Returning to it now, both Solti and De Sabata have to at least share pride of place with two utterly Hungarian readings. Firstly, Antal Dorati's beautifully nuanced recording with the Philharmonica Hungarica. While not as flashy or effect-driven, Dorati shapes the piece almost entirely without personalized intervention. But he does so knowing that he has an orchestra that obviously knows every detail of the piece and style backwards and forwards. If this reading were done by any combination that didn't possess complete mastery of the stylistic tricks, it would have fallen completely flat. Also, Ivan Fischer does not quite take De Sabata's interventionist hand, but he comes quite close at times. Fischer as always has the Budapest Festival Orchestra, which is even more understanding of Hungarian peasant styles than Furtwangler's Berliners (at least some of whom must have relished the chance to play some gypsy-influenced music under a half-Jewish conductor).
(Fischer with the descendants of those Berliners in a free Europe)
....that reminds me, it might be time to revise and expand Top 20 Conductors (perhaps expanded to a top 25 or 30) list. I'll have to revise to put De Sabata in the top 20, not to mention give higher consideration to deserving past conductors like Nikolai Golovanov, Eduard van Beinum, Karl Ancerl, Adrian Boult, Artur Rodzinski, Kyril Kondrashin, Igor Markevitch, Vaclav Talich, Eugene Ormandy, Felix Weingartner, and Bruno Walter (I'm particularly ashamed that I didn't at least give Walter an honorable mention). And I also have to recognize some present-day conductors I left off the list as well like Christoph Eschenbach, Christoph von Dohnanyi, David Zinman, Esa-Pekka Salonen, and Ivan Fischer (or the 'maybes' from the present....like James Levine, Riccardo Chailly, Daniel Barenboim, Franz Welser-Most, Valery Gergiev, etc. and then there's the list of overrated....which since my tastes seem to be rather idiosyncratic should make lots of friends among interneters if I ever dared to post it or get them to read it....). Maybe I should just scrap the whole thing and start over...
...for anyone pathetic enough to be wondering...no it was not my intention to stay in listening obsessively to Kodaly on a perfectly serviceable Saturday night. IIIII was going to a Bavarian beer hall tonight, but I seem to be having my bi-monthly dizzy spells. Don't know why....but Kodaly is a half-way decent consolation....This not quite 30-year-old blogger is not so pathetic that he doesn't have Saturday night plans....but quite pathetic enough that he feels the need to justify this to cyberspace thank you.