George Szell

George Szell

George Szell (/ˈsɛl/; June 7, 1897 – July 30, 1970), originally György Széll, György Endre Szél, or Georg Szell, was a Hungarian-born Jewish-American conductor and composer. He is widely considered one of the twentieth century's greatest conductors. He is remembered today for his long and successful tenure as music director of the Cleveland Orchestra of Cleveland, Ohio, and for the recordings of the standard classical repertoire he made in Cleveland and with other orchestras.

Szell came to Cleveland in 1946 to take over a respected if undersized orchestra, which was struggling to recover from the disruptions of World War II. By the time of his death he was credited, to quote the critic Donal Henahan, with having built it into "what many critics regarded as the world's keenest symphonic instrument." Through his recordings, Szell has remained a presence in the classical music world long after his death, and his name remains synonymous with that of the Cleveland Orchestra. While on tour with the Orchestra in the late 1980s, then-Music Director Christoph von Dohnányi remarked, "We give a great concert, and George Szell gets a great review."

Szell primarily conducted works from the core Austro-German classical and romantic repertoire, from Haydn, Mozart and Beethoven, through Mendelssohn, Schumann and Brahms, and on to Bruckner, Mahler and Strauss. He said once that as he got older he consciously narrowed his repertoire, feeling it was "actually my task to do those works which I thought I'm best qualified to do, and for which a certain tradition is disappearing with the disappearance of the great conductors who were my contemporaries and my idols and my unpaid teachers." He did however program contemporary music; he gave numerous world premieres in Cleveland, and he was particularly associated with such composers as Dutilleux, Walton, Prokofiev, Hindemith and Bartók. Szell also helped initiate the Cleveland Orchestra's long association with composer-conductor and avant-garde icon Pierre Boulez. At the same time, Szell championed the music of Haydn and Mozart in a period when those composers were little represented in concert programs.

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George Szell

George Szell

George Szell (/ˈsɛl/; June 7, 1897 – July 30, 1970), originally György Széll, György Endre Szél, or Georg Szell, was a Hungarian-born Jewish-American conductor and composer. He is widely considered one of the twentieth century's greatest conductors. He is remembered today for his long and successful tenure as music director of the Cleveland Orchestra of Cleveland, Ohio, and for the recordings of the standard classical repertoire he made in ...

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4 albums
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BRAHMS Double Concerto
BOCCHERINI Cello Sonata No. 4
DVORAK Cello Concerto
Recorded Barcelona 1929 and Prague 1937
Total duration: 75:27

Pablo Casals, cello
Jacques Thibaud,
violin
Blas Net, piano
Pablo Casals Orchestra, Alfred Cortot
Czech Philharmonic Orchestra, Geroge Szell


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DVORÁK Piano Concerto No. 1

Recorded in 1954
Duration: 36:23

Rudolf Firkusny, piano
The Cleveland Orchestra
Conducted by George Szell

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    BEETHOVEN  Violin Concerto in D major, Op. 61
    BRAHMS
     Violin Concerto in D major, Op. 77
    Studio and live recordings · 1934 & 1944
    Total duration: 76:23

    Bronislaw Huberman, violin
    Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra
    George Szell,
    conductor
    Philharmonic-Symphony Orchestra of New York

    Artur Rodzinski,
    conductor
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    TCHAIKOVSKY Violin Concerto
    LALO
    Symphonie Espagnole
    Encores by Brahms, Chopin, Sarasate, Tchaikovsky and Zarzycki

    Studio and live recordings, 1928-34
    Total duration: 72:03

    Bronislaw Huberman, violin
    William Steinberg ∙ Staatskapelle Berlin

    George Szell ∙ Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra

    Siegfried Schultze
    , piano