I have always been a huge admirer of the late conductor Georg Solti. The reasons are because I saw him as a highly committed person, willing to work hard, and not yielding to pressure to reduce his own values in music performance.
In this recording we get the point of view of many of Solti’s contemporary musicians.
Maestro or Mephisto: The Real Georg Solti
This film features Plácido Domingo, Valery Gergiev, Angela Gheorghiu, Kiri Te Kanawa, Murray Perahia, Lady Valerie Solti and many more in their sharing memories of Georg Solti.
This film tells the story of one of the greatest and most controversial conductors of the 20th century. The Hungarian born Georg Solti had his huge drive, energy and ambition.
A combination of willpower and extraordinary ability took him to the peak of musical power and prestige. It shows how Solti took music making in opera houses and orchestras to new levels, how he harnessed recording, and later television, to reach out to new audiences and how he nurtured remarkable new talent through a winning, if not always endearing, combination of ambition, technique, and charm.
The film includes remarkably candid interviews which Solti gave just before his death, in which he talked with great honesty about his life, his challenges and achievements. It also includes new interviews with artists and musicians who worked closely with him.
BBC Music Magazine wrote the following:
“Solti himself emerges with screen-crackling vigour both justifying and rubbishing the title Maestro or Mephisto. True, those vulpine features and glittering eyes do suggest the Demon King and punches aren’t pulled – his hard-driven, perfectionist methods, his flirting. But we also see his self-mocking twinkle and warmth.”
Here is Georg Solti conducting the music of Franz Schubert: