The only criterion I can think of that has any validity would be to make a list of those conductors/musicians/artists one likes and has empathy with and those who one either dislikes or simply doesn't 'get'.
For example, I don't 'get' Bernard Haitink. I have many of his recordings but in the main, they don't 'speak' to me. On the other hand, Klemperer always made sense to me, ditto Furtwangler, ditto Kurt Sanderling. Those three sit at the top of my Olympian tree. Others who I like, where their music-making connects with me are: Karel Ancerl, Eugen Jochum, John Barbirolli, Harnoncourt, Reinhard Goebel, Celibidache, Giulini, Dohnanyi, Barshai, Scherchen, Thomas Sanderling, Monteux and sometimes Leonard Bernstein. For example, I loathe Bernstein's Mahler but love his Haydn and Bartok, for example. I rate Vaclav Neumann's Mahler much more highly than Bernstein's mainly because Neumann connects with Mahler's Bohemian roots, while Bernstein has an unhealthy obsession with turning Mahler into 5th Avenue.
Barenboim, Eschenbach and Kubelik normally make a connection with me but, for example, I find Kubelik's Dvorak cycle unsatisfactory, mainly because the Berlin Phil is not a Dvorak orchestra to my ears.
I seriously loathe Rattle's vain fest of spotlit 'highlights', I loathe Karajan's obsession with 'Beautiful Sound', I dislike the way Solti tried to spice up everything with Hungarian Paprika, I hate the smug glibness of Marriner, detest the way Norrington tries to make Beethoven and every other composer for that matter sound like Rossini on speed. I also find Mravinsky very, very over-rated. He makes a lot of haste in too many pieces I find sacred. He also struggles to make sense of the classical core, for example, Beethoven, Mozart, Brahms and Bruckner. I find, for example, his recording of the Shostakovich 15th Symphony a gallop, an abomination, in short.
Yet there are serious music lovers who love and adore my catalogue of infamy and conducting villainly.
Then there are the conductors I know too little about, mainly the American European imports, Walter, Steinberg, Szell, Leinsdorf, Ormandy, Previn etc etc. I have many of their recordings but none of them move or excite me the way Klemperer or Furtwangler do.
These are some random thoughts.
I will finish with the conductor I despise the most: Arturo Toscanini. He was a fraud in my opinion, a fraud manufactured by the USA curse of needing to always have THE GREATEST.
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