Today's Classical Music Video

Thursday, August 11, 2011

George Szell and Friedrich Gulda Play Beethoven


In my formative years growing up in Toronto the conductor who towered over all others in the region was George Szell (1897-1970). It was an easy drive to Cleveland to watch him in action, and he brought his orchestra to Massey Hall on several occasions too. A bonus was the series Szell and the Clevelanders presented for some years at the University of Western Ontario. At one London concert I remember with fondness a performance of Beethoven's Emperor concerto with Leon Fleisher. In this video Szell is on the podium at the Musikverein with the Vienna Philharmonic with soloist Friedrich Gulda in an excerpt from this same concerto.

A new biography of Szell has just been published - George Szell: A Life of Music - and the author is a man who was in a unique position to see and understand what Szell was doing in his prime. Michael Charry studied with Szell and became one of his staff conductors with the Cleveland Orchestra. This book is a valuable contribution to our understanding of one of the great conductors of the Twentieth Century.

- Paul E. Robinson

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