ORFEO International


July 2014

† Lorin Maazel

The sudden death of Lorin Maazel at the age of 84, at a time when his creative power seemed undimmed, is a great shock. Lorin Maazel
Lorin Maazel
Foto: Archiv der Salzburger Festspiele
Besides working with the New York Philharmonic, his last twenty years left their mark above all on the concert life of Munich, where he worked first with the Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra and then with the Munich Philharmonic. In recent years, his career as an opera conductor has somewhat receded into memory, though when he was younger he enjoyed sensational successes, conquering the great world centres of classical music one after another. One document from this time in the Orfeo catalogue is his concert with the Vienna Philharmonic from 1963 in which he gave a brilliant account of a repertoire ranging from Berlioz to Strauss. Two live recordings from the Vienna State Opera prove that his time there should by no means be judged by the unhappy course of his stint as Director. Bizet’s Carmen with Christa Ludwig in the title role, with the orchestra of the State Opera under the baton of Lorin Maazel, is in our live recording a remarkably cliché-free interpretation that is dramatically utterly convincing. The same is true of Verdi’s late opera Falstaff with Walter Berry as the protagonist. Lorin Maazel here shows himself at the peak of his ability, combining vivacity, precision and a subtle understanding of a highly complex opera score, all achieved seemingly with the greatest of ease.