The conducting legend Sir Georg Solti would have been 100 on Sunday, Oct. 21. For half a century he was a force on the classical music landscape, holding posts at the Royal Opera House at Covent Garden, the Chicago Symphony Orchestra and the Bavarian State Opera, and working as a guest conductor around the globe. A hard-driving taskmaster, Solti had piercing eyes and a fiery Hungarian temperament, but he could also inspire delicate and highly detailed performances from his musicians.
Solti died in 1997 but many videos of the conductor are preserved on YouTube. Below are the most-viewed to date. Have you seen any Solti videos that you enjoyed? Please post the links in the comments box below.
1. Tchaikovsky Piano Concerto No. 1 in B-flat minor (243, 131 views)
Solti leads the Chicago Symphony and the pianist Cecile Licad in this 1982 live telecast.
2. Beethoven - Piano Concerto No. 1 in C major - Allegro con brio (187,902 views)
A 40-year-old Murray Perahia joins Solti and the London Symphony Orchestra in Beethoven's First Piano Concerto. This was filmed in March 1987 as part of a celebration marking the fifth anniversary of the Barbican Centre in London.
3. Mozart Requiem (136,602 views)
The writer and broadcaster Humphrey Burton directed this 1991 film of Mozart's Requiem from St. Stephen’s Cathedral, Vienna. Solti leads the Vienna Philharmonic and Vienna State Concert Chorus and a young quartet of soloists: Cecilia Bartoli, Rene Pape, Arleen Auger and Vinson Cole (performance starts at 6:13).
4. Mahler Symphony No. 5 - opening (108,459 views)
Solti's visceral recording of Mahler's Fifth Symphony with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra still ranks among critics' and fans' favorites. Here's just the opening 1:30 of a performance recorded in Tokyo's Bunka Kaikan on March 26, 1986. The trumpet soloist is the legendary Adolph Herseth.
5. Shostakovich Symphony No.5 - first movement (100,893 views)
Just after the fall of the Iron Curtain, Solti traveled to St. Petersburg, Russia to lead the Kirov Orchestra in Shostakovich's Fifth Symphony.
6. Wagner's Gotterdammerung, finale (99,108 views)
This mid-60's session recording is a particular gem. Solti led the first stereo recording of Wagner's Ring Cycle, completed in 1966, with the Vienna Philharmonic. It remains his greatest recording legacy. Here he conducts Birgit Nilsson in the Immolation Scene from Gotterdammerung.
7. Bartok's Romanian Folk Dances (97,492 views)
Solti championed the music of countryman Bartok throughout his career. This performance with the Vienna Philharmonic appears to be from late in his life.