Antal Doráti

Antal Doráti

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Antal Doráti, KBE
Order of the British Empire
The Most Excellent Order of the British Empire is an order of chivalry established on 4 June 1917 by George V of the United Kingdom. The Order comprises five classes in civil and military divisions...

 (April 9, 1906 – November 13, 1988) was a Hungarian
Hungary
Hungary , officially the Republic of Hungary , is a landlocked country in Central Europe. It is situated in the Carpathian Basin and is bordered by Slovakia to the north, Ukraine and Romania to the east, Serbia and Croatia to the south, Slovenia to the southwest and Austria to the west. The...

-born conductor
Conducting
Conducting is the art of directing a musical performance by way of visible gestures. The primary duties of the conductor are to unify performers, set the tempo, execute clear preparations and beats, and to listen critically and shape the sound of the ensemble...

 and composer
Composer
A composer is a person who creates music, either by musical notation or oral tradition, for interpretation and performance, or through direct manipulation of sonic material through electronic media...

 who became a naturalized American
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

 citizen in 1947.

Biography


Antal Doráti was born in Budapest
Budapest
Budapest is the capital of Hungary. As the largest city of Hungary, it is the country's principal political, cultural, commercial, industrial, and transportation centre. In 2011, Budapest had 1,733,685 inhabitants, down from its 1989 peak of 2,113,645 due to suburbanization. The Budapest Commuter...

, where his father Alexander Doráti was a violinist with the Budapest Philharmonic Orchestra and his mother Margit Kunwald was a piano teacher.

He studied at the Franz Liszt Academy with Zoltán Kodály
Zoltán Kodály
Zoltán Kodály was a Hungarian composer, ethnomusicologist, pedagogue, linguist, and philosopher. He is best known internationally as the creator of the Kodály Method.-Life:Born in Kecskemét, Kodály learned to play the violin as a child....

 and Leo Weiner
Leo Weiner
Leo Weiner , was one of the leading Hungarian music educators of the first half of the twentieth century and a composer.- Education :Weiner was born in Budapest. He had his first music and piano lessons from his brother, and later studied at the Academy of Music in Budapest, studying with János ...

 for composition and Béla Bartók
Béla Bartók
Béla Viktor János Bartók was a Hungarian composer and pianist. He is considered one of the most important composers of the 20th century and is regarded, along with Liszt, as Hungary's greatest composer...

 for piano. His links with Bartók continued for many years: he conducted the world premiere of Bartók's Viola Concerto
Viola Concerto (Bartók)
Béla Bartók's Viola Concerto, Sz. 120, BB 128 was written in July – August 1945, in Saranac Lake, New York, while he was suffering from the terminal stages of leukemia. It was commissioned by William Primrose. Along with the Piano Concerto No. 3, it is his last work, and he left it incomplete at...

, as completed by Tibor Serly
Tibor Serly
Tibor Serly was a Hungarian violist, violinist and composer.He was one of the students of Zoltán Kodály. He greatly admired and became a young apprentice of Béla Bartók. His association with Bartók was for him both a blessing and a curse...

, with the Minneapolis Symphony Orchestra
Minnesota Orchestra
The Minnesota Orchestra is an American orchestra based in Minneapolis, Minnesota.Emil Oberhoffer founded the orchestra as the Minneapolis Symphony Orchestra in 1903, and it gave its first performance on November 5 of that year. In 1968 the orchestra changed to its name to the Minnesota Orchestra...

 in 1949, with William Primrose
William Primrose
William Primrose CBE was a Scottish violist and teacher.-Biography:Primrose was born in Glasgow and studied violin initially. In 1919 he moved to study at the then Guildhall School of Music in London. On the urging of the accompanist Ivor Newton, Primrose moved to Belgium to study under Eugène...

 as the soloist.

He made his conducting debut in 1924 with the Budapest Royal Opera
Hungarian State Opera House
The Hungarian State Opera House is a neo-Renaissance opera house located in central Budapest, on Andrássy út. It is home to the Budapest Opera Ball, a society event dating back to 1886.-History:...

.

As well as composing original works, he compiled and arranged
Arrangement
The American Federation of Musicians defines arranging as "the art of preparing and adapting an already written composition for presentation in other than its original form. An arrangement may include reharmonization, paraphrasing, and/or development of a composition, so that it fully represents...

 pieces by Johann Strauss II
Johann Strauss II
Johann Strauss II , also known as Johann Baptist Strauss or Johann Strauss, Jr., the Younger, or the Son , was an Austrian composer of light music, particularly dance music and operettas. He composed over 500 waltzes, polkas, quadrilles, and other types of dance music, as well as several operettas...

 for the ballet
Ballet
Ballet is a type of performance dance, that originated in the Italian Renaissance courts of the 15th century, and which was further developed in France and Russia as a concert dance form. The early portions preceded the invention of the proscenium stage and were presented in large chambers with...

 Graduation Ball
Graduation Ball
"Graduation Ball" is a ballet, choreographed in 1940 in Australia by David Lichine during the 1939-1940 tour of the Original Ballet Russe. The single-act, light-hearted comic ballet was premiered on Friday, March 1st, 1940, in Sydney...

(he conducted the world premiere in Sydney
Sydney
Sydney is the most populous city in Australia and the state capital of New South Wales. Sydney is located on Australia's south-east coast of the Tasman Sea. As of June 2010, the greater metropolitan area had an approximate population of 4.6 million people...

 in 1940, during the 1939-1940 Australian tour by the "Original Ballets Russes
Ballets Russes
The Ballets Russes was an itinerant ballet company from Russia which performed between 1909 and 1929 in many countries. Directed by Sergei Diaghilev, it is regarded as the greatest ballet company of the 20th century. Many of its dancers originated from the Imperial Ballet of Saint Petersburg...

"), as well as Jacques Offenbach
Jacques Offenbach
Jacques Offenbach was a Prussian-born French composer, cellist and impresario. He is remembered for his nearly 100 operettas of the 1850s–1870s and his uncompleted opera The Tales of Hoffmann. He was a powerful influence on later composers of the operetta genre, particularly Johann Strauss, Jr....

's La belle Hélène
La belle Hélène
La belle Hélène , opéra bouffe in three acts, is an operetta by Jacques Offenbach to an original French libretto by Henri Meilhac and Ludovic Halévy...

and Bluebeard, and Modest Mussorgsky
Modest Mussorgsky
Modest Petrovich Mussorgsky was a Russian composer, one of the group known as 'The Five'. He was an innovator of Russian music in the romantic period...

's The Fair at Sorochyntsi.

His autobiography, Notes of Seven Decades, was published in 1979. In 1983, Queen Elizabeth II made Doráti an honorary Knight Commander of the Order of the British Empire
Order of the British Empire
The Most Excellent Order of the British Empire is an order of chivalry established on 4 June 1917 by George V of the United Kingdom. The Order comprises five classes in civil and military divisions...

 (KBE). This entitled him to use the post-nominal letters KBE, but not to style himself "Sir Antal Doráti".

His wife was Ilse von Alpenheim
Ilse von Alpenheim
-Biography:Born at Innsbruck, she was trained by her mother, a piano teacher, and made her first public appearance as soloist at the age of nine in Joseph Haydn's piano concerto Hob. XVIII,11. Starting from 1944 she studied with Winfried Wolf in Kitzbühel and, from 1946 to 1949, with Franz...

, an Austrian pianist. Dorati died at the age of 82 in Gerzensee
Gerzensee
-External links:...

, Switzerland.

Career


Doráti held posts as principal conductor of the following orchestras:
  • American Ballet Theatre
    American Ballet Theatre
    American Ballet Theatre , based in New York City, was one of the foremost ballet companies of the 20th century. It continues as a leading dance company in the world today...

     orchestra (1941–1945).
  • Dallas Symphony Orchestra
    Dallas Symphony Orchestra
    The Dallas Symphony Orchestra is an American orchestra. It performs its concerts in the Meyerson Symphony Center in the Arts District of downtown Dallas, Texas, United States....

     (1945–48), practically creating that orchestra from scratch
  • Minneapolis Symphony Orchestra
    Minnesota Orchestra
    The Minnesota Orchestra is an American orchestra based in Minneapolis, Minnesota.Emil Oberhoffer founded the orchestra as the Minneapolis Symphony Orchestra in 1903, and it gave its first performance on November 5 of that year. In 1968 the orchestra changed to its name to the Minnesota Orchestra...

     (1949–60)
  • BBC Symphony Orchestra
    BBC Symphony Orchestra
    The BBC Symphony Orchestra is the principal broadcast orchestra of the British Broadcasting Corporation and one of the leading orchestras in Britain.-History:...

     (1963–66), which bid him a fond farewell playing his Symphony in Five Movements and his Madrigal Suite.
  • Stockholm Philharmonic Orchestra
    Royal Stockholm Philharmonic Orchestra
    The Royal Stockholm Philharmonic Orchestra is a Swedish orchestra based in Stockholm.The orchestra was founded in 1902 as the Stockholm Concert Society . The orchestra became a permanent ensemble in 1914. Since 1926, it has been based in the Stockholm Concert Hall...

     (1966–70), with which he recorded his Symphony No. 1 and his Symphony No. 2, "Querela Pacis" on the BIS label. He took that orchestra on its first international tours.
  • National Symphony Orchestra in Washington, D.C. (1970–77), which he rescued from bankruptcy and a players' strike.
  • Detroit Symphony Orchestra
    Detroit Symphony Orchestra
    The Detroit Symphony Orchestra is an American orchestra based in Detroit, Michigan. Its main performance center is Orchestra Hall at the Max M. Fisher Music Center in Detroit's Midtown neighborhood...

     (1977–81)
  • Royal Philharmonic Orchestra
    Royal Philharmonic Orchestra
    The Royal Philharmonic Orchestra is a British orchestra based in London. It tours widely, and is sometimes referred to as "Britain's national orchestra"...

     (1975–79)

Recordings


He made his first recording with the London Philharmonic Orchestra
London Philharmonic Orchestra
The London Philharmonic Orchestra , based in London, is one of the major orchestras of the United Kingdom, and is based in the Royal Festival Hall. In addition, the LPO is the main resident orchestra of the Glyndebourne Festival Opera...

 for the recording label His Master's Voice. This was later transferred to RCA Records
RCA Records
RCA Records is one of the flagship labels of Sony Music Entertainment. The RCA initials stand for Radio Corporation of America , which was the parent corporation from 1929 to 1985 and a partner from 1985 to 1986.RCA's Canadian unit is Sony's oldest label...

 with whom HMV were for some time associated. Over the course of his career Doráti made over 600 recordings.

With the Philharmonia Hungarica
Philharmonia Hungarica
The Philharmonia Hungarica was a symphony orchestra, based in Germany, which existed from 1956 to 2001.It was first established in Baden bei Wien near Vienna by Hungarian musicians who had fled their homeland after it was invaded by Soviet troops...

, Doráti was the second conductor to record the complete symphonies of Joseph Haydn
Joseph Haydn
Franz Joseph Haydn , known as Joseph Haydn , was an Austrian composer, one of the most prolific and prominent composers of the Classical period. He is often called the "Father of the Symphony" and "Father of the String Quartet" because of his important contributions to these forms...

 (the first complete recorded edition was conducted by Ernst Märzendorfer
Ernst Märzendorfer
Ernst Märzendorfer was an Austrian conductor. He was the first conductor to make a complete recording of the 107 symphonies of Joseph Haydn, and conducted a number of important opera premieres.-Biography:...

 and the Vienna Chamber Orchestra
Vienna Chamber Orchestra
The Vienna Chamber Orchestra is an Austrian chamber orchestra based at the Vienna Konzerthaus....

, but it had a very limited release). He also recorded an unprecedented cycle of Haydn's operas.

Doráti became especially well known for his recordings of Tchaikovsky
Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky
Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky (Russian: Пётр Ильи́ч Чайко́вский ; often "Peter Ilich Tchaikovsky" in English. His names are also transliterated "Piotr" or "Petr"; "Ilitsch", "Il'ich" or "Illyich"; and "Tschaikowski", "Tschaikowsky", "Chajkovskij"...

's music. He was the first conductor to record all three of Tchaikovsky's ballets - Swan Lake
Swan Lake
Swan Lake ballet, op. 20, by Pyotr Tchaikovsky, composed 1875–1876. The scenario, initially in four acts, was fashioned from Russian folk tales and tells the story of Odette, a princess turned into a swan by an evil sorcerer's curse. The choreographer of the original production was Julius Reisinger...

, The Sleeping Beauty and The Nutcracker
The Nutcracker
The Nutcracker is a two-act ballet, originally choreographed by Marius Petipa and Lev Ivanov with a score by Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky. The libretto is adapted from E.T.A. Hoffmann's story "The Nutcracker and the Mouse King". It was given its première at the Mariinsky Theatre in St...

- complete. The albums were recorded in mono in 1954, for Mercury Records
Mercury Records
Mercury Records is a record label operating as a standalone company in the UK and as part of the Island Def Jam Motown Music Group in the US; both are subsidiaries of Universal Music Group. There is also a Mercury Records in Australia, which is a local artist and repertoire division of Universal...

, with the Minneapolis Symphony Orchestra (later renamed the Minnesota Orchestra
Minnesota Orchestra
The Minnesota Orchestra is an American orchestra based in Minneapolis, Minnesota.Emil Oberhoffer founded the orchestra as the Minneapolis Symphony Orchestra in 1903, and it gave its first performance on November 5 of that year. In 1968 the orchestra changed to its name to the Minnesota Orchestra...

), as part of their famous "Living Presence" series. All three ballets were at first issued separately, but were later re-issued in a 6-LP set. Dorati never re-recorded Swan Lake, but he did make a stereo recording of The Sleeping Beauty (again complete) with the Concertgebouw Orchestra of Amsterdam for Philips Classics Records
Philips Classics Records
Philips Classics Records was started in the 1980s as the new classics record label for Philips Records. It was successful with artists including Alfred Brendel, Sir John Eliot Gardiner, Sir Neville Marriner and the Academy of St...

, and two complete recordings in stereo of "The Nutcracker", one with the London Symphony Orchestra
London Symphony Orchestra
The London Symphony Orchestra is a major orchestra of the United Kingdom, as well as one of the best-known orchestras in the world. Since 1982, the LSO has been based in London's Barbican Centre.-History:...

 (again for Mercury), and the other with the Concertgebouw Orchestra for Philips - all this within a span of about twenty-seven years. He also recorded all four of Tchaikovsky's orchestral suites with the New Philharmonia Orchestra
Philharmonia Orchestra
The Philharmonia Orchestra is one of the leading orchestras in Great Britain, based in London. Since 1995, it has been based in the Royal Festival Hall. In Britain it is also the resident orchestra at De Montfort Hall, Leicester and the Corn Exchange, Bedford, as well as The Anvil, Basingstoke...

, and he was the first conductor to make a recording of Tchaikovsky's "1812" Overture (featuring the Minneapolis Symphony Orchestra) with real cannons, brass band, and church bells, first in mono in 1954 and then in stereo in 1958. Both the mono and stereo "1812" were certified Gold Records by the RIAA. He also recorded all six of Tchaikovsky's symphonies with the London Symphony Orchestra.

Other prominent composers in Doráti's recording career are Béla Bartók
Béla Bartók
Béla Viktor János Bartók was a Hungarian composer and pianist. He is considered one of the most important composers of the 20th century and is regarded, along with Liszt, as Hungary's greatest composer...

 and Igor Stravinsky
Igor Stravinsky
Igor Fyodorovich Stravinsky ; 6 April 1971) was a Russian, later naturalized French, and then naturalized American composer, pianist, and conductor....

. His comprehensive series of Bartók's orchestral works for Mercury have been brought together on a 5-CD set.

He also made the first stereo recording of Léo Delibes
Léo Delibes
Clément Philibert Léo Delibes was a French composer of ballets, operas, and other works for the stage...

' Coppélia
Coppélia
Coppélia is a sentimental comic ballet with original choreography by Arthur Saint-Léon to a ballet libretto by Saint-Léon and Charles Nuitter and music by Léo Delibes. It was based upon two macabre stories by E. T. A. Hoffmann, Der Sandmann , and Die Puppe...

, with the Minneapolis Symphony Orchestra. An album set of Richard Wagner
Richard Wagner
Wilhelm Richard Wagner was a German composer, conductor, theatre director, philosopher, music theorist, poet, essayist and writer primarily known for his operas...

's opera The Flying Dutchman
The Flying Dutchman (opera)
Der fliegende Holländer is an opera, with music and libretto by Richard Wagner.Wagner claimed in his 1870 autobiography Mein Leben that he had been inspired to write "The Flying Dutchman" following a stormy sea crossing he made from Riga to London in July and August 1839, but in his 1843...

is also among Doráti's more popular recordings.

In 1969 he made the world premiere recording of Sibelius
Jean Sibelius
Jean Sibelius was a Finnish composer of the later Romantic period whose music played an important role in the formation of the Finnish national identity. His mastery of the orchestra has been described as "prodigious."...

's tone poem Luonnotar
Luonnotar (Sibelius)
Luonnotar, Op. 70, is a tone-poem for soprano and orchestra, completed by Jean Sibelius in 1913. It was dedicated to Aino Ackté, who premiered the work at the Three Choirs Festival in Gloucester, England on 10 September 1913, with an orchestra conducted by Herbert Brewer...

, with Gwyneth Jones as soprano soloist. In 1973 he conducted the world premiere recording of Max Bruch
Max Bruch
Max Christian Friedrich Bruch , also known as Max Karl August Bruch, was a German Romantic composer and conductor who wrote over 200 works, including three violin concertos, the first of which has become a staple of the violin repertoire.-Life:Bruch was born in Cologne, Rhine Province, where he...

's Concerto for Two Pianos and Orchestra
Concerto for Two Pianos and Orchestra (Bruch)
The Concerto for Two Pianos and Orchestra, Op. 88a, was written by Max Bruch in 1912. It is in 4 movements, written in the rarely seen key of A flat minor, and takes about 25 minutes to perform....

, which was written in 1912 but only rediscovered in 1971.

He lived to make digital recordings, for English Decca Records
Decca Records
Decca Records began as a British record label established in 1929 by Edward Lewis. Its U.S. label was established in late 1934; however, owing to World War II, the link with the British company was broken for several decades....

 (released in the U.S. on the London label), with the Detroit Symphony Orchestra
Detroit Symphony Orchestra
The Detroit Symphony Orchestra is an American orchestra based in Detroit, Michigan. Its main performance center is Orchestra Hall at the Max M. Fisher Music Center in Detroit's Midtown neighborhood...

. One of these, the recording of Stravinsky's Le Sacre du Printemps
The Rite of Spring
The Rite of Spring, original French title Le sacre du printemps , is a ballet with music by Igor Stravinsky; choreography by Vaslav Nijinsky; and concept, set design and costumes by Nicholas Roerich...

, received the coveted French award Grand Prix du Disque
Grand Prix du Disque
The Grand Prix du Disque is the premier French award for musical recordings. The award was inaugurated by l'Académie Charles Cros in 1948 and offers prizes in various categories. The categories vary from year to year, and multiple awards are often made in any one category in the same year...

.

External links


Interviews