This week, The Music Treasury is presenting a look into the life and career of George Szell, that extraordinary conductor of the 20th century. The show is hosted by Dr Gary Lemco, and airs between 19:00 and 21:00 PDT from the Stanford University station, KZSU. It is simultaneously streamed on the Internet, at kzsu.stanford.edu.
George Szell, conductor: Rare and Well-Done
George Szell (June 7, 1897 – July 30, 1970) was a Hungarian-born American conductor and composer. He is widely considered one of the twentieth century’s greatest conductors. He is remembered today for his long and successful tenure as music director of the Cleveland Orchestra of Cleveland, Ohio, and for the recordings of the standard classical repertoire he made in with the Cleveland and with other orchestras.
Szell came to Cleveland in 1946 to take over a respected if undersized orchestra, which was struggling to recover from the disruptions of World War II. By the time of his death he was credited, to quote the critic Donal Henahan, with having built it into “what many critics regarded as the world’s keenest symphonic instrument.”Through his recordings, Szell has remained a presence in the classical music world long after his death, and his name remains synonymous with that of the Cleveland Orchestra. While on tour with the Orchestra in the late 1980s, then-Music Director Christoph von Dohnányi remarked, “We give a great concert, and George Szell gets a great review.”
The Music Treasury celebrates the issue of the Sony 106-CD set, “George Szell: The Cleveland Orchestra,” by airing several of the milestone recordings as well supplementing the Maestro’s recorded legacy with live performances not part of his official discography, namely the two collaborations presented this evening.
Beethoven: Leonore Overture No. 1. Op. 138
Smetana (arr. Szell): “From My Life” Quartet in E Minor
Mozart: Overture to “The Impraesario,” k. 486
Rimsky-Korsakov: Capriccio espagnole, Op. 34
Auber: Fra Diavolo Overture
Chausson: Poeme, Op. 25 (w/A. Grumiaux)
Mozart: Piano Concerto No. 27 in B-flat Major, K. 595 (w/C. Curzon)