Dating eccentric guy
I lost count of the number of times Haitink had to remind the young conductor that it was a symphony they were supposed to be performing, not a series of brightly coloured miniatures.“You really must guard against doing a ritenuto (holding back) at the end of every phrase,” he said to one conductor, who had revelled a bit too much in the regretful dying-away quality in the music.The horns missed an entry, probably because they were laughing. Brahms’s carefully contrived texture disintegrated like a ghastly slow-motion car crash.Even when they don’t actually collapse, performances led by beginner conductors always have a strange blank quality.With the cockiness of youth I reckoned it was something I could add to my portfolio of skills without too much trouble.I signed up for a course, and soon found myself in front of a student orchestra, with a Brahms symphony on the music stand.My feeling is that conducting always has an element of both.
In the 19th century, as the orchestra expanded and forms like the symphony became more varied, the conductor became essential.It’s simply a fact that showmanship and emoting are part of a conductor’s job.It’s hard for an audience to follow the twists and turns of a big Mahler symphony, or a Strauss tone-poem, and they look to a conductor to tell them what to feel (that’s why some people prefer to sit behind an orchestra, even though the sound there is much poorer).Music that involves coordinating a group of players or singers has always needed a timekeeper of some sort.But no one was silly enough to think this role might be divinely inspired.
How on earth do you make something sound secretive?