When Less is More!
George F. Schmalz | Howell, NJ, USA | 04/15/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Economy of baton technique gives me the pleasure of watching the orchestra, not a personality. Dr. Reiner 'rehearsed' the orchestra, here the great Chicago Symphony, before the performance. The result is most gratifying. Say what you will, but technicians of this caliber are far and few in this day and age. While the film and recording are just O.K., I think and hope, that WGN television, will release more of these wonderful documents of this important musicians work."
Regarding the Hindemith DVD in this Trilogy
Martin Selbrede | The Woodlands, Texas | 03/16/2010
(5 out of 5 stars)
"The Chicago brass do themselves proud under the composer's baton in the last work Hindemith gave an opus number to, the Concert Music for Strings and Brass, Opus 50. It's a delight to see the give and take between Hindemith and the musicians -- nothing was phoned in about this performance!
Only the opening movement of Bruckner's 7th Symphony was performed for this broadcast. Hindemith is interviewed about the contemporary meaning of Bruckner and receives a medal from the Bruckner Society for his efforts to bring this composer to a broader audience (be prepared for a relatively thick German accent). Hindemith is not a histrionic conductor, but he seems to be able to exert considerable control with glances and changes of expression and outward mood. He conducts like a man in charge of a vast machine, turning toward different sections of the orchestra to summon their best efforts, exerting his authority over a vast span of time as thematic episodes come and go and take their place in Bruckner's sophisticated hierarchical sonic tapestries.
The crowd pleaser, Brahms's Academic Festival Overture, shows something rather novel: there are points in the score (during relatively kinetic passages) where Hindemith simply lets the orchestra move forward on its own without beating the baton at all. The late Rowan Taylor (the world's most prolific symphony writer) watched Hindemith let the orchestra go and declared it one of the most refreshing things he'd ever seen: why bother to count time when the tempo was set and the orchestra knew precisely what it was doing? Hindemith picks up control by signaling the downbeats of several consecutive measures and it's back to business as usual, but I'd have to agree with Taylor: it WAS refreshing to see a conductor trust an orchestra playing its heart out on an old warhorse. The tyranny of the stick was set aside for a brief season. No harm, no foul: a credit to orchestra AND conductor."