Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
|Liszt, Masur, Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra|
6 Hungarian Rhapsodies
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(5 out of 5 stars)
"From the earlier days of Kurt Masur, during his time in Leipzig. This shows his real strength: 19th century classics. I love this CD. It unveils a certain earthiness in this performance that I have never any wehere else since. Outstanding, and very original."
No swaggering allowed
Santa Fe Listener | Santa Fe, NM USA | 05/18/2010
(3 out of 5 stars)
"Masur was a younger man in 1986, entering his finest hour in opposition to the communist regime in East Germany. But those days of fiery political dissent didn't rouse him as a conductor. These six Hungarian Rhapsodies, generally not orchestrated by Liszt from the original piano versions, lack "cut and thrust," to quote from the disappointed Gramophone reviewer. The mood is tame; no swagger is allowed. Yet these works cry out for swagger -- they are virtuoso translations of Magyar dances. Masur may be a Liszt specialist, and it's to the good that he doesn't vulgrize these works.But he doesn't rhapsodize over them, either.
The truth is that light classics are dying out. Even the venerable Boston Pops no longer offers them up. Tastes have shifted to Broadway and crossover, leaving no room for the gems of middle-class entertainment when Liszt, Mendelssohn, Johann Strauss, as well as lesser lights like Suppe, Reznicek, and Weinberger was the way a family spent a summer evening. General musical literacy has collapsed, and it's no use lamenting the fact. I wish Masur was having more fun. He's precise, refined, and poker-faced throughout. Where else to turn? The collection of Hungarian Rhapsodies by Dorati (Mercury) is livelier and the timings more generous, but it's no miracle. I suppose my fallback remains the very old Scherchen versions. They come n scrappy sound, and the postwar Vienna state Opera Orch. is equally scrappy -- did they even rehearse the pieces? -- but Scherchen shows some fire. Otherwise, these venerable pieces are a fading Victorian photograph."