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SÄCHSISCHE NEUESTE NACHRICHTEN,
NEUE ZEIT, Berlin
SÜDDEUTSCHE ZEITUNG, Munich
KÖLNER STADTANZEIGER, Cologne
LEIPZIGER VOLKSZEITUNG, Leipzig
LE SOIR, Brussels
MÜNCHENER MERKUR, Munich
DIE RHEINPFALZ, Speyer
OSNABRÜCKER ZEITUNG, Osnabrück
FRANKFURTER NEUE PRESSE, Frankfurt
WONDERFUL GUEST CONDUCTOR
AT THE PHILHARMONIC:
GEORGE BYRD CONDUCTS BRAHMS
SCHUBERT AND BEETHOVEN
An unusual, really exciting experience: thanks to the
encounter with the conductor GEORGE BYRD,
from the United States ,who conducted as guest the
extraordinary concert (and as repeat the 1.evening
of the subscription C) at the Dresden Philharmonic.
His impressive appearance, his forming ,molding and
chiseling conducting gestures radiate already visually
a compelling suggestivity.-Stronger even is his
wonderful mastery of the musical material, his
sweeping -but deliberately controlled temperament.
GEORGE BYRD was for a time student of HERBERT
von KARAJAN. Certainly a good student, but
this alone does not clarify his suggestive effectivness.
Personality cannot be learned and formed if it does
not exist in the core of ones being. That is the case
with BYRD. To be praised to the highest degree is
his sureness in different styles. The North German
natural landscape through Vienna's classical spirit
-refined and warmful romantic in Brahms's Haydn
Variations was even so surely found as the youthful
viennese spring in Schubert's 6., the "little" C-Major
Sinfonie, (the finale was a showpiece)
But this was still far surpassed by the interpretation
of Beethoven's "Sinfonia Eroica". We must think back
far into the past until we come upon such a thorough
and exhaustive interpretation of this unique german
heroic poem in tones. The manner in which the
enormous construction and train of thought in the
first movement was worked out down to the last detail,
the funeral march in solemn grandness,The Scherzo
appearing in it's wonderful flight,and how the
victorious Finale was beaming with light; this
surpasses all words of praise. This was absolute
The admiration which we give to the conductor
is also meant for the Philharmonic musicians.
They worked hard in the rehearsals, they sweated,
obviously they sweated willingly, because the result
entitles them to great and high honour. The music
"sang" in all instruments. A plasticity was achieved
which transmited a complete picture of greatest
vividness and self containment.
We raise our hats before this performance !
GEORGE BYRD who was celebrated with a sturm
of applause, can be sure that we will always
joyfully greet him in Dresden.
THE EXQUISITELY DANCING ORCHESTRA
New Year's Upbeat of the BSO with GEORGE BYRD and
Livened up and almost jazzy was the effect of the first
of the BSO in the new year, with an even so respectable and
lively conductor from Munich,in whose blood the music of
Bernstein or Gershwin formally flows:GEORGE BYRD. One
should engage him more often for our orchestra; Byrd knows
also how to handle classical music with highest elegance and
liveliness.-.They would then get out of their often somehow well
worn and one track style of making music.
The BSO went with him happily and correspondingly relaxed.
It reacted with playing of nerve and courage to the vibrating, at
the same time controlled musical energy of George Byrd; who, by
the way, can always allow himself a charming smile despite
all serious discipline on the technical side of conducting.
BYRD, with best of taste ,interpreted the whole thing as
singular dance-like delicacy; conducting at times with an almost
mozartian elegance, and then again with full blooded craving for
musik making,-so that finally the BSO danced with him.
From Gershwin to Leonard Bernstein's "Divertimento for
Orchestra" which "Lennie" with obvious self enjoyment
conducted on the stage of the "Schauspielhus" was a small
step to these eight tiny little pieces in gigantic orchestration, which
are stylistically settled between Gershwin, Stravinsky and Jazz.
Wise and sassy entertaiment music.Saucy and adventurous,
Dreamy Waltz -step, Smashing in the boisterous march rythmn.
How funny did the "Turkey Trot" come over.How did the march
"The BSO Forever" thunder down on the floor of the concert hall!
Even when Bernstein meant with this, the hundred year old
Boston Symphony Orchestra, it is valid ,and not less valid for the
38 year old BSO on the Spree, especially at this time.
THERAPY OF MUSICAL RELAXATION
BYRD and the Munich Philharmoniker in the
GEORGE BYRD,who after other studies, also studied with
Herbert von Karajan,is like his teacher "the born conductor".
But he is less concerned about the smooth- polished,effective
mirror-like surface of the music, but rather with it's natural
flow,Byrd is concerned with the transparency of musical sound.
The nevertheless rythmically tricky accompaniment to
Prokofieff's Concerto leads to tensions,to musical kramping,
to massive sound . Byrd conducts something like this relaxed; as if
it were the most natural thing in the world. It was not otherwise
with the 5. Symphonie of Tschaikowsky. BYRD's sympathetic
youthful smile allows the expectation of a brightened up and
friendly Tschaikowsky- and in fact: the Tempo is "reasonable",
climaxes without over-climaxes, everthing with unkrampt arms
and legs, a jazz fan would say relaxed.
In addition to this was a good evening-disposition of the
Munich Philharmoniker and in the slow movement a great
moment for the first horn player: who played the famous
horn solo with a decent vibrato-without a single scratchy
tone.which we would have gladly pardoned in such a nerve
BYRD HAS OBVIOUSLY UNDERSTOOD HOW TO FREE
ALSO THE MUSICIANS FROM EVERY OVER HEATED
TENSION ! THE THEREFORE TRANSMITTED FEELING
AND SENSE OF WELL BEING;WAS GIVEN FURTHER TO
SWING, CHARM AND BICEPS
A folks-symphonie concert in the Herkulessaal
The black american GEORGE BYRD, who has
lived for some time in Munich, conducted a "Volks-
Symphoniekonzert"with the Philharmonic in the
Herkulessaal. BYRD,with a build like a. dark-
skin Leo Slezak,is of one and the same opinion
with Bülow, that: in the beginning was the rythmn.
Soon with charm and soon with biceps he paid
homage to this primary element of musical art.
In addition, he loves the exciting,ecstatic sound,
the powerful,plastic phrasing and the momentum
of the brass instruments.
The Ouverture to the "Roman Carneval" became
the potrayal of a wild renaiscance party, where the
brass showed thematically how good they were,and the
percussion put a slanted accent in this wild, but controlled
turbulence BYRD handled Gershwin's Piano Concerto
as if it were his own composition. Thus it could hardly
have been more american, or more authentic….
GEORGE BYRD deserves to be observed. He has an
original mind, is a charming beast of prey, a magnificent,
unspoiled natural power, who without inhibitions, goes for
the whole thing.
MAGICIAN OF THE BATON
MASTER OF UNDERSTANDING SENSITIVITY
Byrd turned out to be a master sensitivity, from whom was
demanded in this case, a balance act between too much
feeling,on the one hand,and too much vigourous freshness
on the other.He mastered this balance-act- thanks to his
talent for motivating the musicians, and thanks to the ability
of this ensemble in allowing its self to be motivated. How far
this went showed its self in this Brahms, in this the last of
his Sinfonies,which from it's first performance on was surrounded
by autumn-like melancholy.
Byrd was not willing to allow the melancholic element to
to speak. He brought four movements of one Sinfonie ,which
stood beside one another as equals. And this manner of seeing
things gave to the audience, for example , a fantastic fast,
dance-like,well formed third movement, in which the sibliminal
melancholy, despite all, remains carefully guarded. And it
revealed an orchestra discipline, which justifies high expectations
for the future. That is also valid for the solo performances,which
above all in the fourth movement, were of flawless beauty.
BLACK CONDUCTOR ON THE GEWANDHAUS PODIUM
Exactly on the 216th anniversary of the first concert of
Gewandhaus Orchestra,stood for the first time a black conductor,
the north American GEORGE BYRD, on the Gewandhaus
podium. Only twenty years ago such an event would have been
unthinkable. Crazy racial prejudists would have made such a guest appearance impossible, just as they chased away the
Gewandhaus Kapellmeister BRUNO WALTER, because he was
......What high musicality the blacks posess for the interpretation
of the classical music of european countries was shown and
proven by GEORGE BYRD in the 16th Gewandhaus concert.
It would be futile to fight about this or the other point in the
interpretation of the works.Immediately at the interpretation of
the Sinfonie Nr. 88 G-Dur of Joseph Haydn,we were impressed by
the naturalness of the structure and forming,which avoided the
use of superficial effects. Thus the beauties and elegant
proportions of this work were shown to their full value.
The high point of the concert was the performance of the
Phantastic Sinfonie of Hector Berlioz. The conductor ,and
his devotedly following orchestra performed with full
temperament and excitement. The numerous refinements
of sound which Berlioz introduced as new in this work, but also
the great developments were convincingly interpreted.The
forming of each movement had class. The conductor
was,rightfully so, applauded long after the the players of the
Gewandhaus Orchestra, who were always included in the
applause,had left the stage.
LE SOIR, Bruxelles
A la Philharmonique
Le lyrisme de Porgy, la gaieté
espiégle d'un Americain et le brio
pianistique du Concerto ont été
admirablement mis en valeur par
le chef d'orchestre GEORGE BYRD.
Noir americain, qui travailla avec
Karajan et qui possède,outre un
instinct musical trè juste, un sens
raffiné de la technique de direction.
Il obtient des nuances fines, une précision
rythmique absolue et donne aux partitions
leur veritable caractère,d´ou la distinction
et le sérieux ne sont pas exclus, comme
d'aucuns pourraient croire.
Ce sont trios très belles exécutions fouillées
stylées classiques pourraiton ajouter, que nous
a dispensées GEORGE BYRD avec une
SPRING'S ENDING WITH THE
CONDUCTOR GEORGE BYRD.
GEORGE BYRD, who is well known in Munich and
who long ago was reccomended by Hans Knappertsbusch
as guest conductor ,animated the Philharmonic to
a shining silken,blooming and rythmically suspended
interpretation (C. Debussy: "Printemps")
The dark skin, 52 year old maestro enthused the audience
equally as well with an inspired interpretation of the
second symphonie of Brahms,-with extraordinary
plastic tranparency,-expressing every single breath of this
friendly symphonic reflexion of a natural atmosphere.
One of the concertos for double orchestra, composed
during the high period of the early classic,Op 18 of
Johann Christian Bach. The concerto Nr.1 began the concert.
In an interpretation, which,without fully developing it's
unbelievable nearness to Mozart's charm of sound, still
clearly showed the the artistic contours of the individual
treatment in ensemble playing and the splendid musical
The evening's guest conductor GEORGE BYRD, pointed
already here to his main qualities as orchestra-leader,
all of which go in the direction of:clearnes of his will and form,
the exact clear beat, the carefully all-round handled
balance,and the complete mastery of the scores being
performed: an almost didactically planed performance.
It could have been ,above all , GEORGE BYRD'S
intention to demonstrate in this field, the culture and
virtousity of the"Pfälzischen" Philharmoniker-and this with
highest brilliance- when he put the confused artist's
dream on the program in Speyer. That which we heard:
the gloriously radiating sound of the strings, the "Perfume,"
the blissfull happiness, and rich modulations of the
woodwinds,- the solos of English Horn and Oboe in
the"Scene aux Champs"-The steel-like smashing
splendour of the brass instruments( in the grotesque
march to the gallows,by far ,the best piece in this score)-
ENSEMBLE FOR BARTOK
( THE CONCERTO FOR ORCHESTRA)
The american guest on the podium inspired the Osnabrück
Symphony Orchestra to a brilliant and fascinating
musical performance. He is an "Espressivo-Musician"
who combines a rousing temperment with spiritual
watchfulness, and thus he fullfills with superiority the
general symphonic plan as well as the development
of the concerto principle and the opening up of it's
freedom of playing. The orchestra thanked him with
playing of brilliance, refinement and ensemble spirit.
THE FIRST SUNDAY CONCERT OF THE
"ALTEN OPER" FRANKFURT
In the Frankfurt "Alten Oper", in the hands of GEORGE BYRD,
the State Philharmonie Rheinland-Pfalz bloomed and moulded
itself into a dashing Big Band. BYRD'S clear gestures
with which he tickled out of a Federal German Orchestra
even solo passages in the slanting jazz position, left no
doubt as to his intentions of shaping,forming and fashioning.
His whole turbulent past as a musician seemed to be vibrating
with it all: the experiences which he collected as young singer in
country schools and churches, before he really studied singing,
but also clarinet, saxophone and conducting., and later
to be recognised and advanced by even
KNAPPERTSBUSCH and KARAJAN.