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I remember a television relay of the rehearsal showing Celibidache losing his temper with the chorus, while a similar occurence occurred almost ten years earlier -- with Oldham in charge -- when Leonard Bernstein made a violent outburst during the CBS-Sony recording session of Stravinsky's Symphony of Psalms at Abbey Road, London.

Both conductors acknowledged the expertise of the London Symphony Chorus, Bernstein making an effusive closing speech to that effect. Their martinet tendencies towards performers, though, could be a bullying ploy for obtaining the exact desired results.

Hickox's style of conducting -- lyrical-dramatic, keeping the music constantly moving forward, knittting all the parts together, appears to have evolved naturally. 'There is no substitute for experience, but like the singer John Shirley Quirk, one learns so much from making recordings and listening constantly to playbacks. I have made over 250. Music must have impulse and possess space. My real understanding of space I learnt from Colin Davis.'

How many chance gambles can you afford to bring into music making? 'If you are trying to copy somebody else then you will never succeed, but if you feel justified this is what the music requires, that's fine. I have been conducting professionally for thirty years and what you learn as you grow older, if you are lucky, is to be yourself. Orchestral players will immediately recognize the fellow who is posing -- you know, the dark glasses with the jacket draped over the shoulder! They can put up with that if the talent is there, but posing during the music means bad rapport.

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Copyright © 10 January 2002 Bill Newman, Edgware, Middlesex, UK







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