Mr. and Mrs. Mehta, Los Angeles Philharmonic

Dear New York Folks,

This is Jiwon.

How long will it take to finish my last part, America? My plan is gone.

I had a plan.

After contacting the Israeli Ambassador, I was supposed to concentrate on my life only. I wanted my life. I want my life. I am tired. I wanted to prepare a future improvement of my kids and then leave this house. Then, I wanted to study more for my improvement in English or Music or whatever. (…) I was already too tired by then, yet I still keep receiving fucking calls from someone’s friend, who wants to remind me of the family rule that since I am an insane bitch, I should shut my mouth up no matter what. Funny that the social and medical description of Virginia Tech murderer is very similar to what my family members diagnosed my mental case; a shut-down loner… a psychopath… being in an extremely delusional state… delusion of persecution or grandeur or whatever… (…)

I am just tired now.

While I was surviving a fucking life as an American student, there were folks around me. While I have been always failing in my life, even my promised future, and while yelling, throwing the dishes and knives, or even violence was killing my family life, there were always someone else around me, who were blessed with manna crumbs from Barenboim’s friends-or-enemies-or-bosses-or-servants. All they had to was spying my private life or steering me into the specific/special directions. Some were able to earn what they wanted from American school. Some even prepared their future in case I become their favorite celebrity. Some accidentally tasted the delicious crumbs after appearing in my writing as unexpected guests and went further to taste more. For some, involving in my life was a pure entertainment catching a public attention to escape from their boring everyday affairs. Some of those beneficiaries didn’t even know who helped their international professional career. Was late Solti the first one, who picked up a Korean soloist to tell me something? I am curious now. Who has a taste of those manna crumbs in these days? Do I still look naively young? It was in my twenties when I worked with 20 years seniors and had to read their faces to renew my contract every year. I am the one, who used to remember all the weird voices of my late Korean teacher since I was 10, and finally realized that there was nothing but his politics behind all my enemies. This is how I got to grow as a cynical bitch, never trusting even my friends whenever they prove unnatural face or voice. This is how I got to grow as a cold-icy bitch, only analyzing whose voice sounds the most natural while manipulating something. Tomorrow, whose face and voice should I read? I am tired. I try to think of my own problem only. In these days, I wake up early in the morning. Yet I am still not a morning person, nor can I work at night nor even on Sundays. The months-long sty in my weak eye seemed to disappear last week.

I was searching for something my favorite in http://www.youtube.com/ .

As usual, my prime interest is orchestra members, and I know couple of them in New York. I know they are better than… but then, why have the audience’s reactions to those performances always been colder than the one in Berlin, Vienna, Chicago, and even Korea? As their former boss, Maestro Zubin Mehta, described, each member was hired after proving their good personalities to join the group. 

No particular scene was found, except Horowitz playing Rachmaninoff with Mehta’s New York Philharmonic:

http://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=mehta+horowitz

I was speechless…

Then, I started my normal check-up routine to track down Bashkirova’s ensemble partners. 

http://www.musica.gulbenkian.pt/?2006_2007/orquestra_gulbenkian.html (Oct. 19-20, 2006 in Lisbon) Bashkirova’s Beethoven Concerto conducted by Mehta’s former assistant. / (Oct. 29, 2006 in Lisbon) Bashkirova’s maestro conducts Barenboim, Barenboim’s son, and Bashkirova’s divan dubbed du Pre’s Cello.

http://wm2006.ddp.de/index.cfm?nPictureTypeNo=2 (06-07-2006 in Berlin) Daniel Barenboim and Elena Bashkirova: Germany – Argentina, World Cup Stadium Berlin.

http://www.bayerische.staatsoper.de/mediadb/4973/42646/TAKT_7_05/06.pdf (April 29, 2006 in Munchen) Happy Birthday Lieber Zubin: Nat?rlich hatte es sich das Geburtstagskind nicht nehmen lassen, selbst zu dirigieren, am Klavier Daniel Barenboim, der engste Freund seit 50 Jahren… Nancy Mehta mit Daniel Barenboim, Barenboim Ehefrau Elena Bashkirova mit Weltbankpr?sident a.D. James D. Wolfensohn, Zubin Mehta zeigt seine Autobiographie seinen Kindern… Zubin Mehta und Daniel Barenboim mit Ehefrauen…

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/James_Wolfensohn Weltbankpr?sident a.D. James D. Wolfensohn: Australian Jew… Condoleezza Rice appointed him to this position (Special Envoy for Gaza Disengagement for the Quartet), in which he was to help coordinate Israel’s planned withdrawal from the Gaza Strip… He is also chairman emeritus of Carnegie Hall in New York and of the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, D.C… A friend of Jacqueline du Pr?, he began cello studies with her at the age of 41. He continues to play and has appeared, together with musician friends, at private events at Carnegie Hall and elsewhere…

JIWON:

Well, I never want to stand between these two golden couples. Whether Mr. Zubin is happy with Ms. Nancy or not, Whether Mr. Daniel is happy with Ms. Elena or not, I don’t care: 1. Barenboim looks childish with Nancy Mehta. 2. I’ve never seen Bashkirova look more adorable with any other guy than with the Weltbankpr?sident. She looks like a miserable musician when she is with Mr. Kremer. She looks like a proud mom when she is with Barenboim. Finally, she looks like a lovely lady when she is with a chairman emeritus of Carnegie Hall and of the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, who is an Australian Jew claiming to be a dearest friend of du Pre. Weird… Who looks more adorable with this guy? Elaine or Elena?

JIWON:

It is now clear that it was Mr. and Mrs. Mehta, who supported Bashkirova since the moment she started sucking my blood, and then they were waiting for me to give up.

Then, I found this article.

http://www.time.com/time/printout/0,8816,841207,00.html  (Jan. 19, 1968) Gypsy Boy, CONDUCTORS: Seated amidst the gilt and crystal of a venerable concert hall, watching an elegantly tail-coated conductor lead a Brahms symphony, the modern concertgoer may sometimes feel that he is inhabiting a scene preserved in amber. In such a tradition-rounded realm, the conductor and everything under his sway appear to have been unaltered in half a century. His basic repertory is the same. The makeup of his orchestra and its instruments are unchanged. The auditoriums he performs in are virtually the size and shape they always were. Through an epoch of transformations that have touched nearly every human activity, the conductor would seem to be one person who has clung to an accustomed role and function. Not so. The conductor’s profession today bears as little resemblance to what it was 50 years ago. (…)

JIWON: This was written 39 years ago… Under the writing rules, no one is allowed to steal the same language from this article. Which means… that someone will waste his life again and again reporting the same happening in his very-unique language until the classical music disappears. Then, I have to waste my life again and again reading the same-therefore-tedious articles from elsewhere. So what is the latest issue of this Time’s article?

This one?

http://www.nytimes.com/2007/04/25/arts/music/25phil.html?_r=1&ref=arts&oref=slogin (April 25, 2007) Philharmonic to Add a Position at the Top

Or this one?

http://www.nytimes.com/2007/05/20/arts/music/20tomm.html?ref=music  (May 20, 2007) Making the Maestro Collaborator in Chief

http://www.time.com/time/printout/0,8816,841207,00.html (Jan. 19, 1968) Gypsy Boy, CONDUCTORS: Orchestras have grown up, spawned offshoots and multiplied; there are 1,400 in the U.S. today. Musicians who used to scrape along on 25-week seasons are now working 52 weeks, making far more money, and even demanding more authority in hiring and firing their coworkers. No Relief. And the conductors? There are not enough good ones to go around. Now that most of them jet off to play musical podiums with the world’s far-flung orchestras, they scarcely have time to guide the artistic policy of their own ensembles, plan the programs, select the soloists, learn new works, rehearse and perform – let alone address fund-raising luncheons of the ladies’ clubs. The best of today’s established conductors are thus tired, aging, or both. The BSO’s music director has announced that he plans to resign at the end of the 1969 season because of his killing schedule. Like Boston, New York and Chicago are also in the market for new music directors, and the conductors in Philadelphia and Cleveland are both over 65. In short, conducting is increasingly becoming a field for younger, more vibrant men – all the more so because of the overriding example of Leonard Bernstein… In this image-conscious culture, every orchestra wants its conductor to have some of Bernstein’s incalculable personality force – what the Conductor calls the “magic emanation” that can lift a conductor’s performances above the mere exercise of knowledge and professional skill. (…)

JIWON: When was it written? On January 19, 1968 or on January 19, 2007? I am very confused… Who wrote it? This writer is so confused that he lost his way in the world of a life for music, a life of music, a zeal for music, a talent for music, a maniac professional, a passionate professional, and so on… Thanks to this diligent author, I was also confused about what I should write first, middle and last. Perhaps, the writer had to scramble all the information to write for Mehta and this is why I had to spend X-days to unscramble his words to show you what I studied about music. But then, whom should I show my work? Who will understand it?

http://www.time.com/time/printout/0,8816,841207,00.html (Jan. 19, 1968) Gypsy Boy, CONDUCTORS: Among young conductors today, one who has this emanation – plus musicianship – to an extraordinary degree is Bombay-born Zubin Mehta, conductor of the Los Angeles Philharmonic. (…)

JIWON: Now, it’s becoming interesting…

http://www.time.com/time/printout/0,8816,841207,00.html (Jan. 19, 1968) Gypsy Boy, CONDUCTORS: That Mehta has done this at so young an age illustrates the striking departure that has occurred from the pattern of a generation ago. Conductors traditionally rose through an arduous apprenticeship with provincial opera houses and orchestras, rarely surfacing internationally until they were in their 40s and 50s. “Mehta,” says his friend, “is one of the torches, a symbol of a new kind of musician.” New York Concert Manager says, “Mehta speaks to my generation. He has broken out of the mold.” (…) Composer Robert Schumann spoke of the orchestra as a republic, not subject to higher authority. But the giants of the last generation, following such 19th century models as Richard Wagner, Hans von B?low, Artur Nikisch and Gustav Mahler, acted on the podium like absolute monarchs?benevolent, like Bruno Walter, or despotic, like Toscanini. Even with older present-day personalities, such as Szell and Ormandy, the point holds true: psychologically as well as musically, the conductor is in the peaks while the players sit below on the plain. The new young conductors have come down from the mountain. One of Toronto musicians says their maestro “is the kind of guy you want to have a drink with?which is my idea of a compliment.” The Cologne Opera orchestra refers to its maestro as “a gentle persuader” who will seek out a player at intermission and shake his hand for a passage well done. Mehta calls all his Los Angeles musicians by first name, mixes and jokes with them easily, sometimes refuses social invitations unless the entire orchestra is included. He believes that, in addition to injecting a bracing esprit into the orchestra, his relaxed methods produce better music. (…) And Herbert von Karajan, 59, one of the last conductors bred in the old gradual apprenticeship, commented on the new conductors to a friend recently: “I’m afraid they jumped from elementary school to the university without going through the intervening stage of high school”?implying that at some point in the future the gap in their background will show through. The next few decades will tell. In that time, the best of the new generation will vastly broaden their repertories and deepen their musical insights. (…)

JIWON:

It’s even more interesting… What is the ideal conductor of today? I agree with the opinion that the conductors-to-be don’t have to waste their youth in a cellar of provincial opera houses and orchestras. They don’t have to be old tyrants to reign. I believe, however, that a maestro should possess a CEO’s mind in a democratic way. It is not that the orchestra, “under God, shall have a new birth of freedom.” Nor is it that the orchestra “of the members, by the members, for the members, shall not perish from the earth.” It is that a Maestro should administer the members’ music, by encouraging the good ones and disciplining the bad ones. I promise that the best sound today will turn out to be the worst one tomorrow. Do you know why? This is why…

I didn’t know that Maestro Karajan came from the Furtwangler-like training group. But then, it was 1960s’ Karajan, whose academic achievement could have reached far beyond Furtwangler’s if he were lucky enough to woo du Pre the cellist. Anyway, I just want to side with Impresario Sol Hurok when he says that any artist should concentrate on one thing at a time.

http://www.time.com/time/printout/0,8816,841207,00.html (Jan. 19, 1968) Gypsy Boy, CONDUCTORS: In Los Angeles, strangers hail him as “Zubi baby.” Everywhere, the wealthy and famous seek him out, and females from teeny-boppers to blue-haired patronesses shiver under his hot-eyed glance. (…) Meantime, his marriage was burning out. “I would come home from a world of travel and music,” Mehta says, “and smell the diapers boiling. We grew apart.” In 1964 the Mehtas got a divorce. “It just happened,” Carmen says now. (…) Besides the Philharmonic and his parents, those interests prominently include, in the words of one of his friends, “girls, girls, girls.” he is rarely seen without a girl on his arm. Mehta is a gypsy in his private life too. (…)

JIWON: Don’t get me wrong, please. I love this guy and his daily affairs are none of my business. He is not my man, so why bother? Rather, one of my hobbies is watching cats who are hanging around with a wealthy, famed guy. They are usually very fashionable and wearing what I want to wear but can’t digest. It is like sitting in a fashion show for free and how much I can save my time while roaming the shopping malls? Maestro Mehta looks very funny, even childish whenever he dedicates himself to his intelligent wife in public. This guy can still be my favorite human being if he sticks to his gun about his favorite lifestyle. Honesty is the best policy. His strings weeping the Beethoven told me so.

http://www.time.com/time/printout/0,8816,841207,00.html (Jan. 19, 1968) Gypsy Boy, CONDUCTORS: He entertains in restaurants. “Come, come, come,” he urges after a performance, sweeping everybody in his dressing room along, and conducting the seating arrangements like a symphony. (…)

JIWON:

This is my least favorite musician. To be exact, this conductor is disgusting. Apart from the fact that it is very tired after the performance, why do the performers need a post-concert after the performance? All the notes are in the score. Hadn’t they had enough, detailed conversation on the stage? If so, what they need is feedback to check which note didn’t speak enough and why. Hadn’t they burned all their energy on the stage? Life is too short, and they still need time to study about stocks or real estate, or to watch the Criminal Minds 2, or to enjoy something another. On the stage, I’ve never experienced enough good performance from myself, yet after the performance, I was too tired to enjoy any of those.

Furthermore, the only thing I heard so far from the professional musicians in the rehearsal room was about dirty talks and card games. Why should I attend the post-performance party held by the same performers, who never remember how they destroyed their ensemble partners’ high moments? Usually, the deafer they play on the stage, the bigger mouth they boast in the reception party. What’s more, outside the concert hall, those folks are usually very kind and active human beings.

So, I prefer to attend an extravagant party, where music is not their theme and I can meet all kinds of funny people. It is tired after the performance. I’ve never heard the musician Mehta concentrate on every each note for 2 hours, so he will never understand what I mean. I just hate gathering outside the concert hall. I don’t understand why I have to smile to those who have no concept of playing in-tune and doesn’t know how to listen to their ensemble partners.

http://www.time.com/time/printout/0,8816,841207,00.html (Jan. 19, 1968) Gypsy Boy, CONDUCTORS: Sleepless in New York City at 5 a.m. one day just before New Year’s, he suddenly realized that in Vienna, where it was 11 a.m., the Vienna Philharmonic would be playing one of its traditional New Year’s Johann Strauss concerts. He put in a call to the concert hall, had the manager hold the phone up to a backstage loudspeaker for a while, then dozed off contentedly. (…)

JIWON:

The funniest professional I’ve ever seen… the best example of thickheaded musician, or a drunken mortal. Everywhere in pop music worlds, one can meet countless musicians-to-be, who are drunken by alcohol, drug and music. They listen to music all day, and want to play music all day. No matter how great their passion for music is, even greater than You-Know-Who, the customers appreciate their music only when it sounds worth their money. No matter how much Mehta loves music, it is purely his own business and has nothing to do with the customers. Isn’t it enough for him to feed his Fan-Club?

Mehta can never boast that… Mehta’s Korean soloists can never boast, especially when they sound like Mehta, that their hard working justifies their fame. Most Korean teenagers work harder. It’s OK when they boast how easy it is to fool the Korean audience, who are usually emotionally hot or unbalanced, patriotic indeed while being selectively deaf, and that they’ve never been afraid of darting through the audience, which look like delicious peanuts. No matter what their words are, the Fan-Club will appreciate their secure musicianship. (This fame and peanut story is actually what I picked up from their conversation which was mentioned in public many times, so no one can blame me…)

Who said that there is no need to turn on the brain while listening to music? Mr. LP? He was right when he appreciated his audience who was all ears. Then what about playing music? Musician Mehta was described as “bla, bla, bla… then dozed off contentedly.” What an impossible professional… How can a maestro doze off contentedly while analyzing music especially when it was created or destroyed by the VPO members?

My problem here. Exactly who had recognized him as a talented musician in those days?

http://www.time.com/time/printout/0,8816,841207,00.html (Jan. 19, 1968) Gypsy Boy, CONDUCTORS: Philadelphia’s Ormandy, Rudolf Bing, and so many famed musicians bla-bla-bla, including 21-year-old Cellist Jacqueline Du Pre who says, “He provides a magic carpet for you to float on”…

JIWON:

No wonder du Pre quickly lost her imagination and gradually paralyzed herself while floating on Mehta’s magic carpet. I know how to value opinions of the members, who are doomed to work under the maestro, and I have a special reason not to appreciate Rubinstein’s opinion. What about Philadelphia’s Ormandy, however? Part of myself knows how to ignore his words but another part of myself is still asking why. What means a new kind of musician? What means a talent? What exactly caused Ormandy to highly appreciate Mehta’s ability? Simply because he has what he doesn’t have? Or was this the best way for an American celebrity to hold back his talented competitor by encouraging worthless one?

If I were born in those days, what would my reaction have been like? I could have listened to Mehta before I studied music. I could have watched Mehta after I finished my study. In any cases, what would my reaction have been like? I just remember that when I was shorter than 5 feet, I had less keen ears to judge the small ensembles. Some just sounded weird while some was OK, and couple of them still remains in my memory. I now know the reason. But I remember having more critical ears for the large grouping sound and I hardly liked romantic pieces, which sounded oily and cheap. I was very critical, because it was clear that they usually sounded ugly and noisy. By then, I didn’t know who was Mehta or du Pre or even Furtwangler. I also remember being damn critical to the soloists and now I feel very sorry for them, because I was never critical to those who sounded weird but technically perfect. I now know why they sounded so poor…

Now, I watch Mehta. (I don’t have to listen to it…) At least, I now know what means music and what means maestro. Though I am still learning something about music everyday, I now have an ability to tell who is “training” his orchestra on the stage and off the stage when I listen to their ensemble. Training orchestra is like training the kids. Not only that the timing is the most important factor, one can hardly notice their improvement in the short run, especially when they are making an impressive progress. They are just piling up all their favorites inside themselves and we have to wait till they need someone to organize their belongings, and they are… and so on.

Obsolete celebrities appreciated Mehta and gave him luxurious fame, then it should not my business to tell whether the audience in the 21st century should pay for his music or not. I just can tell that Mehta was already hopeless in those days.

I am just writing my opinion.

http://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=Horowitz+mehta+&search=Search Horowitz and Mehta:

JIWON: Mehta’s conducting is the best example of hot-muscular actor but not-enough talented musician. His never-exact body language was already there. This guy was performing tensed baton techniques, and this is why he had to develop all those peculiar techniques, which are opposite to old-fashioned way of music making. He draws pictures when the members need the exact beat in order to sing the most tranquil notes. A talented maestro would beautifully flow with his exact beats if he knew how this part should sound. Furtwangler was not a talented conductor under this rule, but then he has the most relaxed physical shape. While there is no beat in Mehta’s beautiful picture, Furtwangler’s wiggled motion has a clear beat. When Mehta is emotionally involved, he looks like a monkey…

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XZSDDRHTu2Q Edita Gruberova sings Mozart:

JIWON: The members look like from the VPO. There is no proof that Mehta sounds worthless here, because everybody says that he is not a Mozart conductor. But then, is he a good voice conductor? This is a small ensemble, and they never sound good enough. I can tell, because I know each member’s ability. I was told many times that Mehta was born bla, bla, bla… How come a bad Mozart conductor can be praised as a good romantic maestro?

http://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=edita+mehta Edita and Mehta:

JIWON: Whenever Mehta’s Viennese musicians do their best under his baton, soprano suffers. Am I wrong?

http://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=price+mehta Price and Mehta

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-yFWF6DcYko Leontyne Price sings with Mehta and the NYP at Lincoln Center:

JIWON: This is perhaps the best Mehta I’ve ever seen, in terms of precision, yet I feel tensed whenever I watch his baton techniques. I was not a big fan of Ms. Price, but after years of listening to Waltraud Meier, this voice now sounds just great; relaxed, warm, full and so on…

P.S. on May 23, 2007: Weird… This is gone. Who deleted it? Did he violate copyright law?

http://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=price+mehta (November, 2002) Mehta’s IPO in Frederic Mann Auditorium, Tel Aviv:

JIWON: The IPO is answering exactly what their conductor is asking. Who could play better? How come Mehta can blame this concert hall and its acoustics? Some members, especially the younger ones, look fulfilled when they answer this conductor.

http://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=Leontyne+Price&search=Search

JIWON: I can’t find what I want…

P.S. on June 11, 2007: Leontyne+Price is again on Youtube.com… Too tired to write something another.

http://www.time.com/time/printout/0,8816,899235,00.html (June 17, 1966) Waiting for Mr. Right: The Israel Philharmonic Orchestra is 30 years old, and has never known the security of a permanent conductor. Not that nobody will have it. The players just happen to be finicky, preferring to draw on an international pool of guest conductors until Mr. Right comes along. (…) That the orchestra has been so successful despite these drawbacks is due chiefly to Zvi Haftel (…) Haftel, who draws a salary of only $70 a month more than the lowest-paid fiddler, has turned down several offers from major U.S. orchestras. His duty, as he sees it, is to remain as the orchestra’s shamas (synagogue caretaker), keeper of the flame until Mr. Right comes along.

JIWON: From du Pre to Ormandy… and Haftel. If they were still alive, still played like the way they had done in those days, what would their reaction be like? Still same as in those days? Mr. Bing said, “Mehta was totally inexperienced. But it was all overshadowed by his personality and talent. Experience anyone can get.” In cyberspace, many things are possible and the netizens compare Mehta’s heydays with anything Zubin. I am still the life behind the scene, and Mehta’s fan-club started their job as I reported forumites’ opinion. I just hope they could authenticate their hero rather than just trying to prove a big mouth and populism. Especially when it comes to Mehta’s VPO members and the VPO members’ Mehta.

http://www.jpost.com/servlet/Satellite?cid=1167467656733&pagename=JPost%2FJPArticle%2FPrinter (Jan. 3, 2007) Man of flair and vision: Sir, – Contrary to what your reader wrote in “Beloved Leonard” (Letters, January 1) ), it was Zvi Haftel, former concertmaster, director and impresario of the IPO, who was instrumental in bringing Zubin Mehta to the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra in 1961. At the opening concert of the 70th anniversary IPO celebrations in Jerusalem on December 17, dedicated to Haftel’s memory, Mehta paid homage to Haftel. Calling Haftel a “fireball,” Mehta acknowledged his role in founding the symphony alongside Bronislav Huberman and said the IPO would never forget him. It was thanks to Haftel’s extraordinary powers of persuasion that there was no conductor or soloist of world reputation who did not grace the orchestra’s platform in the 50s and 60s. A list of the artists who appeared with the IPO reads like a “Who’s Who” of music. These great artists not only came to Israel, but, thanks to Haftel, many performed without a fee – Rubinstein, Menuhin, Stern, Solti, to name a few. Both Rostropovich and Oistrakh visited Israel when diplomatic relationships between it and the Soviet Union were at a low ebb. Haftel was also instrumental in building the Mann Auditorium, the orchestra’s present home. This man of vision and ideas had a special flair for getting things done. The development of the IPO in the 50s and 60s was due more to his efforts than, perhaps, those of any other person in the 20 years following its founding.

JIWON: Does it mean that this writer is appreciating Mehta’s IPO? As usual, it is from London.

http://www.time.com/time/printout/0,8816,841207,00.html (Jan. 19, 1968) Gypsy Boy, CONDUCTORS: thus becoming not only the youngest conductor of a leading U.S. orchestra but also the only man ever to direct two major orchestras in North America at once. In fact, he conducted the two groups simultaneously: at Expo 67, he led them (Montreal+LA Phil) in a massed performance of Berlioz’ Symphonic Fantastique. (…)

JIWON: This shit-like Mehta’s favorite massed performance was already there. Nowadays, Barenboim does it with Brahms… I always wondered who taught whom when Barenboim did it with Brahms. I just thought Barenboim tried to fool his audience by coating his Wagner-band with mud. Had he used oil instead, it could have been better appreciated by na?ve audience.

http://www.time.com/time/printout/0,8816,841207,00.html (Jan. 19, 1968) Gypsy Boy, CONDUCTORS: Many people disapprove of what LA Times Music Critic calls the “climate of adulation” in which Mehta moves. But misguided as all the glamorization may be, it is still a tribute to the galvanizing impact of Mehta’s performances.

JIWON: So…  Is this article written by the president of Mehta’s Fan-club? 

http://www.time.com/time/printout/0,8816,841207,00.html  (Jan. 19, 1968) Gypsy Boy, CONDUCTORS: On the podium, he possesses an innately theatrical flair, miming the emotions of the music, sculpturing the shape of a composition in the air with gracefully masculine gestures. “I can feel the audience through my back as if I were facing them,” he says, and he is the first to admit that some of his gyrations are for the audience’s benefit. “For a cymbal crash, the player will come in anyway, but if I give a big gesture, it just adds to the high point. Or in the development section of Beethoven’s Eroica symphony, I’m not sure the audience is hearing everything?the different modulations, the canonic effects. I point to the orchestra as if to say ‘Look who is playing. Now the theme is in the first violins; now it is in the basses.’ “

JIWON: Even a baby feels something when someone is behind him. Only the stupid I.Q. doesn’t know he is dumb until someone tells IT so. Then the insane never accept that they are not normal. Sigh… Why should I waste my life mentioning of this stupid musician? Live performance is different from the rehearsal room. You never know what kind of detailed moment can happen. This is an Art of Moment, the Art of Timing, which only Maestro can handle. 

http://www.time.com/time/printout/0,8816,841207,00.html (Jan. 19, 1968) Gypsy Boy, CONDUCTORS: Primary Spark. Yet Mehta’s motions are by no means shallow showmanship. They help make his performance “live all the time,” in the words of Met Tenor, who sings under Mehta in Carmen. Says Gedda: “He does not drag and he does not rush; he has the kind of pulse that is absolutely right.”

JIWON: I try not to make other famed names be involved. As I mentioned before, poor soloists or members hardly have a right to criticize their maestro. They only have a privilege to value their relationship with a former-present-future boss. They can just change their tone of voice during their Wagner-interview, as someone did years ago after playing “under” Barenboim, so that one can smell something about something. But I take this case as exceptional. Had Mr. Tenor read this article and approve it? If he were willing to satisfy my curiosity, it would be terrific for him (1) to analyze his best performance and his worst one, whether under the same conductor or different ones, and (2) to compare those two, and (3) to analyze why. It would be even better if he could analyze all the singers’ performances with Mehta, and then compare those with the same voices with others. I hope him to answer my inquiries after that; “He has the kind of pulse that is absolutely right.”

http://www.time.com/time/printout/0,8816,841207,00.html (Jan. 19, 1968) Gypsy Boy, CONDUCTORS: This is Mehta’s essence as a musician: an instinct for the living pulse of a piece of music, along with a molten core of romantic feeling and a point-of-no-return commitment.

JIWON: See below. ? Eduard van Beinum

http://www.time.com/time/printout/0,8816,841207,00.html (Jan. 19, 1968) Gypsy Boy, CONDUCTORS: He has a young man’s affinity for bold, large-scale works – especially from the late 19th and early 20th centuries – that glow with color and abound with dramatic contrasts. His concern is not detail but sweep and sound. He hears music with his nerve ends more than with his intellect. For this reason, he is less assured when he traces the transparent architecture of Mozart and Bach, or unfolds the subtle poetry of Schubert. Yet these are not fatal flaws in a conductor of his age. What is important is that he has the right foundation to build on. The visceral spark is primary; the intellect and poetry can come later. Without the root intuition, the other qualities would never fully bloom.

JIWON: This is the prime part that made me suspect if this writer had ever known what means music, or what means sound, or what means instinct, or what means “dramatic…”

http://www.time.com/time/printout/0,8816,841207,00.html (Jan. 19, 1968) Gypsy Boy, CONDUCTORS: With the old tyrants, the rehearsal was the high point, the performance a letdown,” Mehta says. “I’m always telling my orchestra it will be different in performance, before the public, where I make music on the spot. In rehearsals, I’m the doctor with the stethoscope. In performances, I’m the gypsy.”

JIWON: I can’t write a word unless I know the exact names of old tyrants. It would be better if Mehta could name those specific names. I will analyze their music. I will answer why their performance was letdown. I can. Maestro Mehta cannot.

http://www.time.com/time/printout/0,8816,841207,00.html (Jan. 19, 1968) Gypsy Boy, CONDUCTORS: As the doctor, Mehta has shown a practical talent for ministering to an ailing ensemble. When he arrived in Los Angeles in 1962…

JIWON:

In those days, I happen to be friends with medical students, whose hobby is to prepare once-a-year stage experiences as a Who-Loves-Music-More-Than-I-Do. My late Korean teacher didn’t allow me to play in the youth orchestra, so I preferred to spend my time playing with them. It was fun.

For the most students, music was a pure entertainment and playing on the stage was worth popping champagne in discotheques after the concert. Some were serious about music. Part of them treated music score as their medical text and they liked to analyze music while playing. After the concert, they remembered their every each moment on the stage and wanted to know how to make better performance next time. Part of them was different, too. They were very brainy, icy cold human in the library, but while on the stage playing the instruments, they wanted to be just emotional. Among them… Couple of students expressed their wish to quit the medical school and study music. What would have happened to their life as a professional musician? I can imagine now… and I now know the reason of their different behaviors.

In those days, some used to ask me why professional orchestras don’t sound as they expected. Then they said bla, bla, bla… Since I didn’t know how to answer their curiosity, I always tried to avoid their hello. But then… what those medical students wanted to hear from professional ensembles was exactly what I studied about music in America, where I was searching for my American teacher as Clevenger’s cursed student. This is perhaps why it was impossible for me to be lost in the woods of Mehta’s musicians. My memory of those brainy youngsters was the only thing valuable in my life ever since I picked up the instrument to join the Korean music society.

Mehta said that he was a doctor with the stethoscope in rehearsals. If so, why can’t I hear it from his studio recordings, where he doesn’t have to be converted to gypsy? In his recordings, whether the live performance or studio recordings, he was always encouraging “some” ensemble member’s worthless instinct. I’ve never heard Mehta train his orchestra, from section to section. Not to mention his live performance, where he is an idiot…

http://www.time.com/time/printout/0,8816,841207,00.html (Jan. 19, 1968) Gypsy Boy, CONDUCTORS: When he arrived in Los Angeles in 1962, the demoralized orchestra had been without a permanent conductor for four years. “It could play anything, but it had no style, no sound, and was undisciplined musically,” Mehta says. “I was engaged to fix it.”

JIWON:

How bizarre… Mehta said, “It could play anything, but it had no style, no sound, and was undisciplined musically.” This is exactly what I used to hear from Mehta’s ensemble. How come Mehta could boast it? I want to know the facts. The members had no leader for four years. Then what about their performances during van Beinum days and before him? I want to listen to them first. 

I write this because van Beinum has been one of my favorites ever since I heard his Bruckner with the Concertgebouw. When they were finished, I wanted to listen to their Beethoven and I don’t know why. Perhaps… Despite its poor recording quality, I could hear that this guy was a maestro, who was training his orchestra. But then, why Beethoven? I don’t know why. Anyway, I’ve never heard it from Mehta’s LA Phil and I am not the only one.

http://classicalcdreview.com/evb.html Eduard van Beinum (1956-1959): Conductor Eduard van Beinum, who died just about four decades ago while rehearsing his beloved Concertgebouw Orchestra, would be out-of-place in today’s superficial world of “glamour, jet-set” conductors. His career was based on solid musicianship and a total lack of self-glorification. He had a natural instinct for making music, and learned his craft through hard work and study. (…) Beinum preferred to work with orchestras over a period of time. In 1956, after highly successful guest appearances, Beinum was appointed music director of the Los Angeles Philharmonic. Beinum’s style of conducting was different from that of most conductors. He was not an authoritarian like Mengelberg. He respected his musicians and considered them to be colleagues. His concept was that he and his orchestra were making music together. The conductor’s son described his father’s attitude concisely and accurately by pointing out that for him it was less a matter of “interpreting” a score than of “realizing” it. He sought to grasp its inner motivations and to transform it into sound through his own energy, so that it was conveyed to listeners as directly and purely as possible. He had infallible musical instincts over a wide range of repertory. Eduard van Beinum died of a heart attack April 13, 1959, at the age of 59, while rehearsing his beloved Concertgebouw in the Brahms First Symphony. He was at the height of his career.

JIWON:

What Mehta and his supporters are trying to voice is found here. Or I’m confused. The author wrote, “This, (Primary spark or shallow showmanship), is Mehta’s essence as a musician: an instinct for the living pulse of a piece of music, along with a molten core of romantic feeling and a point-of-no-return commitment.”

I’m confused… Has Mehta insisted that “he sought to grasp its inner motivations and to transform it into sound through his own energy,” as Beinum’s listeners stated? Has Mehta claimed that it should “be conveyed to listeners as directly and purely as possible,” as Beinum’s listeners believed? Anyway, who, among the Mehta’s members, heard Beinum’s style of training orchestra during Mehta’s rehearsals, which was his proud time of drilling the orchestra to imitate the Viennese sound? Who?

Then, my curiosity goes further. Who were van Beinum’s predecessors? Why is it impossible to find LA Phil members who compare their maestros? I only find one from the Google Group. Henry Fogel also read it. What has been his answer whenever his favorite Mehta became the issue?

http://groups.google.com/group/rec.music.classical.recordings/browse_thread/thread/1e7de98b295f1daf/748118f628f3aac7?lnk=gst&q=mehta+decibel&rnum=1&hl=en#748118f628f3aac7 (Mar. 13, 1999) Whatever happened to Zubin Mehta?

Forumite 1: The review in today’s Los Angeles Times was rapturous.

Forumite 2 (Answering Forumite 1): That reminded me of a wag’s comment that Los Angeles mounted a massive publicity campaign to convince New York that Zubin Mehta was a great conductor, so they could get rid of him and get Carlo Maria Giulini, who was a great conductor.

Forumite 3 from Beverly Hills: As one who has been close to the LAPO for years, the suggestion 1) that someone in Los Angeles “tried to convince” someone else that Zubin Mehta was a great conductor is poppycock. Zubin was and is enormously popular, loved and cheered by the local audience. No one then, or now, wanted him to leave for New York. The fact that some in New York didn’t appreciate him is their problem, not his. He has the highest paying job in classical music as general music director of the Bavarian State Opera in Munich, together with the Israel Philharmonic. Those of us who attend Mehta’s concerts in Los Angeles appreciate him as one of the most exciting and satisfying conductors anywhere!

Forumite 4 (Answering Beverly Hills): I must say you have chosen a strange yardstick for the evaluation of artistic skill: how much someone earns. It isn’t golf you know. Oh, wait a minute … you’re from Beverly Hills. Never mind.

Forumite 3 from Beverly Hills (Answering Forumite 4): How much someone earns isn’t the point; it is who is willing to pay it and for what that matters. Here the powers that be in Munich, one of the three finest houses on the continent, think enough of him to pay over $1,000,000.00 per year! Being glamorous and enjoying lightweight musical occasions – like the three tenors – does not make one less of a musician. I am old enough to remember Beecham in person. No one relished light music and joyous occasions more than he – and yet he was one of the most profound and influential conductors of the century. His lollipops did not besmirch his Mozart, any more than the three tenors corrupted Mehta’s Mahler 2d, Turandot, Strauss or Stravinsky. Before you attack Beverly Hills as a center of musical Philistines, remember that among its residents have been Igor Stravinsky, Sergei Rachmaninoff, Artur Rubinstein, Jascha Heifetz, Bruno Walter, and Vladimir Horowitz. (Maybe there have been better ones where you live.)

JIWON: I want to make this guy’s posting short. But I don’t want to manipulate the opinions of Mehta’s supporters. So, here is his every word.

Forumite 4 (Answering Beverly Hills): Therefore he must be a great artist, seems to be your argument. On the contrary, they could only pay that kind of dough to a mediocrity. It’s the same economic law that almost ensures no Hollywood blockbuster can ever be really great. You can’t afford to take chances when so much money is on the line. The burghers of Munich are also paying sky-high salaries to A and B. I would submit that if the combined recordings of A, B, and Mehta (throw in C, Barenboim, and all the other high-earning conductors of that generation if you wish) suddenly went up in smoke the effect on the cultural legacy of our era would be excactly nil. It isn’t to say that these guys aren’t skilled. They were born with an incredible musical gift. I just don’t think they did very much with it (although they’ve done very well …). I could name at least 50 musicians right now who are more interesting than Zubin Mehta, none of whom could ever hope to get a million bucks from the Bavarians. In any case I wasn’t criticizing him, just your choice of artistic yardstick: how much he makes, what kind of car he drives, how big is his house while we’re at it, etc … The three tenors thing is not unrelated either. I think when you play in stadiums subtle musicianship isn’t going to get you very far. regards,

Forumite 5: At the height of the Depression, Toscanini got a yearly salary from the New York Philharmonic of $110,000. Multiply that times nine for inflation, and that means AT got a million dollars a year for about 13 weeks’ work.  Plus the $20,000 retainer he received from RCA Victor, that means AT got about $1.2 million a year up through about 1936. That means Mehta and AT were pretty much “balanced” as far as salaries go. Yet, no one has ever ranked Mehta anywhere near Toscanini, as either a conductor of opera or orchestral music. I’d say Mehta’s salary is all out of proportion to his true value — as are way too many CEOs (”upward failures”, as JL says). Let’s not talk about Mehta’s earning power being a measure of his greatness, please.

Forumite 6 (Answering Beverly Hills): I don’t know who you mean by “no one” but I for one was overjoyed and delighted when Zubin Mehta left for New York. He was and is a conductor with no use for subtlety in interpretation. Zubin never met a decibel he didn’t like. Has anyone ever heard him get an orchestra to play a true pianissimo?   I pitied the New Yorkers who would have to and subsequently did suffer through his at best inspired mediocrity. Wasn’t it under his watch that the NYPO radio broadcasts ceased?

Forumite 7: Hmmm… his Bruckner 4th with the LAPO begins pretty quietly…

Forumite 6 (Answering Forumite 7): Are you speaking of a recording or a live performance? Mehta has made a few decent recordings…a very few considering the large number of recordings he has made. Moreover, some of his better ones (Mahler’s 2nd, Schmidt’s 4th, Bruckner’s 9th) were made with the VPO – curious, you draw your own conclusions as to why that is. How many listeners would choose a Mehta recorded performance as a prime choice (where of course other recordings of the same work exist)? I have heard Mehta performances live over the past 27 years and I have rarely heard a performance of his that did not wallow in vulgarity and bombast. A couple of years ago he led/lead the LAPO in a ghastly performance of Mahler’s 6th. Giulini was hardly a firebrand when he was here in LA but his performances conveyed integrity, depth and refinement in contrast Mehta’s performances.

Forumite 8 (Answering Beverly Hills): (Answering >As one who has been close to the Los Angeles Philharmonic for years… No one then, or now, wanted him to leave for New York.) – Knowing some of the critical reaction at the time, I’ll state that is simply not true. A lot of critics said “Happy trails.” He was no where near unanimously liked, then or now. ? (Answering >The fact that some in New York didn’t appreciate him is their problem, not his.) – After the likes of Lenny and Boulez, who really remade the orchestra and left their marks on it, he was a bit of a letdown, to put it charitably. ? (Answering >Those of us who attend Mehta’s concerts in Los Angeles appreciate him as one of the most exciting and satisfying conductors anywhere!) – Not really sure what that’s supposed to mean. I mean, do they poll everyone as they exit? Those who attend Andre Rieu or even John Tesh and Yanni sure consider them to be “exciting and satisfying,” judging by the jumping around and clapping. So what?

JIWON: Does Mehta know what Forumite 6 means when he talks about subtlety in interpretation, decibel, or a true pianissimo? But then, there are always those who take this opinion lightly and answer it like Forumite 7. We call it forum. But then, to my surprise, it is answered again by a clear persuasion. We call it forum, too. I respect him, because, after years of wasting my life listening to the Barenboim Gang, I only want to hurl my hysterical response at this kind of unprofessional opinion. I don’t want to be involved in public forum. Nor do I understand why a president of American major orchestra joined this public place. A public place should be a public place, which should not be steered by a luxurious fame. A forum should remain as a forum, in which the newbies usually have the freshest ears, yet they don’t know how to express their opinions. On the other hand, the experienced can be easily chained by dead professionalism but they can always articulate no matter what.

While reading answers from Forumite 6, I was curious of his other postings…

http://groups.google.com/groups/profile?enc_user=70vs2RkAAAAoKGHppWmoIGSGihI41V104GUveUiBHlq_0CtgHesEUA&hl=en

JIWON: Want to check another one, Forumite 4. A very polite one, whose postings are worth reading.

http://groups.google.com/groups/profile?enc_user=qJQZVBcAAACTEfbPiAWf3yNS4iAGCD1gufjonn7AbEIKBpFLWcFzSg&hl=en

JIWON:

However… The posting that snatched my gold medal is this one: “Don’t you mean ‘snoring ground’? ;-)” Since this sentence was part of another conversation, I didn’t quote it.

Then, another forumite rather than those two academic brains was my most favorite, but I don’t think he welcomes his privacy to be invaded. It seems that he no more wants to be involved in classical music world. His postings or his interests for the past couple of years are amazing. Or quite normal as a healthy human being.

Back to the Angels.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Los_Angeles_Philharmonic Los Angeles Philharmonic: The orchestra occasionally made 78-rpm recordings and LPs in the early years with Alfred Wallenstein and Leopold Stokowski, and began recording regularly in the 1960s during the tenure of Zubin Mehta as music director. A healthy discography continued to grow…

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alfred_Wallenstein Alfred Wallenstein (1943 – 1956): American cellist and conductor born in Chicago, Illinois. At the age of 17, he joined the San Francisco Symphony as a cellist. He subsequently played cello with the LA Phil., and the CSO before becoming principal cello of the NY Phil. under Toscanini. Toscanini, also a cellist, advised Wallenstein to become a conductor. From 1943 to 1956, he was musical director of the Los Angeles Philharmonic. He later taught at the Juilliard School in New York, where he died in 1988 at age 84.

JIWON: Was it when LA Phil’s former director was still alive and doing his teaching job in New York that young Mehta explained how poor Wallenstein’s LA Phil used to be? Interesting…

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Otto_Klemperer Otto Klemperer (1933-1939): In 1933, once the Nazi Party had reached power, Klemperer, who was Jewish, left Germany and moved to the United States. He was appointed conductor of the LAPO; there, also, he began to concentrate more on the standard works of the Germanic repertoire that would later bring him greatest acclaim, particularly the works of Beethoven, Brahms and Mahler. Following the end of WW II, Klemperer returned to Continental Europe. (…) Klemperer suffered from partial paralysis which had largely been brought on as a result of surgery in 1939 to remove a tumor on his brain. (The surgery paralyzed half of his face.) He also suffered from severe cyclothymic bipolar disorder. During a manic episode in 1941 he was imprisoned in New York. His erratic behavior during manic episodes made him an undesirable guest to US orchestras, and the late flowering of his career centered in other countries. (…) His career was turned around in 1954 by London-based producer Walter Legge, who recorded Klemperer in Beethoven, Brahms and much else with his hand-picked orchestra, the Philharmonia. Many listeners associate Klemperer with slow tempi, but recorded evidence now available on compact disc shows that in earlier years his tempi could be quite a bit faster. (…) Regardless of tempo, Klemperer’s performances often maintain great intensity.

JIWON: Klemperer was 48 when he took over his position in LA…

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Artur_Rodziński  Artur Rodzinski (1929-1933): In 1916, he received his doctorate in law. He then moved to the United States, working with Leopold Stokowski from 1925 to 1929. His next move took him to California, where he conducted the Los Angeles Philharmonic for four years. From 1933 to 1943, he was music director of the Cleveland Orchestra, where his tenure included several seasons of fully-produced opera presentations. He then became musical director of the New York Philharmonic, where he remained until 1947. He then took a position with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra and worked with Chicago Lyric Opera. At this time of his resignation from his New York post he was so prominent

JIWON: I find nothing wrong here. Was his LAPO job was so awful that the Cleveland Orchestra wanted him as their music director? Or… is all the talking about Mehta’s heydays explaining the real status of the LAPO members, who could put high value upon themselves only when their Mehta was dubbing them another VPO during the rehearsal? This is in fact what has been happening in this country. In a different way, though.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Georg_Schnéevoigt  Georg Schneevoigt (1927-1929): He was principal cellist of the Helsinki Philharmonic Orchestra from 1896 to 1902. After this he conducted many orchestras including the Los Angeles Philharmonic. He was a close friend of composer Jean Sibelius. By an accounting of the LAPO, his conducting style was characterised as “flaccid,” “paunchy,” “phlegmatic,” and “plodding,” with “little or no sense of direction so far as discipline was concerned.” He died in Sweden in 1947.

JIWON: I’ve never read this kind of merciless criticism… He isn’t here, anyway. I just hope that this author could write the doctoral dissertation on “The Result of Mehta’s Directing the Orchestra” so that all the students should study it in order to graduate Mehta School of Music.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Walter_Henry_Rothwell Walter Henry Rothwell (1919-1927): An English conductor who was assistant to Gustav Mahler in Hamburg. Rothwell was the first conductor of the LAPO, chosen by founder W. A. Clark, Jr. only after the position was declined by Sergei Rachmaninoff. He has been described as “conservative.” He died in Santa Monica of a heart attack while driving to the beach where he often would go to study music scores.

JIWON: Studying music scores at the beach… Now, I find the Californian Angel’s history fun to study. What means conservative? According to the information, Otto Klemperer also seemed to be conservative. Wasn’t Carlo Maria Giulini conservative enough? To my ears, Eduard van Beinum sounds way too conservative, compared to the Angel’s favorite Mehta.

http://www.time.com/time/printout/0,8816,841207,00.html  (Jan. 19, 1968) Gypsy Boy, CONDUCTORS: Mehta began by holding sectional rehearsals for the strings, the weakest part of the orchestra; then he fostered competition throughout the ranks by starting a system of shifting assignments, giving promotions and changing seating arrangements as he saw fit.

JIWON: If it is true, Mehta is the best qualified as a sectional trainer or a graduate student who works for school orchestras. Do assistant conductors of major orchestras do this job? Giving promotions and changing seating arrangements is important, of course, but Mehta’s way is my least favorite one. It should be performed in another way. Besides, the members passed the audition for the job, so firing lazy one is already enough. Qualified members should not waste their time doing tedious work. Then, how much do the sectional trainers earn? In my humble opinion, Mehta was given too much; both fame and money.

http://www.time.com/time/printout/0,8816,841207,00.html (Jan. 19, 1968) Gypsy Boy, CONDUCTORS: To enrich the ensemble’s tone, he persuaded a local foundation to put up $300,000 for new instruments, especially strings, then shopped around the world himself to find them (his prizes: a $75,000 Stradivari violin for the concertmaster, a $50,000 Strad for the principal cellist).

JIWON: Good. But then, the beneficiaries can never pitch their advice whenever their leader conducts like a monkey. A group of people works for one major orchestra and each person has a specific job to do. Should a music director do this job, too? Just out of curiosity.

http://www.time.com/time/printout/0,8816,841207,00.html (Jan. 19, 1968) Gypsy Boy, CONDUCTORS: Above all, Mehta worked to burnish the overall sound of his orchestra after the model of the Vienna Philharmonic. Where many U.S. ensembles have a brilliant, knife-edge sound and a trip-hammer attack, the Viennese exude a darker, more rounded quality, and their attack on big chords starts slightly behind the beat, then mushrooms. “Think dark,” Mehta counseled his musicians. “Vrrraaaah!” he sang in imitation of the attack he wanted. The result is a warm, rich-sounding American unit, well on the way to Mehta’s goal of “the togetherness of playing, the unity of thought that they have in Philadelphia and Cleveland.”

JIWON:

Yes, I hear “Think dark” from Mehta’s LA members. What really means Viennese concept of tone-producing? Viennese sound is one thing. Philadelphia sound is another thing. Cleveland sound is something another. All they sound different, because the members use their physical ability in different ways. More precisely, they sound different, because the members worked so hard under their leaders, whose baton techniques were very specific. How come their ears believe that Mehta’s LAPO sounded like Someone’s VPO? They never sounded similar during Mehta’s days. They sounded like some Americans; physically huge…

I still remember how weird their performance was perhaps 25 years ago in Korea. Though they played in a large, acoustically awful concert hall, I was sitting quite close to them. They looked so unique that my memory never started to fade. They were always behind the beat and they sounded weird. They never sounded like the Viennese one. They rather sounded… lazy?… or dragging something huge?… hard to describe. By then, I never had a chance to know who had been their sonic mentor. Nor had I a chance to read this kind of academic article. I just heard what I heard and remembered what I saw. Still now, there is no reason why I should think that there is a connection between Viennese sound and Mehta’s LA sound.

Mehta is not the only one. “Think dark” was Barenboim’s favorite words in Chicago, too. According to the critics, Barenboim’s reason was that “U.S. ensembles had a brilliant, knife-edge sound and a trip-hammer attack,” and it is modeled not on the VPO but on the BPO. No matter what, I’d witnessed how they betrayed my Jacobs’ theory. Not surprisingly, the core members loved to join Bashkirova Folks and then Barenboim’s CSO sounded like Dmitri Bashkriov’s Spanish ensemble. Now, I know who taught whom. Furtwangler? Speechless…

http://www.time.com/time/printout/0,8816,841207,00.html  (Jan. 19, 1968) Gypsy Boy, CONDUCTORS: Half in the Eyes. Mehta’s beat is, by his own description, “at times as clear as possible, and at times as unclear as possible?sometimes I conduct so my orchestra will listen to each other.” Clear or unclear, it somehow communicates.

JIWON: As I mentioned before, I now understand why I could never accept Mehta’s conducting, which was never-exact body language. His techniques were always opposite to what I expect from the maestro. The result was the same as Meier’s vocal techniques, which she developed to rule the stage and destroy her ensemble partners.

http://www.time.com/time/printout/0,8816,841207,00.html  (Jan. 19, 1968) Gypsy Boy, CONDUCTORS: To change from Bruckner, which he conducts like a saint or an Indian priest, to Webern and then to Stravinsky with a burning fire and conviction?and transmit it to the orchestra?that is genius.”

JIWON: Conductor doesn’t’ have to burn fire for the music of Stravinsky. This is a very difficult score and members need to concentrate on each note. They need to submerge first into the sound of its music before they start to burn. The conductor should not destroy their concentration if he wants to lead them into the further point. How Richard Strauss conducted his burning pieces? Beat, beat, beat with his cold face to make sure if all the notes are sprung out of his score. Zvi Haftel said so. Is it what Jewish soul thinks about music? I used to wonder.

http://www.time.com/time/printout/0,8816,841207,00.html (Jan. 19, 1968) Gypsy Boy, CONDUCTORS: Like many of his contemporaries on the podium, Mehta nearly always conducts without a score (”Half of our trade is in the eyes”), relying on a fantastic capacity to ingest compositions in a few readings and hold them in his well-stocked memory. (…)

JIWON:

So what? If so, what specific used to make me believe that Mehta cannot read a score? I just thought he was memorizing the beat, beat, and beat in front of the CD player. 

To be continued… (I wanted to finish it long ago. When can I finish this part? In August when those folks return to America?)

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++

JIWON:

After sending this message, Zarin Mehta’s New York Philharmonic announced its new music director. So, I didn’t have to finish this writing.

If Maestro Zubin Mehta ever wants to receive my respect, why doesn’t he find ALL those poor orchestra members, whose old-fashioned performance skills had to be butchered while he was hilariously dancing on the stage with his fame soaring skyward, and return them what they deserve? I still remember how miserable those faces looked.

When I first joined Barenboim’s Furtwangler dream, I never planned to meet this famed word, Zubin Mehta. It took less than a month to realize that he is in fact Barenboim’s big brother, whose music has nothing to do with something-Barenboim, so I quietly asked him to let his Barenboim go on his way if he really cared for his younger brother’s real happiness. Whether he ignored my plea or not, he has been very busy… and now I can never accept this fucking name. 

When is he going to die?

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