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Yevgeny Mravinsky Documentary

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Author Topic: Yevgeny Mravinsky Documentary  (Read 147 times)
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« on: November 23, 2013, 02:57:05 pm »

What I had not understood fully was Mravinsky's real aristocratic background, how he and his family lost everything in 1917 and his lifelong deep and profound detestation of the Soviet regime. I had not realised that he never joined the Communist Party and that he remained religious. This gives his affinity with and understanding of the music of Shostakovich that "unique authenticity" quoted in the documentary.

I was struck too by the change in his conducting technique from the expansive baton of middle-age to the extreme economy of hand gestures(invisible to the audience) of his later years. Mravinsky's total control of the Leningrad Phil.(unchallenged by the regime) over so many decades is an aspect of conducting now, almost certainly, gone for ever. One thinks of Koussevitsky in Boston, or Ormandy in Philadelphia, Szell in Cleveland, von Karajan in Berlin: that prolonged period in which a great conductor can get an orchestra to such an incredible degree of understanding of what he wants in his interpretations. I had no idea-though it should come as no surprise-that he was a great Brucknerian, although it was astonishing to learn that he cancelled a performance of the Seventh Symphony because he thought that a live performance could not possibly reach the same level of perfection as the dress rehearsal. (I recall my ancient Melodyia LP of Mravinsky conducting an incandescent performance of Wagner's Tannhauser Overture and Siegfried's Funeral March Smiley)

All in all one of those documentaries which enables one to learn and understand so much more about the man, his times and the music he conducted.
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