thumbnail of The world of the conductor; Conductor as recording artist, part 2
Hide -
If this transcript has significant errors that should be corrected, let us know, so we can add it to FIX IT+
The world of the conductor a series of programs in which leading conductors of today speak about symphonic music in the 20th century the role of the conductor as produced by station W.H. y y in Philadelphia under a grant from the National Educational Television and Radio center in cooperation with the National Association of educational broadcasters. This is James Keeler inviting you to join us for this second broadcast subtitled The conductor as a recording artist during which our guests will be Irish Leinsdorf and as dancer may end Igor Mike age Erich Leinsdorf spoke to us about certain dangers which he feels could result from the misuse of the recording medium by young musicians. Now you know from our past conversations with tequila that I am very fond of making records and listening to records and all this. But today the great danger is that the record might begin to take the place of the reading for musicians as a means of acquaintance with the work and that would by all means be deadly because they are listening to an
established performance to an already performance which has already taken place. In this sense established. Excludes the possibilities of variety which only the reading of a score can give you. Only from the inside. Yes and within oneself. If you see the symbols which which service in the reading or in the writing rather and which then we have to understand that eating as symbols which are not unequivocal and in the extreme vocality of the symbols. You can then see the imagination of the reader how he is going to translate those into into sounds. When you read the music you might have several ideas of how this ought to sound. But if you hear music that is already the sound you will always then be tempted either to imitate the sound in your own performance which is just aping.
Ah if as I know some people do then you go out of your way to this day to do something different than you just do something to be different. But this is not conviction. This is this is an attempt of willful originality of willful willful non-conformist which again makes no sense because it is not dictated by any conviction. What these symbols mean but merely by conviction to be different. Yes I thought of that very often with recordings. Now reading a score with myself. All right so and so does it this way. But what does the music say to you and the music you've printed or written. Page says many things to many people. I'm the first one to do to object to any narrow interpretation that there's only one way. Of course one always hears these many stories.
This is the way the composer lost it. Let me assure you nobody knows exactly how the composer wanted it and when we do it at that moment if we're honest we think that we have the way the composer wanted it but when we come back to what we discussed with a new look at the new approach and with fresh eyes did not find what we thought yesterday was but the composer wanted was merely the reflection of our own temperament at that time of our own tempo and beat beat beat change with us then changed the composer's intentions no we changed and therefore we see that the composer's intentions in a different light. We then spoke to Erich Leinsdorf about the amount of tape splicing and editing often found in today's recordings. And he cited an interesting example of what can be done now. I do not I do not like to have these things. There is a record I don't like to have to re record it. That means I don't like to play one version and then say to the engine to record this and then issue it is a repeat. When they are repeats of my
records they have been played as repeats. I do because you could technically today for example you take the exposition of the exposition and you record it and then they really record it and putting everybody together because you can't really have it in me. Yes it can be done. And therefore I mention that I don't think that this is this is the thing to do because I do believe with all the recording I've done it with all the marvels which the the masters of splicing can perform. I do believe that the basis of a good recording is a performance in the performance sometimes of the masters of splicing. We'll be able to insert a much superior four bars here or a pass there which is perfectly fine. But I do not believe in taking a look to see an eight minute piece and spliced together 17 different versions. That is being done you know but I don't believe it.
That's wonderful to hear you say that because I know most people I talk with. They are the key fact factor always comes up that we're getting too many. I see too many synthetic performance bonuses on records that no human being could or should be able to accomplish but you know why this is. I found out that a lot of the guilty party are those especially soloists of course this singer is petrified to have bet on a record I can't stand. PR is to petrify to have a silo and he can do the trick. But there comes a point when they give up more than they gain. What do they gain. You know I founded an entire group of people who are working not for the public but they are working for. For their colleagues it is the same as when they said the women dress not to please men but to please other women or to displace other women that ever you want to put it.
Now this is the same thing when you begin to work to to have the envious colleagues in the Russian Tea Room not be able to make any nasty remarks when you are in the wrong. Then you are on the wrong road. You know I think that the moment you forget that you are working for the enjoyment of people who do not sit there with the back myself. Talk now naturally none of us nobody likes to have any bad spot because you couldn't bear it on the record because when you consider of the replays you know they had it coming. Yeah yeah this is like sitting underneath a pipe that has a leak and it comes down are you awake. Where is it going to hit. Now you know the drop is going to come down from this pipe. But is it going to come. You stop thinking of anything else you know. You wait for that drop and you wait for the family comes. You can't have that on that icon so therefore obvious obvious.
Imperfections have to be eliminated. There's no question about it. But there are less obvious imperfections which really cannot be had except by those who say they are going to because I think so. Back and just answer me has long been an ardent recording conductor and expressed deep satisfaction with the new stereophonic system although he did not agree with the word stereophonic. Yes Stephanie I would call it sterile skull peak really because it is really a vision of the sound in the space. I've often I've felt that rather than a directionality is not so important as the special feeling of a spatial relationships I mean we don't worry so much about the percussion being here oh no no that's not the point that the word pieties. Then the sound is given in the space. Yeah that the the bus but the bus but he will sound for instance if I when I have done in that
system. The like for the ski we head the question may require. When I hear the distance between the seniors Yes I hear then the seniors are not. Close one to the other but there is they are fire. And between the fire and there is air and you feel that. It is amazing just in the short time how the art has advanced of recording since since well since Dec introduced it so far are yours. Yes well but the big point was these great change you know of the two dimension to screen eventually that he said no that that will be a revolution that will be copied and he can never use them. Yes like day and night when when I hear when I do now the recordings we deduced and I hear one other the other that this
told me just like the in it is so different you know. Well the real music I have with a B or A and I heal then the music exactly is I hear it from my desk when I can. Yes. Like an ice dancer me you go in my cave which is an ardent champion of contemporary music. In speaking of the difficulties posed by the often complicated instrumental forces employed by present day composers he cited specifically like I thought Darrius Meo as a work eminently suited to the recording medium. It's a very interesting thing because it is the work of the first work he has composed in collaboration with Claudette. And he was 24 at that time. In this work he has done certain things which were completely new for the epoch. For instance the spoken chorus. Now we have a lot of spoken cars a
few them in his work more or less in the time it was completely new. And also the mixture of the spoken chorus with caution you know that in the clay for 15 person playing the Russian is completely unusual and it was also the first time it was used like that pieces only for the Russian spoken. And I think that if it is it hasn't been recorded a complete till now it's only because it was technically much too difficult and now it's possible to do its magic better. As matter of fact I think better technically recording of them is really astonishing Meo said when he heard it. There it is a way away should only perform my work. But what is interesting is that you know certain sense it's not possible. It's only
possible to read what you write because in the recording for such a work with a heavy orchestra a lot of brasses sometimes it's difficult to get in normal performance. A balance clear enough to really hear the score with Prince barons. You stayed with the recording. One can do the balance one need and it's very interesting because with such a work we discover for mainly because the recording alone was to listen to them more better then. Normal performance the reality is the weather I mean. Yes in a certain sense I cared by the reaction of their use me or the feeling that the recording was representing for him what he had
in mind when he has composed the work. A kind of ideal reading of this call I see. I can tell from this that you have some very definite ideas and opinions about recording. That is to say a recording is not necessarily the same as conducting for a concert. No I would say the contrary that it's necessary different to be really good because it's another point of view and I consider that what is really interesting of the recording is this question of balance which can be much finer than the reality and which has nothing to do with the interpretation the interpretation can be the same and in a certain sense should be the same and as alive as possible. But certain details of interpretation are different for instance in
the direct hearing. I think the silence is different. Silence can be. Longer than in the recall side when you see nothing. There is a dead spot to see what they mean. So but generally certainly for the balance and the beauty of the pitch I think that the recording of the possibility of a kind of off the fiction this has been the second broadcast subtitled The conductor as a recording artist in the series the world of the conductor produced and recorded at station w h y y in Philadelphia under a grant from the National Educational Television and Radio Center and distributed by the National Association of educational broadcasters. This is James Keeler inviting you to join us next week for the program orchestral styles in Europe and America with our guests lampost.
Please note: This content is only available at GBH and the Library of Congress, either due to copyright restrictions or because this content has not yet been reviewed for copyright or privacy issues. For information about on location research, click here.
The world of the conductor
Conductor as recording artist, part 2
Producing Organization
WHYY (Radio station : Philadelphia, Pa.)
Contributing Organization
University of Maryland (College Park, Maryland)
If you have more information about this item than what is given here, or if you have concerns about this record, we want to know! Contact us, indicating the AAPB ID (cpb-aacip/500-cc0tvh0v).
Episode Description
This program, the second of two parts, explores the concept of the conductor as a recording artist, with Erich Leinsdort, Ernest Ansermet and Igor Markevitch.
Other Description
A series of interviews with leading symphonic conductors about aspects of symphonic music and their profession.
Broadcast Date
Media type
Host: Keeler, James
Interviewee: Leinsdorf, Erich, 1912-1993
Interviewee: Markevitch, Igor, 1912-1983
Interviewee: Ansermet, Ernest, 1883-1969
Producing Organization: WHYY (Radio station : Philadelphia, Pa.)
AAPB Contributor Holdings
University of Maryland
Identifier: 62-3-4 (National Association of Educational Broadcasters)
Format: 1/4 inch audio tape
Duration: 00:14:40
If you have a copy of this asset and would like us to add it to our catalog, please contact us.
Chicago: “The world of the conductor; Conductor as recording artist, part 2,” 1962-01-01, University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC, accessed August 20, 2022,
MLA: “The world of the conductor; Conductor as recording artist, part 2.” 1962-01-01. University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Web. August 20, 2022. <>.
APA: The world of the conductor; Conductor as recording artist, part 2. Boston, MA: University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Retrieved from