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George Szell: A Life of Music (Music in American Life)

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George Szell

A Life of Music (Music in American Life)

By Michael Charry

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Format: Hardcover, 412 pages
Other Information: 34 b&w photographs
Published In: United States, 25 July 2011
This book is the first full biography of George Szell, one of the greatest orchestra and opera conductors of the twentieth century. From child prodigy pianist and composer to world-renowned conductor, Szell's career spanned seven decades, and he led most of the great orchestras and opera companies of the world, including the New York Philharmonic, the NBC and Chicago Symphonies, the Berlin Philharmonic, the Vienna Philharmonic and Opera, and the Concertgebouw Orchestra. A protu00e9gu00e9 of composer-conductor Richard Strauss at the Berlin State Opera, his crowning achievement was his twenty-four-year tenure as musical director of the Cleveland Orchestra, transforming it into one of the world's greatest ensembles, touring triumphantly in the United States, Europe, the Soviet Union, South Korea, and Japan. Michael Charry, a conductor who worked with Szell and interviewed him, his family, and his associates over several decades, draws on this first-hand material and correspondence, orchestra records, reviews, and other archival sources to construct a lively and balanced portrait of Szell's life and work from his birth in 1897 in Budapest to his death in 1970 in Cleveland. Readers will follow Szell from his career in Europe, Great Britain, and Australia to his guest conducting at the New York Philharmonic and his distinguished tenure at the Metropolitan Opera and Cleveland Orchestra. Charry details Szell's personal and musical qualities, his recordings and broadcast concerts, his approach to the great works of the orchestral repertoire, and his famous orchestrational changes and interpretation of the symphonies of Robert Schumann. The book also lists Szell's conducting repertoire and includes a comprehensive discography. In highlighting Szell's legacy as a teacher and mentor as well as his contributions to orchestral and opera history, this biography will be of lasting interest to concert-goers, music lovers, conductors, musicians inspired by Szell's many great performances, and new generations who will come to know those performances through Szell's recorded legacy.

Promotional Information

A comprehensive biography of one of the twentieth century's greatest conductors

Table of Contents

Preface ix Acknowledgments xv Abbreviations xix Chronology xxi I ntroduction 1 1. T he New Mozart (1897-1929) 3 2. T he Conductor Spreads His Wings (1930-38) 23 3. Musical Pioneering in Australia (1938, 1939) 42 4. N ew World, New Beginnings (1939-46) 56 5. Cleveland: Contest and Commitment (1942-47) 78 6. Szell, the Orchestra Builder (1947-54) 105 7. George Szell and Rudolf Bing (1953-54) 141 8. Keeping the Promise: "Second to None" (1954-57) 149 9. T he Golden Years (1957-65) 172 10. T he Cleveland Orchestra in the World (1965-68) 223 11. Summers at Home 254 12. F inale: Cleveland, Japan, Korea, Anchorage, Cleveland (1968-70) 270 E pilogue 289 I n Szell's Words 291 Appendix A. "On the 150th Anniversary of Schumann's Birth," by George Szell 295 Appendix B. Staff and Kulas Foundation Conductors under George Szell 299 Appendix C. Apprentice Conductor Qualifications 301 Appendix D. 1957 European Tour Repertoire 303 Appendix E. 1965 European Tour Repertoire 305 Appendix F. Szell's Repertoire 307 Discography 331 N otes 355 Bibliography 397 I ndex 399 Illustrations follow page 104

About the Author

Michael Charry has conducted widely in the U.S. and internationally. He was a member of the conducting staff of the Cleveland Orchestra for nine years under George Szell and for two years after Szell's death. He is on the faculty of Mannes College The New School for Music, in New York City, where he was head of orchestral studies and music director of the Mannes Orchestra.

Reviews

"Michael Charry's fluently written, comprehensive biography tells us of Szell the self-deprecating young composer... Periods spent in Australia and Scotland are well documented, and so is Szell as operatic conductor, chamber musician and pianist. There are interesting comparisons between Szell's and Karajan's ways of working... That's what I call an important book." Rob Cowan, Gramophone "A magnificent achievement. I was especially impressed by Mr. Charry's skill in conveying a deep admiration for his subject without falling into the trap of fawning or idol-worshipping--a quality seldom encountered in biographies of great conductors." Stephen C. Hillyer, past president of the Fritz Reiner Society This book is the first full biography of George Szell, one of the greatest orchestra and opera conductors of the twentieth century... There is surely no one more qualified than Michael Charry to write Szell's biography. Mr Charry was a member of the conducting staff of the Cleveland Orchestra for nine years under George Szell and continued for two years after Szell's death. He interviewed him, his family and his associates over several decades, draws on this first hand material and correspondence, orchestra records, reviews, and other archival sources to construct a lively and balanced portrait of Szell's life and work." - Samuel Lewis, Musical Opinion, July 2012

EAN: 9780252036163
ISBN: 0252036166
Publisher: University of Illinois Press
Dimensions: 24.38 x 15.75 x 3.56 centimetres (0.91 kg)
Age Range: 15+ years
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