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It's all about the music, dude! Sit down, relax and listen to some tunes.

Thanks for the reminiscence - again!

Wow - do I ever remember that performance (actually the rehearsal) of the Berlioz Requiem with Ozawa. At that time, there was no SF Symphony Chorus, and the SF Symphony often did their big choral works each season with the Stanford Chorus - and that was the case with Ozawa's Berlioz Requiem in '72. (My first year at Stanford was the academic year 1971-72.) I remember the rehearsal held at the Stanford Memorial Church - Ozawa came down to Palo Alto to conduct it, no orchestra, just two pianos playing the orchestral reduction in addition to the chorus. This was one of the most overwhelming musical experiences I remember in my whole life - even with the two pianos replacing the orchestra. The way the sound bounced around that immense space (in a way that Berlioz must have dreamed of!) sent shivers down my spine! The actual performances (with orchestra) at the opera house simply could not have approached the effect (and, I'm tempted to say, the exaltation!) of that rehearsal in Memorial Church. Little did I know that, the following year, I myself would be one of the pianists who played with the chorus when Ozawa came down to Stanford to rehearse the Mahler Eighth Symphony. (There's a funny story about that which I've posted here before, but I don't want to repeat it here since this post is getting to be so long already!)

BTW (and I know I'm getting further off topic), people may know the story of the dedication of that striking building (the Stanford Memorial Church): when first completed, the dedication on the edifice read, "To the memory of Leland Stanford and the Glory of God". However, after the 1906 San Francisco earthquake (which partially damaged the church), the dedication was revised (order reversed!) as shown in the third picture below. ;-)

Anyway, to answer your question, there have been a number of Ozawa recordings (such as the Beethoven Ninth with the Orchestre de Paris) which have passed through my collection, many of which I haven't kept. Of the ones which I have right now, I'd rate his set of Prokofiev Symphonies with the BPO very highly. Also with the BPO are his fine performances (with Yundi Li) of the Prokofiev Second Concerto and the Ravel G-major Concerto. I also like the first two Rachmaninoff Concertos and the Liszt Concertos he did with Zimerman and the BSO. And staying with concertos, I'm fascinated with the Poulenc Concerto for Two Pianos he did with the Lebeque sisters and the BSO - in spite of the frequently insane speeds which Katia and Marielle favored - LOL! Ozawa's recording of Strauss's "Elektra" (with my friend, Emily Rawlins, singing a couple of the minor roles) is also very good, despite the squashed, multi-microphoned SQ. And I don't want to forget his excellent work with the unsullied, pre-HIP Viktoria Mulova and the BSO in the Tchaikovsky and Sibelius Violin Concertos. Finally, there's a great Beethoven First Piano Concerto with Martha and the Bavarian Radio Orchestra (on the BR Klassik label).

Of course, I was never in Boston during Ozawa's long tenure there, so I can only judge on the basis of recordings, some of which (listed above) I still enjoy. It seems that most of the recordings I listed feature Ozawa in a collaborative role with various famous soloists - maybe that's telling! ;-)

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