Sunday, October 11, 2015

Don't say you were not warned

In October 2008 a paying concertgoer explained here why he would be returning his tickets for Valery Gergiev's London Symphony Orchestra concerts.

Seven years later critic Andrew Clements writing in the Guardian reaches the conclusion that "Valery Gergiev has not served the London Symphony Orchestra well as their chief conductor".

As Virgil Thomson told us: "Never underestimate the public's intelligence, baby".

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JMW said...

Most importantly, how much was he paid for his wandering attentions?

Pliable said...

Quite so John. But equally importantly, how much did his agent Columbia Artists Management make out of his unsatisfactory tenure? And how much are Askonas Holt - who, coincidentally, also represent the LSO - making bringing Simon Rattle in as a replacement? But don't get me started on the role of agents in cash-strapped classical music....

Graeme said...

I have to say that I have rather a dim view of Gergiev as a conductor. The concerts that I have attended don't live on in my mind except in a negative way - for example I was totally unenthused by an account of Berlioz's Romeo and Juliet some 20 years ago and a Rite of Spring at a Prom about 10 years ago sounded like a lorry convoy in a gravel pit. His LSO appointment struck me at the time as more of a marketing thing than an artistic decision - particularly given the rather negative critical reactions to his recordings with them. I tend to assume the appointment of Rattle is more of the same, given the history between them. I suppose they might have tried to get Dudamel or even Lang Lang - surely the latter is going to start waving the stick soon. It is a lot easier to emote and posture when conducting than when playing a piano.

When Chailly was at the Concertgebouw, I was amazed how much better the orchestra sounded under its visiting conductors - such as Davis, Haitink and Levine. Similarly, the LSO alwsys sounded better under Davis, Haitink, Previn than it did under Gergiev - to my ears anyway.

I wondered at the time whether the appointment of Gergiev was because the orchestra did not want to work with a chief conductor who would spend too much time with them. Rattle looks like he might be another occasional chief conductor rather than a real influence.

Then of course we can speculate about the role of the City Corporation... However you look at Gergiev and then Rattle, it just does not smell right somehow.

Pliable said...

"It just does not smell right somehow" -