Muti bows two Vienna Phil players into retirement

Muti bows two Vienna Phil players into retirement


norman lebrecht

August 15, 2016

At the Salzburg Festival this afternoon, Riccardo Muti gave both concertmaster Rainer Küchl (pictured) and first violinist Eckhard Seifert solo bows after the concert, which appears to be their last.

The first half was Richard Strauss Le bourgeois gentilhomme, apparently programmed for Rainer to float his trademark solos.

Second half was Bruckner 2nd symphony.

kuchl muti


  • Olassus says:

    I don’t like Muti’s way with Bruckner 2.

  • Cecylia Arzewski says:

    I don’t like Bruckner!!!!!

  • Doktor Avalanche says:

    Olassus, could you tell us WHY you didn’t care for Muti’s Bruckner 2? I’d love to hear the specifics.

    • John says:

      You’re actually interested? I’m not.

      • Hans-Dieter Glaubke says:

        Olassus, MDT et al, your juvenile, shallow comments are not unlike Trump’s meandering diatribes. Your eight grade diplomas are securely intact.

    • Olassus says:

      Well, it’s a piece I adore, and I’ve always wondered how Wagner could have opted for the D-Minor. (He probably didn’t pay proper attention.) It’s unique, inspired, full of color and lyrical expression. The balances are wonderful, the strings shine. But to make it work you need a command of counterpoint, an ability to make the counterpoint *effective* in performance. Muti of course gets the theory and enables nice phrasing of individual lines and takes care over dynamic markings. What he doesn’t do — going on his live efforts with the Wiener in this score — is make Bruckner’s whole statements powerful and eloquent. And the players themselves cannot make up for this. The same weakness undermines his Bach (and Wagner). You need a master contrapuntist, like Skrowaczewski or Haitink or (yes) Barenboim and, in this particular piece, someone with Muti’s flair in the singing aspects of the music.

      • Doktor Avalanche says:

        I agree with you that B2 is terribly underrated. But I think that’s also due to the fact that there are few recordings of the work which truly due it justice. I can think of only three, to be honest with you (and there are a few others which have aspects of it really well done but fall short overall). The best, to my ears, is Karajan/BPO, which does everything right. What Karajan does in particular in that second movement….wow! Honorable mentions are Konwitschny’s performance with (I believe) the Gewandhaus Leipzig, and Horst Stein/VPO. I’ve only heard one live performance of B2, and it was unmemorable.

      • Rgiarola says:

        At the end and against all odds and commets here, your points are clear at least for me. I’m a Muti hughe supporter, but no one is equal in all repertoire, and the things you said are the strong (And weak) point of The Maestro.

        Don’t you think that this very same reason also positively affect his Schubert? At least his records with Viena. As he said in recently interview: ” Schubert will not be remembered as a master of counterpoint, like Haydn or even Mozart. Mozart was accused not to be very good at counterpoint but then he gave an answer in the last movement of the “Jupiter” symphony. Like Verdi. Poor Verdi all his life he was told he was not good at counterpoint but then at the end of his life he writes that last fugue in Falstaff.

        “So Schubert will certainly not be remembered as a master of counterpoint But he will always be remembered for the quality of his melodies, which always seem so fresh and new.”

  • John says:

    Bravo to Maestro Muti and the two artists who he shined the spotlight on. (Seems like at least one of these posts should pertain to the subject at hand!)

  • John says:

    Indeed. The emphasis here is upon the graciousness of Maestro Muti, and the deserved recognition of two musicians who have been equally gracious in offering the world their talent. The mere mention of Trump reminds us of the *lack* of grace in this world. So I would applaud Muti, Kuchl, and Seifert.

  • Elizabeth Lloyd-Davies says:

    Rainer Kuchl has been Concert Master of the Vienna Philharmonic for 45 yeand followed in the footsteps of Willi Boskowski and Arnold Rose.
    On August 25th it is his birthday, and also the 70th anniversary of the death of
    Arnold Rose in Blackheath London in 1946,
    Arnold Rose was Concert Master of the VPO from 1880 – 1938 .
    He and Kuchl have been Concert Masters of the VPO for 103 years !
    There is a superb recording of Willi Boskowsky playing the Strauss Bourgeois Gentilhomme with Clemens Krauss … recorded in 1952.
    These amazing men have made musical history.