Valuable conclusions can be reached on the aesthetic and moral perceptions of Dimitri Mitropoulos from the study of his commercial and private recordings and his concert programs.
Mitropoulos was a unique interpreter who combined respect for significant works of historical Western music with the fight to project characteristic examples of the musical language of the 20th century. Far from the dictates of popular and easy recognitions, he gave us his own, often idiosyncratic, point of view of a morally honest and aesthetically valuable interpretation.
This according to “Ο Δ. Μητρόπουλος και το ήθος της ερμηνείας” [Dimitri Mitropoulos and the ethos of performance] by Stathīs A. Arfanīs and Giōrgos Maniatīs, an essay included in Δημήτρης Μητρόπουλος (1896-1960): πενήντα χρόνια μετά [Dimitris Mitropoulos (1896–1960): Fifty years later] (Athīna: Orpheus Edition, 2012).
This open-access resource includes a biography and an appreciation; a list of his compositions; bibliographies of his correspondence and writings about him; lists of concerts, lectures, and exhibitions held in his honor; and numerous photographs of him and facsimiles of his manuscripts and editions.
In December 2011 the Laboratory of Greek Music at the Ionian University, Kerkyra (Corfu), launched the book series Ellinīkī Mousikologikī Vivliothīkī (Ελληνική Μουσικολογική Βιβλιοθήκη/Library of Greek Musicology) with a volume curated by Charīs Xanthoudakīs and Arīs Garoufalīs on the relationship between the great Greek conductor and composer Dīmītrīs Mītropoulos and the Athens conservatoryOdeio Athinōn.
Mītropoulos studied at the Odeio Athinōn from 1910 to 1919. Returning from a period of study in Berlin in 1925, he served as conductor first of the orchestra of the other Athens conservatory, Ellīniko Odeio, then from 1927 to 1937 for his alma mater, where he also taught composition. He also created a combined orchestra from the two schools in a Syllogo Synafliōn (Club Concert) that achieved considerable glory in its brief existence, featuring guest appearances by Richard Strauss and Alfred Cortot and a 1933 performance of the “constructivist” Zavod (Iron Foundry) by Aleksandr Mosolov.
The book, O Dīmītrīs Mītropoulos kai to Odeio Athinōn: To chroniko kai ta tekmīria (Dīmītrīs Mītropoulos and the Odeio Athinōn: Chronicle and archival materials, ISBN 978-960-86801-8-0), consists of two parts: a biography of Mītropoulos, and a collection of 85 reproduced documents from the Odeio’s archives illustrating the narrative of the first part, including meeting minutes, personal correspondence, and texts of speeches, together with excerpts from the most recent scholarly studies of Mītropoulos’s life and works before his emigration to the United States and international fame.
Below, Mītropoulos rehearses and performs Liszt’s Faust symphony with the New York Philharmonic.
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