Skip to main content Accessibility help
×
Home
Hostname: page-component-59b7f5684b-b2xwp Total loading time: 0.352 Render date: 2022-09-29T09:25:45.313Z Has data issue: true Feature Flags: { "shouldUseShareProductTool": true, "shouldUseHypothesis": true, "isUnsiloEnabled": true, "useRatesEcommerce": false, "displayNetworkTab": true, "displayNetworkMapGraph": false, "useSa": true } hasContentIssue true

Postlude Superconductors or Semiconductors? Lessons for Today

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  11 September 2020

Get access

Summary

IN his book The Maestro Myth Norman Lebrecht included a chapter entitled ‘The Search for a Semi-Conductor: Marriner, Munrow, Hogwood and Early Music’. His argument, implied in the chapter heading, is that those who came to prominence directing specialist Baroque and early music groups in the 1970s and 80s, such as the violinist Neville Marriner, the wind player David Munrow or the harpsichordist Christopher Hogwood, were not well enough equipped as conductors to succeed with mainstream orchestras and later music: ‘Despite their commercial success, the feeling lingered that early music specialists were, at best, semi-conductors who excelled in their own small speciality but were no substitute for the genuine article’. Lebrecht was writing almost 30 years ago, but there has been little change since then: early music directors of the younger generation are still by and large failing to turn themselves into ‘the genuine article’, though the exception that proves the rule is the Baroque violinist Andrew Manze, currently principal conductor of the NDR Radiophilharmonie, who has become well known for his performances and recordings of Vaughan Williams.

However, from my perspective Lebrecht misses the point: Marriner, Munrow and Hogwood should surely be judged by whether they excelled ‘in their own small speciality’ rather than by their attempts to conduct later music. Like most people who have written about conducting and conductors, Lebrecht has little sympathy with the subject of this book. In The Maestro Myth he gets from the Bible and the ancient Greeks to Wagner in little more than three pages, inevitably stopping for the received, misleading version of the ‘Lully death myth’ (which I dealt with in the Prelude), and as usual assuming that all was confusion until the maestro with his baton and modern stick technique came to the rescue. Thus it is no surprise that he does not address what for me is the central question: is the baton and modern conducting technique appropriate for early music?

Type
Chapter
Information
Before the Baton
Musical Direction and Conducting in Stuart and Georgian Britain
, pp. 347 - 356
Publisher: Boydell & Brewer
Print publication year: 2020

Access options

Get access to the full version of this content by using one of the access options below. (Log in options will check for institutional or personal access. Content may require purchase if you do not have access.)

Save book to Kindle

To save this book to your Kindle, first ensure coreplatform@cambridge.org is added to your Approved Personal Document E-mail List under your Personal Document Settings on the Manage Your Content and Devices page of your Amazon account. Then enter the ‘name’ part of your Kindle email address below. Find out more about saving to your Kindle.

Note you can select to save to either the @free.kindle.com or @kindle.com variations. ‘@free.kindle.com’ emails are free but can only be saved to your device when it is connected to wi-fi. ‘@kindle.com’ emails can be delivered even when you are not connected to wi-fi, but note that service fees apply.

Find out more about the Kindle Personal Document Service.

Available formats
×

Save book to Dropbox

To save content items to your account, please confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your account. Find out more about saving content to Dropbox.

Available formats
×

Save book to Google Drive

To save content items to your account, please confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your account. Find out more about saving content to Google Drive.

Available formats
×