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Thread: Freedom of Conductors

  1. #1
    Recruit, Pianissimo
    Join Date
    Sep 2009
    Boulder, Colorado, USA

    Freedom of Conductors

    I've been studying 'The Planets' of Gustav Holst (from 1915). In his opening piece 'Mars - The Bringer of War', Holst scores most of the string sections to begin with 'col legno' passages for several bars. This is a technical term for the strings to use the bow on the wood side, not on the bow side. But as I've been watching Seiji Ozawa's conducting the Tokyo Symphony at:

    Ozawa has the strings playing this opening passage 'col arco', with the bow side. Is this a freedom of the conductor to emphasize the subtlety of gradations in sound that Holst has written so masterfully in 'The Planets'?


  2. #2
    Admiral of Fugues Contratrombone64's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Sydney, Australia
    depends entirely on how you hold the bow. There are two ways of doing this (I know, I'm a string player, or was). You either invert your bow and hold it exactly 180 degrees OR you turn your right wrist away from yourself and then play on the wood but with the hair still clearly visible.
    I'm not an atheist and I don't think I can call myself a pantheist. We are in the position of a little child entering a huge library filled with books in many different languages. The child knows someone must have written those books. It does not know how. The child dimly suspects a mysterious order in the arrangement of the books but doesn't know what it is. That, it seems to me, is the attitude of even the most intelligent human being toward God.
    —Albert Einstein.

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