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Time, Forward!

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Author Topic: Time, Forward!  (Read 4145 times)
Neil McGowan
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« Reply #45 on: March 03, 2015, 12:45:32 pm »

I don't know much about Kondrashin, but I'd previously noted that his recording of Prefatory Action (Scriabin/Nemtin) is much more striking than that of Ashkenazy. Are there other Kondrashin recordings which could be considered top-of-the-pile? His opening of Mahler 6 must be one of the fastest . . .

I ought to declare an interest, since I know Kondrashin's son - he's probably the best Sound Engineer for classical music in Moscow currently.

Kirill Kondrashin was a major conductor at the Bolshoi in the post-war period - when they were struggling to re-establish the theatre after it returned from wartime evacuation.  He conducted the whole gamut of their repertoire, and amazingly found space in concert programs at the theatre to perform Wagner and R Strauss (for which he was severely censured - all German music was considered "off limits" in the post-war period, although part of his rationale for including it was a move towards rapprochement).  He defected (somewhat more quietly than Rostro, his great Bolshoi contemporary) in the late 1970s and became Chief Guest Conductor at the Concergebouw in Amsterdam.

There is a stonking performance of Rach PC 2 with Richter - very well worth your time Smiley  He was the first conductor to record the entire cycle of DSCH Symphonies (they are now available in a Melodiya box, after years of being unavailable).  Of course, that is also "that" recording of Tchaik 1 with Van Cliburn. But he flew against the tub-thumping patriotic mood of the post-war USSR, and played and recorded a lot of music that was far from mainstream for the era - he recorded all the Brahms symphonies and the VC with Oistrakh, lots of Mahler (Symphs 1,2,3,7,8, & 9), and lots of Bartok and Ravel.  He made the first recordings of Weinberg's Symphonies 4.5 & 6.   He also published a book about conducting, but it disappeared off the shelves after his defection....  as did many of his recordings.

He also made the rare achievement of recording Lalo's Symphonie Espagnole twice - once with Oistrakh and then again with Kogan Smiley)  Both are on YouTube if you care for 'that kind of thing' Smiley)  (The audio quality of the Kogan recording is a bit dodgy, and the orchestral timbre is flattened out into a kind of mash...  but it's worth it for Kogan's astonishing playing).  It's a testament to Kondrashin that he was happy to simply 'accompany' his famous collaborators on these recordings... and allow their radically different interpretations of the piece to take centre stage Smiley
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