The Top Ten British Orchestras

Locked
Ralph
Dittersdorf Specialist & CMG NY Host
Posts: 20996
Joined: Fri Mar 25, 2005 6:54 am
Location: Paradise on Earth, New York, NY

The Top Ten British Orchestras

Post by Ralph » Thu Aug 31, 2006 9:17 pm

The Times September 01, 2006

Orchestras: these are the champions
A league table for British orchestras? Yes, Richard Morrison, The Times Chief Music Critic, puts his neck on the block and identifies who’s top of the table. And it’s not a London band...



1 HALLÉ

Home ground Bridgewater Hall, Manchester Changes at the top None. Mark Elder continues his revitalising reign.

Strengths Not since the days of Barbirolli has Manchester enjoyed such a powerful combination of inspirational maestro and fired-up orchestra. Aided by Lyn Fletcher, the Hallé’s exceptional leader, Elder has turned the Hallé into a passionate yet well-drilled outfit, as capable of delivering sumptuous Elgar as of snarling sardonically through Shostakovich.

Weaknesses Superb concerts are sometimes played to half-full houses of middle-aged punters in a city packed with students. Why don’t they hand out unsold tickets in the college bars?

Season highlights With typical panache a Bach Brandenburg concerto is paired with Mahler’s tumultuous Fifth Symphony in the season’s first concert (Sept 28). And don’t miss the celebrations next June, when Elder marks his 60th birthday and Elgar’s 150th.

2 LONDON SYMPHONY

Home ground Barbican Changes at the top Huge upheaval as urbane Sir Colin Davis gives way to the volcanic Valery Gergiev.

Strengths Quality players throughout the band, a glitzy international profile, lashings of panache, financial backing from the Corporation of London, pioneering work in education, and a visionary management style nurtured by Sir Clive Gillinson and continued by his successor Kathryn McDowell.

Weaknesses Favoured soloists and conductors — Rostropovich, Boulez, Mutter, Davis himself — tend to recycle the same old repertoire. Fresh thinking urgently needed; Daniel Harding’s arrival as principal guest conductor will help. But Gergiev’s reputation for doing eight shows a week on minimum rehearsal may plunge the LSO back into bad old habits painstakingly eradicated during the Gillinson years.

Season highlights Gergiev’s first stint as principal conductor includes lots of rarely played Russian music (Jan to Jun). And Mozart piano concertos are explored throughout the season by stellar soloists.

3 NORTHERN SINFONIA

Home ground Sage, Gateshead Changes at the top None. Thomas Zehetmair continues his stylish direction, often from the violin.

Strengths With its breathtaking Foster architecture, revolutionary intermingling of educational, community and professional music-making, and passionate support from Gateshead Council, the Sage has quickly become the most exciting music venue in Britain — and the Northern Sinfonia has raised its game to match its new home.

Weaknesses Repertoire is heavily geared toward mid-scale 18th and 19th-century pieces — the odd bit of Thomas Adès, Gerald Barry and Ligeti notwithstanding. Apart from Zehetmair, conductors tend to be fledgelings or also-rans.

Season highlights Zehetmair’s Schumann symphony cycle should be stimulating (Dec), and Adès conducts a bracing night of Stravinsky, Dallapiccola, and his own music (May 10).

4 BBC SYMPHONY

Home ground Barbican Changes at the top Czech maestro Jirí Belohlávek took over this summer.

Strengths Cushioned by licence-fee subsidy, bold programmes and festivals can be risked and properly rehearsed. Concerts are always well prepared, and the arrival of Belohlávek — replacing Leonard Slatkin, who never enthused the players — should add special authority to 19th-century and Czech repertoire.

Weaknesses Not a band regularly prepared to give 110 per cent, or to express much personality. Perhaps the prospect of a pension and steady salary attracts a certain sort of play-safe musicians.

Season highlights A dozen premieres, including new works by Jonathan Dove (Sept 29), Michael Nyman (Mar 8), Julian Anderson (May 12) and Sir John Tavener (Jun 19),plus Belohlávek conductinga concert staging of Janácek’s Excursions of Mr Broucek.

5 PHILHARMONIA

Home ground Queen Elizabeth Hall, London Changes at the top None. Christoph von Dohnányi labours on.

Strengths A serious, high-quality orchestra, astutely managed by the combative and canny David Whelton. Won a lot of friends round the regions by extending its touring during the Festival Hall closure. Big, loyal following in London, headed by the Prince of Wales. Impressive interactive website, with 23 million hits in a year, and plans to make all live concerts available for downloading.

Weaknesses These days Dohnányi rarely seems to enthuse players, audiences, critics or even himself. A new principal conductor is long overdue. Whelton’s relationship with the South Bank Centre is famously not all sweetness and light. And one more morale-sapping, sonically-stunted season still has to be endured in the tatty Queen Elizabeth Hall.

Season highlights A semi-staged Death in Venice with the peerless Philip Langridge as the desiccated Aschenbach (Nov 23, 24); Esa-Pekka Salonen conducting all the Mahler song-cycles (Dec); Riccardo Muti conducting Verdi Requiem (Westminster Cathedral, Mar 14), then all eyes on June 2007 when the Festival Hall reopens.

6 BBC PHILHARMONIC

Home Ground Bridgewater Hall, Manchester Changes at the top None. Italian maestro Gianandrea Noseda launches his fifth season in Manchester.

Strengths The BBC Phil’s Shostakovich festival, in collaboration with the Hallé, was the orchestral highlight of last season. And its extraordinary success with its Beethoven symphonies “download” has made it one of the most famous orchestras in the world.

Weaknesses Noseda’s whippy, hyperactive conducting doesn’t suit every work, or appeal to all tastes.

Season’s highlights Mahler’s neurotic Tenth Symphony should suit the Italian down to the ground (Sept 30). There’s a fabulous concert on May 5 when four top cellists play four different cello concertos.

7 LONDON PHILHARMONIC

Home ground Queen Elizabeth Hall Changes at the top Brilliant, glamorous Vladimir Jurowski will replace musty Kurt Masur as top baton, but sadly not till next season.

Strengths When Jurowski is at the helm (for example, at Glyndebourne) the band is transformed, and it begins to sound like the majestic ensemble that dominated London music-making during the Haitink, Solti and Tennstedt years. Its programmes at the Queen Elizabeth Hall have been enterprisingly tailored to fit the reduced space. And it seems to have a much more productive relationship with the South Bank Centre than does the Philharmonia, the venue’s other resident symphony orchestra.

Weaknesses The 79-year-old Masur hardly figures, and the playing standards under other batons can be alarmingly variable. An awful lot of conductors in the coming season are complete unknowns, at least in London.

Season’s highlights Anything conducted by Jurowski or Marin Alsop should be worthwhile. Masur’s performance of Brahms’s Requiem in St Paul’s (Oct 13) will appeal to those who like choral music in grandiose splurges.

8 CITY OF BIRMINGHAM SYMPHONY

Home Ground Symphony Hall, Birmingham Changes Sakari Oramo steps down as principal conductor after ten years, but not until 2008.

Strengths Remains a lively, responsive band, turning out adventurous programmes in the style of the Rattle years, despite some financial problems. A fabulous chorus and youth chorus give the orchestra an extra dimension when it comes to repertoire.

Weaknesses Oramo’s magic has worn thin lately, and some guest conductors have been unimpressive. But the big problem is the Birmingham audience, largely unchanged since the Rattle era, but 15 years older. There’s no buzz around Symphony Hall any more.

Season’s highlights An early cracker will be Tchaikovsky’s Violin Concerto (with Janine Jansen), coupled with Oramo doing Shostakovich’s Eighth Symphony (Sept 20, 21). There’s a great Stravinsky double-bill conducted by Oramo and Adès (Oct 28), and lots of Elgar in his 150th year.

9 BOURNEMOUTH SYMPHONY

Home ground Lighthouse, Poole, Dorset Changes None. Marin Alsop, the only woman principal conductor of a major British or American orchestra, continues her successful reign.

Strengths She is an exhilarating presence, as assured when talking to audiences as with the baton. And the orchestra is a crucial pillar of musical life in the South West.

Weaknesses The Poole Lighthouse has dreadful, boxy acoustics. The orchestra is sometimes overstretched by the technical demands of the most demanding Romantic repertoire. And Alsop’s new commitments in Baltimore may take precedence.

Season’s highlights Alsop conducts two terrific Bartók programmes including The Wooden Prince (May 9) and a semi-staged Duke Bluebeard’s Castle (May 16)

10 ROYAL SCOTTISH NATIONAL

Home grounds Usher Hall, Edinburgh; Royal Concert Hall, Glasgow Changes None. Personable young Frenchman Stéphane Denève is in his second season as music director.

Strengths After years of under-achievement, the RSNO seems better motivated under the 34-year-old Denève, whose personality is as flamboyant as his bouffant of brown curls. More accessible prices and new rush-hour concerts suggest that the management has also had a wake-up call.

Weaknesses Still hundreds of empty seats when the orchestra plays outside Glasgow and Edinburgh, and sometimes inside, too. And Denève’s easygoing Gallic charm doesn’t always produce precision playing.

Season’s highlights Tremendous conjunction of Mahler’s Resurrection Symphony with exciting contemporary piece to open the season (Sept 29, 30).

Other contenders

The indefatigable Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, reduced to a shoestring subsidy, battles on in Cadogan Hall and the Royal Albert Hall. On good days it still plays sumptuously, especially under Daniele Gatti. Its good days should include Sept 15 when, exactly 60 years after Sir Thomas Beecham founded the band, Gatti conducts Mahler’s vast Eighth Symphony in the Albert Hall. Could the RPO rise again? If true grit counts for anything, it can and should.

But the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic is a better bet for swift promotion under its new young Russian conductor, Vasily Petrenko. In four scintillating September programmes at Philharmonic Hall (14, 20/21, 27, 30) he offers a dazzling parade of Russian firecrackers.

Less is expected, sadly, of Thierry Fischer’s appointment as top baton (succeeding Richard Hickox) at the BBC National Orchestra of Wales. The Swiss conductor hasn’t exactly set pulses racing elsewhere. But he will never have a better chance to thrill than with Messiaen’s vast and exotic Turangalîla Symphony in his opening concert (Oct 7, St David’s Hall, Cardiff).

Who’s left? The BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra doesn’t get anything like the promotional support (or the audiences) that its adventurous programmes deserve.

And then there’s the Ulster Orchestra. Minus a principal conductor and, temporarily from April, its beloved Ulster Hall, kept alive on the most precarious of public subsidies, the Belfast band has been the Cinderella of the British orchestral scene for some years, and doesn’t seem ready to go to the ball yet.
Image

"Only two things are infinite, the universe and human stupidity, and I'm not sure about the former."

Albert Einstein

Wallingford
Posts: 4563
Joined: Tue Jul 22, 2003 3:31 pm
Location: Brush, Colorado

Post by Wallingford » Thu Aug 31, 2006 9:27 pm

4 years back, on my maiden voyage to London, I caught the LSO, LPO, BBC-SO & the visiting Czech Phil (w/Ashkenazy).

Next time around, I definitely wanna catch the English Chamber Orch, the Philharmonia, the Halle (if they EVER come to visit, which seems never), maybe the BBC Phil, and perhaps an encore LSO concert.
If I could tell my mom and dad
That the things we never had
Never mattered we were always ok
Getting ready for Christmas day
--Paul Simon

Gary
Posts: 1802
Joined: Fri Sep 09, 2005 2:16 am
Location: Houston, TX

Re: The Top Ten British Orchestras

Post by Gary » Thu Aug 31, 2006 9:42 pm

Ralph wrote:NORTHERN SINFONIA
Never heard of them. Must've been listed by mistake. 8)
"Your idea of a donut-shaped universe intrigues me, Homer; I may have to steal it."

--Stephen Hawking makes guest appearance on The Simpsons

GK
Posts: 467
Joined: Fri Mar 25, 2005 8:04 am
Location: Silver Spring, MD

Post by GK » Thu Aug 31, 2006 9:45 pm

Notably missing--Royal Philharmonic and St. martins in the field

paulb
Posts: 1078
Joined: Tue May 23, 2006 6:08 pm
Location: baton rouge

Post by paulb » Thu Aug 31, 2006 11:07 pm

GK wrote:Notably missing--Royal Philharmonic and St. martins in the field
OHHH I can't stand anything the "Royal" PO recorded. Next to the Israeli PO the worst orch I've heard on record...with Dutoit with the Montreal was quite shabby as well, but the isssue being, the Royal's been hyped. Can't stand em.

I think the highlight of all british orchesytras on record is on their greatest compoer, Ralph Vaughan Williams, with Brydon Thomson conducting the London Symphony Orchestra. This is Lady England is her full glory.
Now here is where a conductor should have been inducted into knighthood, Thomson deserves the honor for that recording.
Psalm 118:22 The Stone that the builders rejected has become the chief cornerstone.
23 This is the Lord's doing , it is marvelous in our sight.

jbuck919
Military Band Specialist
Posts: 26867
Joined: Wed Jan 28, 2004 10:15 pm
Location: Stony Creek, New York

Post by jbuck919 » Fri Sep 01, 2006 3:43 am

In my opinion the Glens Falls Philharmonic is the fifth best orchestra in New York State.

There's nothing remarkable about it. All one has to do is hit the right keys at the right time and the instrument plays itself.
-- Johann Sebastian Bach

Haydnseek
Posts: 1211
Joined: Tue May 20, 2003 7:59 am
Location: Maryland, USA

Post by Haydnseek » Fri Sep 01, 2006 7:28 am

If you’re going to have an orchestra league table there must be a system of relegation as an incentive to perform. After each season the bottom two orchestras should then be described as “second tier” and the two best from that lower level should be declared “first rank.” There should be a transfer system for buying and selling players between orchestras. Imagine heated discussions in pubs all over the UK about the chances of the LSO signing that brilliant young Brazilian bassoonist you hear about so much, or whether the Philharmonia needs to strengthen its brass section if they are going to avoid relegation next season.
"The law isn't justice. It's a very imperfect mechanism. If you press exactly the right buttons and are also lucky, justice may show up in the answer. A mechanism is all the law was ever intended to be." - Raymond Chandler

Ralph
Dittersdorf Specialist & CMG NY Host
Posts: 20996
Joined: Fri Mar 25, 2005 6:54 am
Location: Paradise on Earth, New York, NY

Re: The Top Ten British Orchestras

Post by Ralph » Fri Sep 01, 2006 7:37 am

Gary wrote:
Ralph wrote:NORTHERN SINFONIA
Never heard of them. Must've been listed by mistake. 8)
*****

Buy MORE NAXOS CDs!!!!!!!
Image

"Only two things are infinite, the universe and human stupidity, and I'm not sure about the former."

Albert Einstein

Ralph
Dittersdorf Specialist & CMG NY Host
Posts: 20996
Joined: Fri Mar 25, 2005 6:54 am
Location: Paradise on Earth, New York, NY

Post by Ralph » Fri Sep 01, 2006 7:37 am

GK wrote:Notably missing--Royal Philharmonic and St. martins in the field
*****

I haven't heard much about or from St. Martins in the Field in a few years or more.
Image

"Only two things are infinite, the universe and human stupidity, and I'm not sure about the former."

Albert Einstein

Ralph
Dittersdorf Specialist & CMG NY Host
Posts: 20996
Joined: Fri Mar 25, 2005 6:54 am
Location: Paradise on Earth, New York, NY

Post by Ralph » Fri Sep 01, 2006 7:39 am

jbuck919 wrote:In my opinion the Glens Falls Philharmonic is the fifth best orchestra in New York State.
*****

Their recording of "I've Been Working on the Railroad" is considered a near-classic.
Image

"Only two things are infinite, the universe and human stupidity, and I'm not sure about the former."

Albert Einstein

karlhenning
Composer-in-Residence
Posts: 9816
Joined: Wed Apr 20, 2005 11:12 am
Location: Boston, MA
Contact:

Post by karlhenning » Fri Sep 01, 2006 7:43 am

jbuck919 wrote:In my opinion the Glens Falls Philharmonic is the fifth best orchestra in New York State.
Splendid, John.

The music director of the Glens Falls Symphony will be directing the premiere of Out in the Sun here at the NEC.

Cheers,
~Karl
Karl Henning, PhD
Composer & Clarinetist
Boston, Massachusetts
http://members.tripod.com/~Karl_P_Henning/
http://henningmusick.blogspot.com/
Published by Lux Nova Press
http://www.luxnova.com/

jbuck919
Military Band Specialist
Posts: 26867
Joined: Wed Jan 28, 2004 10:15 pm
Location: Stony Creek, New York

Post by jbuck919 » Fri Sep 01, 2006 9:54 am

Ralph wrote:
jbuck919 wrote:In my opinion the Glens Falls Philharmonic is the fifth best orchestra in New York State.
*****

Their recording of "I've Been Working on the Railroad" is considered a near-classic.
I understand the confusion Ralph, but it was "Erie Canal."

There's nothing remarkable about it. All one has to do is hit the right keys at the right time and the instrument plays itself.
-- Johann Sebastian Bach

jbuck919
Military Band Specialist
Posts: 26867
Joined: Wed Jan 28, 2004 10:15 pm
Location: Stony Creek, New York

Post by jbuck919 » Fri Sep 01, 2006 9:57 am

karlhenning wrote:
jbuck919 wrote:In my opinion the Glens Falls Philharmonic is the fifth best orchestra in New York State.
Splendid, John.

The music director of the Glens Falls Symphony will be directing the premiere of Out in the Sun here at the NEC.

Cheers,
~Karl
Yes, under Charles Peltz, who actually dwells in the land of Boston as you know (New England Conservatory). I sang with them in the St. John Passion a couple of years ago. Had to audition for it, too.

Careless of me to have called them the "Philharmonic." Stony Creek has a Philharmonic--understandable confusion.

There's nothing remarkable about it. All one has to do is hit the right keys at the right time and the instrument plays itself.
-- Johann Sebastian Bach

karlhenning
Composer-in-Residence
Posts: 9816
Joined: Wed Apr 20, 2005 11:12 am
Location: Boston, MA
Contact:

Post by karlhenning » Fri Sep 01, 2006 10:13 am

Ralph wrote:
jbuck919 wrote:In my opinion the Glens Falls Philharmonic is the fifth best orchestra in New York State.
*****

Their recording of "I've Been Working on the Railroad" is considered a near-classic.
That's especially withering, coming from the resident Dittersdorf expert! :-)

I took John's comment as praise, since New York City is part of New York State, and there is ample room for the five best orchestras of New York State all to be ensembles of surpassing excellence. They sure ought to be!

I don't know if the bench is quite that deep for orchestras in Massachusetts :-)

Cheers,
~Karl
Karl Henning, PhD
Composer & Clarinetist
Boston, Massachusetts
http://members.tripod.com/~Karl_P_Henning/
http://henningmusick.blogspot.com/
Published by Lux Nova Press
http://www.luxnova.com/

jbuck919
Military Band Specialist
Posts: 26867
Joined: Wed Jan 28, 2004 10:15 pm
Location: Stony Creek, New York

Post by jbuck919 » Fri Sep 01, 2006 10:28 am

karlhenning wrote:
Ralph wrote:
jbuck919 wrote:In my opinion the Glens Falls Philharmonic is the fifth best orchestra in New York State.
*****

Their recording of "I've Been Working on the Railroad" is considered a near-classic.
That's especially withering, coming from the resident Dittersdorf expert! :-)

I took John's comment as praise, since New York City is part of New York State, and there is ample room for the five best orchestras of New York State all to be ensembles of surpassing excellence. They sure ought to be!

I don't know if the bench is quite that deep for orchestras in Massachusetts :-)

Cheers,
~Karl
I enjoyed working with them, but it was intended as a spoof on the topic, neither a laudatory nor disparaging comment. There are in fact not a large number of orchestras in the entire state of New York. There are two in the city that I know of that are capable of world-class performances (the mighty Philharmonic and the Met Opera Orchestra). There are several others known to locals that do a great job (St. Luke's, the City Opera Orchestra). I imagine there is a good one in Rochester because of the Eastman School, but who ever heard of it? And I have at least heard of the Buffalo whatever because its director was once Lucas Foss. The capital of the great state of New York has decided to devote its main concert hall to pop, so the Albany Symphony has to perform in places with names like the Troy Savings Bank Hall.

When you come down to it, it is really the Philharmonic and the provinces, though the provinces often do themselves great credit.

There's nothing remarkable about it. All one has to do is hit the right keys at the right time and the instrument plays itself.
-- Johann Sebastian Bach

karlhenning
Composer-in-Residence
Posts: 9816
Joined: Wed Apr 20, 2005 11:12 am
Location: Boston, MA
Contact:

Post by karlhenning » Fri Sep 01, 2006 10:48 am

jbuck919 wrote:. . . There are in fact not a large number of orchestras in the entire state of New York. There are two in the city that I know of that are capable of world-class performances (the mighty Philharmonic and the Met Opera Orchestra). There are several others known to locals that do a great job (St. Luke's, the City Opera Orchestra).
The Orchestra of St Luke's certainly has international stature, and a significant discography.

The Brooklyn Philharmonic at the least provided (with Michael Tilson Thomas's direction) the landmark recording of Steve Reich's The Desert Music. Nothing to sneeze at, exactly.
I imagine there is a good one in Rochester because of the Eastman School, but who ever heard of it?
Do you mean, who ever heard of the Eastman School? :-)

Takemitsu heard of the Rochester Phil; the premiere of his concerto for percussion and orchestra, from me flows what you call time, was a two-city affair, in Rochester with the Phil, and in Carnegie Hall with (I think) the BSO and Ozawa.
And I have at least heard of the Buffalo whatever because its director was once Lucas Foss.
I heard the orchestra (I honestly forget who conducted) play an excellent account of the Lutoslawski Concerto for Orchestra.

Cheers,
~Karl
Karl Henning, PhD
Composer & Clarinetist
Boston, Massachusetts
http://members.tripod.com/~Karl_P_Henning/
http://henningmusick.blogspot.com/
Published by Lux Nova Press
http://www.luxnova.com/

Ralph
Dittersdorf Specialist & CMG NY Host
Posts: 20996
Joined: Fri Mar 25, 2005 6:54 am
Location: Paradise on Earth, New York, NY

Post by Ralph » Fri Sep 01, 2006 2:10 pm

The Brooklyn Philharmonic is an excellent orchestra and they have often performed music less likely to be heard in Manhattan.

The American Symphony Orchestra is outstanding and their programs are genuinely unique and often exceptionally rewarding thanks to the true genius of Maestro Leon Botstein.
Image

"Only two things are infinite, the universe and human stupidity, and I'm not sure about the former."

Albert Einstein

jbuck919
Military Band Specialist
Posts: 26867
Joined: Wed Jan 28, 2004 10:15 pm
Location: Stony Creek, New York

Post by jbuck919 » Fri Sep 01, 2006 3:50 pm

Ralph wrote: The American Symphony Orchestra is outstanding and their programs are genuinely unique and often exceptionally rewarding thanks to the true genius of Maestro Leon Botstein.
His most recent recording is Popov’s Symphony No. 1 and Shostakovich’s Theme and Variations, Op. 3, with the London Symphony Orchestra, on Telarc. Liszt’s Eine Symphonie zu Dantes Divina commedia (“Dante Symphony”) and Tasso, also with the London Symphony Orchestra, was released by Telarc early in 2004. His recent recording with the American Symphony Orchestra, a live performance of Strauss’s opera Die ägyptische Helena, with Deborah Voigt, has received critical acclaim, as has his recording of Gliere’s Symphony No. 3, “Il’ya Muromets” with the London Symphony. Other recordings for Telarc include Max Reger’s Böcklin Tone Poems and Romantic Suite, Richard Strauss’s opera Die Liebe der Danae; Bartók’s Concerto for Orchestra; music of Karol Szymanowski; symphonies of Karl Amadeus Hartmann; Dohnányi’s D Minor Symphony, and Bruckner’s Fifth Symphony (Schalk edition). He also recently recorded music of Ernst Toch with NDR—Hamburg for New World Records, and, with the American Symphony, will soon record a tribute album of works commissioned by the legendary Francis Goelet, also for New World Records. In 2004 he led the BBC Symphony in a broadcast and recording of Chausson’s opera King Arthur (Telarc). His extensive discography also includes works by Brahms, Schubert, Bruch, and Mendelssohn and a series on CRI featuring works by Richard Wilson, Robert Starer, Richard Wernick, and Meyer Kupferman.

You actually listen to all that crap? You set me up didn't you? I'll get my revenge. :evil:

There's nothing remarkable about it. All one has to do is hit the right keys at the right time and the instrument plays itself.
-- Johann Sebastian Bach

Ralph
Dittersdorf Specialist & CMG NY Host
Posts: 20996
Joined: Fri Mar 25, 2005 6:54 am
Location: Paradise on Earth, New York, NY

Post by Ralph » Fri Sep 01, 2006 4:12 pm

jbuck919 wrote:
Ralph wrote: The American Symphony Orchestra is outstanding and their programs are genuinely unique and often exceptionally rewarding thanks to the true genius of Maestro Leon Botstein.
His most recent recording is Popov’s Symphony No. 1 and Shostakovich’s Theme and Variations, Op. 3, with the London Symphony Orchestra, on Telarc. Liszt’s Eine Symphonie zu Dantes Divina commedia (“Dante Symphony”) and Tasso, also with the London Symphony Orchestra, was released by Telarc early in 2004. His recent recording with the American Symphony Orchestra, a live performance of Strauss’s opera Die ägyptische Helena, with Deborah Voigt, has received critical acclaim, as has his recording of Gliere’s Symphony No. 3, “Il’ya Muromets” with the London Symphony. Other recordings for Telarc include Max Reger’s Böcklin Tone Poems and Romantic Suite, Richard Strauss’s opera Die Liebe der Danae; Bartók’s Concerto for Orchestra; music of Karol Szymanowski; symphonies of Karl Amadeus Hartmann; Dohnányi’s D Minor Symphony, and Bruckner’s Fifth Symphony (Schalk edition). He also recently recorded music of Ernst Toch with NDR—Hamburg for New World Records, and, with the American Symphony, will soon record a tribute album of works commissioned by the legendary Francis Goelet, also for New World Records. In 2004 he led the BBC Symphony in a broadcast and recording of Chausson’s opera King Arthur (Telarc). His extensive discography also includes works by Brahms, Schubert, Bruch, and Mendelssohn and a series on CRI featuring works by Richard Wilson, Robert Starer, Richard Wernick, and Meyer Kupferman.

You actually listen to all that crap? You set me up didn't you? I'll get my revenge. :evil:
*****

"Crap?" Botstein has single-handedly led a Popov renaissance in New York. Some of his other recordings are quite good but the ASO programs are the attraction, not the recordings.
Image

"Only two things are infinite, the universe and human stupidity, and I'm not sure about the former."

Albert Einstein

jbuck919
Military Band Specialist
Posts: 26867
Joined: Wed Jan 28, 2004 10:15 pm
Location: Stony Creek, New York

Post by jbuck919 » Fri Sep 01, 2006 4:22 pm

Ralph wrote: "Crap?" Botstein has single-handedly led a Popov renaissance in New York. Some of his other recordings are quite good but the ASO programs are the attraction, not the recordings.
Very funny. You know, if I don't keep coming back at your whimsy, one of our newer or more remote members will think you are making sense. (Popov is a brand of cheap vodka.)

There's nothing remarkable about it. All one has to do is hit the right keys at the right time and the instrument plays itself.
-- Johann Sebastian Bach

Heck148
Posts: 3568
Joined: Sun Jul 06, 2003 11:53 pm
Location: New England

Post by Heck148 » Fri Sep 01, 2006 5:51 pm

over the last 20 years or so, I've heard several of the big British Orchestras live, and of course, lots of recordings -

the LSO was the best, IMO, ..

the Philharmonia was very good

the LPO OK, certainly not equal to LSO [they both played Mahler 5]

the RoyalPO, OK, but definitely down a notch...

from recording - the Royal Scottish sounds very good, and the Northern Sinfonia quite solid...[Naxos Haydn symphony series]

anasazi
Posts: 603
Joined: Thu Feb 02, 2006 11:49 pm
Location: Sarasota Florida

Post by anasazi » Sat Sep 02, 2006 12:58 am

I only wish I had heard some of these musicians live, but alas I only have my CDs.

But how can the LSO not be first?

And how can not the RSNO not be at least fifth?

I am betrayed here by the fact that I often listen to movie scores. And I have CDs of both the LSO and RSNO. These sessions get the barest of rehearsals, so obviously the sight reading abilities of these orchestras are superb.
"Take only pictures, leave only footprints" - John Muir.

RebLem
Posts: 9117
Joined: Tue May 17, 2005 1:06 pm
Location: Albuquerque, NM, USA 87112, 2 blocks west of the Breaking Bad carwash.
Contact:

Post by RebLem » Sat Sep 02, 2006 4:10 am

jbuck919 wrote: There are several others known to locals that do a great job (St. Luke's, the City Opera Orchestra). I imagine there is a good one in Rochester because of the Eastman School, but who ever heard of it? And I have at least heard of the Buffalo whatever because its director was once Lucas Foss.
I can assure you the St. Luke Orchestra is not known only to NYC locals.

Its the Buffalo Philharmonic. Yes, Lukas Foss was once its MD, but so was Michael Tilson Thomas (1971-9). During that period, he and they recorded, among other things, a 2 LP album of the complete works of Carl Ruggles.

Buffalo is a wonderful city. Looks a lot like Chicago, partly because its park system, like Chicago's, was designed by Frederick Law Olmstead. I can't quite figure out why the best Italian restaurants are on Hertel St, though.

Be forewarned, I get a little defensive whenever Buffalo gets dissed, because my niece, Jessica Anne Johnson, is a senior curator at the Amherst Museum in Amherst, NY, which borders on Buffalo.
Don't drink and drive. You might spill it.--J. Eugene Baker, aka my late father
"We're not generating enough angry white guys to stay in business for the long term."--Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S. Carolina.
"Racism is America's Original Sin."--Francis Cardinal George, former Roman Catholic Archbishop of Chicago.

jbuck919
Military Band Specialist
Posts: 26867
Joined: Wed Jan 28, 2004 10:15 pm
Location: Stony Creek, New York

Post by jbuck919 » Sat Sep 02, 2006 4:26 am

RebLem wrote:
jbuck919 wrote: T
Its the Buffalo Philharmonic. Yes, Lukas Foss was once its MD, but so was Michael Tilson Thomas (1971-9). During that period, he and they recorded, among other things, a 2 LP album of the complete works of Carl Ruggles.

Well, that does make a difference. :)

Seriously, thanks for filling in the gaps. I knew it was the Philharmonic but after my gaffe with Glens Falls I wasn't taking any chances. :)

There's nothing remarkable about it. All one has to do is hit the right keys at the right time and the instrument plays itself.
-- Johann Sebastian Bach

Heck148
Posts: 3568
Joined: Sun Jul 06, 2003 11:53 pm
Location: New England

Post by Heck148 » Sat Sep 02, 2006 9:12 am

jbuck919 wrote: I imagine there is a good one in Rochester because of the Eastman School, but who ever heard of it? And I have at least heard of the Buffalo whatever because its director was once Lucas Foss.
Rochester, Syracuse and Buffalo all have fine orchestras, all major, with fine traditions. all are listed by the ASOL[2005] as Level 2 [out of 8 levels] professional groups - ie - budget between $$5.2 and c 14 million. the Rochester Philharmonic has no connection with the Eastman School, tho many of the players also teach at the school. they are entirely separate organizations.

orchs like the NYPO, CSO, BSO are Level 1 - budget greater than $$14 million.
The capital of the great state of New York has decided to devote its main concert hall to pop, so the Albany Symphony has to perform in places with names like the Troy Savings Bank Hall.
Troy Saving Bank Hall is a famous, fine-sounding music hall. The Albany Symphony [level 5] plays there by choice, I'm sure...

Heck148
Posts: 3568
Joined: Sun Jul 06, 2003 11:53 pm
Location: New England

Post by Heck148 » Sat Sep 02, 2006 9:15 am

anasazi wrote:These sessions get the barest of rehearsals, so obviously the sight reading abilities of these orchestras are superb.
they get no rehearsals, as a rule!!

The London orchestras do lots of recording...the LSO set the tone over the years because they would not sign an exclusive recording contract with any company...they will record for anyone, as long as the price can be agreed upon. they work many, many services, often after full concert performances....play/record alot, at lower rates than other groups has been the approach..
they are noted for superb sight-reading abilities...

jbuck919
Military Band Specialist
Posts: 26867
Joined: Wed Jan 28, 2004 10:15 pm
Location: Stony Creek, New York

Post by jbuck919 » Sat Sep 02, 2006 10:53 am

Heck148 wrote:
jbuck919 wrote: I imagine there is a good one in Rochester because of the Eastman School, but who ever heard of it? And I have at least heard of the Buffalo whatever because its director was once Lucas Foss.
Rochester, Syracuse and Buffalo all have fine orchestras, all major, with fine traditions. all are listed by the ASOL[2005] as Level 2 [out of 8 levels] professional groups - ie - budget between $$5.2 and c 14 million. the Rochester Philharmonic has no connection with the Eastman School, tho many of the players also teach at the school. they are entirely separate organizations.

orchs like the NYPO, CSO, BSO are Level 1 - budget greater than $$14 million.
The capital of the great state of New York has decided to devote its main concert hall to pop, so the Albany Symphony has to perform in places with names like the Troy Savings Bank Hall.
Troy Saving Bank Hall is a famous, fine-sounding music hall. The Albany Symphony [level 5] plays there by choice, I'm sure...
I think that the Albany orchestra might like it if there were an auditorium in Albany where they were the main attraction, but other than that, thank you for the information. I was unaware that there was a recognized ranking of orchestras. :)

There's nothing remarkable about it. All one has to do is hit the right keys at the right time and the instrument plays itself.
-- Johann Sebastian Bach

Heck148
Posts: 3568
Joined: Sun Jul 06, 2003 11:53 pm
Location: New England

Post by Heck148 » Sun Sep 03, 2006 8:34 am

jbuck919 wrote: I think that the Albany orchestra might like it if there were an auditorium in Albany where they were the main attraction,
possibly/probably, however the excellent sound of the Troy Savings Bank Hall is a definite plus. I don't know what the seating capacity is, tho
the Albany Symphony serves the whole capital district generally, Albany, Schenectady, Troy, Rensselaer, etc....so the Savings Bank may serve adequately as a central location...
I was unaware that there was a recognized ranking of orchestras. :)
yes, that is the American Symphony Orchestra league ranking - remember, it is based primarily on size of budget, length of season, number of concerts, etc. it makes no judgement whatever regarding level of performance quality...

jbuck919
Military Band Specialist
Posts: 26867
Joined: Wed Jan 28, 2004 10:15 pm
Location: Stony Creek, New York

Post by jbuck919 » Sun Sep 03, 2006 8:50 am

Heck148 wrote: possibly/probably, however the excellent sound of the Troy Savings Bank Hall is a definite plus.


You can find excellent sound in a barn, which is basically what that hall is. I don't think too many concert halls these days lack air conditioning and have visible sprinkler systems. And though you have correctly enumerated the main towns of the capital area, Troy is in no way central. If the New York Philharmonic had to play in Yonkers, that would be approximately the equivalent.

I still appreciate your info about other New York orchestras.

There's nothing remarkable about it. All one has to do is hit the right keys at the right time and the instrument plays itself.
-- Johann Sebastian Bach

Heck148
Posts: 3568
Joined: Sun Jul 06, 2003 11:53 pm
Location: New England

Post by Heck148 » Sun Sep 03, 2006 9:40 am

jbuck919 wrote:
Heck148 wrote: possibly/probably, however the excellent sound of the Troy Savings Bank Hall is a definite plus.


"And though you have correctly enumerated the main towns of the capital area, Troy is in no way central."

I grew up in the capital district, and worked there....I remember when the Albany Symphony used to play at Union College Chapel. it was essentially a community orchestra at that time..they played in Albany too, but I've forgotten where, they'd repeat the program at Union College..my HS teachers played with the orchestra, and my private teacher appeared as soloist..

Troy isn't central, but no place is...Latham, maybe, but TMK, it has nothing in the way of concert halls... :D

"If the New York Philharmonic had to play in Yonkers, that would be approximately the equivalent."

No, the Albany Symphony definitely serves the Capital district, the entire region. it has always, IME, embraced that mission.

I still appreciate your info about other New York orchestras.

jbuck919
Military Band Specialist
Posts: 26867
Joined: Wed Jan 28, 2004 10:15 pm
Location: Stony Creek, New York

Post by jbuck919 » Sun Sep 03, 2006 10:03 am

There is a central point in the capital area and it is called downtown Albany. The symphony should be playing at "the egg' (the main concert hall which looks like an inverted half-egg). But I don't blame them for avoiding the hideosity that is Capital Plaza (aka Rockefeller Center North).

There's nothing remarkable about it. All one has to do is hit the right keys at the right time and the instrument plays itself.
-- Johann Sebastian Bach

rogch
Posts: 442
Joined: Mon Jun 20, 2005 5:10 am
Location: Tønsberg, Norway

Post by rogch » Sun Sep 03, 2006 11:45 am

I thought that BBCs main orchestra perhaps was the best British orchestra, but i did not know that BBC philharmonic and BBC symphony orchestra were two different orchestras. And then we have the BBC Scottish symphony orchestra and the BBC symphony orchestra of Wales. Have i forgotten any?

It's hard to rank the different British orchestras, but i think many of them distinguish themselves by their flexibility, their ability to adjust to the styles of various composers and conductors. It is no coincidence that Bruno Maderna's live BBC recording of Mahler's ninth sympony was ranked among the classics almost immediately after its release on CD.

The London Symphony Orchestra perhaps has the most impressive list of achievments. They have of course been spoiled with great coductors from Pierre Monteux to Valery Gergiev. And what a great conductor Colin Davis is, i think he doesn't get the attention he deserves. He just happens to be around on who knows how many great recordings.

The Philharmonia was almost unbeatable at their prime under Klemperer and Karajan. They have kept up fairly well, but what do they do these days?

Bernhard Haitink praised the main London Orchestras in an interview on his 75th birthday. He said they were great musicians and easy to work with. But they live under tough conditions he said, they live on a day to day basis. They don't enjoy the same stable conditions as the main continental orchestras. Perhaps that is why they have to damage their reputation by playing pop hits on record? But they don't seem to suffer from it artisticly.
Roger Christensen

"Mozart is the most inaccessible of the great masters"
Artur Schnabel

Heck148
Posts: 3568
Joined: Sun Jul 06, 2003 11:53 pm
Location: New England

Post by Heck148 » Sun Sep 03, 2006 12:04 pm

jbuck919 wrote: The symphony should be playing at "the egg' (the main concert hall which looks like an inverted half-egg).
for whatever reason, the Board of Directors and/or Music Director seem to prefer the Troy Savings Bank Hall...

I guess the downtown Albany music hall venues are not adequate, or not available, for whatever reason....
Last edited by Heck148 on Sun Sep 03, 2006 5:02 pm, edited 1 time in total.

jbuck919
Military Band Specialist
Posts: 26867
Joined: Wed Jan 28, 2004 10:15 pm
Location: Stony Creek, New York

Post by jbuck919 » Sun Sep 03, 2006 12:16 pm

Heck148 wrote:
jbuck919 wrote: The symphony should be playing at "the egg' (the main concert hall which looks like an inverted half-egg).
for whatever eason, the Board of Directors and/or Music Director seem to prefer the Troy Savings Bank Hall...

I guess the downtown Albany music hall venues are not adequate, or not available, for whatever reason....
The reason is extremely obvious, and is related to why the Merriweather Post Pavilion in my other place of dwelling, Columbia Maryland, is also not used for its original purpose, the summer home of the Baltimore Symphony. Pop acts are far more profitable than classical ones.

No modern orchestra whose director was in his right mind would perform in that rat's nest fire trap in Troy if it did not have to.

There's nothing remarkable about it. All one has to do is hit the right keys at the right time and the instrument plays itself.
-- Johann Sebastian Bach

Heck148
Posts: 3568
Joined: Sun Jul 06, 2003 11:53 pm
Location: New England

Post by Heck148 » Sun Sep 03, 2006 5:15 pm

jbuck919 wrote: The reason is extremely obvious,
as I said, the Albany Symphony serves the entire capital district, and it's website lists 4 different concert venues, of which Troy Savings Bank Hall is one:

Palace Theatre - Albany
Troy Savings Bank - Troy
Canfield Casino- Saratoga
First United Methodist Church - Pittsfield, MA

from website - <<We are the oldest and only professional symphony orchestra based in the Capital Region, serving more than 150,000 persons within a 75-mile radius covering more than seven counties and parts of three states.>>
http://www.albanysymphony.com/about.htm

jbuck919
Military Band Specialist
Posts: 26867
Joined: Wed Jan 28, 2004 10:15 pm
Location: Stony Creek, New York

Post by jbuck919 » Sun Sep 03, 2006 6:18 pm

Heck148 wrote: Palace Theatre - Albany
Troy Savings Bank - Troy
Canfield Casino- Saratoga
First United Methodist Church - Pittsfield, MA
Welll, that makes it better.

There's nothing remarkable about it. All one has to do is hit the right keys at the right time and the instrument plays itself.
-- Johann Sebastian Bach

Locked

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 8 guests