Best Symphonies

August 24, 2006 at 04:02 PM · Alright, which symphony orchestras do you think are the greatest ones in the world? Or, if world is too grand, per continent?

Here are my picks:

1. Vienna Phil

2. Berlin Phil

3. New York Phil

4. Cleveland Orchestra

5. Prauge Phil

Replies (18)

August 24, 2006 at 04:08 PM · Thats like asking who is the best violinist in the world. They all have strengths and weaknesses. One orchestra you don't have on your list (that I think should be on it) is the San Francisco Symphony. Also, different orchestras sounded better at different times in history (like Reiner with Chicago, or Szell with Cleveland vs them now), so this question is really too broad. Perhaps a more appropriate question would be, what do you like/dislike about these orchestras. I love the Cleveland Orchestra for their amazing ability to play together almost perfectly, and that they are capable of playing a wide range of styles well. I love the Vienna Phil because of their overflowing musicality and ability to play quietly. However, at times I think the Cleveland Orchestra could use a little more fire in certain pieces, while the Vienna Phil can be sloppy at times. It also has a lot to do with the conductor and not so much the orchestra.

August 24, 2006 at 04:24 PM · I like the

*London Symphony

*Royal Philharmonic

*Boston Pops

*Mannheim Steamroller

*Hollywood Studio Symphony

(can you tell I like soundtracks?)

August 24, 2006 at 05:35 PM · Good question.

In the words of one well known violinist, Jack Benny “I’m thinking I’m thinking”.

August 24, 2006 at 06:57 PM · The current London Symphony is one of the tightest ensembles I have ever heard. Their brass and winds put the NY Phil to shame. The San Francisco Symphony is in my opinion the best orchestra in the US. Tilson Thomas is a GREAT musician.

August 24, 2006 at 08:12 PM · I'm quite fond of the Kirov (Maryinsky?) Orchestra with Valery Gergiev. Tremendously rich sound and Gergiev just conducts the heck out of them. I heard them on a Proms broadcast last week and they were just fantastic.

I also like the energy and flair of the Budapest Festival Orchestra w/ Ivan Fischer. Chicago with Fritz Reiner wasn't too shabby either.

August 25, 2006 at 12:49 AM · Berlin I think is tops, Cleveland and Vienna are on par with one another, then there's Philly. Minnesota with Vanska sounds great. Kieth you're right, SF Symphony is pretty incredible. So is LA Phil.

August 25, 2006 at 01:12 AM · Well everyone knows that the fingerlakes symphony is the best, lol jk of course. MY picks are:

1. Vienna phil.

2. Ny phil

3. Boston pops orch.

4. Royal Phil.

August 26, 2006 at 04:36 AM · Greetings,

is the Israel Phil playing badly these days?



September 2, 2006 at 02:31 PM · Here's one from left field.

The Tasmanian Symphony Orchestra has only 45 players (smaller than some "chamber orchestras"!) but sounds fantastic. I recently heard them "on tour" in Sydney in three concerts, each of which comprised a Beethoven overture,a Mozart piano concerto (with English pianist John Lill)and a Beethoven symphony, all conducted by German conductor Lang-Lessing.

They were amazingly good.

September 2, 2006 at 02:44 PM · I don't know who is "best," but my all-time favorite is the classic Chicago Symphony Orchestra era when Fritz Reiner was the conductor.

Not only are their recorded performances still outstanding, but as a native Chicagoan I was lucky enough to see them many, many times in person when I was a youngster.

At one concert they played a Mozart symphony (I think the Jupiter) that was so incredibly exquisite and warm and precise, that at the end of the performance Reiner uncharacteristically waded through some of the players to personally congratulate several of the first-desk musicians.

Incidentally, there is a biography of Fritz Reiner that came out a few years ago. It is not very exciting to read, but there are several sections that are fascinating, including Reiner's incredible understanding of and sensitivity to the music's innate pulse.

Cordially, Sandy

September 2, 2006 at 03:35 PM · Columbia Symphony Orchestra/Bruno Walter.

Metropolitan Opera Orchestra, especially with Levine.

September 2, 2006 at 04:32 PM · on any given night, there are many orchestras that qualify as 'greatest.' he question is too broad.

i have my favourites but they change from time to time. right now i'm partial to cleveland and st.martin in the fields.

September 2, 2006 at 05:24 PM · Yeah, what Buri said! I was so suprised to read through these and not see the Israel Phil! They are my person top favorite orchestra.

September 2, 2006 at 10:33 PM · Berlin PO, Hv Karajan (saw them live too)

Vienna PO, Carlos Kleiber (saw their NYD DVD)

Philharmonia Orch, R Muti (saw them live too)

Leipzig Gewandhaus, Blomstedt (saw them live too)

Moscow Soloists, Y Bashmet (saw them live too)

September 2, 2006 at 11:25 PM · I'm curious dan... what are you basing your list on?

September 3, 2006 at 10:11 AM · Vienna has been not on my list for sometime because of their issue with women.

read for e.g.

September 3, 2006 at 01:49 PM · Hi,

Please don't turn this thread into another political/issues debate. Stick to the music. It cannot lie to the ear.

It gets irrating to see so much strife on this site after a while...


September 3, 2006 at 09:55 PM · I agree. this place isn't interesting anymore... im out.

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