Solti’s Strauss

Sir Georg Solti

To this day, and now several years after his death, I am still a great admirer of Georg Solti, the musician and conductor. His ability to achieve amazing performance excellence, accuracy, drama, and excitement is simply second to none.

While his career developed somewhat slowly, one of the key turning points was his becoming a performance assistant to Toscanini at the Salzburg Festival in Austria. And as he worked to prepare various Operas for performance, he once heard Maestro Toscanini say “Bene”, indicating satisfaction with what Solti was doing. As a young conductor at the time, Solti was, of course ecstatic on hearing that Toscanini was happy with his work.

In this DVD, we see Solti’s conducting as he methodically prepares a performance of Strauss’ Don Juan. The level of detail, explanation and coaching is exciting and legendary. Solti’s recordings of Richard Strauss’ operas were groundbreaking, achieving him a great reputation as a Strauss conductor with high levels of expressiveness, drama and precision. There is also an interesting interview with John Culshaw in which Solti talks about performing the music of Strauss.
Selections on this DVD are:


  • Symphony No. 5 in C minor, Op. 67
  • Royal Albert Hall, London, 13 May 1985
  • BBC Symphony Orchestra

Strauss, R:

  • Don Juan, Op. 20
  • Includes bonus rehearsal footage. 19 March 1967
  • Covent Garden Orchestra


  • Der fliegende Holländer: Overture
  • 22 September 1963
  • Covent Garden Orchestra

Sir Georg Solti (1912–1997) had been the Music Director of the Covent Garden Opera for two years by the time this performance of the overture to Wagner’s “Der fliegende Holländer” was filmed. His reputation for recording Wagner was becoming established, having achieved great success with the first complete recording of Das Rheingold in 1958.

This performance of the Beethoven Symphony #5 was filmed during his tenure as Chief Conductor of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. It is clear from this terrific, incisive, and thrilling performance that his sense of drama did not diminish with age.

Here is Sir Georg Solti in 2 minutes from the Don Juan rehearsal:

Tags: Sir Georg Solti, Richard Strauss, Beethoven, Wagner

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