Pianist and Opera conductor, and Boston Symphony conductor, James Levine, is one of the top 4 living conductors that I admire greatly, alongside with Claudio Abbado, and Michael Tilson Thomas, and James Conlon.
The Boston Symphony just introduced several CD’s conducted by Levine. Among these is one of my great favorites: The German Requiem by Johannes Brahms, in a live performance!
Brahms wrote this work in memory of his mother. He used many different texts, including text from the Old Testament. The public of his day, criticized him, because the word “Jesus” does not appear in the text. Brahms retained the creative right to produce what *he* wanted, rather than what the public felt it needed to have. (Good for old Brahms!!)
What a marvelous work this is! Music that provides soothing for the mourner; Music that is deep, personal, spiritual, and moving.
Here is a video of James Levine, talking about his new recordings:
I was unable to bring you extracts of this actual performance, conducted by Levine. Instead, here is a section of the Brahms Requiem, sung by Barbara Bonney, Soprano, in a performance directed by Claudio Abbado.
Here is Levine having great fun while conducting the overture to Mozart’s “Marriage of Figaro”
Feel free to offer the names of your favorite living orchestra conductors in the comment field at the end of this Post.