To mark the 100th anniversary of the birth of conductor Sir Georg Solti, medici.tv presents free streaming of performances featuring the maestro’s vintage Wagner, Strauss, and Beethoven from London in 1964, 1967, and 1986, respectively. The free streaming will take place on October 17 at 10am EDT. The 96-minute archival film captures Solti leading the Orchestra of the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, in Wagner’s Overture to The Flying Dutchman and Strauss’s tone poem Don Juan, as well as the BBC Symphony Orchestra in Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony at the Royal Albert Hall. Looking ahead to the holiday season, medici.tv will be offering gift cards for subscriptions of three months (for $39), six months ($69) or one year ($119). The gift cards can be purchased online at medici.tv, to be e-mailed to the recipient or mailed as gifts.
During the autumn of 1958, Solti conducted the Vienna Philharmonic in the first complete recording of Wagner’s Rheingold, for Decca Records. It was acclaimed worldwide, and for a short period even made the Billboard Top Ten chart of best-sellers in the US. It was with Wagner and his “Ring” cycle that Solti established himself as a recording conductor in both Europe and America. In 1959, Solti made his debut at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, with Strauss’s Rosenkavalier, and the offer soon followed of the musical directorship, which Solti took up in 1961. The early years at Covent Garden were not easy for the conductor, who faced press hostility, with critics disliking his high levels of nervous energy and his fast tempos, extreme dynamics, and demands for precise articulation. It was only after he had been in the post for approximately three years that criticism began to abate. In Solti’s favor, however, was his undoubted commitment to raising performance standards, particularly with orchestras. The Solti of this time is vividly seen in the account of Wagner’s Flying Dutchman Overture recorded for television in 1964. At the beginning of the next year, he initiated a series of new productions at Covent Garden. Magnificent as his Wagner interpretations were, it was perhaps as a Strauss conductor that Solti achieved some of his finest work. Here, the pursuit of technical excellence is balanced by a seemingly new and overt appreciation of the expressive nature of the music, as can be seen in this film of Don Juan from 1967.
By 1986, the time of the film of Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony with the BBC Symphony Orchestra at London’s Royal Albert Hall, Solti had been chief conductor of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra for 17 years. At this point, he had few rivals as a conductor in concert or on record. Although he was now in his early 70s, much of the old fire remained, with a continuing emphasis upon rhythmic tautness, strong dynamic contrasts, and a persistent sense of high drama. That this style was highly effective in performance is plain for all to see and hear from this historic video recording, a fitting tribute to a great conductor.
There are three ways to enjoy the wealth of classical programming on medici.tv: free streaming of major live events, such as the New York Philharmonic’s Philharmonic 360 and the Verbier Festival; a paid membership that gives subscribers unlimited access to the site’s extensive pay-per-view library; and non-member rental of individual titles. With this new rental feature, each title can be activated up to 30 days after purchase and the rental will then be available for viewing for 48 hours after activation. Videos from medici.tv can be watched with premium audio and video quality on tablets and mobile devices, as well as on a computer. The free medici.tv app for iPads, iPhones, and Android was named one of the top five apps for classical music by WQXR, New York’s classical music station.
Critical praise accrues to medici.tv with each passing month. The Toronto Star called the site “a seismic shift in the world of classical music,” and the Baltimore Sun said: “This is an amazing site for lovers of classical music.” According to Alex Ross’s blog, The Rest Is Noise, “The hits keep coming at medici.tv,” while offering “treasures aplenty” was how Gramophone editor-in-chief James Jolly put it, naming medici.tv as one of the Web’s best classical experiences.
Live on medici.tv:
Oct 26 & 27 at 9:30am EDT
Honens International Piano Competition
Calgary Philharmonic Orchestra
Roberto Minczuk, conductor
Nov 2 & 3 at 2pm EDT; Nov 4 at 1pm EST
Chamber Orchestra of Europe: Schumann Symphonic Series
Yannick Nézet-Seguin, conductor
Gautier Capuçon, cello
Renaud Capuçon, violin
Nicholas Angelich, piano
Nov 8 at 1pm EST
Orchestre de Paris
Paavo Järvi, conductor
Andreas Haefliger, piano
With the support of Natixis, sponsor of Orchestre de Paris.
Nov 17 at 12pm EST
Honegger: Jeanne au Bûcher
Marion Cotillard, Jeanne
Orquestra Simfònica de Barcelona i Nacional de Catalunya
Vivaldi, Liedercamera, and Madrigal Choirs
Marc Soustrot, conductor
Nov 23 at 1pm EST
Giovanni Antonini, conductor
Martin Fröst, clarinet
Orchestre national du Capitole de Toulouse
Since its official launch in May 2008, medici.tv has gained international recognition, bringing together a community of music and arts lovers from 182 countries – online viewers who have watched over 12 million videos to date. The site currently averages more than 80,000 individual visitors each month. In addition to offering live concert hall events that music lovers can experience on their computers and entertainment systems, medici.tv now offers a free application (available at the Apple App Store and for the Android) that makes it possible to experience world-class artistry on iPads, iPhones, and the Android.
In addition to webcasts of more than 100 live concerts each year, medici.tv has partnered with the world’s top artists and music institutions to offer subscriptions that give music lovers the opportunity to watch more than 1,000 VOD programs. They include concerts, operas, recitals, documentaries, master classes, artist portraits, and archival material by such legendary musicians as Leonard Bernstein, Maria Callas, Glenn Gould, Herbert von Karajan, Yehudi Menuhin, David Oistrakh, Sviatoslav Richter, Mstislav Rostropovich, Arthur Rubinstein, Georg Solti, and Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau, as well as such leading film directors as Bruno Monsaingeon, Paul Smaczny, and Frank Scheffer. Recently, medici.tv added reference opera productions to its library, including Don Carlo starring Rolando Villazón at the Royal Opera House and The Fairy Queen at Glyndebourne conducted by William Christie; also new to the library is Les Indes galantes by Rameau at Opéra National de Paris under William Christie, with Patricia Petibon.
Watch medici.tv concerts on the iPhone with the free medici.tv App.
medici.tv is produced by MUSEEC, in partnership with ROLEX.
Published: October 16, 2012