George Szell

Biography

Born: June 7, 1897; Hungary   Died: July 30, 1970; USA   Period: 20th Century
Part of the wave of great Hungarian conductors who took over American musical life just before and after World War II -- the others included Fritz Reiner, Antal Dorati, and Eugene Ormandy -- George Szell quickly transformed a middling Midwestern orchestra into one of the nation's Big Five. His cultivation of the Cleveland Orchestra set an example of discipline and hard work that gradually helped raise the standards of orchestras across America. Read more
Although born in Hungary, Szell was raised in Vienna where he studied composition with Eusebius Mandyczewski, and piano with Richard Robert; he also studied composition in Prague with J.B. Foerster. Szell was a wunderkind, playing a Mozart piano concerto with the Vienna Symphony Orchestra when he was ten, and composing a number of solid chamber and orchestral works in a lush, late Romantic style as a child and teenager. He was 17 when he conducted the Berlin Philharmonic in a program that included one of his own compositions.
Despite these early successes, Szell rose through the conducting ranks in the traditional way of the period, with a series of opera positions: Royal Opera of Berlin (1915-1917), Strasbourg (1917-1918), Prague (1919-1921), Darmstadt (1921-1922), and Düsseldorf (1922-1924). Szell's first prestigious post came to him in 1924, when he was named first conductor of the Berlin State Opera; he simultaneously served as a professor at Berlin's Hochschule für Musik. In 1929, he moved on to become general music director of the German Opera and Philharmonic in Prague, where he remained until 1937.
Szell began focusing more on orchestral repertory in the 1930s; he made his U.S. debut as guest conductor of the St. Louis Symphony in 1930, and in 1937 he was appointed conductor of the Scottish Orchestra in Glasgow, while maintaining a steady relationship with the Residentie Orkest in The Hague. Szell was in America in 1939 when war broke out in Europe; he remained in the U.S. through the war, first depending on guest engagements and then, in 1942, becoming a regular conductor at the Metropolitan Opera, where he was especially praised for his Wagner performances. In 1946 Szell took American citizenship and became music director of the Cleveland Orchestra, a post he held for 24 years. He was also the New York Philharmonic's music advisor and senior guest conductor during the last two years of his life.
Although Szell made a recordings in Europe in the 1950s and 1960s for Decca, and in Cleveland at the end of his life for EMI, the bulk of his substantial discography was the result of his long collaboration with Columbia Records in Cleveland. There, Szell had inherited an able but ordinary orchestra and, through sheer determination, molded it into one of America's finest. A Szell performance was remarkable for its textural clarity, chamber-like balances, and precision of attack and release. He drilled his orchestra mercilessly, even in works it had performed with him not long before. Szell was particularly admired for his performances of Austro-Germanic classics from Haydn to Richard Strauss, his sharp renderings of works by a select group of twentieth century composers including Bartók, Prokofiev, Janácek, and Walton), and his idiomatic way with Dvorák. Indeed, some collectors maintain that Szell's monaural, early 1950s recording of Dvorák's Eighth Symphony with the Concertgebouw Orchestra has never been equaled. His treatment of French composers, on the other hand, was criticized for its lack of atmosphere, and detractors maintained that he achieved precision at the expense of emotional expression. To those who demanded a warmer approach to his beloved Mozart, however, Szell is said to have retorted, "One does not pour chocolate sauce over asparagus." Read less
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Biography

Born: June 7, 1897; Hungary   Died: July 30, 1970; USA   Period: 20th Century
Part of the wave of great Hungarian conductors who took over American musical life just before and after World War II -- the others included Fritz Reiner, Antal Dorati, and Eugene Ormandy -- George Szell quickly transformed a middling Midwestern orchestra into one of the nation's Big Five. His cultivation of the Cleveland Orchestra set an example of discipline and hard work that gradually helped raise the standards of orchestras across America. Read more
WORKS ALBUMS
TITLE/COMPOSER
LABEL
Prokofiev: Concerto No. 3 in C Major for Piano and Orchestra, Op. 26: I. Andante - Allegro
II. Andantino (Tema con variazioni)
III. Allegro ma non troppo
Prokofiev: Concerto No. 1 in D-Flat Major for Piano and Orchestra, Op. 10: Allegro brioso - Poco piů mosso - Tempo primo
Meno mosso
Andante assai
Allegro scherzando - Poco piů sostenuto
Tchaikovsky: Concerto No. 1 in B-Flat Minor for Piano and Orchestra, Op. 23: I. Allegro non troppo e molto maestoso
II. Andantino simplice
III. Allegro con fuoco - Allegro vivo
I. Allegro con brio
II. Adagio
III. Allegretto grazioso - Molto vivace
IV. Allegro ma non troppo
I. Un poco sostenuto - Allegro
II. Andante sostenuto
III. Un poco allegretto e grazioso
IV. Adagio - Piu andante - Allegro non troppo ma con brio - Piu allegro
Vier letzte Lieder (Four Last Songs) Op. posth. (1997 Remastered Version): I. Frühling (Hesse)
Vier letzte Lieder (Four Last Songs) Op. posth. (1997 Remastered Version): II. September (Hesse)
Vier letzte Lieder (Four Last Songs) Op. posth. (1997 Remastered Version): III. Beim Schlafengehen (Hesse)
Vier letzte Lieder (Four Last Songs) Op. posth. (1997 Remastered Version): IV. Im Abendrot (Eichendorff)
Piano Concerto No.1 in C Op.15 (1996 Remastered Version): I. Allegro con brio
Piano Concerto No.1 in C Op.15 (1996 Remastered Version): II. Largo
Piano Concerto No.1 in C Op.15 (1996 Remastered Version): III. Rondo (Allegro scherzando) [ Cadenzas by Beethoven]
Piano Concerto No. 2 in B flat Op. 19 (1996 Remastered Version): I. Allegro moderato
Piano Concerto No. 2 in B flat Op. 19 (1996 Remastered Version): II. Adagio
Piano Concerto No. 2 in B flat Op. 19 (1996 Remastered Version): III. Rondo (molto allegro)
Piano Concerto No.3 in C Minor Op.37 (1996 Remastered Version): Allegro con brio
Piano Concerto No.3 in C Minor Op.37 (1996 Remastered Version): Largo
Piano Concerto No.3 in C Minor Op.37 (1996 Remastered Version): Rondo (Allegro - Presto)
Concerto for Piano and Orchestra No. 4 in G Op. 58 (1996 Remastered Version): I. Allegro moderato
Concerto for Piano and Orchestra No. 4 in G Op. 58 (1996 Remastered Version): II. Andante con moto
Concerto for Piano and Orchestra No. 4 in G Op. 58 (1996 Remastered Version): III. Rondo (Vivace)
32 Variations in C minor on an original theme WoO80 (1996 Remastered Version): Variations XIX - XXII
32 Variations in C minor on an original theme WoO80 (1996 Remastered Version): Variations XXIII - XXV
32 Variations in C minor on an original theme WoO80 (1996 Remastered Version): Variations XXVI & XXVII
Vier letzte Lieder (Four Last Songs) Op. posth. (1997 Digital Remaster): I. Frühling (Hesse)
Vier letzte Lieder (Four Last Songs) Op. posth. (1997 Digital Remaster): II. September (Hesse)
Vier letzte Lieder (Four Last Songs) Op. posth. (1997 Digital Remaster): III. Beim Schlafengehen (Hesse)
Vier letzte Lieder (Four Last Songs) Op. posth. (1997 Digital Remaster): IV. Im Abendrot (Eichendorff)
Brahms: Piano Concerto No.1 in D minor, Op.15 - 1. Maestoso - Poco piů moderato
Brahms: Piano Concerto No.1 in D minor, Op.15 - 2. Adagio
Brahms: Piano Concerto No.1 in D minor, Op.15 - 3. Rondo (Allegro non troppo)
Concerto for Piano and Orchestra No. 5, 'Emperor' Op. 73 (1996 Digital Remaster): Allegro
Concerto for Piano and Orchestra No. 5, 'Emperor' Op. 73 (1996 Digital Remaster): Adagio un poco mosso
Concerto for Piano and Orchestra No. 5, 'Emperor' Op. 73 (1996 Digital Remaster): Rondo (Allegro)
Brahms: Piano Concerto No.1 in D minor, Op.15 - 1. Maestoso - Poco piů moderato
Brahms: Piano Concerto No.1 in D minor, Op.15 - 2. Adagio
Brahms: Piano Concerto No.1 in D minor, Op.15 - 3. Rondo (Allegro non troppo)
I. Allegro spiritoso
II. Andante
III. Menuetto. Allegretto -Trio
IV. Presto
VI. Adagio - Allegro molto - Allegro assai
Lacrimosa
Minuet in C major, K 409 (383f)
IV. Finale. Allegro assai
Symphony No. 35 in D Major, K. 385 "Haffner": I. Allegro con spirito
II. Andante
III. Menuetto - Trio
I. Allegro
Overture to the Marriage of Figaro, K. 492
I. Allegro assai
II. Andante moderato
III. Menuetto - Trio
IV. Finale - Allegro assai
IV. Molto allegro
VII. Finale. Presto
IV. Finale. Allegro assai
Symphony No. 40 in G minor, K. 550: I. Allegro molto
II. Andante
III. Menuetto. Allegretto
IV. Finale. Allegro assai
Symphony No. 41 in C Major, K. 551 "Jupiter": I. Allegro vivace
I. Allegro
I. Adagio - Allegro
II. Andante con moto
Divertimento in D Major for Flute, Oboe, Bassoon, Four Horns and Orchestra, K. 131: I. Allegro
II. Adagio
III. Menuetto - Trio - Trio II - Trio III
IV. Allegretto
V. Menuetto - Trio I - Trio II
VI. Adagio - Allegro molto - Allegro assai
Sinfonia Concertante in E-flat Major for Violin, Viola and Orchestra, K. 364 (320d): I. Allegro maestoso
II. Andante
III. Presto
Exsultate Jubilate, K. 165 (158a): I. Allegro
II. Andante
III. Allegro
Serenade in G Major, K. 525 "Eine kleine Nachtmusik": I. Allegro
II. Romance. Andante
III. Menuetto. Allegretto - Trio
IV. Rondo. Allegro
Serenade in D Major, KV. 320 "Posthorn": I. Adagio maestoso - Allegro con spirito
II. Menuetto. Allegretto - Trio
III. Concertante. Andante grazioso
IV. Rondeau. Allegro ma non troppo
V. Andantino
VI. Menuetto - Trio I - Trio II
VII. Finale. Presto
Concerto in A Major for Clarinet and Orchestra, K. 622: I. Allegro
II. Adagio
III. Rondo. Allegro
Concerto No. 25 in C Major for Piano and Orchestra, K. 503: I. Allegro maestoso
II. Andante
III. Allegretto
I. Allegro energico, ma non troppo, Heftig, aber markig.
II. Scherzo, wuchtig
III. Andante moderato
IV. Finale, Sostenuto - Allegro moderato - Allegro energico
I. Allegro con brio
II. Largo
III. Rondo. Allegro
Concerto No. 4 in G Major for Piano and Orchestra, Op. 58: I. Allegro moderato
II. Andante con moto
III. Rondo. Vivace
I. Allegro spiritoso
II. Andante
III. Menuetto. Allegretto -Trio
IV. Presto
Symphony No. 33 in B-Flat Major, K. 319: I. Allegro assai
II. Andante moderato
III. Menuetto - Trio
IV. Finale. Allegro assai
Symphony No. 35 in D Major, K. 385 "Haffner": I. Allegro con spirito
II. Andante
III. Menuetto - Trio
IV. Finale. Presto
Serenade in G Major, K. 525 "Eine kleine Nachtmusik": I. Allegro
II. Romance. Andante
III. Menuetto. Allegretto - Trio
IV. Rondo. Allegro
I. Un poco sostenuto - Allegro
II. Andante sostenuto
III. Un poco allegretto e grazioso
IV. Adagio - Allegro non troppo ma con brio
I. Andante - Allegro
II. Andantino (Tema con variazioni)
III. Allegro ma non troppo
Concerto No. 1 in D-flat Major for Piano and Orchestra, Op. 10: Allegro brioso - Poco piů mosso - Tempo primo
Meno mosso
Andante assai
Allegro scherzando - Poco piů sostenuto
I. Andante - Allegro con anima
II. Andante cantabile
III. Valse - Allegro moderato
IV. Finale - Andante maestoso - Allegro vivace
I. Allegro molto moderato
II. Adagio
III. Allegro moderato molto e marcato - Quasi presto - Andante maestoso
Concerto in A minor for Piano and Orchestra, Op. 54: I. Allegro affettuoso
II. Intermezzo. Adantino grazioso
III. Allegro vivace
1. Allegro con brio
2. Andante con moto
3. Allegro
4. Allegro
Overture
1. Lied: "Die Trommel gerühret"
2. Zwischenakt: Andante
3. Zwischenakt: Larghetto
4. Lied: "Freudvoll und leidvoll"
5. Zwischenakt: Allegro - Marcia
6. Zwischenakt: Poco sostenuto e risoluto
7. Clärchens Tod
8. Melodram: Süßer Schlaf du kommst wie ein
9. Siegessymphonie: Allegro con brio
1. Andante sostenuto - Moderato con anima - Moderato assai, quasi Andante - Allegro vivo
2. Andantino in modo di canzone
3. Scherzo. Pizzicato ostinato - Allegro
4. Finale (Allegro con fuoco)
1. Allegretto - Poco allegro - Tranquillo, ma poco a poco ravvivando il tempo al allegro
2. Tempo andante, ma rubato - Andante sostenuto
3. Vivacissimo - Lento e suave - Largamente
4. Finale (Allegro moderato)
1. Overture
2. Alla Siciliana
3. Bourrée
4. Menuetto
1. Allegro vivace
2. Andante di molto
3. Finale (Allegro vivace)
1. Allegro con brio - Un poco sostenuto - Tempo I
2. Andante
3. Poco allegretto
4. Allegro
1. Allegro con brio
2. Adagio
3. Allegretto grazioso - Molto vivace
4. Allegro ma non troppo
Cello Concerto in B minor B191 (Op. 104) (2003 Digital Remaster): I. Allegro
Cello Concerto in B minor B191 (Op. 104) (2003 Digital Remaster): II. Adagio ma non troppo
Cello Concerto in B minor B191 (Op. 104) (2003 Digital Remaster): III. Finale (Allegro moderato)
I. Adagio molto - Allegro con brio
II. Andante cantabile con moto
III. Menuetto - Allegro molto e vivace
IV. Finale. Adagio - Allegro molto e vivace
Leonore Overture No. 3, Op. 72a
No. 4. Maestoso - Andante
No. 5. Adagio - Andante quasi Allegretto
No. 6. Un Poco Adagio - Allegro
Symphony No. 3 in E-flat Major, Op. 55 "Eroica": I. Allegro con brio
II. Marcia funebre. Adagio assai
III. Scherzo. Allegro vivace
IV. Finale. Allegro molto
Symphony No. 4, Op. 60 in B-flat Major: I. Adagio - Allegro vivace
II. Adagio
III. Menuetto. Allegro vivace - Trio. Un poco meno allegro
IV. Allegro ma non troppo
Symphony No. 5 in C minor, Op. 67: I. Allegro con brio from Symphony No. 5 in C minor, Op. 67
II. Andante con moto
III. Allegro
IV. Allegro
Symphony No. 41 in C Major, K. 551 "Jupiter": I. Allegro vivace
II. Andante cantabile
III. Menuetto. Allegretto
IV. Molto allegro
Symphony No. 6 in F Major, Op. 68 "Pastoral": I. Allegro ma non troppo (Erwachen heiterer Emfindungen bei der Ankunft auf dem Lande)
II. Andante molto moto (Szene am Bach)
III. Allegro (Lustiges Zusammensein der Landleute)
IV. Allegro (Gewitter Sturm)
V. Allegretto (Hirtengesang: Frohe un dankbare Gefuhle nach dem sturm)