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The world of the conductor. A series of programs in which leading conductors of today speak about symphonic music in the 20th century. This is James Keeler inviting you to join us for this program in the series the world of the conductor which has as its subtitle orchestral style. Began. With. The world of the conductor is produced and recorded at 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. Since the end of the Second World War and the introduction of the long playing record audiences throughout the world have been given an opportunity to hear a wide variety of symphony orchestras
from all parts of the earth. As has been evidence through recordings and by concert appearances there has come to the fore a general impression that symphony orchestras vary in their style of playing and in their philosophy of sound according to their national origin in an attempt to get at the root of these differences. We spoke to three of today's leading conductors about this difference in orchestral style particularly in those areas of contrast which distinguish American orchestras from those in Europe. In speaking with Eugene Ormandy we were rather surprised to learn that not long ago he conducted the first performance in Vienna with the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra of the Fifth Symphony of Dmitri Shostakovich. In expressing our surprise we continued the conversation as follows. When you conducted in Vienna this summer yes you told me you conducted the first performance in Vienna of the Fifth Symphony of Shostakovich. That's true. Now it is difficult to
imagine I mean this is a repertory work in the United States. Yes. Seldom does a season go by any of the major orchestras that doesn't appear there is an explanation Mr Killer. That explanation isn't a two fold one it will indirectly give you a picture of how much more music great music and symphonic music is being performed in America which many Americans doubt. And also we'll show you that because by the nature of this so-called Vienna Philharmonic I say so-called because of you know what is really an opera orchestra. You see they form themselves as soon Philharmonic Association and they did this over 100 and some years old as well there was in the world. They started it. So so far back and giving out that was of concerts. Now what can you give in to us to say Program on this. And because the Philharmonic is really the opera orchestra they can only give the concerts either Saturday afternoon
or Sunday morning or both. Now these concerts because they are allowed very few rehearsals three I was lucky to get a fourth rehearsal but I had to fight for it. All right with three muscles and a bit of Betty would have weighed a very conservative audience who will just jam the hall to hear the Bruckner fifth sixth seventh or eighth or ninth or any of the first four. Three times a week if you if you were able to give it to them and Mahler who is a little less but still popular very popular out there. And of course Beethoven would always be the number one composer of The End is he parades with all these special favorites of Vienna and people demanding the classics and romantics. There is little chance gave their mothers and they voices a Viennese way bastes is strongly influenced by the German school of musical thinking
will always look down upon French music. They obviously there is no rose be feeling well we don't want any new downfall. They just know that if you begin you can have also desert of others saw it and you don't always have to be but it's difficult for them to understand and I cannot forget my experience when I found out that another Viennese orchestra some years back let me do them for I had an awful time to explain it to the first group is what it was all about. You just didn't see any music in it. It was a waste of time that they were on. Now I have a feeling that the German and Viennese orchestras think harmonically rather than contrapuntally and you get it you come out with these big thick sounds that in Debussy and Ravel just don't really belong. Yes I don't understand it. It will be a German approach they play a lot. I better go back about 20 as when I when I was just a second year in Minneapolis I connected in Vienna via the very fine Vienna symphony orchestra
it was very fine Dan. I don't know how they play now. And I insisted on doing the same for me. Now I know you will live and I'm sure your audience will laugh and nobody will believe it that it was a first performance in Vienna and you will laugh even more when I tell you they said let me sort of a neo classic is a very poor copy of Brooklyn. And I didn't like it and I played it very well really very well. They gave everything they had because I told them it's a great way. But they didn't believe it. By just listening to the news at the time of recording a conversation with Les Paul Stokowski he had just returned from conducting in Eastern Europe and in the Soviet Union. In a further attempt to pin down the reason for divergent orchestral styles we posed the following question to him. As you have travelled over all the world conducting. Have you noticed or is now as it's a matter of the conductor of the musicians themselves we so often say well this is records this is a French orchestra
other than the obvious fact that the French horns have a play with a broad Oh in France and in with Russian orchestras also we we had this very dry quality to a French orchestra we have what. Well I can only call the harmonically conceived sound of the German orchestra these because of the national background of the players or are these brought on by the conductors themselves. I think there are many causes. One is the difference actually of the instruments. For example the German and the French persona need time and bassoon quite different to different instruments have different fingering even. And of course a very different tone quality. So that's one difference is the instrument then the player has the personality of the play as the kind of Italian the vast city and warmth and the German more solid and. Men
masculine attitude. All of these things come out and then that is the what they have inherited from the history of their country. In all the aughts and in life. And sometimes in great difficulties of life for example the country of my ancestors Poland has always been crushed between two great powers Russia and Germany and that history has been one of war and destruction and war and destruction for many centuries. And naturally that has created in the Polish people a certain personality a reaction toward trouble toward pain toward misery sometimes. And in the moments
between for example when a ski became the president of Poland Poland had for a short time a wonderful period of freedom and happiness and that gave them the guarantee that they have. I'm going back there soon to conduct I've just been there recently and I see all these characteristics generally speaking in the people and in the orchestras there just as a first class in that country particularly in Bashara. And all these characteristics and their way of playing. We have in America quite different conditions orchestras composed of all kinds of nationalities because we are a melting pot of all the nations and many of the most talented musicians now living in America are from some other countries. And at the same time many born
Americans and have had all their study life all the education general education the musical education here. So we are creating another kind of orchestra and it is a question of everybody's right to his own opinion. How that how they like it or they don't like it. So. That is freedom. Yes the freedom to respond to a lie or not to lie. Nobody has to go to a concert if they don't want to. If they don't like that or coaster then or like that program they can stay away. Igor mark a bitch is one of today's most highly traveled conductors having conducted not only in Europe and in the United States but also in South America. We asked him to compare the different philosophies of performance which you have noted particularly in America and in Europe. I wondered you who have conducted well these two
continents What are your impressions of the orchestral styles of let's say a Berlin Philharmonic compared to what we have here. The extremely different engine. But the buildings you know money is one of the rare Orcus that in Europe we can compare with American one. I must tell you that I'd like very much to work with and make an orchestra not first we have among them except from the good elements but human elite. I think they're extraordinarily cooperative and the work with them is. Generally extremely easy. Nearly speaking it's difficult to explain you but I have this sort of feeling that the musicians here are more interested in their own orchestra than in the other
part although I was surprised when I met the musicians of the Philadelphia Orchestra in the Havana that they all know about. They all know about our program asked me about the piece of meat we will perform together which would never happen. In Europe they never. Generally they don't know what we will play the next day. I see. This kind of interest is something unusual for us and we represent also a great deal of quality because they've all directly involved in their own activity. They try to improve every detail. For this reason they get such a result. Where we are we often hear and I notice myself that in the in this
can be reflected in the playing. Oh yeah there's another NATO spirit which is also the fact that they generally only busy leave their own orchestra instead in the other part of the. The musicians of all. If so there needs to be to give lessons to have the thing so they're not so concentrated in their sight in the field. Though there are all this in an attempt to pinpoint differences in the style of our Castro performance throughout the world. We've been speaking with Eugene Ormandy polled Stokowski and Igor mark a bitch during this program in the series the world of the conductor. This is James Keeler inviting you to join us next week when we'll be speaking with Igor mark a bitch about the music of Franz bearable and with Leinsdorf about the music about the who sell and Pater Cornelius in the program subtitled
among the lesser lights. In. The world of the conductor is produced and recorded at station w h y y in Philadelphia under a grant from the National Educational Television and Radio Center and is being distributed by the National Association of educational broadcasters. This is the end E.B. Radio Network.
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The world of the conductor
Orchestral styles
Producing Organization
WHYY (Radio station : Philadelphia, Pa.)
Contributing Organization
University of Maryland (College Park, Maryland)
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Episode Description
Orchestral styles with Eugene Ormandy, Leopold Stokowski and Igor Markevitch.
Series 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: Stokowski, Leopold, 1882-1977
Interviewee: Markevitch, Igor, 1912-1983
Interviewee: Ormandy, Eugene, 1899-1985
Producing Organization: WHYY (Radio station : Philadelphia, Pa.)
AAPB Contributor Holdings
University of Maryland
Identifier: 62-3-5 (National Association of Educational Broadcasters)
Format: 1/4 inch audio tape
Duration: 00:14:28
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Chicago: “The world of the conductor; Orchestral styles,” 1962-01-01, University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC, accessed April 21, 2024,
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APA: The world of the conductor; Orchestral styles. Boston, MA: University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Retrieved from