Erich Leinsdorf, Vol. IV;  Idil Biret - debut  (St Laurent Studio YSL T-380)
Item# C1458
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Erich Leinsdorf, Vol. IV;  Idil Biret - debut  (St Laurent Studio YSL T-380)
C1458. ERICH LEINSDORF Cond. Boston Symphony Orch.: 'Eroica' Symphony #3 in E-flat - Marche funèbre (Beethoven); Leinsdorf announces the assassination of President Kennedy; A few words by Henry B. Cabot - BSO President; w.IDIL BIRET (American Début): Piano Concerto #3 in d (Rachmaninoff). (Canada) St Laurent Studio YSL T-380, Live Performance, 22 Nov., 1963, Symphony Hall, Boston. Transfers by Yves St Laurent.


“Turkish pianist Idil Biret recorded a cycle of Beethoven's 32 piano sonatas for her own IBA (Idil Biret Archives) label. She has appeared with most of the world's major orchestras and presented recitals in many countries, with a notable high point being a complete performance of Liszt's brutally difficult transcriptions of Beethoven's nine symphonies at the 1986 Montpellier Festival in France. Studio performances of those transcriptions were recorded for EMI and released on the IBA label. Biret was, in short, one of the world's top-rank pianists, not a star whose name was familiar even to casual listeners, but a versatile performer whose capabilities were well known to enthusiasts.

Born 21 November, 1941, in Ankara, Turkey, Biret was a classic child prodigy. Turks called her the ‘Turkish Mozart’, and when she was eight the financially strapped Turkish Parliament voted a special appropriation to make possible her musical education in Europe. Biret's first teacher in France was Nadia Boulanger, under whose tutelage she blazed through the curriculum at the Paris Conservatory. She took three first prizes there at 15 and began her professional career the following year. Biret later studied with German pianist Wilhelm Kempff, who called her his favorite disciple.

One major event of her early career was a series of concerts she gave in Moscow in 1960, organized by Russian pianist Emil Gilels. She would go on to play over 100 concerts in Russia. In 1963 Biret made her U.S. début [above] with the Boston Symphony in Rachmaninov's Piano Concerto #3, a trademark work in her repertoire.”

- James Manheim,

"Erich Leinsdorf, a conductor whose abrasive intelligence and deep musical learning served as a conscience for two generations of conductors, had a utilitarian stage manner and his disdain of dramatic effects for their own sake stood out as a not-so-silent rebuke to his colleagues in this most glamorous of all musical jobs. In addition, Mr. Leinsdorf - in rehearsal, in the press and in his valuable book on conducting, THE COMPOSER'S ADVOCATE - never tired of pointing out gaps in culture among musicians, faulty editing among music publishers and errors in judgment or acts of ignorance among his fellow conductors. He rarely named his victims, but his messages and their targets were often clear. Moreover, he usually had the solid grasp of facts to support his contentions.

Mr. Leinsdorf moved to this country from Vienna in 1937. Helped by the recommendation of Arturo Toscanini, whom he had been assisting at the Salzburg Festival, Mr. Leinsdorf made his conducting début at the Metropolitan Opera a year later with DIE WALKÜRE. He was 25 years old at the time . A year later he was made overseer of the Met's German repertory, and his contentious style - in particular an insistence on textual accuracy and more rehearsal - won him no friends among singers like Lauritz Melchior and Kirsten Flagstad. Backed by management, he remained at the Met until 1943. At the New York City Opera, where he became music director in 1956, Mr. Leinsdorf's demanding policies in matters of repertory and preparation made him further enemies, and he left a year later. His searches for permanent employment turned mostly to orchestras. After the briefest of tenures at the Cleveland Orchestra during World War II, Mr. Leinsdorf took over the Rochester Philharmonic and stayed for nine years.

Mr. Leinsdorf's last and most prestigious music directorship was at the Boston Symphony, where he replaced Charles Münch in 1962. No contrast in style could have been sharper: Münch had viewed conducting mystically, as a kind of priesthood; Mr. Leinsdorf's policy was to make performances work in the clearest and most rational way. Observers both in and out of the orchestra could not deny the benefits of Mr. Leinsdorf's discipline, but there were some who were hostile to what they perceived as an objectivity that could hardly be called heartwarming.

One American orchestra manager a few years ago responded to musicians' grumblings over Mr. Leinsdorf's rehearsal manner by saying that he was ‘good for my orchestra’. And so he probably was.”

- Bernard Holland, THE NEW YORK TIMES, 12 Sept., 1993