Walter Meyer wrote:
>... Apparently the best conductors can get superb performances from
>otherwise obscure orchestras and, conversely, an orchestra of international
>reputation can fall flat from poor conducting. Which raises a question
>for me. The Philadelphia Orchestra, under Stokowski and under Ormandy was
>famous for its "Philadelphia sound". Did this Philadelphia sound remain
>when Toscanini guest conducted them?
No, it sounded like Toscanini. I have heard recordings of Beecham
conducting a student orchestra in Illinois in 1956, the year of the Mozart
Bicentennial. I remember the last three symphonies, Abduction from the
Seraglio, and other music I don't now remember. It made up 4 concerts at
the time and they appeared on tape for radio stations to use. And they had
all the wonders of a typical Beecham performance. I don't know what it is,
but great conductors had a personal sound which they were able to transmit
to orchestras of less than great rank -- and without any unusual steps in
the rehearsal process.
It's a mystery.
And I forgot one thing -- I saw Ormandy conduct the LA Phil in concert,
and guess what? Sounded just like the Philadelphia. Not only to me, but
to the critics as well.