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
Browse 51-75 of 169 Available Recordings
1 2 3 4 5 6 7
  • 51.
    Elgar, Dvorak: Cello Concertos / Fournier, Szell, Rosabud
    Label: Medici Masters   Catalog: 28-2 Release Date: 09/30/2008   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Sir Edward Elgar,  Ludwig van Beethoven,  Antonín Dvorák
    Performer:  Pierre Fournier
    Conductor:  Hans Rosbaud,  George Szell
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Cologne Radio Symphony Orchestra
    CD: $17.99
    In Stock
    CD:  $17.99 Add CD to Cart

  • 52.
    Tchaikovsky: Symphony No 4;  Beethoven: Egmont / Szell, Lso
    Label: London/Decca Historic Series   Catalog: 425972 Release Date: 09/16/2008   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven,  Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky
    Performer:  Pilar Lorengar
    Conductor:  George Szell
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra,  London Symphony Orchestra
    ArkivCD $16.99
    Special Order
    ArkivCD:  $16.99 Add to Cart

  • 53.
    Bartok: Piano Concerto No 1, Miraculous Mandarin,Etc/Ormandy
    Label: Cbs Masterworks Portrait   Catalog: 46446 Release Date: 06/05/2008   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Béla Bartók
    Performer:  Rudolf Serkin,  Anshel Brusilow
    Conductor:  George Szell,  Eugene Ormandy
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Cleveland Orchestra,  Philadelphia Orchestra
    ArkivCD $16.99
    Low Stock
    ArkivCD:  $16.99 Add to Cart

  • 54.
    Label: Archipel   Catalog: 398 Release Date: 01/29/2008   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
    Performer:  Leon Fleisher
    Conductor:  George Szell
    CD: $9.99
    In Stock
    CD:  $9.99 Add CD to Cart

  • 55.
    The Essential Leon Fleisher
    Label: Sony   Catalog: 721581 Release Date: 01/15/2008   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven,  Johann Sebastian Bach,  Johannes Brahms,  Franz Schubert  ... 
    Performer:  Leon Fleisher,  Raphael Hillyer,  Isidore Cohen,  Robert Mann  ... 
    Conductor:  George Szell,  Seiji Ozawa
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Cleveland Orchestra,  Juilliard String Quartet,  Boston Symphony Orchestra
    CD: $18.99
    In Stock
    CD:  $18.99 Add CD to Cart

  • 56.
    Kodaly: Hary Janos Suite; Prokofiev: Lt Kije Suite / Szell
    Label: Cbs Great Performances   Catalog: 38527 Release Date: 01/11/2008   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Zoltán Kodály,  Sergei Prokofiev
    Conductor:  George Szell
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Cleveland Orchestra
    ArkivCD $16.99
    Low Stock
    ArkivCD:  $16.99 Add to Cart

  • 57.
    Mozart: Piano Concertos No 20 & 27 / Serkin, Ormandy, Szell
    Label: Sony   Catalog: 26 Release Date: 12/12/2007   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
    Performer:  Rudolf Serkin
    Conductor:  George Szell,  Eugene Ormandy
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Columbia Symphony Orchestra,  Philadelphia Orchestra
    ArkivCD $16.99
    Low Stock
    ArkivCD:  $16.99 Add to Cart

  • 58.
    Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra Plays Strauss 1929 - 1990
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 435335 Release Date: 11/13/2007   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Johann Strauss Jr.,  Josef Strauss,  Johann Strauss Sr.
    Conductor:  Erich Kleiber,  Clemens Krauss,  George Szell,  Herbert von Karajan  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra
    On sale! $29.98
    ArkivCD $24.99
    Special Order
    On sale!   $29.98   ArkivCD:  $24.99 Add to Cart

  • 59.
    Festspieldokumente - Salzburger Orchesterkonzerte / Szell
    Label: Orfeo D'or   Catalog: 704077 Release Date: 10/30/2007   Number of Discs: 7
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven,  Richard Strauss,  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart,  Christoph W. Gluck  ... 
    Performer:  Clifford Curzon,  Rudolf Firkusny
    Conductor:  George Szell
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Dresden Staatskapelle,  Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra,  Czech Philharmonic Orchestra  ... 
    CD: $74.49
    In Stock
    CD:  $74.49 Add CD to Cart

  • 60.
    Mozart: Piano Concertos;  Weber: Konzertstuck / Casadesus
    Label: Medici Masters   Catalog: 10-2 Release Date: 10/30/2007   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Carl Maria von Weber,  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
    Performer:  Robert Casadesus
    Conductor:  Romanus Hubertus,  George Szell
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Cologne West German Radio Symphony Orchestra
    CD: $17.99
    In Stock
    CD:  $17.99 Add CD to Cart

  • 61.
    The Premium Collection - 75 Classical Masterworks
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 000988602 Release Date: 10/09/2007   Number of Discs: 6
    Composer:  Johann Pachelbel,  Edvard Grieg,  Camille Saint-Saëns,  Gabriel Fauré  ... 
    Performer:  Alfons Kontarsky,  Aloys Kontarsky,  Wolfgang Herzer,  Göran Söllscher  ... 
    Conductor:  Baumgartner,  Neeme Järvi,  Seiji Ozawa,  Rafael Kubelik  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Lucerne Festival Strings
    On sale! $47.98
    CD: $45.49
    In Stock
    On sale!   $47.98   CD:  $45.49 Add CD to Cart

  • 62.
    Prima Diva
    Label: Emi Classics   Catalog: 55095 Release Date: 08/06/2007   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Andrew Lloyd Webber,  Gioachino Rossini,  Johann Strauss Jr.,  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart  ... 
    Performer:  Barbara Hendricks,  Ola Samnegĺrd,  Maria Callas,  Cheryl Studer  ... 
    Conductor:  Eric Ericson,  Alceo Galliera,  John Barker,  Riccardo Muti  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Eric Ericson Chamber Choir,  Swedish Radio Symphony Orchestra members,  Philharmonia Orchestra  ... 
    ArkivCD $17.99
    Special Order
    ArkivCD:  $17.99 Add to Cart

  • 63.
    The Rostropovich Edition - Dvorak, Brahms, Haydn
    Label: Warner Classics   Catalog: 65701 Release Date: 08/06/2007   Number of Discs: 3
    Composer:  Antonín Dvorák,  Franz Joseph Haydn,  Ernest Bloch,  Richard Strauss  ... 
    Performer:  Mstislav Rostropovich,  Ulrich Koch,  David Oistrakh
    Conductor:  Carlo Maria Giulini,  Mstislav Rostropovich,  Leonard Bernstein,  Herbert von Karajan  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Philharmonic Orchestra,  Academy of St. Martin in the Fields,  ORTF National Orchestra  ... 
    On sale! $33.98
    ArkivCD $29.99
    Low Stock
    On sale!   $33.98   ArkivCD:  $29.99 Add to Cart

  • 64.
    Mozart: Piano Concertos No 23 & 24, K 365 / Casadesus
    Label: Sony   Catalog: 63037 Release Date: 06/15/2007   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
    Performer:  Robert Casadesus,  Gaby Casadesus
    Conductor:  Eugene Ormandy,  George Szell
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Philadelphia Orchestra,  Cleveland Orchestra,  Columbia Symphony Orchestra
    ArkivCD $16.99
    Low Stock
    ArkivCD:  $16.99 Add to Cart

  • 65.
    Mahler: Symphony No 4;  Mozart: Exsultate, Jubilate / Szell
    Label: Cbs Masterworks   Catalog: 42416 Release Date: 04/17/2007   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Gustav Mahler,  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
    Performer:  Judith Raskin
    Conductor:  George Szell
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Cleveland Orchestra
    ArkivCD $16.99
    Low Stock
    ArkivCD:  $16.99 Add to Cart

  • 66.
    Original Masters - Clifford Curzon - Decca Recordings 1944-1970 Vol 4
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 000841202 Release Date: 02/13/2007   Number of Discs: 7
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven,  Johannes Brahms,  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart,  Robert Schumann  ... 
    Performer:  Clifford Curzon,  Irmgard Seefried,  Horst Günther,  Julius Patzak  ... 
    Conductor:  Hans Knappertsbusch,  George Szell,  Benjamin Britten,  Eduard Van Beinum  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra,  London Symphony Orchestra,  English Chamber Orchestra  ... 
    On sale! $55.98
    CD: $52.99
    Low Stock
    On sale!   $55.98   CD:  $52.99 Add CD to Cart

  • 67.
    The Great Piano Concertos - Beethoven, Etc / Horowitz
    Label: Urania   Catalog: 4253 Release Date: 01/30/2007   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven,  Johannes Brahms,  Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky,  Sergei Rachmaninov
    Performer:  Vladimir Horowitz
    Conductor:  Fritz Reiner,  Arturo Toscanini,  George Szell,  Serge Koussevitzky
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  RCA Victor Symphony Orchestra,  NBC Symphony Orchestra,  New York Philharmonic  ... 
    On sale! $22.98
    CD: $19.99
    Back Order
    On sale!   $22.98   CD:  $19.99 Add CD to Cart

  • 68.
    Dvorak: Symphony No 9, Etc / Feuermann, Taube, Szell, Et Al
    Label: Opus Kura   Catalog: 2061 Release Date: 01/02/2007   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Antonín Dvorák
    Performer:  Emanuel Feuermann
    Conductor:  Michael Taube,  George Szell
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Berlin Staatskapelle Orchestra,  Czech Philharmonic Orchestra
    On sale! $18.98
    CD: $16.99
    In Stock
    On sale!   $18.98   CD:  $16.99 Add CD to Cart

  • 69.
    Ultimate Classics - The Essential Masterpieces
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 000766302 Release Date: 11/14/2006   Number of Discs: 5
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach,  Jeremiah Clarke,  Edvard Grieg,  George Frideric Handel  ... 
    Performer:  Elgar Howarth,  Philip Jones,  Nigel Kennedy,  Dame Joan Sutherland  ... 
    Conductor:  George Guest,  Herbert von Karajan,  Sir Neville Marriner,  Gianandrea Gavazzeni  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Vienna Mozart Ensemble
    CD: $21.99
    In Stock
    CD:  $21.99 Add CD to Cart

  • 70.
    Mozart: Violin Concerto K 219 / Grumiaux, Morini, Milstein, Schneiderhan
    Label: Orfeo D'or   Catalog: 713062 Release Date: 10/31/2006   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
    Performer:  Arthur Grumiaux,  Erica Morini,  Wolfgang Schneiderhan,  Nathan Milstein
    Conductor:  Bernhard Paumgartner,  George Szell,  Wolfgang Schneiderhan,  Karl Böhm
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Salzburg Mozart Orchestra,  ORTF National Orchestra,  Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra
    CD: $39.99
    In Stock
    CD:  $39.99 Add CD to Cart

  • 71.
    Beethoven: Piano Concertos 3 & 4 / Fleisher, Szell, Et Al
    Label: Sony   Catalog: 78767 Release Date: 08/01/2006   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven
    Performer:  Leon Fleisher
    Conductor:  George Szell
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Cleveland Orchestra
    Recommendation
    CD: $8.99
    Low Stock
    CD:  $8.99 Add CD to Cart

  • 72.
    Brahms: Symphony No 1 / George Szell, Cleveland Orchestra
    Label: Sony   Catalog: 678764 Release Date: 08/01/2006   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Johannes Brahms
    Conductor:  George Szell,  Eugene Ormandy
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Cleveland Orchestra,  Philadelphia Orchestra
    CD: $9.99
    In Stock
    CD:  $9.99 Add CD to Cart

  • 73.
    Mozart: Symphonies 28, 33, 35, Etc / Szell, Et Al
    Label: Sony   Catalog: 678765 Release Date: 08/01/2006   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
    Conductor:  George Szell
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Cleveland Orchestra
    CD: $8.99
    In Stock
    CD:  $8.99 Add CD to Cart

  • 74.
    Tchaikovsky: Symphony No 5, Etc / Szell, Cleveland So
    Label: Sony   Catalog: 78744 Release Date: 06/06/2006   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky
    Conductor:  George Szell
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Cleveland Orchestra
    Recommendation
    CD: $8.99
    In Stock
    CD:  $8.99 Add CD to Cart

  • 75.
    Holnd Fstvl - A Dutch Miracle - Fifty Years - 1947-1997
    Label: Globe   Catalog: 6900 Release Date: 05/09/2006   Number of Discs: 7
    Composer:  Gioachino Rossini,  Rudolf Escher,  Richard Strauss,  Manuel de Falla  ... 
    Performer:  Renato Capecchi,  Teresa Berganza,  Giulietta Simionato,  Elisabeth Schwarzkopf  ... 
    Conductor:  Carlo Maria Giulini,  George Szell,  Jean Fournet,  Kiril Kondrashin  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Hague Residentie Orchestra,  Milan Teatro alla Scala Chorus,  Danzi Woodwind Quintet  ... 
    On sale! $63.98
    CD: $61.49
    Low Stock
    On sale!   $63.98   CD:  $61.49 Add CD to Cart

1 2 3 4 5 6 7