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09-20-2020 Post does not mapped to Knowledge Tree
oxric
Posts 194
Joined on 02-11-2010

Post #: 1
Post ID: 25942
Reply to: 25942
List of top 20 conductors on classical-music.com
Life here in north-eastern France, on the border with Germany, has lost all relation to normalcy some time ago. 

Anyway, our town has decided, bravely (some might say recklessly) to continue with the Wissembourg International Music Festival...So that led me to think about conductors.

I looked for some ranking of conductors (there are several online), and have come across this one which caught my interest as it includes several conductors whose interpretations I enjoy...

It's a great laugh to go through if you have not come through the list previously.

https://www.classical-music.com/features/artists/20-greatest-conductors-all-time/

Some inclusions are bound to be controversial and some omissions will be considered as near-criminal but it's great fun nonetheless.
11-08-2020 Post does not mapped to Knowledge Tree
steverino
Posts 327
Joined on 05-22-2009

Post #: 2
Post ID: 25976
Reply to: 25942
British are always homers
So the conductor list overweighted to British is expected for BBC. I think Stokowski has to be in the top 10 with Lenny, HvK and Toscanini. As for the festival, if the players are for it I wouldn't stop it. Those under 60 are much less susceptible and non wind players could wear masks if desired. Can't live life hiding under a rock. I think outdoors would be best for players and audience if it could be managed.
11-09-2020 Post does not mapped to Knowledge Tree
oxric
Posts 194
Joined on 02-11-2010

Post #: 3
Post ID: 25982
Reply to: 25976
Well Lenny, HvK and Toscanini are all there; and the survey is by conductors reviewing their peers.
 steverino wrote:
So the conductor list overweighted to British is expected for BBC. I think Stokowski has to be in the top 10 with Lenny, HvK and Toscanini. As for the festival, if the players are for it I wouldn't stop it. Those under 60 are much less susceptible and non wind players could wear masks if desired. Can't live life hiding under a rock. I think outdoors would be best for players and audience if it could be managed.

Well, Lenny is at No.2 and HvK is at No. 4 and Toscanini is at No. 8...so I think you may have given the list a very cursory glance. Also, note that the list is not derived from BBC reviewers but from a survey of 100 leading conductors (who may or may not be predominantly British, admittedly).

So that leaves Stokowski but the irony is that he was in fact born British, raised in London and attended the Royal College of music there. He deliberately encouraged the mystery about his origins, and emphasized his Polish ancestry to appear more exotic...

We attended several of these concerts at the Wissembourg Festival but missed the last three which were cancelled because of the national lockdown which came in as of Thursday last week. The last concert I went to with the children was of Beethoven last quartets, played ravishingly by Quatuor Ebene.

With the high incidence of cases here in France, I guess it will be at least another 6 weeks before any live concerts are allowed. Open air concerts would be great but I doubt anyone will face the cold temperatures in December to listen to classical music outdoors.

But you are right, I too feel that with appropriate measures and sanitary protocols in place concerts and cultural life should continue. The funny think is that at these concerts, your typical concert goer is typically aged 60 and over. My children, aged 7, 12 and 13 are the youngest and in fact usually the only children in attendance. That is true wherever we have been, in the UK, in France, Italy and Germany, there are very few children and nearly never will you see young people at all...

Best rgds, 
Rakesh
11-09-2020 Post does not mapped to Knowledge Tree
steverino
Posts 327
Joined on 05-22-2009

Post #: 4
Post ID: 25983
Reply to: 25982
That's what I said.
I would put Stokowski with the other 3 in the top 10. I am not sure what the misunderstanding is. As for outdoor concerts obviously climate will affect it but I think to save the industry the classical music season might best re oriented to the late spring to early fall where outdoor concerts are more possible.
11-09-2020 Post does not mapped to Knowledge Tree
oxric
Posts 194
Joined on 02-11-2010

Post #: 5
Post ID: 25984
Reply to: 25983
Still there is some irony. And IMO, Furtwangler, HvK and Toscanini should not be in the top 10.
 steverino wrote:
I would put Stokowski with the other 3 in the top 10. I am not sure what the misunderstanding is. As for outdoor concerts obviously climate will affect it but I think to save the industry the classical music season might best re oriented to the late spring to early fall where outdoor concerts are more possible.

Hi Steve,
OK, no misunderstanding then. It's still amusing and not slightly ironic that after stating that "British are homers" that you should go on to recommend adding yet another, to all intent and purpose, British conductor to the top 10, albeit one who has a Polish name and deliberately cultivated the impression that he was of Polish origins (but born in Germany).

As I said, I agree with you about finding ways to hold live music concerts, even outside if possible. I am not too sure that culture is at the top of anybody's list of priorities these days.

I just had a bit of an argument with the children's school at the beginning of term when I found out that they were cancelling the music instrument classes because of worries about covid transmission. And to add insult to injury, they are converting the beautiful music room into a computer room. I am sure there is someone in the Landes' department of education who thought that this was progress and what the country needed. But I digress...

About the list, I think that Karajan's, Furtwangler's and Toscanini's places in the Top 10 are actually questionable... Much as I like Furtwangler's conducting, his position during the Nazi Third Reichtag years makes him not deserving of this accolade as a matter of course; Karajan's may be immense but then like a modern day version of Google or Facebook, he just positioned himself in a way that he simply dominated classical music for at least two decades, and Toscanini, well, it's a matter of taste but his approach worked well with some composers but not so much with others. 

Best rgds,
Rakesh
11-09-2020 Post does not mapped to Knowledge Tree
steverino
Posts 327
Joined on 05-22-2009

Post #: 6
Post ID: 25987
Reply to: 25984
Fair enough
Although I would have traded most of the rest of them for Stoky so the overall number would have gone down. At any rate  he is the only one I would put in the top 10.
As for the classical music culture, if it is fading in the EU, as you say, it is practically invisible in the Americas. So I think the likelihood is it will survive there in weekly performance. Here I am less sure.
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