david johnson » Thu Aug 30, 2007 3:20 pm

Reed wrote:Karl,

"If nominated, I will not run. If elected, I will not serve."

Or whatever the quote is. It's late in the work week and I'm brain dead. The perfect mood for appreciating Ozawa's "interpretations", or lack thereof.
you have been drafted. serve or die.

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Post by Reed » Thu Aug 30, 2007 4:08 pm

Jack Benny was told by a robber pointing a gun at him, "Your money or your life."

There was a long pause. "Well, what'll it be?"

Jack replied, "Iim thinking it over."

What he said.

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Post by moldyoldie » Thu Aug 30, 2007 7:42 pm

I'll always have a soft spot for Ozawa's first recording of Orff's Carmina Burana, with the BSO on RCA. I like to say that it sounds more a paean to Venus as opposed to Bacchus with Ozawa and the soloists presenting a meltingly beautiful rendering of the usually raucous and rakish music -- totally unidiomatic, but moving nonetheless. His later recording with the Berlin Philharmonic pales badly in comparison.

He also released one of the most insipid recordings I've ever heard featuring the Siegel-Schwall Blues Band. I don't recall the composer, but I believe one of the pieces was titled Three Pieces for Blues Band & Orchestra -- a guilty pleasure if there ever was one!
Last edited by moldyoldie on Thu Aug 30, 2007 8:03 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Post by jbuck919 » Thu Aug 30, 2007 7:53 pm

karlhenning wrote:
Reed wrote:So, I guess you could say, I will never be asked to be president of the Ozawa fan club.
I would like to ask you to be president of the Ozawa fan club.

Cheers,
~Karl
I think that what Karl is saying is that Ozawa was a horror story from day 1. Very great orchestras can get along with very mediocre conductors for a very long time. It's as simple as that.

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Post by Ralph » Thu Aug 30, 2007 7:56 pm

As noted above, Ozawa started off as a young podium meteor and many think he burned out by staying too long in Boston. I eventually canceled my three-concert BSO series at Carnegie Hall because I found his conducting too routinized. Never bad but not striking either. And he went through a period of bad health because of his insistence on both keeping his family in Japan AND flying there too often for very short visits.

Apparentrly he's gotten a better press lately in Vienna at the oepra.
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Post by Chalkperson » Thu Aug 30, 2007 8:37 pm

Awful, don't even ask, the original 'Bad Hair Day' guy... :wink:

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Post by Heck148 » Thu Aug 30, 2007 10:12 pm

Ralph wrote:As noted above, Ozawa started off as a young podium meteor and many think he burned out by staying too long in Boston.
Ozawa did have a meteoric rise in the 60s...excellent sponsorships, first-rate guest conducting engagements, and the chance to make some recordings with very excellent orchestras. he was a real up-and-coming All-Star...
but he seemed to fizzle badly when he got off on his own...
He had definite problems in Toronto, I forget the exact nature, but they were glad to see him go. His SFSO tenure was marred by disagreements with the players, over problems which reoccurred in his long stint in Boston...he seemed unable to firmly commit to appointments to important principal positions...
in SFSO it was the bassoon position - which went unfilled for something like 7 years....in Boston it was trumpet, oboe, flute, etc. this has a terrible effect on orchestra morale, and makes it virtually impossible to establish real coherence within a section...nothing is permanent, there is no stability. no one knows who will be sitting in the chair for the next service...
in Boston, familiarity breeds contempt came into play also, going both ways, it seems.

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Post by Donaldopato » Thu Aug 30, 2007 10:14 pm

I'll add my voice to the Ozawa does nothing for me chorus.
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Post by sfbugala » Thu Aug 30, 2007 10:28 pm

Yet another voice to the chorus.

In fairness, his Mahler cycle with the BSO is better than I expected. It's almost under-rated and worth seeking out if it's a bargain.

On paper, the fact he studied with both Karajan and Bernstein would seem to make him some ultimate pupil capable of greatness. Alas, he doesn't live up to that potential.

Having said that, here are some pretty good recordings by him I've heard over the years:

Respighi Roman Trilogy DG
Prokofiev Romeo & Juliet DG
Bartok MSPC and Miraculous Mandarin DG
Messiaen Turangalila Symphony RCA with the Toronto Symphony
Shostakovich Cello Concerto #1 with Rostropovich Erato...uncertain of orchestra...maybe the LSO?

Unfortunately, I respectfully disagree with the endorsement for his Prokofiev cycle. The sound to me is awful. The interpretations don't wow me at all.

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Post by Heck148 » Thu Aug 30, 2007 11:20 pm

sfbugala wrote:On paper, the fact he studied with both Karajan and Bernstein would seem to make him some ultimate pupil capable of greatness. Alas, he doesn't live up to that potential.
I saw an interesting feature regarding the Tanglewood conducting classes some time ago..
Ozawa and Bernstein were instructing the conducting students, who were conducting the "orchestra' - in this case 2 pianists playing at 2 keyboards...

the differences in approach were most illuminating - with Bernstein, he wanted expressive content in every gesture - accents, hard attacks, soft entrances, legato, etc, etc... the physicial appearance was of little concern to him - the expressive communication to the orchestra was paramount. do what you must do to convey the musical idea...

with Ozawa, the whole approach was choreograhic, as in look graceful to the audience don't make awkward gestures, look nice, look polished and elegant. expressive communication was not a priority that day, looking good to the audience was....

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Post by Holden Fourth » Fri Aug 31, 2007 2:40 am

Is it any coincidence that Ozawa and bland have the same number of letters? In fact, is Ozawa the Japanese word for bland?

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Post by rogch » Fri Aug 31, 2007 5:59 am

Ozawa's recording of Schönberg's Gurre-lieder used to be a top choice among the critics, but now other recordings have taken over that position. This perhaps illustrates Ozawa's reputation. But i agree about his recording of Mahler's first symphony. And i would also like to point out his recording of Sibelius' violin concerto with Victoria Mullova. The orchestra is very important in this concerto with Sibelius' refined instrumentation and dynamics. Ozawa highlights these qualities.

It seems to me like the strongest criticism against Ozawa is about his abilities as an interpreter. But if the orchestra was still in a good condition after his very long tenure he can't have been a complete failure.
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Post by pizza » Fri Aug 31, 2007 7:35 am

moldyoldie wrote:He also released one of the most insipid recordings I've ever heard featuring the Siegel-Schwall Blues Band. I don't recall the composer, but I believe one of the pieces was titled Three Pieces for Blues Band & Orchestra -- a guilty pleasure if there ever was one!
Wm. Russo was the composer and also of Street Music which appears on the same CD. Corky Siegel is a super-virtuoso of the harmonica and coaxes unbelievable sounds from it. Ozawa's performance of Gershwin's American in Paris rounds out the release and is one of his better efforts; it still sounds good. He was conducting the San Francisco SO in those days.

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Post by karlhenning » Fri Aug 31, 2007 7:49 am

rogch wrote:Ozawa's recording of Schönberg's Gurre-lieder used to be a top choice among the critics, but now other recordings have taken over that position.
Well, I still consider that Gurrelieder a top choice, Roger.
It seems to me like the strongest criticism against Ozawa is about his abilities as an interpreter. But if the orchestra was still in a good condition after his very long tenure he can't have been a complete failure.
Levine has done fine work restoring the BSO, but there was definite restoration work to be done.

Cheers,
~Karl
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Post by mariskr » Fri Aug 31, 2007 8:31 am

Here's another voice in the "thumbs-down to Ozawa" chorus!

As seems to be fairly typical, I was impressed with him at the begin of his career (though I was young and impressionable at the time, too :wink: ). But I soured on him pretty quickly after he'd been in Boston for a while. Heck148's post contrasting his conducting approach with Bernstein's is right on the money. Whatever one may think of Bernstein in general, his performances were passionate, expressive, and rarely dull. I remember fidgeting through an Ozawa-led performance of Beethoven's 4th Symphony at Tanglewood about 30 years ago that seemed like he was sleepwalking.

On the other hand, when he's inspired by a large, complex work, the results can be amazing (note that the works where posters had positive things to say were mostly large-scale, like Carmina burana or Gurrelieder). I've read on more than one occasion that Ozawa seems to be bored by most anything that isn't large and complex. Anyway, I saw him conduct Ives' 4th Symphony at Tanglewood back in the 1970s. He conducted this incredibly complex work from memory and that performance is still one of the most memorable concerts I have ever attended. When he's on fire, he's on fire! But... all the more rarely as time went on, sadly.

Finally, regarding Ozawa's "choreographed" conducting -- bear in mind he studied at one time with Herbert von Karajan, the king of precisely choreographed conductors!

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Post by karlhenning » Fri Aug 31, 2007 8:35 am

mariskr wrote:Finally, regarding Ozawa's "choreographed" conducting -- bear in mind he studied at one time with Herbert von Karajan, the king of precisely choreographed conductors!
Word.

Cheers,
~Karl
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Heck148
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Post by Heck148 » Fri Aug 31, 2007 8:42 am

rogch wrote:if the orchestra was still in a good condition after his very long tenure he can't have been a complete failure.
"OK" condition, certainly not great...better than when he took over, but that's not a huge endorsement

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Post by Heck148 » Fri Aug 31, 2007 8:45 am

karlhenning wrote:
rogch wrote:Levine has done fine work restoring the BSO, but there was definite restoration work to be done.
I agree wholeheartedly...the BSO is sounding very good under Levine...for one thing, there actually seems to be a stability developing in the woodwinds, not an endless stream of associates/co-principals filling in the solo chairs...
the foundation is there for a very good section to develop...it already sounds better than before.

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Post by piston » Fri Aug 31, 2007 9:59 am

72 year-old S. Ozawa will be conducting the world premiere of 91 year-old Henri Dutilleux's Le Temps l'Horloge, in Matsumoto, Japan, on September 6 (five days after Ozawa's birthday). French composer Dutilleux has been composing for over seventy years. He was awarded the Prix de Rome in 1938 for his Anneau du Roi. Commissioned by the Saito Kinen Festival, the Boston Symphony Orchestra and the Orchestre National de France, and specifically written for the (beautiful) American soprano Renée Fleming who has joined Ozawa for this performance, this event illustrates, among other things, how Japan has become the Asian epicenter for major events in the classical music world. Shouldn't Ozawa receive some credit for being one of the early role models and leading promoters of such an artistic development across the globe?

(From abeilleinfo)

La soprano Renée Fleming et le Saito Kinen Orchestra dirigé par Seiji Ozawa donneront la première mondiale de la nouvelle œuvre d’Henri Dutilleux, Le Temps l’Horloge au cours du Saito Kinen Festival à Matsumoto au Japan le 6 septembre prochain.

Ecrit pour Fleming, cette pièce vocale basée sur des textes de Jean Tardieu est une commande du Saito Kinen Festival, du Boston Symphony Orchestra et de l’Orchestre National de France.
In the eyes of those lovers of perfection, a work is never finished—a word that for them has no sense—but abandoned....(Paul Valéry)

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Post by Wallingford » Fri Aug 31, 2007 10:25 am

He was astounding in his first few years in Boston (as guest & and as head), and I have a goodly number of live recordings therefrom.....and I liked him in the first PBS Evening At Symphony episodes.

I prefer to remember him strictly from those.
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That the things we never had
Never mattered we were always ok
Getting ready for Christmas day
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Post by jserraglio » Fri Aug 31, 2007 8:26 pm

I never heard him conduct (maybe havent missed much judging by the reactions above from those who did) but most all of the records I have with Ozawa I like a lot.

--the Chicago RCA Rite is shattering, not Martinon, but close - I like all his Chicago recordings.
--the BSO Ravel orch works
--the Liszt PCs 1 and 2 with Zimerman
--Berg, Strav VCs with Perlman

. . . and many many more.

I love the sound of the BSO, which, sadly, I know only from records. Monteux and Koussevitzky, Bernstein and the incomparable Charles Munch. But I also enjoy hearing Steinberg & MTT, Ozawa & Leinsdorf with this orchestra.

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Funny you should mention...

Post by DCDare » Sat Sep 01, 2007 5:20 am

Its funny you should mention that Liszt Piano concertos with Ozawa and Zimmerman, because that is the only Ozawa/BSO recording that I own. I read this thread thinking about that disc, which was touted by another guide to classical music as the best recording of those concertos.

I don't think I can comment on Ozawa in general, but this disc did not impress me. The orchestra feels like they are tired or just going through the motions. Please excuse me because I lack the experience and the muscial language to express what is missing. I would like to compare it with a different recording of the Liszt piano concertos. If someone would make a recommendation on what to try instead, I'd appreciate it. (I looked at my local library just to try another one and I'm out of luck there.)
the above post is written by a person new to classical music, please take it with the necessary amount of salt to season it.

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Post by absinthe » Sat Sep 01, 2007 6:25 am

I've always liked Cziffra playing Liszt. He recorded the concertos at least twice, fairly old of course but the sound is adequate if one is looking for quality of performance IMO.

absinthe.

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Post by anasazi » Sat Sep 01, 2007 9:06 am

I don't always feel that I can either elevate Ozawa to one of my favorite conductors or damn him either. I never saw him conduct live, except on TV of course. It's difficult for me to judge the quality of the BSO from TV and recordings, but just based on various performances, I would say that it's better to compare Ozawa with the repertory that he excells in: late romantic, impress ionistic and modern, than it is to Beethoven and Brahms.

That being said, although he is not a 'favorite' conductor, I do own quite a number of recordings by him, with either the CSO of BSO, that I consider a favorite recorded version of a particular work. Comparisons are just so difficult for me to make. I consider Ozawa a solid leader of certain works. Not sure about his orchestra building or public relations aspect of his job.
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correction

Post by DCDare » Sat Sep 01, 2007 3:10 pm

Just a correction to my earlier post. I found out that my library has two copies of the Liszt piano concertos, they just weren't in at the time.

One is a 1984 copy of a 1961 performance by Richter, Kondrashin and the LSO. The other is a 1992 copy of a 1971 performance by Entremont with the Philedelphians led by Euguene Ormandy.

Does anyone think much of either of these performances/recordings and have a suggestion of what they like better (in addition to the one listed above (Cziffra) which is available for a very reasonable price on Amazon!)?
the above post is written by a person new to classical music, please take it with the necessary amount of salt to season it.

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Post by Yi-Peng » Sun Sep 02, 2007 2:13 am

Lance wrote:I've never been a great Ozawa fan. I have many of his recordings on LP or CD but they are not heard very often with one possible exception, a Mahler First Symphony he recorded for Deutsche Grammophon and I have that only on a DGG LP. I'm not sure if it was ever transferred to CD. He also made some RCA Victor recordings with pianist Leonard Pennario that I thought to be quite exceptional, but it was Pennario more than Ozawa who brought the music to bloom.

Probably the worst music I ever heard him conduct was a Strauss program on NPR. It lacked everything one came to expect from any conductor one might name who performed this music regularly. The tempos were slow and stodgy. I could not believe my years!
The DG Mahler 1 with Ozawa is indeed available as a CD, on DG Galleria.
And, interestingly, I don't own many Ozawa CDs. I rather like the DG disc that he did of Midsummer Night's Dream. Despite some slow tempi in places the orchestral playing is wonderful, and the vocal contributions of Battle and von Stade really shine, along with the exquisite Judi Dench narration. I wish Levine had done the complete Midsummer when he made the Chicago recording.

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Re: Funny you should mention...

Post by Chalkperson » Sun Sep 02, 2007 1:58 pm

DCDare wrote:Its funny you should mention that Liszt Piano concertos with Ozawa and Zimmerman, because that is the only Ozawa/BSO recording that I own. I read this thread thinking about that disc, which was touted by another guide to classical music as the best recording of those concertos.

I don't think I can comment on Ozawa in general, but this disc did not impress me. The orchestra feels like they are tired or just going through the motions. Please excuse me because I lack the experience and the muscial language to express what is missing. I would like to compare it with a different recording of the Liszt piano concertos. If someone would make a recommendation on what to try instead, I'd appreciate it. (I looked at my local library just to try another one and I'm out of luck there.)
Not at all, I think this cd is very overrated, Zimmermann is good but the Orchestra sounds like it's stuck in the mud...the Lang Lang/Eschenbach disc of Beethoven Conceros is the same, great soloist but lousy conducting...as for a better Liszt discs...try Richter, Brendel or this new, and very good SACD

FRANZ LISZT
Piano Concertos Nos. 1 & 2; Totentanz
Arnaldo Cohen (piano)
São Paulo Symphony Orchestra
John Neschling BIS- 1530(SACD)

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two strings

Post by DCDare » Sun Sep 02, 2007 4:41 pm

Chalkperson, thanks for the recommendation and the confirmation. I'm still not sure when to trust my gut/ears and when to let time persuade me with added listening. I saw that I put the question on the wrong thread when I second guessed myself. Thanks for putting the reply both places! I'm surprised to see the Sao Paulo Orchestra, but only because I haven't heard of it. Is this an exceptional disc for them, or are they an up and coming orchestra which has a bunch of good recordings. (I hear or read about the same orchestras over and over again - BPO, BSO, VPO, NYPO, CSO, LSO, ASMF, ECO, etc.) I found that I like some of the Gottenburg Orchestra items on BIS, especially the Sibelius Tone Poems.
the above post is written by a person new to classical music, please take it with the necessary amount of salt to season it.

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Post by jserraglio » Sun Sep 02, 2007 7:28 pm

Some more Ozawa recordings I have enjoyed, apparent shortcomings as music director notwithstanding:
  • Roger Sessions: When Lilacs Last In The Dooryard Bloom'd, on New World

    Sessions: Concerto for Orchestra / Panufnik Symphony 8, on Hyperion

    Peter Lieberson: Piano Concerto, on New World

    Carmina Burana on RCA

    Beethoven PC cycle on Telarc with Serkin

    Rachmaninov: Piano Concertos 1 & 2 with Zimerman (DG)

    Messiaen: Turangalila Symphony (RCA)

    Messiaen: St. Francis of Assisi (live perf. Cybele)

    Honegger: Joan Of Arc At The Stake (Columbia)

    Strauss Don Quixote/ Schoenberg Cello Cto with Ma (Columbia)

    Takemitsu: Orchestral Works on Philips

    Russo: Street Music: A Blues Concerto (DG)

    Vivaldi: The Four Seasons (Telarc)



    Two that I would like to hear:

    Prokofiev: Symphonies (DG)

    Schoenberg: Gurrelieder on Philips

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Post by val » Mon Sep 03, 2007 6:30 am

I was never a great admirer of Ozawa, but I must admit he did some remarkable recordings. Above all, Berlioz' Romeo et Juliette, very poetic and clear, and with superb soloists (Hamari, van Dam).

But other recordings are really bad. I remember Berg's violin concerto with Perlman, the orchestral part is mediocre at a point were, listening to conducters such as Ancerl, it seems a different work.

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Post by jbuck919 » Mon Sep 03, 2007 6:43 am

One of the reasons that a conductor stays on seemingly forever is his ability to negotiate recording contracts. Another example is Karajan, who made more than his share of klunkers and didn't seem to much care. Orchestras that have successful contracts make a very large percentage of their income from these, and it is not common in the US because of the union(s) issue. When was the last time you saw a recording from the New York Philharmonic, which would be ruinously more expensive to produce than it would ever be worth? Just the head of the electrician's union would want to pay off his yacht.

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Post by gfweis » Mon Sep 03, 2007 7:51 pm

mariskr is on to something, I think, about the kind of large, complex piece Ozawa did well. The Messiaen Turangalila Symphony certainly fits this description, and I agree with sfbugala that Ozawa's recording is very fine. I know it from an RCA 2-lp set (LSC-7051). But I want to add that I believe his recording legacy is, overall, the most disappointing of any conductor of a major American orchestra. Perhaps of any conductor of any major orchestra.
Greg Weis

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Post by CharmNewton » Tue Sep 04, 2007 12:58 am

Did Ozawa cancel appearances often? If he generally performed on concert and tour dates, that's a good sign he's involved in his work and not just phoning in.

Ozawa seems to be a conductoir some people, especially critics, love to hate. Others keep finding good things in his discography, which is large.

I feel Ozawa isn't as bad as some make him out. If some of the BSO musicians were unhappy with him, well there'a always life in the Plovdiv Philharmonic (no offense meant to the fine players of that orchestra).

John

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Post by karlhenning » Tue Sep 04, 2007 7:24 am

CharmNewton wrote:I feel Ozawa isn't as bad as some make him out. If some of the BSO musicians were unhappy with him, well there'a always life in the Plovdiv Philharmonic (no offense meant to the fine players of that orchestra).
Well, there are a number of recordings in which Ozawa did excellent work.

I don't play for the BSO, I only listen; but there is no denying that in none of the broadcasts or live performances I heard after we moved to Boston in 1996, did Ozawa direct any performance that sounded anywhere near as good as the fine recordings by which (let us agree) we should ajudge him.

I don't think, John, it is simply a matter of the BSO players "not liking" Ozawa. The conductor, to all appearances, really did live into a complacent slump.

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Post by mariskr » Tue Sep 04, 2007 10:18 am

gfweis wrote:
But I want to add that I believe his recording legacy is, overall, the most disappointing of any conductor of a major American orchestra. Perhaps of any conductor of any major orchestra.
Well, I think there is one other major former conductor of an American orchestra whose reputation suffered a similar steep decline during his tenure: Zubin Mehta.

While Mehta departed much sooner than Ozawa, his stay still seemed endless, and his successor Kurt Masur provided a welcome breath of fresh air. I also remember reading in the New York Times and elsewhere that many of the musicians of the NYPO felt the same way at the time.

Mehta did catch fire occasionally, probably more frequently than Ozawa -- he led a magnificent Dvorak 7th Symphony in the late 1980s, among other works.

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Post by Heck148 » Tue Sep 04, 2007 10:57 am

mariskr wrote:
Mehta did catch fire occasionally, probably more frequently than Ozawa -- he led a magnificent Dvorak 7th Symphony in the late 1980s, among other works.
Mehta left a fine collection of recordings from his LAPO tenure...he seems to excel at the big orchestral stuff - Strauss Tone Poems, and of course, "Le Sacre du Printemps".
I have a live concert broadcast tape of his Strauss "Symphonia Donmestica" that he did with the CSO c. 12/95 that absolutely terrific...really incredible performance

part of Ozawa's problem is that he likes the big sounding stuff, and does OK at it, but so many others play the same repertoire so much better. the competition is really fierce...

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Post by knotslip » Tue Sep 04, 2007 11:58 am

I suppose I'm just too new to classical music to notice the shortcomings of some conductors or the negative influences they project on particular classical pieces. I have a DVD of Dvoraks 100th brithday celebration in Prague with Ozawa conducting and it sounds great to me. :-) I also have a Zubin Mehta (spelling?) CD of Holst's The Planets and it sounds very good as well. Maybe as I hear these same pieces over and over by different conductor's I will be able to form similar opinions.

Thanks for all of the comments. Poor Ozawa :-(

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Post by Chalkperson » Tue Sep 04, 2007 4:15 pm

knotslip wrote: Thanks for all of the comments. Poor Ozawa :-(
You could try a Christoph Von Dohnanyi thread next... :wink:

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Post by Heck148 » Tue Sep 04, 2007 10:17 pm

gfweis wrote: But I want to add that I believe his recording legacy is, overall, the most disappointing of any conductor of a major American orchestra. Perhaps of any conductor of any major orchestra.
Leinsdorf eclipses Ozawa in this dubious category.

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Post by pizza » Wed Sep 05, 2007 7:29 am

Heck148 wrote:
gfweis wrote: But I want to add that I believe his recording legacy is, overall, the most disappointing of any conductor of a major American orchestra. Perhaps of any conductor of any major orchestra.
Leinsdorf eclipses Ozawa in this dubious category.
Desire Defauw and Howard Barlow are serious contenders.

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Post by anasazi » Wed Sep 05, 2007 7:48 am

Heck148 wrote:
gfweis wrote: But I want to add that I believe his recording legacy is, overall, the most disappointing of any conductor of a major American orchestra. Perhaps of any conductor of any major orchestra.
Leinsdorf eclipses Ozawa in this dubious category.
Are you only considering the Leinsdorf recordings with the BSO? If one includes his many fine opera recordings with RCA, then perhaps more can be said.
"Take only pictures, leave only footprints" - John Muir.

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Post by Heck148 » Wed Sep 05, 2007 8:29 am

pizza wrote:
Heck148 wrote:
gfweis wrote: But I want to add that I believe his recording legacy is, overall, the most disappointing of any conductor of a major American orchestra. Perhaps of any conductor of any major orchestra.
Leinsdorf eclipses Ozawa in this dubious category.
Desire Defauw and Howard Barlow are serious contenders.
but Defauw conducted well before the advent of the recording boom in the 50s....it's hard to equate the 20-40s with the mass production we saw from the 50s onward.....

Barlow was a radio conductor wasn't he?? CBS studio orrchestra, and the Voice of Firestone, etc??

I've seen him on a few videos from /firestone, but not many commercial recordings...

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