Conductors: Who needs them?
'I always imagined that to bring an orchestra to play together is not enough for a conductor.' Kurt Masur
At the start of this week Rob started a little debate on Essential Classics about conductors and how integral, or not, they were to great performances. We’ve been enjoying reading many of your thoughts this week, and whilst some have made it onto the airwaves, we’ve received many more fascinating emails, texts and tweets that we thought would be interesting to share here. And if you’d like to add some further comments about your own experiences with conductors, either as performers or listeners, please do. We’d really enjoy reading them.
Lawrence Thirlaway, Lichfield
I don’t think there can be a theoretical answer: it’s a matter of experience. Some time ago, the OAE did a series of concerts showing all nine Beethoven symphonies – four with two in each and one with the ninth at Symphony Hall – each concert had a different conductor. The ninth was conducted by Simon Rattle and I couldn’t get tickets. The fifth was conducted by Ivan Fischer and it was like hearing for the first time: I was overwhelmed, excited, joyful. At the end, there was no applause for seconds: the whole audience was too emotional and, when applause broke out, it went on forever. Perhaps as much to the point, the members of the orchestra looked excited – and surprised. I don’t know if we need conductors, but I know we need conductors like Ivan Fischer.
BBC, Alex Anderson