On Conducting (Üeber Das Dirigiren) : a Treatise on Style in the Execution of Classical Music, eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 93 pages of information about On Conducting (Üeber Das Dirigiren) .
“high-stool” of the violinist.  Socrates, at least, was not of opinion that Themistocles, Cimon and Pericles would prove capable of guiding the State by reason of their abilities as commanders and speakers; for, unfortunately, he could point to the results of their successes, and shew that the administration of State affairs became a source of personal trouble to them.  But perhaps the case is different in the realms of music.

Yet another thing appears dubious.  I am told that Herr J. Brahms expects all possible good to result from a return to the melody of Schubert’s songs, and that Herr Joachim, for his own part, expects a new messiah for music in general.  Ought he not to leave such expectations to those who have chosen him “high-schoolmaster?” I, for my part, say to him “Go in, and win!” If it should come to pass that he himself is the Messiah, he may, at all events, rest assured that the Jews will not crucify him.




[Bericht an Seine Majestat den Konig Ludwig II., von Bayern uber eine in Munchen zu errichtende Deutsche Musik-schule. (Report concerning a German music-school to be established at Munich) 1865.  Reprinted in Wagner’s “Gesammelte Schriften,” Vol.  VIII., p. 159-219, Leipzig, 1873.]

p. 20. ...  “We possess classical works, but we are not in possession of A classical style for the execution of these works.” ...  “Does Germany possess a school at which the proper execution of Mozart’s music is taught?  Or do our orchestras and their conductors manage to play Mozart in accordance with some occult knowledge of their own?  If so, whence do they derive such knowledge?  Who taught it them?  Take the simplest examples, Mozart’s instrumental pieces (by no means his most important works, for these belong to the operatic stage), two things are at once apparent:  the melodies must be beautifully sung; yet there are very few marks in the scores to shew how they are to be sung.  It is well known that Mozart wrote the scores of his symphonies hurriedly, in most cases simply for the purpose of performance at some concert he was about to give; on the other hand, it is also well known that he made great demands upon the orchestra in the matter of expression.  Obviously he trusted to his personal influence over the musicians.  In the orchestra parts it was thus sufficient to note the main tempo and piano or forte for entire periods, since the master, who conducted the rehearsals, could give spoken directions as to details, and, by singing his themes, communicate the proper expression to the players.

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On Conducting (Üeber Das Dirigiren) : a Treatise on Style in the Execution of Classical Music, from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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