Again, even if I accepted Schuricht's placing in the "Third Division", is not his Bruckner, at least, comparable with that of Bohm or Matacic?
And what are we to make of conductors who have left recorded evidence of something like greatness in a very limited area - Chalabala in late Dvorak, Grondahl in Nielsen and other Danish composers - but whose achievements in other repertoire is not documented?
Composer-conductors are very special cases. While I would happily rate Stravinsky above Britten as composers, surely Britten was a supreme interpreter of his own music and he did produce interesting performances of other people's music; can this really be said of Stravinsky?
The possible criteria for these "divisions" are too variable. If interpretative magic and orchestral colouring are all, then Stokowski goes to the top; if interpretative fidelity is the first essential then Boult needs upgrading, and so on.
While any "division" will be personal, a degree of public consensus seems to exist though there will always be room to plead special cases. Perhaps Mr. Russell would care to explain, citing all the evidence (records plus any personal recollections he has) WHY he believes Hugo Rignold and Anatole Fistoulari to have been the equal of Fricsay, Kempe and Stokowski, and superior to Bernstein, Ormandy, Sawallisch and Tennstedt. There seems to be a general public perception that this is not so; a REASONED reassessment of the former two conductors (of whose concerts I have not especially exciting memories, able though they undoubtedly were) would be interesting.
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