Deryk replies to me:
>>Actually, most first-rank orchestras don't really need a conductor, just to
>>play a piece. When Szell died, the Cleveland Orchestra gave a very moving
>>account of the Mozart Symphony No. 40 with nothing on the podium but a
>They were probably petrified in case he wasn't really dead...:-)
A story told to me by the grandson of a Cleveland Orchestra principal:
"The day after Szell died, Mrs. Szell received a phone call. 'May
I please speak with Dr. Szell?'
"'I'm sorry. But Dr. Szell has died.'
"'I'm sorry to have bothered you. Goodby.'"
To make a long story short, she gets a few more calls from the same
caller and finally says something like, "I've told you before. Please
stop calling. He won't be answering the phone. Dr. Szell is dead."
"I'm sorry," says the caller, "I just can't hear it often enough."