Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Eugene Ormandy conducts Schubert and Mozart

   Eugene Ormandy was one of most active conductors of 20th century. He recorded almost complete of great symphonic repertoire with many most popular works doubled or tripled. Interesting attribute of his discography was unusual interesting towards contemporary symphonic music. For obvious reasons he presented more romantic repertoire than new music, but with superiority of late 19th and 20th century neo romanticism. He was specially priced as interpreter of great symphonic works by Tchaikovsky, Bruckner, Strauss, Mahler and Rachmaninoff. 20th century music was represented inter alia by compositions of Ravel, Prokofiev, Shostakovich, Orff, Nielsen, Sibelius, Hindemith, Webern, Schoenberg. He also gave his rendition of Utrenya by Krzysztof Penderecki. Thank to his sensitivity and musical competences he was also one of most favorite partner for concert soloists. No wonder Ormandy performed and recorded with almost complete list of best piano, violin and cello masters active during half century of his career.
   Many of his performances Ormandy was conducting from memory because he was able to learning fast even most complicated scores. And he didn’t use the baton, making individual contact with every musician the weighty element of his professionalism. As music director of Philadelphia Orchestra, he was conductor of absolute outstanding artistic possibilities and best manners, with indispensable distance and leadership skills. In general in his artistic attitude he was occupying the same positions as Arturo Toscanini who was his friend and most admired master. Opulent sound and gently formed phrases, care for the orchestral sound which has priority over individual expression in opinions of many listeners makes Philadelphia an orchestra of richest sound.

Eugene Ormandy conducts Schubert and Mozart (1968)

   In 1968 Ormandy renewed recording contract with RCA Red Seal label. Recording sessions started immediately. In long series of renditions immortalized on records one can find almost complete history of symphonic music. He recorded very quickly, through excellent preparation and serious accountability. In May 27th and 28th 1968 The Philadelphia Orchestra conducted by Eugene Ormandy recorded Franz Schubert’s Symphony No. 8 “Unfinished” and Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s Symphony No. 41 “Jupiter”. These renditions are highly inspired, subordinated to the concept of dramatic development of symphonic form. In this reading Unfinished Symphony shows itself as musical discourse about most dramatic human questions. And there can be no doubts, it is finished as well as Jupiter Symphony.
   The same kind of musical drama is shown in Mozart’s last known symphony. Contrasts between movements, expression and rhythmic differences create sequence of tensions leading to final Allegro molto which is balancing between heroic pathos and dramatic feeling of uncertainty and irrevocable fate. Almost 45 years after it was recorded, these symphonies sound as fresh as if it were recorded at present. Some passages evoke strong impression, the artists were able to capture in these renditions the essence of symphonic form.

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