Erich Leinsdorf's seven season stint as the twelfth music director of the Boston Symphony Orchestra (1962- 1969) was only one chapter in a long and distinguished career that spanned nearly six decades.
With the Boston Symphony Orchestra he performed five Mahler's symphonies (Nos. 1, 3, 4, 5 and 6) and recorded all but the Fourth for RCA in versions that became touchstones for superior recorded sound.
Leinsdorf brought impressive credentials and a wealth of experience to this music. He was born in Mahler's city, Vienna, just over eight months after the composer's death, and early in his career served as assistant to Mahler's own assistant and protégé, Bruno Walter. Mahler's idiomatic sound world and rhythmic world, urban and rustic, dancing and marching, were in Leinsdorf's ears since childhood.
Strauss's Till Eulenspiegel was a parade piece for The Boston Symphony Orchestra and its music director during the Leinsdorf years. He conducted it in three seasons and on two American tours. And while Leinsdorf often does not seem to be enjoying himself, especially when he is on camera, in this film, he surely does.
© Richard Dyer
Lucerne Festival 2003
The London Philharmonic Orchestra