Friday, April 11, 2014

Solti - A Maestro and a Mephisto A musician has the privilege to kick ass if he is of the calibre of Solti. People romanticise about Beethoven; he would throw a chair or kick the teeth out of your mediocrity. There are few geniuses who have zero tolerance of mediocrity! Solti was born in Budapest in 1912. He studied piano, composition, and conducting with Bartok and Leo Weiner. He made his concert debut as a pianist. The Budapest Opera hired him as a conductor. In 1937, Toscanini selected him to assist at the Salzburg Festival. Before the Second World War broke out, Solti went as a refugee to Switzerland. He played piano again to earn. In 1942, he earned first prize in the Concours International in Geneva. After the war in 1946, the American military government invited him to conduct Beethoven’s Fidelio in Munich. The success of this performance led to his appointment as music director of the Bavarian State Opera. He carried forward the reputation of the Opera Company for the period of next six years. In 1952, Solti accepted took over as artistic and music director of the Frankfurt City Opera. He worked there for nine years. From 1961, he became music director of the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden and stayed there for a decade. He recorded the entire Ring with the Vienna Philharmonic, a historic undertaking which required seven years to complete and was the first complete studio recording. I personally feel that this Ring recorded in the sixties and Mahler's `Symphony of a Thousand' remain as definitive recordings of these works. Solti received knighthood in 1972 for his outstanding contribution to music. He was also honoured with a lifetime achievement award in 1996, one year before his death from the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences. Solti has won thirty one Grammy awards. This is probably more than any other popular or classical recording artist.

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