LISTSERV mailing list manager LISTSERV 16.0

Help for CLASSICAL Archives


CLASSICAL Archives

CLASSICAL Archives


CLASSICAL@COMMUNITY.LSOFT.COM


View:

Message:

[

First

|

Previous

|

Next

|

Last

]

By Topic:

[

First

|

Previous

|

Next

|

Last

]

By Author:

[

First

|

Previous

|

Next

|

Last

]

Font:

Proportional Font

LISTSERV Archives

LISTSERV Archives

CLASSICAL Home

CLASSICAL Home

CLASSICAL  March 2000

CLASSICAL March 2000

Subject:

Re: Good Conductors

From:

Kevin Sutton <[log in to unmask]>

Date:

Fri, 17 Mar 2000 01:35:39 -0600

Content-Type:

text/plain

Parts/Attachments:

Parts/Attachments

text/plain (61 lines)

David Runnion wrote:

>For an orchestra musician, a good conductor is one who clearly and
>effectively communicates the piece to the musicians, then lets them play.
>This is more difficult than it sounds.  Just as there is a technique to
>playing the cello, there is technique for conductors too.  How does he beat
>time? Is it clear and consistant? Does the stick go to the same place for
>every beat, or do we have to watch it wave around, go behind his back, and
>indulge in crowd-pleasing histrionics?

As a musician who frequently attends concerts, I can tell you that the
histrionics annoy the hell out of me.  Andrew Litton, chief baton twirler
here in Dallas is notorious for his overwrought gestures and his maddening
habit of coming off the podium fifty or so times a piece.  Around here we
call him "Air Litton." I will never forget the first time I conducted as
a young grad student at the University of North Texas.  I was full of the
grand sweeping gestures trying to prove how "into" the music I was.  My
teacher came up to me afterwards and said,"Well your choir sounded pretty
good, but you looked like an ass up there." There endeth my days as a
flambouyant baton hurler!

>I was talking to a friend tonight, a talented young pianist with
>aspirations to be a conductor.  I told him: The downbeat must go down
>(with the stick) 2 goes to the left, after a "click" at the center, 3 to
>the right, and the upbeat goes up.  You'd be amazed how many conductors
>ignore this.  The left hand is used for expression, cues, and dynamic
>indications.  A good conductor shouldn't have to talk much, because he (or
>she, there are some very fine women conductors indeed, Marin Alsop springs
>to mind) can show everything that is necessary with his hands, face, and
>body language.

AMEN!  Entirely too much rehearsal time is wasted gabbing!  And no one
loves to talk more than I do.  In professional music, however, time is
money, and I don't have any to waste.  I like to think that Helios
rehearsals are fun, but as efficient as a Swiss watch!

>A good conductor knows the score intimately and has the ability to teach
>it to the musicians.  Many, many lesser conductors will simply repeat to
>the band what they already see on the page, i.e.  dynamics.  This doesn't
>teach us doodly, and an orchestra will quickly become impatient with this.
>But a conductor that can point out things that we might not notice, give
>us perspective on the piece, make us listen to each other, and communicate
>his feelings and knowlege of the work is one that will get an orchestra to
>respond.

I would hope that a professional ensemble would know the core rep already,
but you are correct that there are many details that an orchestra or choir
cannot know about a piece and it is up to the conductor to convey these
hidden messages!

>Finally, a good conductor has a very special rapport with the musicians,
>and will make the orchestra want to play at their very best.  This involves
>not talking down to the orchestra, not telling them "how" to play, but
>"why" to play a certain passage a certain way.  He is the leader, first
>among equals, another member of the orchestra.

This is of absolute vital importance.  No one wants to treated with
condescension, and everyone is more comfortable is someone whom they
can trust is in charge.

Kevin Sutton

Top of Message | Previous Page | Permalink

Advanced Options


Options

Log In

Log In

Get Password

Get Password


Search Archives

Search Archives


Subscribe or Unsubscribe

Subscribe or Unsubscribe


Archives

May 2010
April 2010
March 2010
February 2010
January 2010
December 2009
November 2009
October 2009
September 2009
August 2009
July 2009
June 2009
May 2009
April 2009
March 2009
February 2009
January 2009
December 2008
November 2008
October 2008
September 2008
August 2008
July 2008
June 2008
May 2008
April 2008
March 2008
February 2008
January 2008
December 2007
November 2007
October 2007
September 2007
August 2007
July 2007
June 2007
May 2007
April 2007
March 2007
February 2007
January 2007
December 2006
November 2006
October 2006
September 2006
August 2006
July 2006
June 2006
May 2006
April 2006
March 2006
February 2006
January 2006
December 2005
November 2005
October 2005
September 2005
August 2005
July 2005
June 2005
May 2005
April 2005
March 2005
February 2005
January 2005
December 2004
November 2004
October 2004
September 2004
August 2004
July 2004
June 2004
May 2004
April 2004
March 2004
February 2004
January 2004
December 2003
November 2003
October 2003
September 2003
August 2003
July 2003
June 2003
May 2003
April 2003
March 2003
February 2003
January 2003
December 2002
November 2002
October 2002
September 2002
August 2002
July 2002
June 2002
May 2002
April 2002
March 2002
February 2002
January 2002
December 2001
November 2001
October 2001
September 2001
August 2001
July 2001
June 2001
May 2001
April 2001
March 2001
January 2001
December 2000
November 2000
October 2000
September 2000
August 2000
July 2000
June 2000
May 2000
April 2000
March 2000
February 2000
January 2000
December 1999
November 1999
October 1999
September 1999
August 1999
July 1999
June 1999
May 1999
April 1999
March 1999
February 1999
January 1999
July 1997

ATOM RSS1 RSS2



COMMUNITY.LSOFT.COM

Secured by F-Secure Anti-Virus CataList Email List Search Powered by the LISTSERV Email List Manager