Gunther Schuller (1925-2015, American)

As a performer, as a composer (both of “straight” contemporary music and as one of the main proponents of classical-jazz crossover) AND, may I had, as the founder of the GM recordings record label, Gunther Schuller has rendered good and loyal service to the public of classical music and jazz.

But, in view of the scathing comments he made in his famous or infamous book The Compleat Conductor (Oxford University Press, 1998), on performers who didn’t strictly adhere to score, the most salient trait that will remain in my memory about Schuller is how unfaithful he was to the score of Stravinsky’s Concerto in D – a complement to an otherwise great reading of Schoenberg’s Transfigured Night – itself a complement to a recording of Milton Babbitt’s essential Transfigured Notes (GM 2060 – link to my review from, pending transfer over here). Sometimes it’s best to keep quiet, lest your own words come back in your face like an ironic boomerang.

So far, only one review pertaining to Schuller transfered over here:

Recitative and Rondo for violin and piano (1954) by Robert Davidovici and Steven de Groote on New World Records 334-2 (1987), in “Robert Davidovici, violin”, with works of Hugh Aitken, Aaron Copland, Walter Piston, Paul Schoenfield. Tensely modern, sounding very much like an offshoot from Schoenberg’s Fantasy for Violin and Piano.

Comments are welcome