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Re: imagine, BBC 1, follow the berlin philarmonic on tour

Category: Art
Date:     26 June 2008
Time:     04:01 AM



1. What do classical musicians do?
Bring the written pieces of other fellow musicians (composers) to life. The musicians
recreate/reconstruct the musical ideas of the compositions into actual physical sound. Think of a
whole tapestry of sound, knitted by different sound elements in shades (can be thousands, more or
less) and lengths, floating in space. Live performance, physically, is a journey in sound starting
from silence and to end in silence. Ephemeral. 
2. Why does the orchestra need the conductor, practically?
- Compositions written for large scale orchestra/choir (standard example: between 50 up to 100
members or more) are often complicated in structure and sound texture. 
-While individual musician can listen to and execute/shape well their sound quality on their own
and/or in small groups, it would be extremely difficult for them to be completely aware of other
layers/nuance/balance of a whole greater sound in bigger settings. They need someone with good
ears/great communicating skills there to help them to adjust both in sound balance and timing of
sound producing process. 
3. What does a conductor do, in general
Two steps (simplified)
-First, the conductor should be able to understand the content/essence of the music he/she is going
to reproduce with the orchestra.
-Second, he/she would be able to inspire/convince/encourage/direct the orchestra to execute the
actual sound/time/space/emotions in order to bring out the musical vision perceived from step one.
Hell a lot as a job. 
4. Can musicians loose his/her individuality or to be annoyed by becoming a part of an
orchestra/collective performing someone else's composition under the direction of a
wild-haired-hands-waving man? 
Yes and No
-Yes if they refuse their right to life, so to speak, and view their position as a routine job and
respond to music mechanically or automatically (happens too often). 
-No if they understand that composers-players(including conductors)-audience are just different
parts of a continuous creation. Musicians that I know often mention about the sharing/communicating
quality of music and also state that the sense of urgency/fluidity of recreating-life-on-spot
together during live performances is the most liberating experience. 

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