Dr. Jimbob's Home -> Classical Music -> Conductors -> Antal Dorati




Biographical Abstract
Full curriculum vitae
Performance Resume

Internal Medicine
Medical Informatics
Traditional Chinese Medicine




Antal Dorati

Antal Dorati


Posted to: rec.music.classical.recordings
Subject: Antal Dorati Recommendations
Date: Tue, 24 Sep 1996

sridhar@htc.honeywell.com wrote:
Hello everyone, I currently have a few of Antal Dorati CD's including the 1812 overture, the Enesco/Lizst Rhapsodies on Mercury Living presence and the 1975 Concertgebouw Nutcracker on Phillips. I am planning to get some more of his recordings and would like your recommendations on which ones to go for.

Dorati has always struck me as a peculiar sort of beast. He had one of the biggest recorded repertoires in the business (perhaps rivaled only by Karajan and Solti), but never seemed to get directorship of a real plum orchestra, and his recordings vary from inspired and idiomatic to pedestrian and let's-get-this-in-the-can-because-we-have-a-deadline perfunctory.

Dorati cut his teeth in the business by working as a ballet conductor. To my mind, this shows in his ballet music recordings, which have a rhythmic snap and bounce that seem eminently danceable. That Nutcracker is one fine way to start. (Hmm -- I'm forgetting about other worthy ballet recordings of his. Unfortunately, I don't know any of his Stravinsky discs, and I'd steer you away from his Copland disc, which strikes me as having unidiomatic playing from a Hungarian conductor and an English orchestra.)

I've loved Dorati's way with music by Czech and Hungarian composers; it's always struck me as idiomatic, rich stuff. Try the Bartok that is out there (e.g. a Concerto for Orchestra on Mercury; a Music for Strings, Percussion et al with a complete Miraculous Mandarin on London; Bluebeard's Castle on Mercury). There is some wonderful Kodaly available, too (a complete Hary Janos on a Double Decca, the Symphony in C and the Concerto for Orchestra on Mercury).

And then there's Franz Joseph Haydn, who spent a long time at the court of Esterh'azy. Dorati was one of the first to record all of the symphonies, with the Philharmonia Hungarica, a band of Hungarian expatriates and refugees working in Western Europe. It's clear that this series was done on deadlines, and there's sometimes that perfunctory gotta-get-this-set-out-by-next-month quality about some of the recordings. But the Hungarian orchestra lends many of these recordings a wonderful, folksy bite and rough peasant humor. I wouldn't recommend his "London" Symphonies (93-104) set; I think others have done that better. But for the lesser known works (particularly, say, most of 1-80), Dorati has little competition, and much that is wonderful to hear. I like the penultimate set in the box, which mingles some Paris stuff with 88, 89, 90, and a few London works. He also did a survey of Haydn's operas for Philips, again the only business in town in more than one case.

Dorati has a funny way of turning up in odd places. He could turn up as a skillful concerto accompanist (I'm thinking of a fine Dvorak Cello Concerto with Janos Starker on Mercury, fine readings of the Brahms and Khachaturian Violin Concertos with Henryk Szeryng on Mercury (and my curiosity is piqued by a Brahms Concerto with Ginette Neveu -- anyone heard it?). He could even turn in interesting recordings of Second Viennese School music - a Mercury CD with the usual Pieces for Orchestra of Schoenberg, Berg, and Webern demonstrate some of the connections that this music had with the late Romantic school of fin de siecle Vienna.

I hope that gets you off to a decent start. (Me, I want to check out some other stuff, like a Milhaud Boeuf sur le toit on Mercury -- sounds like it could be a hoot.)

Dr. Jimbob's Home -> Classical Music -> Conductors -> Antal Dorati

Last updated: September 22, 1999 by James C.S. Liu

[disclaimer]   [about this page/copyright info]   [back to the top]