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CLASSICAL Home

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CLASSICAL  May 2008

CLASSICAL May 2008

Subject:

Re: Chicago Symphony

From:

Steve Schwartz <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

Moderated Classical Music List <[log in to unmask]>

Date:

Tue, 13 May 2008 21:05:38 -0700

Content-Type:

text/plain

Parts/Attachments:

Parts/Attachments

text/plain (53 lines)

Nicholas Yasillo replies to us Muti-bashers:

> Some things to consider:
>
> 1.  The Riccardo Muti of today is not necessarily the same person who
> conducted in Philadelphia 25 yeas ago.

True, and it's a telling point.  I, for instance, haven't heard any of his
recent work.

> 2.  Many people, including me think that the change in Phily from the
> lush "Ormandy" sound was much needed, Today's orchestras need to be more
> flexible and need to be able to adapt to a "composer's intent".  

I have problems with this.  First, you'll never know the composer's
intent, particularly the intent of a dead composer.  Second, this was
Muti's argument at the time he ruined the Philadelphia.  Third, it seems
iffy to me to say that a sound should reflect what's in the score.  As
far as I know, Ormandy never changed a note, yet here we are, squabbling
over whether he "betrayed" the composer.  Fourth, if all you want is an
accurate, informed performance, why not just create a MIDI file?

> 2.  Of the 30 or so conductors who have been guest conducting the C.S.O
> over the last 2 years, Muti was far and away the orchestra's favorite
> and was absolutely at the top of the list as choice for Music Director.

That counts for a lot.

> 3.  A C.S.O player who is one of Muti's most outspoken and biggest
> supporters was someone who played under him in Philadelphia.

Some people liked Loren Maazel when he took over the Cleveland.  *I*
liked him, but not necessarily because I thought he was right for the
orchestra -- rather, I liked his repertoire.

> 4.  A strictly personal observation: For the month that Muti conducted
> the C.S.O.  this season in Chicago and on-tour, the Orchestra played
> (I.M.H.O.) better than it has since the peak of the Solti days.

Again, a powerful argument.

I'm perfectly willing to own up to treating Muti unfairly.  I should
give him a chance.

But I still hate his Philadelphia recordings.

Steve Schwartz

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