Originally Posted by Violinist
Just so you know, the LA Phil has long been considered one of the majors... the "big 5" is a concept that dates back the 50s, and to everyone in classical music, it is one of the vexing phrases that regular people use. It's now the major 6, and it's party based on pay scale. LA pays as much as any of the "big 5". Winning an LA audition is seen as being as prestigious as winning a place in Philly.
I know this. During the Muti years most people probably would rather have played in LA than in Philadelphia...Salonen's gig in LA is really, to my mind, has solidified their reputation as an orchestra, as he happens to be one of the best conductors around and probably one of the more exciting and accessible composers working today, too. I don't mention LA in the same breath as the others because high culture doesn't have a great pedigree in LA.
About Lorin Maazel, I know a lot of people in the phil who would disagree with that. Same thing with a lot of german players who think Abbado is the most talented and inspiring artist they've worked with in a long time. I guess the public feels differently though.
Maazel micromanages. Abbado is enjoying a lot of critical praise now, for some reason, after he was ousted from Berlin. His recording of Zauberflote was great (but what with Rene Pape isn't, really?), and I haven't heard him with the Lucerne Festival Orchestra, but his time in Berlin was unimpressive. No one tops him in Mendelssohn, though.
As for the strings in Chicago... what did they sound like before, if you wouldn't mind telling me? Sometimes I wonder what even some classical musicians are saying when they make such generalizations. Again, unless you're a soloist who is literally hearing a different top orchestra every week, I have no CLUE as to how people assert with great authority this and that about today's orchestras.
The strings were anemic. Solti earned his reputation for in-your-face interpretation (Tippett was rather vocal about this while he was writing stuff for the Chicagoans). As for how people hear these orchestras - radio broadcasts, recordings, and live performances. Maybe my ears are off.
Is there like a Wine Spectator for people to read about symphony orchestras