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Carnegie Hall Project / Sir Georg Solti


Release Date: 04/29/2002 
Label:  Decca   Catalog #: 444458   Spars Code: DDD 
Composer:  Richard WagnerJohannes BrahmsDmitri ShostakovichRichard Strauss,   ... 
Conductor:  Sir Georg Solti
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Orchestra
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Length: 1 Hours 18 Mins. 

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This CD is reissued by ArkivMusic.

Notes and Editorial Reviews

Solti leads an orchestra consisting of young musicians chosen by audition plus 15 leading players from major orchestras who also acted as coaches, and the results are beautiful.

Over a 16-day period in June 1994 Sir Georg Solti supervised a series of rehearsals and study-sessions with an orchestra unique in America. Two years earlier he had been approached by Carnegie Hall to conduct an orchestra formed of young musicians. The idea developed to include 15 musicians from five top American orchestras - two from Philadelphia, five from Boston, four from Cleveland, three from Chicago and one from Los Angeles - to act not only as leading players but to coach their respective sections. In the mornings Solti worked with the
Read more complete orchestra, in the afternoon they worked in separate sections with Solti visiting each in turn.

As Solti says in his explanatory note for this disc, "The results are beautiful", and are winningly demonstrated in these live recordings made at the two concerts which crowned the whole project. As a revelation not just of the orchestra's superb quality but of Solti as interpreter the most remarkable performance here is of the Shostakovich symphony. It would be hard to imagine a happier, more genial account of this equivocal work, witty and pointed, with humour unforced and buoyant. If Solti in his eighties still retains an element of fierceness in such music as a rule, it has evaporated here, though the clarity and precision are phenomenal.

It is remarkable, too, what natural flexibility marks the playing in such a work as the Meistersinger Prelude, with free rubato in the big melodies coupled with perfect ensemble. The syncopations in the Smetana work have an infectious freedom too, seemingly spontaneous, again achieved with total precision. As for the Brahms Variations, it would be hard to find a performance so sharply characterized, with each section beautifully contrasted. The one disappointment is more a question of the recording than of performance, for the opening of Don Juan brings a slight harshness that stems from the lack of bloom on high violin tone. Even in that work the opening is an exception, for the same warm qualities as the rest mark the performance as a whole, with most satisfying weight of brass, even if weight of string tone hardly matches that in Solti's own Chicago recording (Decca, 5/91).

The clarity of texture allows some magical solo playing to be fully appreciated in all the works, notably from the principal oboe and horn. There of course one has to enter the obvious reservation that such playing is not from young musicians but from some of the finest in America, drawn here into a unique alliance for the occasion. Hardheaded orchestral musicians, noting the ideal conditions set up for the project, might well comment that no wonder the results are so fine. That hardly detracts from the achievement both of Solti and of the players. For the rest, here is an unusual but attractive mix of pieces making up a disc to give a great deal of pleasure.

-- Edward Greenfield, Gramophone [12/1995]
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Works on This Recording

1. Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg: Act 1 Prelude by Richard Wagner
Conductor:  Sir Georg Solti
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1867; Germany 
Date of Recording: 06/1994 
Venue:  Live  Carnegie Hall, New York City 
Length: 10 Minutes 30 Secs. 
2. Variations in B flat major on a theme by Haydn, Op. 56a "St. Anthony" by Johannes Brahms
Conductor:  Sir Georg Solti
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1873; Austria 
Date of Recording: 06/1994 
Venue:  Live  Carnegie Hall, New York City 
Length: 19 Minutes 25 Secs. 
3. Symphony no 9 in E flat major, Op. 70 by Dmitri Shostakovich
Conductor:  Sir Georg Solti
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1945; USSR 
Date of Recording: 06/1994 
Venue:  Live  Carnegie Hall, New York City 
Length: 23 Minutes 38 Secs. 
4. Don Juan, Op. 20 by Richard Strauss
Conductor:  Sir Georg Solti
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1888-1889; Germany 
Date of Recording: 06/1994 
Venue:  Live  Carnegie Hall, New York City 
Length: 17 Minutes 31 Secs. 
5. Bartered Bride, B 143/T 93: Overture by Bedrich Smetana
Conductor:  Sir Georg Solti
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Orchestra
Written: 1866 
Date of Recording: 06/1994 
Venue:  Live  Carnegie Hall, New York City 
Length: 7 Minutes 8 Secs. 

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