Maestro would have been 75 this week

Maestro would have been 75 this week


norman lebrecht

November 03, 2021

Giuseppe Sinopoli, born Venice 2 November 1946, died Berlin 21 April 2001.

Fascinating man, unusual conductor, died in action.


  • Herr Doktor says:

    Sinopoli’s Schubert 8 with the Philharmonia is DEFINITIVE, the single greatest performance of this masterwork imaginable. (Not to be confused with his later performance with the Staatskapelle Dresden, an ordinary and unmemorable reading.) The Philharmonia Schubert 8 leaves me emotionally devastated every single time I listen to it. If that’s all Sinopoli achieved in his career, then it was a great career. But his career was more than that.

    • Fernadel says:

      French magazine “Diapason” ranked Sinopoli/Philharmonia “Unfinished” in their top 4 – out of eighty renditions -, along with Davis/Boston (Philips), Cluytns/Berlin (Warner) and Böhm/Vienna (DG).

  • A.L. says:

    His Schumann 2nd
    and Manfred Overture
    are second to none and I don’t think will ever be bettered, as inflated as that may sound. Likewise his Strauss Salome with Studer.

  • Rob says:

    He was one of the greats. His recording of Bruckner 7 is in my top 3.

  • Mathias Broucek says:

    At his best a terrific musician with an exceptional ear for texture and never less than interesting. As an aside, the earlier article talks about Van Beinum dying in a “serene” rehearsal of Brahms 1. I’ve heard two of his three recordings of Brahms 1 and there’s nothing “serene” about the interpretation…

  • Barry says:

    His Dresden Bruckner 5 recording is another great one.

  • Alexander Hall says:

    Feted in the rest of Europe and Japan, he was despised by quite a number of music critics in the UK who leapt at every opportunity to make fun of his start-stop tendencies, his mirror-image conducting and deconstructionist habits. His interpretations were never bland but his reception by the British musical establishment is yet another example of the sneering arrogance it so frequently exhibits, completely oblivious to the opinions and praise accorded to artists elsewhere. Even the Philharmonia airbrushes him out of the list of its principal conductors. But as so very often happens, reputations ditched and dashed in one part of the world have a habit of recovering over time.

    • Julien says:

      I don’t know about the rest of Europe, but the french critics had nothing but contempt for him.

    • Amos says:

      Wasn’t he persona non grata at either the BPO or VPO because he supposedly lost his place during a performance of a Schumann symphony? Maddeningly uneven in Mahler; imo superb 5th and dreadful 2nd.

    • Alan says:

      His Mahler 2nd, Edinburgh Festival, shook me to the core.

  • Frank says:

    I’ve always found Sinopoli’s recording of Brahms’ Ein deutsches Requiem very moving – he captures the sense of mystery from the very start.

    • fierywoman says:

      In a period of about two years in my life, a long time ago, I played the Verdi Requiem first with Muti, then with Inbal, and finally with Sinopoli. What you wrote — captures the sense of mystery from the start — precisely expresses how I felt playing Sinopoli’s interpretation.

  • Shalom Rackovsky says:

    His recording of Ariadne auf Naxos, with a truly outstanding cast, is wonderful.

  • Barry Guerrero says:

    While it’s far from the best sung version, Sinopoli’s Dresden recording of “Das Lied von der Erde” is superbly played and conducted. I listen to it just for the incredibly fine playing of the Staatskapelle (those woodwinds!).

  • Frank Flambeau says:

    Giuseppe Sinopoli was an indifferent conductor, conducting a few good works and many bad ones. I doubt that anyone would call him great. Since he died many years ago and has been eclipsed, why the tribute?

    • Stuart says:

      A valid opinion, albeit stated in a seemingly intentionally mean-spirited and nasty way. Sinopoli’s versions of Ariadne and Nabucco are my go-to recordings.