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50 Best Conductors in History

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  • 50 Best Conductors in History

    Some great ones and great stories!
    Myles B. Astor, PhD, Administrator
    Senior Editor, Positive-Feedback.com
    ________________________________________

    Magico S5 Mk.2 speakers, cj ART monoblock Amplifiers; cj GAT preamplifier Series 2; Doshi V3.0 phonostage; VPI Vanquish turntable/12-inch 3D tonearm/Lyra Atlas SL, Ortofon A95, Charisma Reference 2, vdh Colibri Signature, MOFI Master Tracker, Fuuga cartridges; Technics RS1506 with Flux Magnetic heads/Doshi V3.0 tape stage run balanced; Assorted cables including Transparent XL Gen. 5, Skogrand, Viero, Kubala-Sosna, MG Audio, Audience Au24SX, Genesis Advanced Technologies Power Cords. Stillpoint Aperture panels, MPod Magico feet, Cathedral Sound panels, Furutech NCF Nano AC receptacles; Silver Circle Tchaik 6 PLC. Symposium ISIS and SRA Craz racks; Audiodharma Cable Cooker; Symposium Ultra and assorted SRA platforms.

  • #2
    Ah yes excellent list --The first LP(10") I ever bought (1958) was 1812 Overture Amsterdam Concertgebouw conductor--Otto Klemperer

    Interesting to learn his son was Colonel Klink!

    Soc

    Comment


    • #3
      The "bottom" 10-15 could be somewhat controversial. Some notable omissions include Jean Martinon, Neeme Jarvi, Leonard Slatkin, Rudolph Kempe, Valdimir Ashkenazy, probably some I can't come up with off the top of my head

      Comment


      • #4
        These lists are put out for conversation. No matter how many comprise the list there will be some omissions. Also, I am wondering how they evaluated the conductors from pre recording days?
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        • MylesBAstor
          MylesBAstor commented
          Editing a comment
          Absolutely!

      • #5
        Originally posted by rbbert View Post
        The "bottom" 10-15 could be somewhat controversial. Some notable omissions include Jean Martinon, Neeme Jarvi, Leonard Slatkin, Rudolph Kempe, Valdimir Ashkenazy, probably some I can't come up with off the top of my head
        Even a top 10 would be controversial. Not the least of which is that some conductors specialized and were known for their performance of certain composers.

        For example:

        Reiner
        Bernstein
        Stokowski
        Monteux
        Koussevitsky
        Furtwangler
        Szell
        Walter
        Haitink
        Davis

        The biggest glaring oversight for me was Dorati.


        Myles B. Astor, PhD, Administrator
        Senior Editor, Positive-Feedback.com
        ________________________________________

        Magico S5 Mk.2 speakers, cj ART monoblock Amplifiers; cj GAT preamplifier Series 2; Doshi V3.0 phonostage; VPI Vanquish turntable/12-inch 3D tonearm/Lyra Atlas SL, Ortofon A95, Charisma Reference 2, vdh Colibri Signature, MOFI Master Tracker, Fuuga cartridges; Technics RS1506 with Flux Magnetic heads/Doshi V3.0 tape stage run balanced; Assorted cables including Transparent XL Gen. 5, Skogrand, Viero, Kubala-Sosna, MG Audio, Audience Au24SX, Genesis Advanced Technologies Power Cords. Stillpoint Aperture panels, MPod Magico feet, Cathedral Sound panels, Furutech NCF Nano AC receptacles; Silver Circle Tchaik 6 PLC. Symposium ISIS and SRA Craz racks; Audiodharma Cable Cooker; Symposium Ultra and assorted SRA platforms.

        Comment


        • rbbert
          rbbert commented
          Editing a comment
          I would think Celibidache would be in anyone's top ten, Myles; if you are not more familiar with his work I would suggest becoming so... Dorati is another significant oversight

        • MylesBAstor
          MylesBAstor commented
          Editing a comment
          👍

        • metaphacts
          metaphacts commented
          Editing a comment
          Myles, I was fortunate to hear Celibidache at Carnegie with Harry. As I recall, NY was quite abuzz for the event.

      • #6
        Of course, limiting to 50 means many worthy conductors will be omitted. Harder to judge conductors who haven't reached their prime. Including Dudamel but not Andris Nelsons, for example.

        A few omissions from those who have a significant recorded legacy - Ansermet, Joseph Krips, Leinsdorf, Previn. I am particularly fond of Clemens Krauss for his 1953 Bayreuth Ring. Erich Kleiber, who died fairly young, like his son. Ataulfo Argenta, Istvan Kertesz, Guido Cantelli all died quite young, but left impressive discographies.

        We don't have recordings of many great conductors in their prime. According to historical writings, Gustav Mahler and Hans von Bulow were two great conductors.

        Perhaps if this list is redone in 50 years we will have some fine female conductors on the list. We didn't even have women in most major orchestras until fairly recently.

        Larry
        Analog- VPIClassic3-3DArm,SoundsmithZephyrII+MiyajimaZeroMono, 2xAmpex ATR-102,Doshi3.0 BottleheadPhonoPre
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        Dig Play-mch NADAC, Emotion, HQPlayer, Oppo95
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        Speakers-AvantgardeDuosLR,3SolosC,LR,RR
        Other-ArtKelmGroundOne IsoTrans,AudioDiskeSystemVinylClea ner,AirTightRecordFlat, Scott Rust Interconnects, Power Supply
        Music-15KRecs(90%classical),1KR2Rtapes,50TBrips

        Comment


        • rbbert
          rbbert commented
          Editing a comment
          I thought also of Ansermet and Kertesz since my last comment above.

      • #7
        Was that 50 - it didn't seem like 50. These lists will never satisfy everyone, but they can be interesting.

        Wrt Celibdache - he did make it.

        I was happy to see Ferenc Fricsay and Loren Maazel on the list.

        Some who are Missed include: Andre Cluytens (Beethoven, Ravel), Okko Kamu (Sibelius, Scandi), Kurt Masur (Beethoven, Mozrt, Brahms), Ivan Fischer (Mahler, others), Ansermet - really?, of course Antal Dorati, Though chamber music, I might be tempted to add Charles Munchinger.

        Never heard of Antonio Pappano. Nice thread to read people's input.
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        • #8
          Originally posted by tima View Post
          Was that 50 - it didn't seem like 50. These lists will never satisfy everyone, but they can be interesting.

          Never heard of Antonio Pappano. Nice thread to read people's input.
          Conductors who did mostly opera are generally less well respected. Pappano and Levine are two that were included. I've seen Pappano live with the Royal Opera Convent Garden (he is also on quite a few DVD's of operas). Tulio Serafin who led La Scala for many years was not. Of course there were conductors who did a lot of opera, but were best known for their orchestra conducting - Karajan, Toscanini, and Barenboim are three on the list.

          Soviet era conductors are not on the list except for Mravinsky and Gergiev (who is really post Soviet era and led the LSO until very recently). I'm thinking of Gennady Rozhdestvensky and Yevgeny Svetlanov. They both recorded extensively for Melodyia. I have many of their recordings by way of the licensing agreement that EMI had with Melodyia. A third Soviet era conductor was Kiril Kondrashin who fled to west late in his career, but died a few years later of a heart attack in his mid-60's. He conducted Cliburn in the Tchaikovsky First Piano Concerto at the Tchaikovsky competition and recorded it with him, I think still the best selling single classical album of all time.

          For early music, including choral works, my college schoolmate, William Christie, should be considered. He founded Les Arts Florissants in Paris. Also for his work on Bach, Maasaki Suzuki who found the Bach Collegium of Japan, famed for their complete recordings of the Bach Cantatas and others of his works. Another specialist is Nicolas McGegan whose Philharmonia Baroque recordings are held in wide regard. We have seen all three of these in recent years.

          Larry

          Analog- VPIClassic3-3DArm,SoundsmithZephyrII+MiyajimaZeroMono, 2xAmpex ATR-102,Doshi3.0 BottleheadPhonoPre
          Dig Rip-Pyramix,IzotopeRX3Adv,MykerinosCard,PacMicroModel2
          Dig Play-mch NADAC, Emotion, HQPlayer, Oppo95
          Electronics-Herron VTSP3APre,CJ MET1mchPre, Cary2A3monoamps
          Speakers-AvantgardeDuosLR,3SolosC,LR,RR
          Other-ArtKelmGroundOne IsoTrans,AudioDiskeSystemVinylClea ner,AirTightRecordFlat, Scott Rust Interconnects, Power Supply
          Music-15KRecs(90%classical),1KR2Rtapes,50TBrips

          Comment


          • #9
            Copper and silver are really good conductors.
            Dave Clark
            Editor and Publisher, Positive Feedback
            www.positive-feedback.com

            Comment


            • #10
              Originally posted by astrotoy View Post

              Conductors who did mostly opera are generally less well respected. Pappano and Levine are two that were included. I've seen Pappano live with the Royal Opera Convent Garden (he is also on quite a few DVD's of operas). Tulio Serafin who led La Scala for many years was not. Of course there were conductors who did a lot of opera, but were best known for their orchestra conducting - Karajan, Toscanini, and Barenboim are three on the list.

              Soviet era conductors are not on the list except for Mravinsky and Gergiev (who is really post Soviet era and led the LSO until very recently). I'm thinking of Gennady Rozhdestvensky and Yevgeny Svetlanov. They both recorded extensively for Melodyia. I have many of their recordings by way of the licensing agreement that EMI had with Melodyia. A third Soviet era conductor was Kiril Kondrashin who fled to west late in his career, but died a few years later of a heart attack in his mid-60's. He conducted Cliburn in the Tchaikovsky First Piano Concerto at the Tchaikovsky competition and recorded it with him, I think still the best selling single classical album of all time.

              For early music, including choral works, my college schoolmate, William Christie, should be considered. He founded Les Arts Florissants in Paris. Also for his work on Bach, Maasaki Suzuki who found the Bach Collegium of Japan, famed for their complete recordings of the Bach Cantatas and others of his works. Another specialist is Nicolas McGegan whose Philharmonia Baroque recordings are held in wide regard. We have seen all three of these in recent years.

              Larry
              You could say the same thing too about Willi Boskovsky on Decca and his dance, waltz, etc. music.
              Myles B. Astor, PhD, Administrator
              Senior Editor, Positive-Feedback.com
              ________________________________________

              Magico S5 Mk.2 speakers, cj ART monoblock Amplifiers; cj GAT preamplifier Series 2; Doshi V3.0 phonostage; VPI Vanquish turntable/12-inch 3D tonearm/Lyra Atlas SL, Ortofon A95, Charisma Reference 2, vdh Colibri Signature, MOFI Master Tracker, Fuuga cartridges; Technics RS1506 with Flux Magnetic heads/Doshi V3.0 tape stage run balanced; Assorted cables including Transparent XL Gen. 5, Skogrand, Viero, Kubala-Sosna, MG Audio, Audience Au24SX, Genesis Advanced Technologies Power Cords. Stillpoint Aperture panels, MPod Magico feet, Cathedral Sound panels, Furutech NCF Nano AC receptacles; Silver Circle Tchaik 6 PLC. Symposium ISIS and SRA Craz racks; Audiodharma Cable Cooker; Symposium Ultra and assorted SRA platforms.

              Comment


              • #11
                Originally posted by Dave Clark View Post
                Copper and silver are really good conductors.
                Yes they are renowned for their interpretation of heavy metal music.
                Myles B. Astor, PhD, Administrator
                Senior Editor, Positive-Feedback.com
                ________________________________________

                Magico S5 Mk.2 speakers, cj ART monoblock Amplifiers; cj GAT preamplifier Series 2; Doshi V3.0 phonostage; VPI Vanquish turntable/12-inch 3D tonearm/Lyra Atlas SL, Ortofon A95, Charisma Reference 2, vdh Colibri Signature, MOFI Master Tracker, Fuuga cartridges; Technics RS1506 with Flux Magnetic heads/Doshi V3.0 tape stage run balanced; Assorted cables including Transparent XL Gen. 5, Skogrand, Viero, Kubala-Sosna, MG Audio, Audience Au24SX, Genesis Advanced Technologies Power Cords. Stillpoint Aperture panels, MPod Magico feet, Cathedral Sound panels, Furutech NCF Nano AC receptacles; Silver Circle Tchaik 6 PLC. Symposium ISIS and SRA Craz racks; Audiodharma Cable Cooker; Symposium Ultra and assorted SRA platforms.

                Comment


                • #12
                  We were listening to Carlos Kleiber's performance of Beethoven's Sym. #5 today. In the course of our listening, a question arose about how long he lived and while looking up that info came up with this list of the greatest conductors. Of which he is listed as numero uno despite his relatively small number of efforts relative to other conductors.
                  Myles B. Astor, PhD, Administrator
                  Senior Editor, Positive-Feedback.com
                  ________________________________________

                  Magico S5 Mk.2 speakers, cj ART monoblock Amplifiers; cj GAT preamplifier Series 2; Doshi V3.0 phonostage; VPI Vanquish turntable/12-inch 3D tonearm/Lyra Atlas SL, Ortofon A95, Charisma Reference 2, vdh Colibri Signature, MOFI Master Tracker, Fuuga cartridges; Technics RS1506 with Flux Magnetic heads/Doshi V3.0 tape stage run balanced; Assorted cables including Transparent XL Gen. 5, Skogrand, Viero, Kubala-Sosna, MG Audio, Audience Au24SX, Genesis Advanced Technologies Power Cords. Stillpoint Aperture panels, MPod Magico feet, Cathedral Sound panels, Furutech NCF Nano AC receptacles; Silver Circle Tchaik 6 PLC. Symposium ISIS and SRA Craz racks; Audiodharma Cable Cooker; Symposium Ultra and assorted SRA platforms.

                  Comment


                  • #13
                    This is interesting in that I have always liked classical, but never got to understanding the conductors role. Only this last Christmas I was surfing Spotify and I heard a recording of the Nutcracker by the Tabilisi Orchestra. So much better than the Philharmonic I was use too. I was thinking it was the orchestra that mattered, not really keying in on the man with the wand. Frighteningly I could not tell you a single conductors name. I am still trying to work my way out of the Mozart, Beethoven, Chopin, Vivaldi rut. I'm still trying to find composers I like. Myles link is interesting in that it drills down with the conductors to recommended music. A new way to search and learn. Thanks
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                    Comment


                    • #14
                      Originally posted by Kingrex View Post
                      This is interesting in that I have always liked classical, but never got to understanding the conductors role. Only this last Christmas I was surfing Spotify and I heard a recording of the Nutcracker by the Tabilisi Orchestra. So much better than the Philharmonic I was use too. I was thinking it was the orchestra that mattered, not really keying in on the man with the wand. Frighteningly I could not tell you a single conductors name. I am still trying to work my way out of the Mozart, Beethoven, Chopin, Vivaldi rut. I'm still trying to find composers I like. Myles link is interesting in that it drills down with the conductors to recommended music. A new way to search and learn. Thanks
                      First among many things, the conductor is the orchestra's clock.
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                      • JCOConnell
                        JCOConnell commented
                        Editing a comment
                        not only that, hes the mixing engineer.

                    • #15
                      In a Opera, who is the controlling member? Lets say Pavarotti is singing. Who decides the orchestra layout, tempo etc. Also, how much control of the actual orchestra musicians does the conductor have. Can he hire and fire members, or is that a function of a board?
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