Sunday, July 13, 2014

Lorin Maazel

The eminent conductor Lorin Maazel died earlier today, age 84. I never heard him conduct in person, missing my chance when his Castleton Opera visited Cal Performances a few years ago and another when he subbed last year during the VPO's visit, so I have little personal testimony to give on him. I can say that I never made it to the end of his Tosca recording; while the casting of Nilsson, Corelli, and DFD may have sounded like a good idea at the time, it doesn't work out very well. Maazel's conducting is fine, though not in a class with De Sabata or the very different HvK.

Maazel came from a well-off family and got an early start, with music lessons of various kinds commencing at age 5, and he first stepped in front of an orchestra at 8. Every discussion of his work mentions his great technical skill and also his sometimes-eccentric interpretations.

For more, read these obits and other commentaries:
Found in Anne Midgette's obit for Maazel; exclamation points mine:
Several times in the later stages of his career, Mr. Maazel announced that he was eschewing any further music directorships to devote himself more to composing, only to have his resolution overturned by an offer he couldn’t refuse. The clearest instance of this was when the New York Philharmonic — having ditched the 73-year-old Kurt Masur because they wanted a younger conductor — came calling for Mr. Maazel, who was 71. When Mr. Maazel’s father — by then 98 and a committed New Yorker — heard that his son was taking over the Philharmonic, he said: “Now that’s a job.” (Lincoln Maazel died in 2009, at 106.) [!!]
I read the NYPO's statement on Facebook (!) but cannot find it on their web site. (NYPO: consider putting a link to your Newsroom page on the NYPO home page.)

It's apparent from the Post-Gazette obit that Maazel did a tremendous job of rebuilding the PSO.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I don't think I ever heard Maazel in person. I learned the Sibelius symphonies from his old VPO recordings on Decca, and I may or may not be grateful for his "symphonic synthesis" of the Ring, which comes across like a giant Richard Strauss tone poem.