Nomination for the Walhalla
Thirteen world-famous Hungarian musicians (conductors and performers) were nominated by Gramophone for the Hall of Fame it created last year. What is more, music-lovers can also take part in selecting the fifty immortals on the website of the British music magazine. This is nothing other than a Walhalla nomination show!
Nevertheless, the initiative is indeed honourable. Candidates for the nine categories include Antal Doráti, Ferenc Fricsay, Iván Fischer, Jenő Ormándy, Fritz Reiner and George Szell, the Budapest and Végh Quartets, pianists Géza Anda, Annie Fischer and András Schiff, cellist János Starker and violinist József Szigeti.
Members and critics of the magazine’s editorial team are writing blogs about the nominees they find particularly worthy of the honour. Three Hungarian conductors, Fritz Reiner, George Szell and Iván Fischer are championed for interested readers on the Gramophone webpage by James Jolly, highlighting the maestros’ involvement in creating and training ensembles (Reiner stewarded three American orchestras: the Cincinnati Symphony, the Pittsburgh Symphony, and the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, Szell enjoyed exceptional achievements in Cleveland, while Iván Fischer’s name, although he too has an international career, is tied to the Budapest Festival Orchestra). The editor thinks that the artistic personalities of the three conductors share certain characteristics: rigorousness, democratic approach, and an ability to create a level of intensity in the recording studio which means they “make it sound brand new”, regardless of how frequently played the works are. Jolly enthusiastically pays his respect to Reiner’s Richard Strauss recordings, George Szell’s Schumann and Brahms performances, as well as Iván Fischer’s Beethoven and Mahler productions, emphasising that there is a sense of unity, style and elegance in the Festival Orchestra which puts them up there with the greatest of today’s orchestras, and probably at the top of the list when it comes to ensembles less than 40 years old.
Votes for the nominees can be placed on the Gramophone webpage – www.gramophone.co.uk – until 20 March, 6:00pm.