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The conductor as a want to be composer


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Author Topic: The conductor as a want to be composer  (Read 252 times)
Jolly Roger
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« on: August 26, 2013, 03:44:41 am »

There are some conductors who also dabbled in composing, this is the converse of composers who were conductors.
Conducting was their claim to fame, but they also composed some music.
Paray - 2 symphonies
Dorati - at least one symphony
Furtwangler - a piano copncerto, a trio of delightful symphonies.
Walters - a symphony
Svetlanov - several orchesral works and at least one symphony
Ancerl - Sinfonietta
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jimfin
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« Reply #1 on: August 27, 2013, 04:04:51 am »

I know Beecham is said to have composed, though I've never heard anything. There's a nice if forgettable piece by Norman Del Mar on a Dutton release. And a piece by Barbirolli was recently released somewhere. I suppose that sometimes it was useful for conductors to get a feel for what it's like to write music, even if they have no great ambitions. I would say my favourite "conductor-composed" piece must be Henry J Wood's Fantasia on British Sea Songs.
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Jolly Roger
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« Reply #2 on: August 27, 2013, 04:10:19 am »

Add Otto Klemperers' fine symphonies.
Two, I believe..
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albert
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« Reply #3 on: August 27, 2013, 10:07:45 am »

Also Kletzky
de Sabata
Marinuzzi
Skrowacewsky
Kubelik
also today: M.Tilson Thomas
Salonen
Maazel
Previn
Serebrier
Segerstam (as prolific as Haendel or Vivaldi)
A case apart was Igor Markevich, initially a young prodigy composer much in the roots of Stravinsky; later avoiding composition.
the list could be long, almost endless.
In my much- less- than- good English I would raise the following topic/problem.
As far as conductors-composers of the past are concerned , we can more easily judge them as primarily conductors, because their legacy as composers (albeit appreciable or good) has not reached "in the common opinion" the status of "great".
But today ? The situation is not so clear.
For instance the Boulez case (I would consider him primarily a composer) is akin the Previn's case?
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jimfin
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« Reply #4 on: August 27, 2013, 01:57:50 pm »

I think that in Mahler's lifetime he was definitely seen as a conductor who composed rather than the other way round. However, since he has left no recordings and his music is more appreciated now, we think of him the other way round now.
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Dundonnell
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« Reply #5 on: August 28, 2013, 12:29:36 am »

Having retrieved my post from GMG-


"There is an obvious 'A' List of conductors who were/are equally famous as composers-

Leonard Bernstein and Pierre Boulez are modern examples.

In their time one would have to consider the cases of Gustav Mahler and Richard Strauss-two famous composers but recognised as very considerable conductors. Mahler's work at the Vienna State Opera(1897-1907) and in New York(1908) is fairly well recognised. Strauss, however, was one of the leading conductors of his day. He succeeded von Bulow at the Berlin Philharmonic in 1894 at the age of 30, he directed the Berlin Opera(1898-1918), the Vienna State Opera(1919-24) and the Leipzig Gewandhaus(1933).

There are another couple of conductors who might just qualify-

Felix Weingartner, one of the greatest conductors of the period from 1885-1940, who composed seven symphonies and ten operas and who certainly considered his work as a composer as equal to his achievements as a conductor.

Howard Hanson was the founder and longtime conductor of the Eastman Rochester Symphony Orchestra in New York State.

The 'B' list would include conductors who regarded their compositions as more important than their conducting but found that few people necessarily agreed with them(Furtwangler is the obvious example)-

Bruno Walter(two early symphonies)
Otto Klemperer(two acknowledged symphonies but apparently six in total, a Mass and two operas)
Wilhelm Furtwangler(three symphonies and a Te Deum)
Paul Paray(two symphonies and a Mass)
Victor de Sabata(two operas and a number of tone poems)
Sir Eugene Goossens(two symphonies)
Dmitri Mitropoulos(an early opera)
Paul Kletzki(three symphonies; stopped composing in 1942)
Antal Dorati(two symphonies, concertos, an opera, a cantata and a wide range of other music)
Jean Martinon(four symphonies and several concertos)
Gunther Wand(ballet music and a cantata)
Igor Markevitch(a remarkable number of compositions produced between the ages of 16 and 30 but then switched over completely to   
    conducting)
Rafael Kubelik(three symphonies, three Requiems, operas)
Stanislaw Skrowaczewski(who continues to compose, including a recent Concerto for Orchestra)
Evgeny Svetlanov(a symphony, a piano concerto, a cantata and several tone poems)
Andre Previn(concertos and film music)
Lorin Maazel(an opera and concertante works)
Jose Serebrier(a wide range of music including three symphonies)
Leif Segerstam(189 symphonies, 11 violin concertos, 8 cello concertos, 4 piano concertos, and 30 string quartets; presumably he
     occasionally sleeps?)
Giuseppe Sinopoli(an opera and serial and electronic music)
Esa-Pekka Salonen(a growing body of compositions including a recent Piano Concerto)"

The post is a few years old-Segerstam was up to 261 symphonies as of last year Roll Eyes Roll Eyes
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Jolly Roger
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« Reply #6 on: August 28, 2013, 05:33:38 am »

Dundonnell:
That is a great list, I hope it provokes some new uploads.

Also, there is this article on The Symphonic Concerto for Piano and Orchestra in B minor by Wilhelm Furtwängler was "written between 1924 and 1937 and is among the longest of all piano concertos". I think it may give Busoni's grandiose effort a run for the money.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Piano_Concerto_(Furtw%C3%A4ngler)
You can hear it on Utube..

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Jolly Roger
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« Reply #7 on: August 28, 2013, 05:41:19 am »

D' Avalos also wrote a hanfull of apocaleptic symphonies and orchestral works..
They would raise the hair on the back of your neck..
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