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Journal of the

Conductors Guild

Volume 22, Nos. 1 & 2

Winter/Spring - Summer/Fall 2001

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Table of Contents

page 1

The Metronome Indications in

Beethovens Symphonies
by Max Rudolf

page 2

Harlan Parker, President
Emily Freeman Brown, President-elect
Michael Griffith, Vice-President

Tonu Kalam, Secretary

Frederick Peter Morden, Treasurer
Wes Kenney, Past-President

Board of Directors
Virginia A. Allen
Henry Bloch*
Glenn Block
Mark Cedel
Charles P. Conrad*
William H. Curry
Sandra Dackow
Allan Dennis
Robert Freeman

Jonathan D. Green*
Murray Gross
Alan Harler
Thomas Joiner
Anthony LaGruth
Michael Luxner
Kirk Muspratt
Melinda ONeal
Mark Scatterday

Lawrence L. Smith
Mariusz Smolij
Jonathan Sternberg*
Alton Thompson
Diane M. Wittry
Burton Zipser*
* ex-officio

Advisory Council
Adrian Gnam
Samuel Jones
Daniel Lewis
Larry Newland
Maurice Peress

Charles Ansbacher
Michael Charry
Sergiu Comissiona
Harold Farberman
Lukas Foss

Donald Portnoy
Barbara Schubert
Gunther Schuller

Theodore Thomas Award Winners

Claudio Abbado
Maurice Abravanel
Leon Barzin
Leonard Bernstein
Pierre Boulez

Frederick Fennel
Margaret Hillis
James Levine
Kurt Masur
Max Rudolf

Robert Shaw
Leonard Slatkin
Sir Georg Solti

Thelma A. Robinson Award Winners

Miriam Burns
Laura Rexroth
Kevin Geraldi Annunziata Tomaro

Beatrice Jona Affron

Eric Bell

Steven Martyn Zike

A Pilot Study of the Expressive

page 14
Gestures Used by Classical
Orchestra Conductors
by Thring Brm and Penny Boyes Braem
Beautys Plea: An Introduction
to the Music of William Alwyn
by Brian Murphy

page 30

Organizing and Conducting

the College-Community Orchestra
by Victor Vallo Jr.

page 45

A Study of Student Community

Orchestras in the United States
and Canada
by Dr. Lynn Schenbeck and
Rebecca Jones Rose

page 51

Engaging the Head Voice:

Simple Exercises for Amateur
Community Choirs
by Welborne E. Young

page 66

Francis Poulencs Gloria:

Corrections to the New (1969)
Full Score
by Lee G. Barrow

page 71

Books in Review

page 78

Max Rudolf Award Winners

Gustav Meier

Otto-Werner Mueller

Gunther Schuller

Journal of the Conductors Guild
Founding Editor

Jonathan D. Green
Jacques Voois

Production Staff
Executive Director
Publications Coordinator
Administrative Assistant

R. Kevin Paul
Sarabeth Gheith
Sarabeth Gheith
Quicker Printers

The publication date of the present double issue of the Journal of the Conductors Guild is
July, 2002; consequently the publication date and the issue date do not coincide. Effective Volume
13, the Journal of the Conductors Guild has been published semi-annually, the two issues
being numbered 1 and 2; the seasonal references remain unchanged, as is its length. The

Conductors Guild reserves the right to approve and edit all material submitted for publication. Publication of advertising is not necessarily an endorsement and the
Conductors Guild reserves the right to refuse to print any advertisement. Library of Congress
No. 82-644733. Copyright 2002 by Conductors Guild, Inc. All rights reserved.ISSN: 0734-1032.

Craig Kirchhoff, Series Advisor,

Windependence: A Repertoire
Series for Wind Bands
reviewed by Tom Erdmann
John Canarina, Uncle Sams
Orchestra, Memories of the
Seventh Army Symphony
reviewed by Henry Bloch
Carl S. Leafsteadt, Inside
Bluebeards Castle, (Music and
Drama in Bela Bartks Opera)
reviewed by Henry Bloch
Michael Stern (Ed.), Max
Rudolf: A Musical Life,
Writings and Letters
reviewed by John Canarina

This issue of the Journal is a departure from the norm in that a number of articles are specifically dedicated to the
topic of community ensembles. This may in fact not be a departure since our goal has been to meet the needs of our
membership, and as that membership has grown, we have an ever-larger number of members who conduct communitybased, volunteer ensembles.
Victor Vallo has prepared a set of guidelines for establishing and leading a college-community orchestra. Lyn Schenbeck
and Rebecca Jones present the results of their broad-based study of such ensembles in the U.S. and Canada. The
statistical anomalies are sometimes dumbfounding and sometimes encouraging. If you direct such an ensemble, you
may find that the peculiar vagaries of your situation are not unique, and hopefully the integrated anecdotes will prove
useful in addressing problems in your own groups. Welborne E. Young offers us some useful exercises to engage the
head voice in amateur choirs. Thomas Erdmann reviews a new wind band series that may provide new repertoire
and new editions for community band programs. Lee G. Barrow has prepared an errata list for the new edition of
Poulencs Gloria, a work visited by many community choirs.
You will also find provocative and nostalgic inclusions. John Canarina reviews the new anthology of Max Rudolfs
writings. As many of you know, Max was probably the most prolific contributor of articles to this publication. His
essay on Beethovens metronome markings, which appeared in our first issue, remains our most requested reprint.
We have therefore begun this issue with a reprint of that article and we close with Johns review. Also be sure to read
Henry Blochs review of John Canarinas wonderful book about the Seventh Army Symphony. Our thanks go to
Tonu Kalam for bringing the Brm and Braem article to our attention. This is a fascinating study of the conductorial
gestures from the perspective of gestural semiotics. You may never look in the mirror the same way again. Brian
Murphy has written a valuable introduction to the music of British composer, William Alwyn, whose works are
quickly gaining long-deserved recognition.
I hope that as you prepare for your coming seasons, you find some kernels of aid and encouragement in these pages.

Jonathan Green

JCG Vol. 22, Nos. 1 & 2

The Metronome Indications In Beethovens Symphonies

By Max Rudolf
This article first appeared in JCG Volume 1, Number 1 in 1980.

After more than a century of unsuccessful attempts to
construct an efficient tool for measuring speed in music,
Maelzels Metronome entered the market in 1816. It met
with quick and enthusiastic acceptance. Within a few years,
the abbreviation M.M., followed by note symbol, equal
sign, and number started to appear in printed music. Even
before this became a custom, Beethoven had published a
list of metronome markings for eight symphonies.
Beethoven moved to Vienna the same year as Maelzel
and was a frequent visitor to the inventors workshop.
While laboring on an earlier model known as a
chronometer, Maelzel consulted with the composer who
is said to have voiced doubts regarding the instruments
usefulness. Still, Beethovens name was listed together
with other composers who, according to an official
announcement in 1813, recommended the chronometer
as a device to determine the correct tempo of every
movement at the first reading of a score.
The metronome, an improved version of the chronometer,
had Beethovens full approval. In addition to a public
declaration which he co-signed with Antonio Salieri,
Beethovens letters, over a period of ten years, tell of his
continued interest and satisfaction. Three months before
his death, he wrote to his publisher who was then printing
the first edition of the Missa solemnis: Metronome
markings will follow soon. Wait for them. Certainly, in
our century they are necessary. Also, letters from Berlin
inform me that the first performance of the symphony
(No. 9) took place with enthusiastic applause, which I
attribute mainly to the metronome markings. We can hardly
have tempi ordinari any longer, because one must be
guided by the ideas of the free genius. In the face of

JCG Vol. 22, Nos. 1 & 2

ample testimony to Beethovens appreciation of the

metronome, the one negative remark, to the devil with
all mechanisms, does not carry weight. It was made in a
moment of nervous tension (Beethovens nephew had
just attempted suicide) and combined with the words the
metronome markings follow.
Beethovens interest in this brand-new invention must be
seen in the light of a development that had taken place
during the second half of the 18th century. A new desire
for individual expression had sprung up in the creative
arts. In music, the traditional tempo categories no longer
satisfied composers who regarded differentiation in pacing
as an integral part of musical expression and wanted to
protect the interpretation of their works against
misreadings by performers. Contemporary treatises
warned performers not to express their own feelings but
those of the composers. Against this background we can
fully understand why the metronome was hailed as the
long-awaited device to provide specific information about
tempo. Enthusiastic Viennese musicians predicted that in
the future, performers would never again be in doubt about
the pace of music of the past. It was even suggested that
metronome indications should be added to the works of
Gluck and Mozart while the true tradition was still alive.
These proposals underscore the composers obvious
distrust regarding the performers ability to choose the
proper tempo. Mozart, who had called tempo the most
important and difficult thing in music, could be highly critical
of musicians who failed to grasp the right pace.
Beethovens attitude was not different. It is said that when
friends reported on performances of his works,
Beethovens first question was, How were the tempos?


transforms the movement into an easygoing Allegro ma

non tanto, a tempo category that Beethoven chose for a
Thanks to composers who had steadfastly believed in section in Symphony No. 9 with the marking h = 120.
the metronomes usefulness, Maelzels mechanism and
its modern equivalents have been thriving for more than Measuring musical speed is a ticklish, often frustrating
160 years. Its function has never been better defined than venture. Technical questions, such as playability, are part
by Berlioz who used it consistently and, in his essay on of the problem, but most of the time the uncertainty must
The Conductors Art, presented his thoughts on the be attributed to psychological factors. A tempo may
metronome clearly and strongly. He pointed to the appear perfect today, but uncomfortable when tested
conductors plight caused by vague tempo markings; he tomorrow; after a weeks lapse a third tempo may turn
wondered whether the various degrees of slowness out to be more satisfactory. It is not surprising, then, that
within a tempo such as Largo should be determined by Beethoven, in letters to his publisher, pleaded for more
the conductors individual feelings. His answer was: This time to prepare metronome markings. Unfortunately, due
is a question of the composers, not the conductors to procrastination some of them were never delivered.
feelings. Composers must therefore not neglect
metronome indications in their works and conductors are No matter how much time and care is given to
obliged to study them well. To neglect this study would experimentation in the studio, the only place where the
speed of orchestral music can be successfully measured
be an act of dishonesty on the part of the conductor.
is in the concert hall. Even then, metronome figures ought
Berliozs request study them well must not be to be tested on several occasions. Problems caused by
understood in the sense of subjecting music to an inflexible untested printed metronome figures are well known to
beat. In the same essay, he warned against lifeless time- conductors who have discussed tempos with composers
beating. Only in rare cases does a metronome figure fit a during rehearsals or after concerts. Igor Stravinsky, a most
movement like a glove from start to finish as, for instance, articulate composer, once remarked that he did not
in the Allegretto scherzando of Beethovens Eighth observe to the letter all of his printed metronome
Symphony. When Beethoven began using the metronome, indications when conducting his works. Apparently, some
he made it clear that music in need of tempo flexibility of his ideas had changed in the course of repeated
ought not to be hampered by metronome-like rigidity. In performances. It is true that metronome alterations made
February, 1817, he wrote on the autograph of a song: by composers rarely exceed a few metronome degrees
100 according to Maelzel, but this applies only to the and do not affect the musics basic conception. Yet, the
first measures, since feeling (Empfindung) also has its very need for changing printed markings proves that the
measure. This, however, cannot be expressed quite well originals do not necessarily provide exact information.
at this rate, namely 100. Although Beethoven referred For this reason, some composers now indicate a tempo
here to a strophic song, contemporary reports on his range between two given metronome figures, or add
performing habits indicate that he was not averse to tempo modifying markings during the course of a movement.
modifications, if they remained within a generally steady pulse.
In modern scores, metronome indications are readily
Musicians may disagree on where to draw the line accepted as an essential and welcome guide to a
between minor and major tempo fluctuations, yet their composers intentions. By contrast, they are frequently
judgment is usually unanimous in cases where the choice ignored in works written in the 19th century. One must
of tempo unquestionably affects the musics fundamental assume, therefore, that performers either believe that
character. If, for instance, Beethovens marking w = 80 metronome readings of former times are unreliable, or
for the Allegro vivace in Symphony No. 4 was not prefer to choose a tempo without regard for the
followed to the letter, but reduced to w = 76, the intended composers wishes. Beethovens symphonies are among
liveliness and excitement would be preserved. However, the works whose metronome markings are still being given
a reduction to h = 126 (suggested by Weingartner) a low credibility rating by many conductors. In fact,

JCG Vol. 22, Nos. 1 & 2

prominent members of the profession have recommended

that these markings be disregarded altogether. Before
considering the case in detail, it seems proper to seek
basic information concerning the reliability of Beethovens
metronome indications.

and-a-half years after the works premiere. It is extant

and available in photocopy. Though written by his nephew,
it bears the composers signature. Furthermore, a
conversation book reveals that uncle and nephew had
taken pains to recheck the figures before mailing the list.


For the other symphonies, the sole source is the

aforementioned list printed in the Allgemeine
Musikalische Zeitung of December, 1817; it bears the
sub-heading determined by the author himself according
to Maelzels metronome. In Symphony No. 3, one
misprint (also found in some printed scores) is probable.
The concluding Presto is marked e = 116, though there
is little doubt that it should read q = 116. Whether this is
the only error on the list cannot be verified. The lists
general appearance however gives the impression that it
was prepared with reasonable care.

(1) Were metronome readings in Beethovens time

significantly different from those derived from
modern instruments? Some - though not all - electric
metronomes, come close to being accurate. However,
the performance of spring-driven models, be it the timehonored Maelzel type or the watch-like pocket
metronome, is hardly ever free of irregularities. The beat
may be lopsided, the calibration inexact, or the tick may
slow down as the spring unwinds. Moreover, metronomes
deteriorate unless kept in perfect condition. With these
and other uncertainties in mind, scholars have examined
existing original models built by Maelzel and have
established that their readings were not significantly at
variance with those derived from modern metronomes.
(2) Was Beethovens metronome faulty? Only a single
model existed in his day. At first, it was enclosed in a
metal box, later in a wooden box, though of identical
construction, with a notched pendulum calibrated from
50 to 160 (The story of two different models was one of
the numerous fabrications by Anton Schindler.)
Beethoven, after years of discussions with Maelzel, was
certainly familiar with the metronomes action and keenly
aware of calibration problems. It can, therefore, be taken
for granted that the 60-tick on his metronome
corresponded exactly to one second although we have
no way of knowing that he checked every notch on the
scale. We know also that he cared about his metronomes
performance. In 1825, shortly after having complained
that its readings were still shaky, he brought it to a
watchmakers shop to have it regain its steady pulse.
On all counts, there is no reason to suspect that
Beethovens personal metronome was not handled with
care, or that it was less reliable than other instruments of
its kind.

Incorrect metronome markings that, due to printing errors,

have been perpetuated in various editions of Beethovens
symphonies, are not mentioned here. In this article, all
figures are quoted from the original lists.
(4) Was Beethoven less skillful in handling the
metronome than later composers? First, we should
ask by what criteria such a skill is to be judged. Playability
is an important consideration; an overly fast metronome
speed that prohibits clear execution of all the notes
obviously calls for adjustment. Technical problems,
however, seldom interfere with the application of
Beethovens metronome markings. Their validity has been
questioned mainly because conductors believe them to
be incongruous with the appropriate musical expression.
For an illustration, we turn to Weingartners much-read
essay On the Performance of Beethovens Symphonies.
In it, he defines the Trio in Symphony No. 7 as a radiantly
cheerful and movingly heartfelt song while recommending
as the right tempo a metronome speed of h . = 60, a
rather drastic deviation from the original h . = 84. Other
conductors have performed the same music at h . = 7680, a relatively insignificant reduction that leaves the basic
character of the Trio unchanged.

Similar examples that demonstrate the relationship

(3) Are the metronome figures in Beethovens between a movements metronome marking and its
symphonies free of misprints? For Symphony No. 9, intrinsic meaning can be drawn from all nine symphonies.
Beethoven prepared a list of metronome markings two- It seems, therefore, that in fairness to Beethoven, one

JCG Vol. 22, Nos. 1 & 2

should not question his results without first investigating

how he arrived at a given metronome figure. While
handling the metronome, he probably proceeded like any
other musician, namely singing, humming, gesturing, or
perhaps thinking the music, except when he used the
piano, as he did while working on the list for Symphony
No. 9. Understandably, none of those methods were
foolproof. On the other hand, by the end of 1817
Beethoven had obviously gained valuable experience
through having conducted, or listened to, numerous
performances of his symphonies. It has been suggested
that by 1817, he had lost the proper feeling for works
composed between 1800 and 1812. It seems absurd
that he could have misjudged his own music to the point
of distorting its character. Moreover, performances of
Symphonies Nos. 7 and 8 had occurred fairly recently. It
appears unlikely, therefore, that Beethoven could have
been significantly afield when measuring the pace for these
two works. Stated differently, it would seem logical that
the ten metronome figures appearing in these two scores
(measured at the same time with the use of the same
instrument!) were either all inaccurate or all sufficiently
valid to warrant careful study.
Not all conductors have shared this view. Weingartner,
for one, accepted only four of the ten markings without
reservation. He challenged the remaining six. For the
Allegretto in Symphony No. 8, he called Beethovens
e = 88 a well-chosen tempo. Yet, assuming the 88notch on the scale of Beethovens metronome (hardly
distinguishable in performance from 84) functioned
satisfactorily, how then could the 84-notch indicated for
the Trio of Symphony No. 7 be completely false as
Weingartner believed!

markings or at least by staying close to them. This

acceptance rate may seem low, but other 19th century
composers do not fare much better. Beethoven, however,
for unexplained reasons has been singled out for unusually
severe and persistent criticism. The following example
demonstrates that this judgment is not easily supported
by logic. In the Marcia funebre in Symphony No. 3,
prominent conductors (as their recordings prove)
accepted Beethovens marking e = 80 for the
recapitulation at bar 105, thereby endorsing the soundness
of the composers judgment. Yet, the same conductors
rejected this marking at the start of the movement for
which they chose a speed of e = 52. One cannot help
wondering whether the vision of a funeral march calls for
a much livelier gait a few minutes after the march has
begun. Apparently, Beethoven had not visualized it this
way. In any event, an interpreters questionable idea
should not result in criticism of Beethovens handling of
his metronome.
(5) Can disregard for Beethovens metronome
indications be related to shifting performance
habits? By the middle of the 19th century, a new
approach to the interpretation of Beethovens music was
set into motion by the New-German school. Wagner
and Liszt were its protagonists, joined later by Hans von
Bulow. In 1844, a music journal reported that under
Liszts direction Beethovens symphonies were played
more slowly than had been customary. Musicians
supporting the new movement gave praise to Liszt, which
by inference criticized Mendelssohn, who represented
the older tradition. Schumann, in his reviews of the
Gewandhaus Concerts, largely agreed with Mendelssohn
regarding Beethovens tempos. On the other hand, he
disliked Wagners treatment of the masters music. After
a performance of Fidelio, Schumann reported: bad
performance and unbelievable choice of tempo by R.
Wagner. Wagner, in turn, violently criticized
Mendelssohns interpretations of Beethovens
symphonies, calling them superficial and finding the tempos
unduly rushed.

Various theories have been proposed to explain how and

why Beethoven bungled his metronome readings. Some
claim that he missed the right notch when moving the
pendulums weight; others that he looked at the scale
from a wrong angle. Aside from the fact that speculations
of this sort imply a low opinion of Beethovens
intelligence, they by no means explain how, in the same
score, one figure can be judged faulty, another perfect
We do not know how fast Mendelssohns tempos were
unless we attribute the latter to potluck.
nor how slow were those taken by Wagner and Liszt.
Of the 60 metronome indications in Beethovens Nonetheless we can draw conclusions from the fact that
symphonies, about 20 are currently observed in most Mendelssohn, like Schumann, was a traditionalist. Even
performances, either by literally heeding the original before taking charge of the Gewandhaus Concerts eight
JCG Vol. 22, Nos. 1 & 2

marking that the music was indeed to be felt in one beat

to the measure. Weingartner should not have assumed
that Beethovens markings were always related to beating
patterns. This, after all, was a strictly technical matter
with which the composer was unconcerned. Actually, if
this Allegro were to be felt in two beats ma non tanto
would not have made sense. Through the addition of h =
66, Beethoven made it clear that the ma non tanto
referred to a whole-bar meter. N. B. Long stretches in
this movement can be directed with one leisurely beat to
It must be remembered that this new approach to musical the measure; some conductors might prefer to begin the
interpretation coincided with a radical change in concert movement with a slightly slower two beat in preparation
programming. For the first time in music history, the for the fermata in bar four.
masterworks of the past began to play a dominant role in
orchestral concerts. Consequently their interpretation was Beethovens metronome indications can also be used to
increasingly subjected to shifting performance habits. By dispel the notion that every classic symphony ought to
the end of the century, the interpretive ideas of conductors include a slow movement characterized by quiet
belonging to the New-German school had been widely contemplation and emotional depth. Actually, a fairly large
accepted. These ideas include a proclivity for a ponderous number of classic symphonies, sonatas, and ensemble
works do not contain movements of this type, as we see
treatment of the slower movements in classic music.
in Beethovens symphonies Nos. 1, 7, and 8. During the
In our time, the interpretation of Beethovens symphonies 18th and into the 19th century, composers used the
still shows the influence of these late-romantic ideas, a designation Adagio for movements whose expression
practice that would undoubtedly lose ground if the warranted a really slow pace. This did not apply to music
composers metronome indications were taken seriously. marked Andante or even Larghetto, especially when
written in 3/8 time. Beethoven documented this by his
choice of metronome speeds for the so-called slow
movements in symphonies Nos. 2 and 5.
Musicians who denounce the validity of Beethovens
metronome indications argue that many of them contradict Some conductors maintain that all slow introductions must
his own Italian tempo markings and that the resulting be in a mathematical ratio to the adjoining fast sections of
tempos are often incompatible with the musical context. a symphony. To apply this theory to the five examples in
Those taking an opposite view believe that Beethovens Beethovens symphonies would be contrary to his
dislike for the traditional tempo designations was justified intentions. The metronome markings clearly show that
and that his metronome markings are safer in preventing he preferred the element of surprise to that of
years after Beethovens death, he had associated with
musicians who had heard Beethoven perform his
symphonies. Besides, Mendelssohn had an integrity which
respected a composers wishes (he declined to edit a
Handel score unless his additions were clearly discernable
from the original version) while Wagner, a strong-willed
individualist, was indifferent to stylistic considerations as
demonstrated by his romanticized arrangement of
Palestrinas Stabat Mater.

In reference to the Allegro ma non tanto that opens

Symphony No. 6, Weingartner declared categorically,
The metronome indication ( h = 66) is too fast and also
gives the erroneous impression that this movement is to
be conducted with one beat to the bar. I suggest about
q = 108. Weingartner apparently ignores the fact that
Beethoven could have written q = 132 (as he did in the
same symphony for an Allegro that requires a duple
meter) but rather wanted to indicate by his metronome

JCG Vol. 22, Nos. 1 & 2

The following list of Beethovens metronome figures
corresponds to the authentic sources. The comments that
are added to the listing for each symphony are not meant
to infringe upon the conductors prerogative to interpret
music as he deems best. After all, his decisions regarding
the choice of tempo should be influenced by a variety of
factors including such practical considerations as the

players ability and the halls acoustics. The three abbreviations are: ML (refers to Beethovens metronome list
of 1817); L (refers to the letter concerning Symphony No. 9); and ? (refers to textual problems).


Adagio molto
Allegro con brio
Andante cantabile con moto
Menuetto. Allegro molto e vivace
Allegro molto e vivace


e = 88
h = 112
e = 120
h . = 108
e = 63
h = 88

1. The designation Adagio molto could be misunderstood without the metronome marking. For the Molto
Adagio 4/4 in the String Quartet Op. 59, II, Beethoven indicated an even faster pace, q = 60.
3. Because of the triplets and dotted rhythms that occur in this movement, conductors are inclined to reduce
the speed by 6-8 metronome degrees, even though the music suggests a lyric scherzando, not a slow movement.
6. This extreme metronome speed tells the conductor to play the movement at the maximum pace his players
can master.


Adagio molto
Allegro con brio
Scherzo. Allegro
Allegro molto


e = 84
h = 100
e = 92
h . = 100
h = 84

1. ML: Adagio (without molto), also in the first printed edition of the score. The autographs for symphonies
Nos. 1, 2, and 3 unfortunately are lost. This void causes numerous uncertainties.
2. This metronome marking gives the impression of a keyboard tempo. An ever-so-slight reduction from 100
to 98 creates an orchestra tempo.
3. Here, the metronome speed seems to have been chosen to apply to the entire movement. If we are to
believe Anton Schindler, the composer wanted the passage beginning at measure 75 to be treated as an
Allegretto. Most conductors begin the movement slightly slower than e = 92. However, it must be remembered
that Larghetto belonged traditionally to the Andante group and that Beethoven, in his arrangement of the
symphony for piano trio, changed the marking to Larghetto quasi Andante.
5. A very minor adjustment from 152 to 146 establishes a tempo with which the players can feel more comfortable.

JCG Vol. 22, Nos. 1 & 2


Allegro con brio

Marcia funebre. Adagio assai
Scherzo. Allegro vivace
Alla breve
Finale. Allegro molto
Poco Andante



= 60
= 80
= 116
= 116
= 76
= 108
= 116

1. The metronome marking is appropriate for an Allegro con brio, though it is unlikely that Beethoven intended,
the beat to be relentlessly maintained throughout the movement.
2. See Chapter III, 4.
5. It must be assumed that the metronome speed refers to the first eleven bars. It does not indicate the movements
main tempo. The finale of Beethovens Prometheus ballet, which utilizes the same thematic material, is marked
Allegretto. The absence of an applicable tempo marking for this movement is only one of the textual problems in
the Eroica score caused by the lack of reliable sources (see comment 1, Symphony No. 2).
6. At present, conductors perform this passage at about e = 88, a metronome speed which Beethoven selected for
a Poco Adagio (String Quartet Op. 18, V). Obviously, by choosing pocoAndante for this music, he was
thinking of a more flowing pace. We have here yet another instance in which a noticeable deviation from the metronome
marking affects the musical expression in a manner not intended by the composer.
7. The designation Presto as well as the musical context (including the measured 32nd-notes in the strings) support
the assumption of a misprint: it should read q =116.


Allegro vivace
Allegro vivace
Trio. Un poco meno Allegro
Allegro ma non troppo


q = 66
w = 80
e = 84
h . = 100
h . = 88
h = 80

2. See comment 2, Symphony No. 2.

6. See the paragraph discussing the first movement of Symphony No. 6 in Chapter IV. Here again, ma non troppo
would not make sense unless applied to the meter of a whole bar. Still, a reduction to h = 76-74 will be appreciated

JCG Vol. 22, Nos. 1 & 2

by the solo bassoon. Regardless of the tempo, a 2-beat is needed for the start, even though a 1-beat is appropriate
for certain passages


Allegro can brio

Andante con moto
Pi moto


h = 108
e = 92
e = 116
h . = 96
h = 84
w = 112

1. Conductors must decide for themselves whether to take Beethovens metronome speed literally. Such an
interpretation would mean storming through the movement with unflagging vehemence. The alternative is to treat this
metronome figure as among those which are on the fast side. See also comment 2, Symphony No. 2.
2. Before deciding on a noticeably slower tempo than the one indicated, one ought to remember that the Larghetto
in Symphony No. 2 received an identical marking. Practically speaking one must be aware that while testing the
speed for these two movements, the composer used the same metronome and arrived at the same pulse!
5. It is worth noting that Beethoven was not on the fast side! The metronome figure indicates a moderately fast


Allegro ma non troppo

Andante molto moto
a tempo Allegro


h = 66
q . = 50
h . = 108
q = 132
h = 80
q . = 60

1. See comments in Chapter IV.

2. ML: Andante con moto.
3. ML: Allegretto.
6. Conductors who like to increase the speed in the course of the movement may feel encouraged by reports that
Beethoven took liberties when performing his piano music.

JCG Vol. 22, Nos. 1 & 2

5. See comment in Chapter III, 4.
6. ML: Allegro. In this movement, we cannot tell whether con brio was omitted by the printer or missing in the
copy prepared by the composer. If we compare this metronome figure with h = 108 chosen by Beethoven for the
Allegro con brio in Symphony No. 5 (also written in 2/4 time), we would discover that his distrust of Italian tempo
markings appears to be justified.

1. ML: Allegro vivace. see comment 2, Symphony No. 2.
3. This metronome figure has been disputed although the pace is typical of a Tempo di Menuetto [compare q =
120 in the Septet Op. 20, and the Menuetto (Grazioso) in the String Quartet Op. 59, III marked q = 116]. For
the Trio, however, this tempo does seem rushed. Interpretively, conductors have three choices: 1) to apply Beethovens
marking literally (causing the Trio to sound rough and hectic); 2) to reduce the speed slightly for the entire movement;
or 3) to reduce tempo only in the Trio.
4. This movement has been performed by virtuoso orchestras at w = 80-82 which is quite close to Beethovens
optimistic marking. Any good professional group should be able to play the movement at w = 76.

The handwritten list (see Chapter III, 3) was sent to Beethovens publisher, B. Schott in Mainz, on October 13,
1826. It was accompanied by a letter which read; I am using the remaining part of the summer for recreation in the
country, because it was impossible for me to leave Vienna this summer. During this time I have prepared metronome
indications for the entire symphony and enclose the tempos herewith.
The list is clearly written and constitutes the only original source for Beethovens metronome figures. Dots, missing
after some half-notes in 3/4 time have been added here. Had Beethoven doubted the validity of the list, he would not
have spoken of its good effects on the Berlin performance.
Despite these favorable circumstances, some of the metronome indications for this symphony are problematic, in
fact more so than the markings in other symphonies.
1. L: Allo ma non troppo. The writing in the autograph seems to indicate that Beethoven wrote the tempo designation
in three stages: Allo / ma non troppo / e un poco maestoso. Also, on the right upper corner of the autograph is a penciled
note 108 or 120 Maelzel. Scholars have tried to explain this cryptic note. However, unless further research can shed
light on the circumstances under which this entry occurred, we have to content ourselves with the marking q = 88, even
though this speed is not convincing and seems to fit only certain passages which occur later in the movement.
3. This marking has been disputed. Beethovens list leaves no doubt about the half-note! To assume that his nephew
mistakenly wrote it in place of a whole note would be absurd. Nonetheless, h = 116 gives the impression of a tempo
on the slow side. Interestingly, the autograph reveals that the Trio was originally written in 2/4-time. Beethoven
then erased some of his writing and changed the time-signature to C, combining two 2/4-bars into one alla breve bar.
Presto had been the marking for the 2/4-time and, indeed, within this meter h = 116 is a reasonable speed for a
Presto. Nevertheless, this still does not solve the problem of how to handle the preceding stringendo which is
supposed to lead into the tempo of the Trio. Conductors have little choice but to continue grappling with this puzzling
situation (unless of course they believe they have found the only right solution). Certainly the orchestral texture and
the pastoral nature of the Trio are well served by an unhurried pace.

JCG Vol. 22, Nos. 1 & 2


Poco sostenuto
Assai meno presto
Allegro con brio

q = 69
q . = 104
q = 76
h . = 132
h . = 84
h = 72



Allegro vivace e con brio

Allegretto scherzando
Tempo di Menuetto
Allegro vivace


h . = 69
e = 88
q = 126
w = 84

Allegro, ma non troppo, un poco maestoso
Molto vivace
Adagio molto e cantabile
Andante moderato
Allegro ma non troppo
Allegro assai
Allegro assai vivace. Alla Marcia
10. Andante maestoso
11. Adagio, ma non troppo, ma divoto
12. Allegro energico, sempre ben marcato
13. Allegro ma non tanto
14. Prestissimo
15. Maestoso


q = 88
h . = 116
h = 116
q = 60
q = 63
h . = 66
q = 88
h = 80
q . = 84
h = 72
h = 60
h . = 84
h = 120
h = 132
q = 60

JCG Vol. 22, Nos. 1 & 2


4. E cantabile is a later addition in the autograph. Making a melody singable does not call for slowing the pace.
When considered in the light of the style change that Beethoven underwent in his later years, this metronome marking
does not appear excessively fast.
5. Beethoven was surely aware of the very minor difference between 60 and 63 on the metronome scale!
8. L: this tempo is listed only once whereas it appears twice in the printed score. In bar 77, the autograph has
Allegro only.
9. This metronome speed has stirred up much controversy. It seems to be slow. Perhaps Beethoven intended it to be
a warning of not too fast, please in order to create an atmosphere of tension at the beginning of the Turkish
march. Here again, conductors will have to accept the fact that we all must live with doubt!
14. Prestissimo is crossed out in the autograph and replaced by presto. Another entry, apparently made at the
same time, reads Maelzel 132. Aside from this and the metronome marking mentioned in No. 1, no other such
indications are found in the autograph.

My comments in the last chapter of this article leave no doubt that I am partial to the kind of interpretation that grants
the composer first rights. Some people call this, wrongly I believe, a literal approach. No one would seriously
suggest that performances of the past can be duplicated. Yet, a difference exists between using a score simply as a
blueprint for an interpreters creation (as proposed by Ernest Ansermet), and trying to utilize all available evidence
to ascertain a composers intentions. In the first instance, we rely mainly on our intuition, in the latter we make a
genuine effort to stay within the framework of the composers ideas.
Ours is the first century that has searched for historically-correct practices of former performance styles. It was
during my student years that musicologists formed collegia musica at German universities to promote a re-examination
of baroque musical performance practices. I remember the indignation of the performing community, accustomed to
make Bach and other baroque masters more palatable to the modern listener by infusing romantic devices into their
works. Today, sixty years later, concert attendance and record sales prove that the modern listener enjoys baroque
music even more when it is presented with the stylistic requirements of its time.
At present, we are witnessing another attempt which, if continued, will surely intrude into other established performance
standards. I am referring to the work of those solo artists and chamber music players who are developing an
approach to the early Viennese classics that utilizes performance customs of the late 18th century. To date, few
conductors have shown a similar interest. However, having observed how slowly and reluctantly most musicians
parted with their cherished baroque performance habits, I am inclined to believe that in the course of time the lateromantic concepts of the Viennese classics will give way to an approach that is germane to the spirit of the classical era.
Admittedly, the choice of tempo is only one part of the interpretive process. However, it is of predominant importance
in the case of Beethovens symphonies since, as I have tried to show, the musics meaning can undergo a drastic
change by shifting from one speed range to another. In other words, this article was not written to dictate how
Beethovens music ought to be performed, but rather to suggest to my younger colleagues that the instructions of a
great master deserve, at least, the benefit of the doubt. Recent performance traditions must not prevent us from
investigating such pertinent information as Beethovens metronome indications. By accepting them as a guide to his
intentions we might discover a new identification with his music.


JCG Vol. 22, Nos. 1 & 2

Beethoven, Smtliche Briefe, 5 volumes (F. Prelinger) Leipzig, 1907-11
(English translation: Anderson, Beethovens Letters).
Beethoven, Symphony No. 9, Facsimile Edition Leipzig, 1924.
Beethoven, Das Problem der Interpretation in Musik-Konzepte No. 8 Mnchen, 1979
(valuable information on Beethovens use of the metronome).
Berlioz, Le Chef dOrchestre, Thorie de son Art in Trait d Instrumentation.
Harding (Rosamund E.M.), The Metronome and its Precursors in Origins of Musical Time and Expression
London, 1938.
Nottebohm (Gustav), Beethoveniana, Vol. I, Leipzig, 1872.
Schnemann (Georg), Geschichte des Dirigierens, Leipzig, 1913.
Thayer, Life of Beethoven, New Edition by E. Forbes, Princeton, 1967.
Weingartner, Ratschlge fr Aufffhrungen von Beethovens Symphonien Leipzig, 1928
(English edition: Dover paperback).

JCG Vol. 22, Nos. 1 & 2


A Pilot Study of the Expressive Gestures

Used by Classical Orchestra Conductors
By Thring Brm & Penny Boyes Braem


research questions are the following: Is there a repertoire

of expressive gestures? If so, how do they compare
Traditional studies of orchestral conductors gestures have with the hand gestures, which accompany speech, and
been limited to the gestures of the dominant hand, which with the more highly coded sign language of the deaf?
is used to indicate the beat and other structural aspects Are conducting gestures systematized in any way beyond
of the music. The gestures of the non-dominant hand the organizing, structuring patterns of the classical
have been typically simply described as being expressive orchestral conductor?
and idiosyncratic. In this pilot project, we (a sign
language researcher and an orchestral conductor) have The music historian, Harvey Sachs (1993), in his
focused on these expressive gestures, specifically Reflections on Toscanini gives an anecdote which
looking at the formational sub-components of the gestures: directly concerns these topics. The incident occurred
handshape, hand orientation, location and movement. In during a performance of Pictures at an Exhibition by
our detailed analyses of videotapes of the conducting of the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra in Budapest.
two conductors with very different conducting styles Toscanini, who always conducted from memory, began
(Bernstein and Celibidache), we have found a shared and to conduct the wrong episode. The principal bassoonist
limited set of gestures which reflect categories also found of the orchestra recounted the following:
in classifying handshapes of polymorphemic verbs in
Deaf sign languages. These gestural components are then Not one musician started to play! It was ghost-like, a little
analyzed as being surface representations of metaphors like a nightmare: Toscanini conducted in the air, and not one
sound occurred! Toscanini, for a tenth of a second, was
or metonyms similar to those which have been found to flabbergasted and stony-faced: how come nobody plays? But
underlie many spoken language forms for cognitive and in another tenth of a second he realized that instead of Tuileries
emotional concepts, the signs of Deaf sign languages as he had conducted the beginning of Bydlo, which was very
well as gestures which hearing persons use to accompany different in dynamic character. And with an almost
indiscernible nod, he gave the right dynamic sign for the

The purpose of this study is to extend the traditional
analysis of the gestures which the orchestral conductor
makes with the dominant hand, to those expressive
gestures which are usually made with the non-dominant
hand. It is clear that, in addition to manual gestures, facial
and body expressions as well as eye gaze are very
important in the conductors communication. This pilot
study will, however, concentrate on the manual gestures,
with the acknowledgement that the other factors
mentioned above deserve studies of their own. Our

JCG Vol. 22, Nos. 1 & 2

beginning of Tuileries, and then the orchestra, most

harmoniously, as if nothing had happened, started to play.
Afterwards he said: This is the greatest compliment an orchestra
can pay me: I make a mistake, and the orchestra at once realizes
I am wrong. Why? Because his Zeichengebung, his gesture for
communication and conducting, is so unmistakable in its one
possible meaning that you cannot take it as meaning anything
else... (quoted in Sachs, 1993, p. 148)

There are two relevant observations in this incident: First,

there was a gestural communication from the conductor
that was so clear that a hundred players reacted
correctly. Second, there is something in addition to the
organizational signs which operate as a communicative

entity, whether it be an indiscernible nod or the stony- dependent on a thorough knowledge of the pieces
face, that in a tenth of a second can give an unambiguous structure and musical intent. Given that the conductor
has this background knowledge, the dominant hand
gestures are generally used to direct the musical traffic.
The conductor George Szell describes Toscaninis Examples for this directing function of the right hand
are shown in the fundamental beating patterns represented
technique as deceptively simple:
in Figure 1.
Toscanini...made a distinction between the responsibilities of
the right and left arms. His right arm generally moved in broad,
clear, compelling strokes, not merely beating time but drawing
the musicians into the music and helping them to progress
through it, persuading them to bring it to life; it activated and
shaped the music. His left hand was responsible for the finetuning: from a position directly in front of him, where it was
invisible for much of the audience, it cautioned and exhorted.
(Sachs, 1993, p. 150)

The Traditional Description of the Conducting

Gestures of the Dominant Hand
Equally important to what is shown by the conductor, is
what is not shown. The conductor does not indicate all
the important elements of the music, which can be found
in the printed score: the pitches and the rhythmic values.
The dominant hand indicates the organization (the
beginnings and ends), the tempo, and the rhythmic raster,
or tact. The non-dominant hand shows special dynamics,
sound colors, uniquely occurring events, entrances and
articulation. Naturally, all of these parameters influence
each other and whether they are signaled by the dominant
or the non-dominant hand is more of a general tendency
than a firm rule. However, most books on conducting
describe a general division of labor between the hands,
an asymmetry of movements and functions which is one
of the difficult techniques which students of conducting
must master.
This view is also found in one of the most authoritative
treatments of conducting, The Grammar of Conducting
by Max Rudolf (1994). A conductor himself, Rudolf was
also the musical director of the Metropolitan Opera in
New York in the 1940s and thus was in constant contact
with other conductors such as Toscanini, Walter and Szell.
Rudolf treats the basic patterns of the right hand (the
neutral pattern, the staccato and the legato beats) and
the organizational details shown by the left hand. The
musically most impressive interpretations are, of course,
not solely due to these learnable techniques, but are

Fig. 1: Dominant hand (from the conductors perspective): (a)

traditional division of the conducting space, showing the
temporal organization of the music (b) 2 beats; (c) 3 beats; (d)
4 beats.

In books on conducting and in conducting courses, the

use of the non-dominant hand has usually been mentioned
in a more general way, giving the impression that it is up
to the individual conductor to develop gestures which
will show other aspects of the music such as sound texture,
foregrounding of instrumental voices, density,
atmosphere, and expression. Exactly how the nondominant hand (together with the facial and body
expression and eye gaze) actually manage to communicate
all these aspects of the conductors message have never,
to our knowledge, been studied in detail.


Theoretical Bases
In this pilot study of the gestures of the non-dominant
hand of the conductor, the theoretical starting point is not
historical or technical but is based rather on the
JCG Vol. 22, Nos. 1 & 2


componential analysis of the signs of deaf sign languages

as well as of gestures hearing people use to accompany
speech. These gestural components are then considered
from the point of view of cognitive linguistic theories,
which postulate the metaphoric underpinnings of much
of human conceptualization.

In other combinations of the parameters, the handshapes

shown above can convey other, non-grasping, meanings.
The fist handshape in illustration 2a, for example, when
combined with a repeated linear movement can mean
pounding or beating. The pincer handshape in
illustration 2b if combined with repeated short, sharp
downward movements could mean pecking. In other
The Componential Analysis of Hearing Gestures
words, the handshapes themselves are not tied to any
and Deaf Signs
one meaning, but are polysemous, capable of conveying
several meanings, depending on the context of the other
Linguists who have studied the visual-corporal sign parameters.
languages used by deaf persons have found that the signs
in these language are not global, non-analyzable units but Calbris (1990) has found this same polysemy in her study
are instead composed of several distinct parameters, some of the gestures which hearing French people use with
of which are manual and others of which are nonmanual. speech, as has Boyes Braem (1998) for the interpretation
(Cf. for example Stokoe et. al. 1965, Klima and Bellugi, of signs from Italian Sign Language by non-signing hearing
1979, Boyes Braem, 1995). The manual parameters, persons from several European countries.
which have been found to be important for this form of
language, include the location of the hand, its handshape The Metaphoric Basis of Conceptual Thinking
and orientation as well as its movement. The significant
nonmanual parameters include the facial expression, While speech-accompanying gestures are polysemous,
position and movements of the head and trunk and this does not mean that any one handshape can be
direction of eye gaze. Within these parameters, there are substituted for another. One would not use a fist
limited sets of sub-components used in the individual sign handshape, for example, to accompany a meaning that
languages. For example, of the many handshapes, which had to do with small, fine detail, precision, and so
the human is physically capable of making, only a limited forth.
number are used linguistically in any one sign language.
Polysemous gestures are thus constrained by a more basic
In a subset of signs (productive or polymorphemic system which, we propose, is the same which several
verbs with classifier handshapes) the handshapes can cognitive linguists have argued structures most of our
convey distinct meanings, depending on how they are conceptual thinking and spoken language. (Johnson,
combined with the other parameters and the context of 1987; Lakoff & Johnson, 1980; Lakoff & Turner, 1989;
the message. For example, the concept of grasping an Sweetser, 1990).
object can be denoted by some of these verbs, in which
the category of object being grasped is indicated by a According to Lakoff and Johnson (1980), much if not all
specific handshape (cf. Fig. 2).
thinking and communication about abstract concepts is
made possible through the use of metonymic and
metaphoric structures. Of particular relevance to this
study of conducting gestures are their comments on the
concepts humans have of object, substance and

Fig. 2: Grasp handshapes for different kinds of objects (a) for

heavy objects, e.g. a suitcase; (b) for small, light, thin object (a
thread); (c) for fairly large, roundish objects (a ball, a pipe)


JCG Vol. 22, Nos. 1 & 2

We experience ourselves as entities, separate from

the rest of the world - as containers with an inside and
an outside. We also experience things external to us
as entities- often also as containers with insides and
outsides. We experience ourselves as being made up
of substances - e.g., flesh and bone - and external

objects as being made of various kinds of substances

- wood, stone, metal, etc. We experience many things,
through sight and touch, as having distinct boundaries,
and, when things have no distinct boundaries, we often project boundaries upon them - conceptualizing
them as entities and often as containers (for example,
forests, clearings, clouds, etc.). (p. 58)

The examples given here will be primarily from two

conductors who have very different performing styles:
the American, Leonard Bernstein and the Rumanian,
Sergiu Celibidache.2

The non-dominant hand gestures used by these

conductors were notated according to their subcomponents as well as their musical meaning. The
Several researchers have proposed that this kind of
compositional analyses of the gestures was done by the
metaphoric-metonymic thinking not only underlies spoken
co-author, who is a sign language researcher (P. Boyes
language but also Deaf signed languages and speechBraem); the interpretation of the musical intent of the
accompanying gestures used by hearing persons (cf. e.g.,
gesture was made by the co-author Brm, who is a
Boyes Braem, 1981; Brennan, 1990; Taub, 1997;
classical orchestra conductor and a teacher of conducting.
Wilcox, 1993.
For the illustrations, Brm has also reproduced examples
of all the gestures discussed.
Here, we will argue that this kind of basic metaphoric
thinking is also the basis for the communicative gestures
Compared to the relatively large number of different
which conductors make with their non-dominant hand.
handshapes, which are phonological components of sign
The gestural space of the conductor is like a small stage,
languages, the number of handshapes regularly used by
on which the actors are the conductors hands, body,
conductors seems to be quite limited (cf. Fig. 3). In this
face and eye gaze, all of which play out specific aspects
respect, conducting gestures are similar to gestures used
of the musical score through the indication of basic
to accompany speech. The limited set of handshapes
metaphors. The size of this stage is about the same as
includes those, which are found in most sign languages of
that of the signing space of deaf sign language, ranging
the world, and those, which are used first by young deaf
vertically from the top of the head to the waist, horizontally,
children learning sign languages. It is quite probably the
an arm length to either side and to the front. The effective
fact that this is a basic, limited set of handshapes which
conductor typically does not move his whole body much,
makes the conducting gestures so easily interpretable by
as this would make it difficult for the musicians who are
musicians in orchestras around the world, even when they
also concentrating on their scores to quickly focus on the
are confronted by a conductor that has never directed
conductor standing in front of them.
them before and might be from a different culture. Most
of these handshapes are also sufficiently different from
The conductors stage is often a metaphorical container
each other, that they can be easily distinguished. This is
in which there are objects which one can manipulate: e.g.
important, as in large orchestra formations, many
hold (tenuto), pick-up, drop, push-away, pull
musicians are seated at some distance from the conducting
towards oneself, touch, stroke, scratch, etc. The
podium. As the dominant hand of most conductors of
orchestra is the primary public for this gestural theater. It
classical music is usually grasping a baton and beating
understands the gestural message and translates the
the musical structure, most of the gestures for indicating
underlying metaphors into sounds for the audience, a
expression are one-handed.
process of translating a theater for the eye (Greek
theaomai = to see) into one for the ear.1 Essential for
this transfer of the musical message from the printed score
to the musicians musical thinking is a conceptual system
of essentially body-based metaphors.


The data for this study are based on transcripts of the
videotaped gestures of a variety of different conductors.

Fig. 3: The limited set of handshapes used by the conductor

in non-dominant hand gestures.

JCG Vol. 22, Nos. 1 & 2


The gestures which were used repeatedly by the
conductors in this data seem to be based on the kinds of
metaphoric association which have been found in studies
of the lexicon of sign languages and in speechaccompanying gestures used by hearing persons.
They can be grouped into the following categories,
according to the source domain of the metaphor upon
which they are based:
(a) Manipulating objects
(b) Showing the path or form of an object
(c) Indicating direction
(d) Portraying an object
(e) Indicating a body part
(f) Holophrastic interjections
(a) Manipulating Objects = Sound Quality,
Structure, Articulation,
Development, Psychological Motivation
A great many conducting gestures fall in the category of
manipulation of objects. These are gestures which
represent a grasping of an object, a touching, holding or
letting go of an object, hitting or chopping, painting, playing


Pulling out an object

In this gesture, a rounded pincer handshape
moves in a straight line from a musician towards
the conductor, who is metaphorically pulling a
sound, like a thread, from the musicians mouth
(Fig. 4a). The pincer handshape indicates that a
thin sound is desired and is typically used for flute
sounds and vocalists. For the drawing out of a
fuller sound (for example, from a brass
instrument), all the components of the gesture
remain the same (location, movement, orientation of
the hand), but a full cupped grasp handshape would
be used instead of the pincer handshape (Fig. 4b).
Taking out of view
Another common left hand gesture used by many
conductors is based on the metaphor of taking
something away from the visual field (see Fig.
5). In this case, what is being metaphorically
taken away is all the sound. The gesture is used
at the end of the piece or of sections to indicate
stop the production of sound. For this purpose,
an open hand closes to a closed grasp hand and
can be combined with a movement towards the
conductor or with a movement to off-stage,
which can be in a direction out of the conducting
space (i.e. below the waist, to the side, even to


Fig. 4: pulling out an object (a) thin sound and (b) a full sound


JCG Vol. 22, Nos. 1 & 2

behind the back). Which of these movements are used seems to be up to the personal preference of the
individual conductor, many of whom seem to have their trademark taking out of view gesture. The manner
of the closing of the hand into the grasp handshape can indicate more precisely how the music should end: an
abrupt cut-off with a fast movement; a slowly dying sound if the fingers close successively while the hand
moves out of sight.
Several other types gestures have been observed in the data that involve the handling of an object are described briefly next.

Fig. 5: taking out of view = stop playing!

Fig. 7: supporting an object = sustained sound

Fig. 6: gathering objects = homogenous sound quality

JCG Vol. 22, Nos. 1 & 2




Fig. 8: hitting an object = (a) hard; (b) hacking sound quality

Fig. 9: pushing an object = point and strength of attack

Fig. 10: touching a surface = sound quality

(e.g. homogeneous sound quality)

Fig. 11: feeling a substance = sound quality (e.g. thick, dense)


JCG Vol. 22, Nos. 1 & 2

Gathering objects, i.e. individual sounds, in

order to elicit an homogenous sound quality or
an increasingly focused one; (Fig. 6)
Supporting an object to sustain a solid sound
quality; (Fig. 7)
Hitting a hard object which, depending on
the type of movement with which it is combined,
is used for a hard/precise or heavy sound quality
(Fig. 8a). If the orientation of the hand is turned,
the association becomes more specifically one
of hacking, as in hacking wood and is used for
different grades of staccato. (Fig. 8b) If a less
hard attack is desired, the handshape component
of this gesture can be changed to that of a open
flat hand, palm oriented downward.
Pushing an object which pushes the sound
away (out in front, upwards or downwards) to
where in the beat the point of playing, the attack,
begins, as well as how strong the attack should
be. (Fig. 9)
Touching a surface which, depending on the
type of movement and the handshape can
indicate, for example, a smooth, homogenous
sound with the full flat handshape (Fig. 10), or a
scratchy sound (claw handshape).
Feeling a substance such as moving the hand
through flour, honey, kneading bread dough,
squeezing clay, etc. to elicit specific sound qualities
as feather light, sticky, thick, etc. (Fig. 11)
Playing an instrument mimics the hand and
body motions as well as facial expressions
typically used by players of particular instruments
(bowing for strings, beating for timpani, showing
an embouchure for winds, strumming strings for
harp, rippling a keyboard, etc.) to encourage the
musicians to thoroughly savor and play out this
passage on their instrument; (Fig. 12)
Drawing or painting in which an open flat
hand is held downwards and moves like a brush
between two locations to smooth together the
surfaces (Fig. 13a); a pincer handshape, as if

holding a small brush or pen, when combined

with repeated, short jabbing movements, marks
important points in the musical passage, which
often are turning points in the musical
development (Fig. 13b).
(b) Showing the Path or Form of an Object = Structure
Some gestures are indicators of musical paths in that they
show where a musical development begins and in which
direction it develops. These paths can be the
development of the content or motive of the music, or be
a purely geographical indication of the movement of the
playing of the motive first by one musical group, then
another. The significant components here are the locations
where the gesture begins (for geographical indications,
the group of musicians who play the beginning of the
development) and the location where it ends (the group
which continues the development). The handshape can
be a traditional deictic index finger or a flat whole hand
handshape with digits together or separated, or even a
lightly cupped handshape. The manner of movement as
the hand moves from group to group can be varied to
indicate more details of the development (slow, brisk,
abrupt change, etc.) (Fig. 14)
The general structure of a musical form is indicated either
by an index finger alone to stress the sound line, or by a
full flat hand in an arcing movement to indicate a fuller
structure, usually a combination of harmony and grain.
(Fig. 15)
(c) Vertical Direction = Dynamics
Vertical levels within the conducting space can indicate
the dynamics of the music: high level = more = louder;
low level = less = softer. These levels are indicated by a
gesture with an open flat hand, moving upwards or
downwards, palm held horizontally. (Fig. 16a, b) An
accompanying lateral spreading or closing of the digits
can augment the louder or softer effect. (An analogous
opening = louder and closing = softer metaphor can

JCG Vol. 22, Nos. 1 & 2




Fig. 12: playing an instrument = play out your instrument (a) strings; (b) brass

Fig. 13: drawing, painting = (a) connected musical sequence; (b) important points, pivots in musical passage

Fig. 14: path = movement of musical material between



JCG Vol. 22, Nos. 1 & 2

Fig. 15: form = harmony and grain of a musical motive



Fig. 16: (a) upwards = louder; (b) downwards = softer

be indicated by the arms moving horizontally apart or


(e) Indicating a Body Part = Intensity, Focusing,


(d) Portraying an Object = Sound Quality

Gestures, which involve pointing to particular parts of

the body, can metonymically refer to functions of that
body part or, in further derivation to metaphoric meanings
associated with it in particular cultures.

Fig. 17: rays = sound quality (radiating, bright timbre)

A gesture in which a closed hand, palm oriented up, opens

into a spread-5 handshape is used for a particular timber
of the sound, a light, radiating quality. (Fig. 17) In many
sign languages, this opening gesture is the metaphoric base
of signs associated with radiating objects (streams of
water, rays of light, etc.). In the conducting gesture, the
metaphor is radiating sound. If the movement
component of the hand is changed, from moving upward
to moving out towards the orchestra, and is combined
with a sharp, emphatic opening of the digits, the gesture
means, louder and more brilliant.

Heart /Solar plexus: In pointing to these parts of the

body, the conductor is indicating that at this passage of
the music, there should be an emotional intensity, or (in
the case of the solar plexus), that a concentrated /
centered quality of playing is desired. (Fig. 18a)
Ear: When a conductor points to, touches or grabs his
ear, he is making an association with the ears biological
function, which is hearing, and thereby indicating to the
musicians, Listen!. Specifically, this gesture is used
when the conductor wants the musicians to pay closer
attention to or correct their intonation (Fig. 18b).
Lips: The indication of the lips can have at least two
different meanings:
- The widely conventionalized meaning of shh,
keep quiet is used by the conductor to
indicate play softer! (Fig. 18c).
-If a pursed (as in Fig.18d) or grasping
handshape is used and the hand is brought
close to the lips, the association is that of
something which tastes good. The gesture is
used by the conductor when a sensuous
sound quality is wished.
Nose: The indication of the nose by conductors is
interesting, in that - unlike the largely negative associations
JCG Vol. 22, Nos. 1 & 2


which the nose has in gestures used by speakers kind of gesture in the conducting data:
(stinks, odious, snotty, snobby etc.), the
association for an orchestra is generally that of a A gesture meaning keep moving! in which the most
important component is a repeated forward circling
positive sensuous quality. A pursed or grasping
movement of the hand. If tempo of repetitions
handshape is used, often together with a slight intake
is increased, it means move faster. (Fig. 19)
of breath, to indicate that a lightly perfumed sound is
The vertically extended index finger, which in many cultures
desired (Fig. 18d).
means pay attention! is usually used by the
conductor as a preparation for something new or
(f) Holophrastic Interjections = Tempo,
important which is coming up in the music. (Fig. 20)
Structure, Motivation
The offering gesture seems to have a psychological
function of encouraging the musicians to whom it
Another kind of category of conducting gestures is
is directed to take this passage, in the sense,
based on more culturally encoded gestures used by
its your turn, carry it on. (Fig. 21). The form
speakers for holophrastic interjections, such as
of this gesture is the flat hand held with palm
exhortations to the addressee to go on, continue,
facing upward, the fingertips pointed
orbe careful.3 The following are examples of this of





Fig. 18: body parts = sound quality (a) heart / solar plexus = play with emotion / concentrated (b) ear = correct
intonation; (c) lips = softer or more sensuously; (d) nose = light perfumed sound.


JCG Vol. 22, Nos. 1 & 2

forward,sometimes simply held or combined with slight movement towards the orchestra. Important to this
gesture are the simultaneous eye contact, raised eyebrows and positive facial expression. This offering
gesture is similar to one of the first gestures which young children use in their prelinguistic communications.
Adam Kendon (personal communication, Berlin, April 1998) has suggested that in its derived sense (its
your turn), it is used by speakers as a kind of conversational regulator, which is also how it seems to
function in the context of the orchestra.
The pursed handshape, with palm oriented upward, (Fig. 22) is, according to Kendon (1995) used in some
European cultures by speakers to focus upon some aspect of the accompanying speech. Some conductors
use this gesture in an analogous way to indicate a focus upon some aspect of a musical passage.

Fig. 19: keep moving! = continue playing as you are

Fig. 20: pay attention = important change is coming up

Fig. 21: offering = take it, its your turn

Fig. 22: pursed handshape = focused element

JCG Vol. 22, Nos. 1 & 2


Another more culturally encoded gesture used by some

conductors is similar to the cut-off, or finish
gesture used by umpires in sport matches. This
is a two-handed gesture, in which the open flat
hands, palm down are initially crossed over each
other in front of the torso, then the arms move
rapidly out to the side. The conductor uses this
gesture for indicating abrupt endings to musical

many of the handling gestures in which aspects of the

music are metaphorically conceptualized as concrete
objects or and lines to represent musical paths and turning
points. Instead of the line, some Japanese-trained
conductors prefer gestures, which indicate the turning points
as dots in a pattern. (Seiji Osawa, for example, is known
among conducting students as having a painterly style.)

The gestures described above are a representative, but

certainly not exhaustive list of the repertoire of gestures
used by conductors. Further analyses from a wider
variety of conductors would undoubtedly add gestures
to the list. However, the added gestures would probably
involve one of the limited set of handshapes. Furthermore,
they would probably fall into one of the major categories
discussed in the previous section. This is because most
conducting gestures are based on metaphoric/metonymic
connections between aspects of the music and physical
experiences which human beings have with objects in
everyday life. Some of these experiences have to do
with handling objects (grasping, letting go, supporting,
touching, etc.) while others have to do with biological
functions of the body (smelling, hearing), and still others
have to do with describing visible forms (drawing lines,
painting surfaces). Or, the conducting gesture would be
borrowed from a culturally encoded gesture used by
speakers as a holophrastic interjection.

The Musical Setting. The conducting style can

vary, depending on whether the situation is a concert,
rehearsal, radio or TV recording. For example, the
gesture of grasping the ear to indicate that intonation
should be corrected is used during a rehearsal but usually
not during a concert. The acoustic environment is also
influential - different styles of conducting will be used
depending on the room size, its resonance, if the concert
is outdoors, etc.

Even for conductors from the same culture, there are

clearly different styles of conducting, a different selection
Most of these gestures can be produced successively to of the gestures in the repertoire described above, and a
make gesture strings; for example, a moving through a difference in the frequency of use of non-dominant hand
thick substance gesture followed by a radiating burst gestures. These stylistic differences are influenced by
gesture, finishing with a supporting / sustaining gesture. several different factors in the communication situation:
the musical setting, the nature of the audiences, the style
of the work and the personality of the conductor.

The Style of the Work. Very important is the

style of the music; the works of Bach, Mozart, Bruckner,
Johann Strauss, Webern, Berlioz or Lutoslawski all require
a selection of different gestures from the repertoire.

The Audiences. A conductor has two audiences:

the orchestra and the listening public. For the orchestra,
not only are the size and nature of the musical ensemble
important, but also how well the conductor and the
orchestra know each other. If the two know each other
Factors Influencing Range and Choice of Gestures Used very well, the conductor can be much more economical
with gestures than would be the case with doing a first
Perhaps because many of the expressive gestures of concert with an orchestra. In the older films of the first
conductors have so much in common with other aspects generation of European conductors (for example, Richard
of human experience and communication, they can Strauss), a more limited set of gestures seem to be used
function effectively - with no accompanying verbal as compared to many modern conductors. Although there
explanation - with musicians from a wide variety of cultures. could be many reasons for this, one certainly is that in
There very probably are, however, some differences that time, a conductor did not jet around the world,
between cultures as to which gestures from the repertoire conducting a different orchestra every week, but stayed
are preferred. European-trained conductors seem to use in one place and gave regular weekly concerts with one

JCG Vol. 22, Nos. 1 & 2

How effectively the individual conductor uses the nondominant hand gestures described here depends also on
how well he has, somehow, learned them. The more control
which the conductor has over this repertoire of gestures
for specific musical purposes, the more likely the gestures
Another audience factor is whether the ensemble is will be used spontaneously and appropriately to model the
professional or amateur. When conducting an amateur sound and bring out its many meanings. The effective use
chorus, many more creative, improvised gestures are of these gestures for conducting does seem to be something
needed than when standing in front of a professional that has to be learned, as indicated by the sometimes
chorus, with whom the same effect can be elicited with awkward, often inappropriate and distracting gestures of
young conducting students. Perhaps the repertoire of nona small smile.
dominant hand gestures, with their underlying metaphoric
The public as audience is a factor, depending upon associations between experiences in the physical and in
the personality of conductor. The early conductors the musical worlds, could be dealt with more systematically
did not constantly conduct in front of film and television in the curriculum of conducting courses.
cameras and so perhaps did not feel the temptation to
conduct for the audience as well as for the musicians.
Some conductors seem to conduct more for the public
than for the orchestra, using gestures, which are The expressive hand gestures of orchestral conductors,
correspondingly dramatic when viewed from behind. like signs of deaf sign languages and speech-accompanying
gestures, seem to be composed of a limited set of subThe Personality and Culture of the components which can be associated with several
Conductor. This brings us to another important factor, different kinds of meanings. I. Poggi (personal
the personality and cultural background of the communication, Berlin, April 1998) has suggested that
conductor. Conductors have different images of these conducting gestures might be best classified as
themselves and of their functions as a conductor. The descriptives, which are used as directives.
different personality types we have observed include
the following: Organizer, Interpreter of the Score, Unlike sign language, the conducting gestures are
Animator, Hypnotizer, Trainer, Buddy, Self-Realizer polysemous entities whose exact meaning is only clear
and Showman. The strong contrast between the styles when set in a specific context. At one level, the meanings
of Bernstein and Celibidache, for example, is probably of these gestures are accessible through metaphoric/
due in large part to their basically different personality metonymic association with actions, which the body can
types. The New YorkerBernsteinis a showman make, or with body parts, or like conventionalized gestures
type, using many expressive gestures in his conducting, (emblems) have more specifically encoded cultural
which are similar in quantity and quality to those he meanings. At this level of interpretation, these gestures
uses to accompany his speech. (A good comparison might be termed iconic, in the sense that a broad range
of this use of gestures in the two communicative of persons would be able to associate an appropriate
situations can be found in the videotape of his general meaning to them (e.g. grasping something,
rehearsals of Romeo and Juliet with a student raising something up, etc.). However, the special derived
orchestra, during which he often stops the music to meaning of these gestures (tenuto, staccato,
explain some aspect of the story to the musicians.) marcatissimo, stress the sound line) is only interpretable
The RumanianCelibidache on the other hand, was to persons who know the second target domain of these
more of a Hypnotist type, who relied more on the gestural metaphors, the playing of classical orchestral music.
power of his eye gaze than on his gestures. The
gestures he did use, both in his conducting and in Grosjean (1998) has made a comparison between
videotaped conversations, although quantitatively improvisation in music with the creative production of
fewer, do fall within the categories proposed here.
new sentences in everyday language use. In contrast,
orchestra. The musicians of these orchestras perhaps
did not need additional indications through gestures,
as they knew their permanent and long-time chief
conductor and his styles of interpretation very well.

JCG Vol. 22, Nos. 1 & 2


Winterthur, Switzerland: Amadeus. (192-219).

the performance of classical orchestral music is to a large
extent bound to the interpretation of works that have been
notated in a fixed written form. In this context, the Brm, Th. & Boyes Braem, P. (1998). Der Versuch einer
Klassifizierung der Ausdrucksgesten des Dirigenten.
expressive gestures of the conductor become even more
[An attempt to classify the expressive gestures of
important, as they allow the addition of individual
orchestral conductors] In W. Fhndrich (Ed.),
interpretation and spontaneous, even surprising elements
Improvisation III. Winterthur, Switzerland:
to the pre-programmed structure of the musical work.
Amadeus. (220-248).

Brennan, M. (1990). Word Formation in British Sign
Language. Stockholm: University of Stockholm.
This article has previously appeared in K. Emmorey &
H. Lane (eds.). 2000. The Signs of Language
Revisited: An Anthology to Honor Ursula Bellugi and Calbris, G. (1990). The Semiotics of French Gestures.
Bloomington: Indiana University Press.
Edward Klima. Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum
Associates. (p. 143 -167). We wish to thank the editors
Emmorey, K. & Lane, H. (eds.). (2000). The Signs of
for permission to reprint this article here.
Language Revisited: An Anthology to Honor
Ursula Bellugi and Edward Klima. Mahwah, NJ:
The authors are also grateful for helpful comments on
Lawrence Erlbaum Associates. (p. 143 -167).
this study given by orchestral musicians at a workshop
on conducting gestures held at the 3. International
Congress for Improvisation in Lucerne (October 1996) Grosjean, F. (1998). Language: From set patterns to free
patterning. In W. Fhndrich (Ed.), Improvisation
as well as by participants at the International Symposium
III. Winterthur, Switzerland: Amadeus. (71-84).
The Semantics and Pragmatics of Everyday Gestures
in Berlin, April 1998. An earlier form of this paper has
been published in German. (Brm & Boyes Braem, Johnson, M. (1987). The Body in the Mind. Chicago:
University of Chicago Press.
1998). All illustrations of conducting gestures were drawn
by Katja Tissi, based on videotaped demonstrations done
Kendon, A. (1995). Gestures as illocutionary and discourse
by T. Brm.
structure markers in Southern Italian conversation.
Journal of Pragmatics, 23, 247-279.
Boyes Braem, P. (1981). Significant features of the Klima, E. & Bellugi, U. (1979). The signs of language.
Cambridge: Harvard University Press.
handshape in American Sign Language.
Unpublished doctoral dissertation, University of
Lakoff, G. & Johnson, M. (1980). Metaphors We Live
California, Berkeley.
By. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.
Boyes Braem, P. (1995). Eine Einfhrung in die
Gebrdensprache und ihre Erforschung (3.Ed.) Lakoff, G. & Turner, M. (1989). More than Cool
Reason. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.
[An Introduction to Sign Language and Its Research].
Hamburg: Signum.
Poggi, I. (Ed.) (1987). Le parole nella testa. Guida a
un educazione linguistica cognitivista. [The
Boyes Braem, P. (1998). Kulturell bestimmte oder freie
words in the head. Guide to a cognitive linguistic
Gesten? Die Wahrnehmung von Gesten durch
education]. Bologna: Il Mulino.
Mitglieder unterschiedlicher (hrender und
gehrloser) Kulturen. [The interpretation of gestures
by hearing and deaf members of different European Poggi, I. The Italian Gestionary. Lexical gestures of
Italian hearing people. Presentation at the
cultures.] In W. Fhndrich (Ed.), Improvisation III:

JCG Vol. 22, Nos. 1 & 2

Symposium, The Semantics and Pragmatics of Everyday Gestures, Technical University of Berlin and Free
University of Berlin, Berlin, April 23-26, 1998.
Rozik, E. (1992). Metaphorical Handshapes in the Theater. Tel Aviv: Assoph.
Rudolf, M. (1994). The Grammar of Conducting: A Comprehensive Guide to Baton Technique and
Interpretation (3. Ed.). New York: Schirmer.
Sachs, H. (1993). Reflections on Toscanini. Rocklin, Ca: Prima Publishing.
Stokoe, W., Casterline, D. & Croneberg, C. (1965). A Dictionary of American Sign Language on Linguistic
Principles. Washington, DC: Gallaudet College Press.
Sweetser, E. (1990). From etymology to pragmatics. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Taub, S. (1997). Language in the body: Iconicity and metaphor in American Sign Language. Unpublished
doctoral dissertation, University of California, Berkeley.
Wilcox, P. (1993) Metaphorical Mapping Metaphors in American Sign Language. Unpublished doctoral dissertation,
University of New Mexico, Albuquerque.

1 For the use of metaphors in theater, cf. Rozik (1992).
2 These observations are from the following videotapes:
BernsteinTaktschlagen kann jeder (Rehearsals and performance of Berliozs Romeo and Juliet, SchleswigHolstein Music Festival): and Celibidache conducts Bruckner (Symphony No. 6 in A Major), Munich Philharmonic.
Recorded at the Mncher Philharmonie am Gasteig, November 26-30, 1991. Sony Classical Production, 1992.
3 We are grateful to Isabelle Poggi (personal communication) for her suggestion of the term interjections for this
category of conducting gestures. She defines interjections as the only case in spoken language of a holophrastic
signal. A holophrastic signal cannot be separated into sub-signals without completely losing its meaning [it]
conveys all the meaning of a Communicative Act, i.e. both its performative and its propositional content. (Poggi,
1998, p. 8-9). An example of a holophrastic gesture in the Italian culture is one which has an open flat handshape,
palm down, fingers forwards, combined with an up and down movement. The meaning of this gestures is come
here, and includes the predicate (to come), the arguments (hearer should come to speaker) and the performative
(a command). (cf. also Poggi, 1987.)

The Swiss conductor and composer, Thring Brm, also heads the conducting program at the Musikhochschule
in Lucerne (Switzerland), where he tries to continue the work he started with Max Rudolf during his conducting
studies at the Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia in 1970-1972.
Penny Boyes Braem received her PhD in pycholinguistics from the University of California at Berkeley and
for the past 20 years has been the director of the Research Center for Sign Language in Basel. She is the
author of numerous publications in English and German about sign languages of the deaf.
JCG Vol. 22, Nos. 1 & 2


Beautys Plea:
An Introduction to the Music of William Alwyn
By Brian Murphy

Since brass, nor stone, nor earth, nor boundless sea,

But sad mortality oersways their power,
How with this rage shall Beauty hold a plea,
Whose strength is no greater than a flower?
Shakespeare (first quatrain of Sonnet 65)

saying The history of music is the history of its

composition. In the 20th century, obviously the age of
the interpretive performing artist, there was always
something a little truculently desperate about Thomsons

Bernard Shaw was always fond of quoting Wagners

dictum that the conductors primary job was to give the
right tempo to the orchestra (or the right time to the
band as Shaw even more plainly said it). But, actually
and in usual practice, the conductor has a crucial job,
which comes even before this putatively primary one: pick
the work to be played!

Thomas Beecham once essayed, as he put it, a definition

of great music: great music, he said, is music which
enters the ear with facility and quits the mind with

To those conductors who look, occasionally, for

something freshly distinctive, and truly beautiful, to play:
consider the works of William Alwyn (born,
Northampton, England, 1905; died, near his home in
Blythburgh, Suffolk, 1985).

Leonard Bernsteins method of evaluating a new piece

of music was even simpler: will it, he asked, give me an

By either standard of judgment, Alwyns is great music.

This is music which should not be allowed to slip through
the cracks of historyfor the sake of people who need
music which is inherently interesting, ravishingly beautiful,
and which, in quitting the mind only with difficulty, leaves
Alwyn, incidentally, was one of the apparently quite few behind a lingering trace of spiritual affirmation.
composers who did not feel that conductors are overpaid
stars (mere executants, as Virgil Thomson regarded the Alwyns kind of beautylike all beauty, probablyis
likes of Toscanini) who play the same audience-pleasing very difficult to account for. (Didnt Mahler say that
works over and over. Alwyn regarded conductors as interesting was easy, but beautiful was difficult?).
the cream of the great musicians, second only to the great Alwyns compositional method seems almost without
method at all. He believed in catching and then pursuing
composers in the history and understanding of music.
the first fine careless rapture rather than anything like
Conductors are perhaps even more than the cream of formal development. Influenced, he said, by Liszt, his is
the great musicians: since they choose what works will a rather free-form developmental method; but, so careful
be heard (with the intuited hope that there will be someone is his avoidance of obvious repetition in favor of the
to listen), they have a pretty decisive vote in electing which development of mono-thematic variations, as well as the
composers will have the opportunity to sell, to become subtlest of foreshadowing, that his listener nearly always
box officeultimately, which ones become the great has that paradoxical sense of discovering something new
composers of their age, which ones, in fact, become which also seems strangely familiar: as if you found
History. This is an importantif, to some, rather yourself in a dramatically new emotional landscape
maddeningqualifier to Virgil Thomsons oft-repeated which yet also makes you feel that you have dreamed

JCG Vol. 22, Nos. 1 & 2

this, or been here, before. He said that he wanted his exceptionally violent for this time of year.
music to sound logical but not at all constructed.
His language is traditional and tonal. Alwyn always felt
that finding originality in a traditional, even a familiar,
language was both more challenging and communicative
than in creating a new one. And he was interested
primarily in absolute clarity of effect.
Alwyn was a trulyan almost allegoricallyRomantic
man. In his youth, he was deeply affected by Bertrand
Russells book The Conquest of Happiness and even
more profoundly influenced by Nietzsches work,
especially Also Sprach Zarathustra; and his life became
a serious search for beauty. Like Tosca herself, he lived
for love, he lived for art. Although he was a
thoroughgoing musical pro (tell him what you want, when
you wanted it, and there it would be: obviously, no one
could write 200 documentary and feature film scores
without that kind of professionalism), yet, all his life, he
loved music like a besotted amateur. Actually, he loved
lovethat is, he loved lovingpeople as well as works
of art. For example, it seemed to him a perfectly natural
way, one year, to celebrate Robert Schumanns birthday
by playing through the Dichterliebe of my adored
Schumann. My adored Schumann! What a way to
talk! He loved loving and even adoring works of art
but not in the manner of a solipsistic egomaniac: rather, in
the way of one who knew his own talents and, intuiting
something of what he had to offer, wanted to find his
place in this great tradition and living culture of art and
music. Of course, he wanted people to admire his talent
and love his music. His was a fairly straightforward
ambitionin his lifetime, more obviously realized in the
cinema than the concert hall. Although temperamentally
somewhat nervous, he was not really a complicated man,
certainly neither a neurotic nor a tragic one.
This rare phenomenon of personal clarity and simplicity
shows all through his journal, which is an exhilarating and
cheering portrait of a life in the service and pursuit of
beauty and art. What manner of man was he? Well,
here are three consecutive entries, chosen almost at
random, from that journal: [1]
November 6th, 1955
Todays newspapers explain the phenomena in last
nights skya thunderstorm over south Bucks,

Sunday always seems a blank day; a day of unsettled

routine when I feel incapable of relaxing and am
conscious of unease and maladjustment. The evening,
however, was made memorable by listening to my new
records of Pelleas et Melisande. Surely nothing more
beautiful has ever been composed; it is the magical
creation of a super-sensitive genius. This music glows
like moonlight made tangible; its pathos is infinitely
tender, a nightingale with a thorn at its breast.
Monday, November 7th
My fiftieth birthday!
Listened to a broadcast of my Festival March,
introduced by Lord Harewood to mark the occasion.
November 8th
Feeling a little jaded after last nights celebrations.
The happiest moment of the day was listening yet again
to the recording of the scene where Melisande lets fall
her hair in a cascade of exquisite sounds. This whole
scene is masterly; it trembles on the very fringes of
passion but never does it overstep and forsake its
magic otherworldliness.
Made a fair copy of the harp piece and am now
searching for a title perhaps The Snows of
Yesteryear. [2]

Small wonder that William Mann, the great London Times

music critic, described Alwyn as a Romantic composer
who pursued a very lonely path. [3] All this love of the
sensitive and the exquisite seemed out of place in the
dreadful Fifties, the very period in which he composed
his most wonderful scores. Here, for example, is the
cultural atmosphere of the Fifties: Randall Jarrell, a most
characteristic American poet of the age, complained about
an English poet, who insists on giving you a pound of his
hearts blood with every random ounce of sense. Alwyns
certainly was a lonely path. Like an Andrew Wyeth
going on with his own (more) brooding Romantic vision
through the triumphs of Abstract Expressionism, Alwyn,
through the assumed Historical Inevitability of atonalism,
serialism, etc., always stayed true to his Romantic faith
and language.[4]
He was equally out of step in the other arts as well: Alwyn
collected Pre-Raphaelite paintings long before the current
JCG Vol. 22, Nos. 1 & 2


revival (when, in fact, he could afford them; indeed, the

sale of his collection, in the later 1960s became something
of an event in the history of taste). He particularly loved
Rossettiagain, long before the current revival of interest
in Rossettis poetry and painting. (In conversation, in
1984, he remarked that it has only been since the Sixties
that the Pre-Raphaelites have come to be regarded as
worthwhile painters; before that, his love for them was
thought to be the very essence of Bad Taste.) He
described a restless evening: Moved the Burne-Jones
Angels with Trumpets to my bedroom and placed the
Rossetti drawing of Three Sang of Love Together (a
design for his sister Christinas sonnet) over the studio
mantelpiece where the light flatters the delicate pencilling.
His was the true passion.
November 22nd.
A sentimental journey by car to Kent to search for the
churchyard at Birchington where Rossetti was buried.
The grave was overgrown and neglected; the poet-artist
forgotten. I bought a small bunch of golden
chrysanthemums and laid them on the gravea shaft of
sunlight on a drab November day.

And, rather late in his life, he taught himself French well

enough that he ended up as the translator of a major book
of modernbut, again, rather RomanticFrench verse.
He particularly lovedand caught in his translations
the straightforward simplicity he found in the Prayers and
Elegies of Francis Jammes, a kindred spirit.
In addition, he was a very talented amateur painter. (His
painting masterpiece, The Gold Bar of Heaven, adorns
the Chandos cover of his musical masterpiece, the Lyra
Angelica.) Withal, he spent the whole of his relatively
long life (1905-85) burning always, as Walter Pater
had advised, with this hard gem-like flame.
The burning, the belief in love, the ceaseless searching for
new shapes of, and routes to, beauty, all show in his music.
No doubt the most dramatic entre to Alwyns mind and
music is through the most famous of his film scoresfor
Odd Man Out. His film music always aimed at giving the
emotional effect of a scene rather than a pictorial rendering
of the action in sound. So inextricably tied was the music

JCG Vol. 22, Nos. 1 & 2

to the film in his mind, he never thought of his film music

as having an independent, concert-hall life; therefore, he
was never interested in creating a suite from any of his
film scores. However and happily, after his death, a
wonderful recording by Richard Hickox and the LSO
was released, the actual scores having been scrapped by
the studio but reconstructed by Christopher Palmer. To
understand Alwyns sensibility, one should, as well as
listening to this superb Hickox recording, see the film
(easily available these days on video and, even more
usefully, especially for purposes of studying the music,
on DVD): the whole 1940s look and even the ethic of
the film are mirrored in the music. In his entertaining book
on music, The Brandy of the Damned, novelist Colin
Wilson said that the way Alwyns music simply takes
over in the last third of Odd Man Out was, for his
generation, the royal road to classical music. [5] In fact,
nearly the whole of the second half of the film follows
James Mason, as a wounded Irish revolutionary,
wandering the foggy, surreal, and dangerous streets of
Belfast. The music, with its tread-like bass and mournful
horns, takes us not only into the Belfast streets, but also
into the mind of the doomed man as he tries to find his
way home. There is even a sort of Liebestod at the very
end, which is intensely moving to anyone who gets on the
wave length, who can love the slow pace, of this very
English, very Forties film.
[For a more in depth presentation of Alwyns
dramatic and romantic inclinations, look for an
addendum to this article on the Guilds website:
And, in any case, freed from the constraints of dramatic
expression, Alwyns symphonies, vocal and chamber
music are quite free to go about their blissful, lovely,
Romantic business. When Debussy was freeing himself
from the Wagnerian past, he said that he had to think
about music differently: first, he complained that the chief
Wagnerian inventionfusing symphonic development
with operawas the very thing he had to learn to forego
and undo. Now, although his symphonies are certainly
absolute music, Alwyns chief invention is bringing a
sort of operatic development to purely orchestral
musichis last four symphonies and his harp concerto
especially. Alwyn once said (in conversation with the
author) that he regarded the symphony as an essentially
dramatic form.

Alwyn often said that his three favorite 20th century

composers were Debussy, Puccini, and Berg. Bergs
influence can be heard in the subtlety of Alwyns harmonic
structures. (William Manns notes to the Second and,
especially, the Third symphonies offer fascinating harmonic
analyses.) Perhaps the most efficient way for a
contemporary musician to get inside Alwyns music is to
listen to his Sinfonietta for Strings (1970, 26). There
are two recordings of thisAlwyns own on Lyrita, and
Hickoxs on Chandos. This is his most Modern score:
it begins restlessly alternating between 2/4 and 3/8 with
dissonances about as prickly as he ever produced.

concerti grossi, the Sinfonietta for Strings, two song

cycles, and three string quartets) three works in particular
abound in great melodiesand would serve as a happy
introduction for anyone new to Alwyns art
(1) Second Symphony in two parts (1953, 30);
(2) Autumn Legend, a one-movement piece for
English horn and string orchestra (1954, 12)
(3) Lyra Angelica, a concerto for harp and string
orchestra in four movements (1953-1954, 31)

All three of these wonderworks have been recorded

twice. At the beginning of the new century, Alwyns
In the second movement, at bar 55 (508 in Alwyns available recorded legacy [see Appendix II] consists of
recording), there is a quotation from Bergs Lulu. It has 4 Lyrita CDs (re-issues of Alwyns own 1970s
been very subtly foreshadowed by the last two bars of recordings) plus the two-CD set of Miss Julie, conducted
Example 1 in the leap from B-flat to the high A, which by Vilelm Tausky; and the beautifully and prodigiously
becomes a motif used throughout the Sinfonietta.
produced Chandos series of 18 CDsall the symphonies,
much vocal, and chamber music, including the invaluable
What is most startling about the quotation (the only such CD of his film music.
quote in all Alwyns music) is the way it sounds, naturally,
like Berg, but also sounds so like Alwyn: the slightly weird In all of his music, he aimed always, he said, for clarity of
leap from G-flat to E-flat is surely reminiscent of the effect and simplicity of means.
famous opening phrase in Wagners Tristan. Berg uses
this motif at three most intensely, but ironically, romantic However, an important distinction must be made about
moments in the opera: first, it occurs when Lulu (in Meines Alwyns kind of compositional simplicity. His own
mannes, Act I, scene 2, bar 615) declares her love description (in conversation) of the great Second
for Dr. Schoen; it occurs secondly at the very end of the Symphony makes it sound as if anybody could do it: as an
first act (bar 1356) when this love makes Schoen feel example of how he wanted his music to sound logical
the axe falling and thus foreshadows his death at Lulus without sounding constructed, he said, So, take the
hands; third, it occurs in the final scene of the opera when, Second Symphony, for instance: I get that little tune [going]
before he kills Lulu, Jack the Ripper sees the lesbian at the beginning, and it goes on building all the way through
Countess Geshwitzs obsessive and hopeless love for the work until it finally reaches its apotheosis in the long
Lulu, and he pets her like a dog, saying Armes Tier coda, the summing up of the whole work; after that silence,
Poor old beast. Surely Berg meant this motif (it also then comes that wonderful D major chord on the brass,
occurs in the dramatic last movement of the Lulu-Suite) then everybody plays the tune that began it.
to represent a sort of dark underside to Wagners lofty
love-yearning. Alwyn, in effect, turns the phrase over again This sounds baby simpleas if it possesses the true,
and finds in it something almost tender, or even surface simplicity of a Hikare Oeuntil you realize that
compassionatepoor old humans! It leads into of one this logical but apparently not constructed work actually
of Alwyns characteristically melodically molded is firmly built. It achieves the often-sought but only
conclusions. It is an extraordinary moment.
occasionally realized late 19th century amalgamation of
sonata-movement form with the multi-movement sonata
The Puccini influence is most obvious in Alwyns love of cycle. Its most illustrious predecessors are the Liszt Bmelodybut also learned, he often said, from Irish folk Minor Sonata and the Saint-Saens Symphony No. 3
music. In addition to his beautiful and effective film scores, (which was dedicated to Liszt, another of the subtlerof his major works (an opera, five symphonies, three than-he-seems masters from whom Alwyn learned so
JCG Vol. 22, Nos. 1 & 2


Example 1: Sinfonietta for Strings,first 13 bars, p. 1

Reproduced by permission of copyright holder Alfred Lengnick & Co. [a division of Complete Music Ltd.] Hire from Chester Music: Tel 1 284 705 705;
Email adam.harvey@musicsales.co.uk.


JCG Vol. 22, Nos. 1 & 2

much). Both Alwyns Second and Saint-Saenss Third

have exactly the same design: they are in two parts but a
4-movement symphonic design can be discerned:
Part I:
Dramatic first mvt. (Rehearsal Letter D)
Adagio (Q)
Part II:
Scherzo (triple meter)
Finale (after AA)
Coda (GG)

He said this the whole of his Second Symphony

developed from the single phrasea simple, but not
uncatchy melodyheard at the beginning. A bassoon
starts things off in a simple and straightforward but clearly
very assured and original way.
The second bar, in particular, suggests an immediate
sound, which is as distinctively and uniquely Alwyns as
is a thumbprint. The violins answer at once, then modify
and subtly reshape the opening theme.

Of course, this is a musical drama. The second part

begins Allegro MoltoMolto Impetuoso and builds to
an exciting finalebut this kind of excitement is rarely
Because Alwyn gives occasional Mahlerian advisories, (though occasionally) what Alwyn drives at. To get right
(sempre vibrante, for example), it is clear that the to Leonard Bernsteins memorable criterion, at Letter GG,
conductor has both leeway and responsibility for after a long, slow-breathing Allargando is a daring,
interpreting and shaping precisely because the music, breathless silence and then comes the climax of the whole
in so skillfully burying its scaffolding, is so subtly, but work, in a beautiful, passionate sense of release (that
urgently, expressive.
wonderful D-major chord on the brass) after which

Example 2: Sinfonietta for Strings,bar 55 to conclusion of second movement

Reproduced by permission of copyright holder Alfred Lengnick & Co. [a division of Complete Music Ltd.] Hire from Chester Music: Tel 1 284 705 705;
Email adam.harvey@musicsales.co.uk.

JCG Vol. 22, Nos. 1 & 2



JCG Vol. 22, Nos. 1 & 2

Reproduced by permission of copyright holder Alfred Lengnick & Co. [a division of Complete Music Ltd.] Hire from Chester Music: Tel 1 284 705 705; Email adam.harvey@musicsales.co.uk.

Example 3: opening of Symphony No. 2, p. 2

the original little tune (Example 3) is played tutti and a

long undulating coda follows. This is the Alwynian kind
of climax: it continues to develop both subtly and
powerfully until the conclusion, when winds at KK, then
brass at LL, play this wonderful tune again, until the
timpanist, now supported quietly by the strings, has the
gentle last word.
Berg, Puccini and Debussy: these three, but the Debussy
influence is everywhere. Although there is less mist in
Alwyns music, both composers favor delicacy and quiet
loveliness. Many of Debussys worksnot just the
Prelude Lapres-midi dun Fauneseem like
ballets, or works describing a drama. Alwyns works
have a sort of mistiness within: his music makes you feel
quite sure that there is a drama going on, but you cannot
quite see it; it is a kind of dream-drama: as with the two
lovers whom he silhouetted in the moonlight at the end of
the first act of his opera, Miss Julie, the drama is in their
minds; it is in their spirits melting togetherrather like
the heavenly vision of passionate love in Rossettis great
poem and painting The Blessed Damozel (which Alwyn
called the picture of my dreams).

had the uncanny feeling that Rossetti was in the room

with him. Having it both ways? Clearly, there is an widearmed, Walt Whitman-esque willingness to be
contradictory on this important subject: Very well, I
contradict myself; I contain multitudes.
In his Treatise on Instrumentation, Berlioz describes the
English horn this way: Its tone, less piercing, more veiled
and heavy than that of the oboe, does not lend itself so
well to the gaiety of rustic melodies. Nor can it express
passionate laments; tones of keen grief are scarcely within
its range. Its tones are melancholy, dreamy, noble,
somewhat veiledas if played in the distance. It has no
equal among the instruments for reviving images and
sentiments of the past if the composer intends to touch the
hidden chords of tender memories. [7]

This is also a perfect description of Autumn Legend

and a perfect description of much of Alwyns music
generally. In The Blessed Damozel,both the poem
and the paintingthere is pictured a heaven where lovers
are rapturously re-united; the damozel of the title leans
her warm bosom on the gold bar of heaven and yearns
for her lover, still on earth, and still thinking of her. Here
Rossettis poem, also called The Blessed Damozel, is are Rossettis haunting lines from the poemlines, which
the basis of Autumn Legend, Alwyns miniature Alwyn placed at the head of the scoreand serving,
masterpiece, and, with this work, he joined a long line of perhaps, as something more than an ordinary epigraph:
composers who created music for it, beginning with
Debussy himself and including many British composers.
Surely she leaned oer meher hair
What makes Alwyns version so unusual is that it is not
Fell all about my face . . .
vocal: it is a work for Cor anglais ( Alwyn preferred this
Nothing: the Autumn fall of leaves.
locution to English horn) and string orchestra. The
The whole year sets apace.
music, wrote the composer, about the time of its
premiere in 1955, needs no formal analysis; it is a free After these mysterious lines comes music which certainly
improvisation arising spontaneously from the poets sounds like Berliozs hidden chords of tender memories.
words. Unashamedly romantic, Autumn Legend is my The Debussy influence certainly lingers; one passage (bar
own very personal tribute to the memory of Dante Gabriel 57, 5 bars after letter E) insinuatingly recalls Nuages.
Rossetti, the poet who inspired Debussy, the painter
extolled by Delacroix. [6]
To some listeners it may appear that Alwyn has loaded
his great Harp Concerto, Lyra Angelica, with too many
However, in the manner of Debussy, who gave titles to literary associations (beginning with the very title). If so,
his piano pieces well after he composed them, Alwyn these references can be ignored. [8] Others may find them
insisted that his first impulse was to write music for Cor somewhat helpful as a guide to the general spirit of the
Anglais and string orchestra: the Rossetti came afteras four movements:
a help to the listener as to the general mood and feel of
the piece. His music was, he insisted, always about music.
1. I looke for angels songs, and heare Him crie.
Yet he also said that in composing Autumn Legend, he
2. Ah! Who was He such pretious perils found?
JCG Vol. 22, Nos. 1 & 2


3. And yet, how can I leave Thee singing goe, when great tunesurely Puccinian, perhaps even specifically
reminiscent of E lucevan le stele and the death-march
men incensed with hate Thy death foreset?
4. How can such joy as this want words to speake? from the last act of Tosca. The final three pages are
particularly wonderful as we go into a typically Alwynian
These lines are taken from Christs Victorie and Triumph, conclusionppp, dim. a niente. The final movement is
(1610) by Giles Fletcher. This is a work known almost structured somewhat like the third: the opening, Allegro
exclusively to literary scholars as one of the models for jubiloso, offers eight truly jubilant bars to the harpist
Miltons Paradise Lost. The line for the 4th movement (Example4).
may aptly sum up most of Alwyns music, and the 3rd may
hint at the truth in the great lines of Shakespeare used as After a brief scherzo-like passage, there comes an
the epigraph to this essay: with all this rage, how beauty extended and reflective coda, andvery dramatically
can hold a plea is a question that, to a born-again Romantic, a return of the lovely melody from the first movement, in
answers itself. Yet many may simply find all this far too a different key and played a little faster. This material
pretious. It certainly reveals Alwyns genuine and very works its way through the now-familiar series of molto
diminuendi and molto tranquilli to a somewhat
deep love for 17th century literature. [9]
surprisingly decisive, rather than dreamy, conclusion
Only the final movement of Lyra Angelica ends fortissimo; (Example 5).
all the other movements end very quietly. Although there
is a great rush in the strings at the beginning of the third What makes Alwyns masterpiece remarkable is its
movement, the general feeling of this work is, almost combination of the slow enchantments of the music
coupled with a rhythmic tautness and his equally
entirely, quietly ecstatic.
characteristic drive toward a crisp clarity of texture and
Alwyns most characteristic and most beautiful melodies a succinct simplicity. In fact, his entire oeuvre has a
are in this work. After a slow Adagio introduction and a movement toward concisionfrom the full grand
swirling cadenza-like introduction of the harp, the first manner (as he called it) of his First Symphony to the
movement offers this lovely melodywhich has, in fact, mere 15 minutes of his final, Fifth, symphony. Here is an
been foreshadowed by the harp introductionto the first apt passage from his Journal:
violins and the violas. The first movement is full of lovely
turns and apparent wanderingssuch as a charming I once said in a lecture that the ultimate aim of a
siciliano (at Letter K, near the end). The second movement, composer is the expression of the world in a single note.
possibly the most beautiful of the four movements, has a This has been quoted against me. But it is true. Bach
moment, at Letter C, that will help anyone decide if this and Beethoven achieved itI mean this nth degree of
simplification, which can endow even an innocent scale
music is ones own cup of tea: this section may well be
with infinite meaning. Puccini actually did it with a single
described as like movie music. One admits: yes, this note: the single fortissimo staccato A as the consul
sounds somewhat like movie music, but for those to finishes reading Pinkertons letter to Madame Butterfly.
whom this is not A Bad Thing, the climax of the movement All other composers at a similar situation would have
will sound like the realization of a great inner drama. After resorted to a dramatic orchestral climax, but Puccini
this, the movement ends quietly.
here conveys a world of drama in a shock and a silence,
which makes the heart stand still.

Each of the two inner movements contains a great melody.

After the wispy ppp conclusion of the second movement,
the beginning of the third movement offers a striking
contrast with a great up rush in the strings followed by
three almost Beethovenian hammer strokes; however,
these are immediately softened (and, later, they become
a shaping influence through to the end of the movement).
And, then, a mere 11 bars into the movement comes a

JCG Vol. 22, Nos. 1 & 2

Of all the orchestral works in the standard repertoire,

Alwyns orchestral and chamber music, aspire, it might
be said, to the condition of Wagners Siegfried Idyll.
They share with Wagner (at their very best of course) the
combination of the personal, the deeply felt, the free form
yet formally interesting, the variety, the climactic lift and
the settling into the languorous ache, the hypnotic, the

JCG Vol. 22, Nos. 1 & 2



by permission of copyright holder Alfred Lengnick & Co. [a division of Complete Music Ltd.] Hire from Chester Music: Tel 1 284 705 705; Email adam.harvey@musicsales.co.uk.

Example 5: Lyra Angelica, concluding 6 bars, p. 60

Example 4: Lyra Angelica,4th movement, first 8 bars, p. 45

expression of the inner world of spirit and love. All this Modernism had become sterile: composers were
supposed to create a hypothesis and realise it musically,
and concision too!
like a research paper. I thought this was ridiculous.
William Alwyns very distinct musical world is an [Notes to CD Affairs of the Heart, 2000, CBC Records
invaluable contribution, both personal and civilized, to SMCD 5200.] Alwyn had been expressing, and acting
(in Virgil Thomsons wonderful phrase) that secret on, these very sentiments in the dry 1950s. Incidentally,
civilization which is music.
one of Mozetichs most beautiful works, The Passion of
Angels, a Concerto for Two Harps and Orchestra (1995)
is very like Alwyns Lyra Angelica in feel and mood.

On a syllabus for a film course about Movies & Music,

Quotations are from Alwyns journal, titled Ariel to
Miranda, published in Adam International Review, ed. I called the first half of the course (I hoped provocatively)
How The Movies Saved Classical Music. (The second
Miron Grindea, Nos. 316-17-18, London, 1967.
half was called Pop Goes the Movies.)
The title he finally settled on was Crepusculea little,
Reprinted in Alwyns recording, Lyrita SRCD.230.
3, work, now available in a recording by Ieuan Jones
made in 1994 (Chandos 9197).
Berlioz-Strauss, Treatise on Instrumentation, trans.
Front (New York: Kalmus, 1948), p 184.
William Manns superb notes for the Lyrita recordings
of the Second and Third Symphonies have been slightly
Evidently, all the literary associations and references
abridged for the CD reissues, but they remain essential
reading for any lover of this music. It is worth noting that were of some assistance to figure skater Michelle Kwan,
William Manns name is probably most famous for a who used this music in her free-style competition in the
controversial review he wrote of one of The Beatles early 1998 Olympics; to her, as she explained in a TV
releases. His discovery of something important, interview, it was enough that the music made her think
something of great interest and beauty in mere pop music, she was not skating but playing with angels.) I have
and in appearing in a forum no less august than The always regretted that it was Prokofiev who came upon a
Times, started, according to John Lennon, the whole title, which would have suited many of Alwyns works
intellectual bit about The Beatles. In some ways, given beautifullyFugitive Visions.
the intellectual climate, Manns championing of Alwyns
symphonies was a parallel act of independence of thought 9 For example, Sir Thomas Browne (1605-1682),
and of critical courage.
physician and authorbest known for his Religio
Medici was one his great heroes, whose words, from
Since Alwyns death, minimalism and neo-Romanticism Urn-Burial, provide the epigraphs to Alwyns final, Fifth,
have triumphed in what one can describe only as an Symphony (1970, 15), itself a four-movement miracle
Alwynian way. For instance, Canadian composer Marjan of concision.
Mozetich (b. 1948) abandoned the orthodoxies of his
teachers (early, approved Modernist works of his had NOTE: The delightful phrase Mahlerian advisories is a
instructions in his scores for the banging of chairs) when debt among many I owe to my friend and colleague David
he suddenly embraced Romanticism. He was, he said, Daniels, who has conducted Lyra Angelica, and who has
pounced on for daring to say that music is emotion, also contributed generously to this whole essayadvice
that it is a medium in which to express feelings. technical as well as suggestions rhetoricalall of great value.


JCG Vol. 22, Nos. 1 & 2

Symphony No. 1 Halle Orchestra, Sir John Barbirolli, Cheltenham; July 6, 1950
Symphony No. 2 Halle Orchestra, Sir John Barbirolli, Manchester; October 14, 1953
Symphony No. 3 BBC Symphony Orchestra, Sir Thomas Beecham; October 10, 1956
Symphony No. 4 Halle Orchestra, Sir John Barbirolli, London (Proms Concert); August 26, 1959
Symphony No. 5 Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, William Alwyn, Norwich; October 27, 1973
Lyra Angelica Sidonie Goosens (harp), BBC Symphony Orchestra, Sir Malcolm Sargent, London (Proms Concert);
July 24, 1954
Autumn Legend Roger Winfield (English horn), Halle Orchestra, Sir John Barbirolli, London (Proms Concert);
September 2, 1955
Sinfonietta for Strings Hurwitz Chamber Orchestra, Adrian Sunshine, Cheltenham; July 4, 1970


Symphony No. 1 (41), 1949
Symphony No. 2 (30), 1953
Symphony No. 3 (32), 1957
Symphony No. 4 (35), 1960
Symphony No. 5 Hydriotaphia (15), 1973
Festival March (8), 1951
Concerto for Oboe, Harp & String Orchestra 20), 1951
Concerto Grosso No. 1 in B-flat (11), 1952
Symphonic PreludeThe Magic Island (10), 1953
Lyra AngelicaConcerto for Harp and String Orchestra (31), 1955
Autumn Legendfor Cor Anglais and String Orchestra (12), 1956
Elizabethan Dances (18), 1958
OvertureDerby Day, (7) 1962
Sinfonietta for Strings (26), 1974
All scores are published by Alfred Lengnick & Co., Ltd., Purley Oaks Studios,
421a Brighton Road, South Croydon, Surrey, England.
U.S. Agent: Theodore Presser
Other addresses:
The William Alwyn Society, Andrew Palmer, Secretary
122 Vernon Avenue, Old BasfordNottingham WG6 OAL, England
Tel: +44 (0)115 978 0863
Fax: +44(0)115 913 0865
Email at waf@innotts.co.uk
JCG Vol. 22, Nos. 1 & 2



Piano Concerto No. 1 [15] (Howard Shelley, LSO, Richard Hickox, 1993)


Sonata for Oboe and Piano [16] (Nicholas Daniel, Julius Drake, 1994)


Green Hills, solo piano [257] (Julian Milford, 2000)


Tragic Interlude, for 2 Horns, Timpani, and String Orchestra [8] (City of London Sinfonia, Richard Hickox, 1992)

1939-39 Violin Concerto [40] (Lydia Mordkovitch, LSO, Hickox, 1993)


Rhapsody for Piano Quintet [10] (David Willison, Quartet of London, 1985)


Night Thoughts [solo piano, 5] (Julian Milford, 2000)

Divertimento for Solo Flute, (Christopher Hyde-Smith, Lyrita, 1972; Kate Hill, 1994)
Pastoral Fantasia for Viola and String Orchestra [13] (Stephen Tees, City of London Sinfonia, Hickox)


Overture to a Masque [9] (LSO, Hickox, 1992)


Concerto Grosso No. 1 in B-flat major for Chamber Orchestra [12] (City of London Sinfonia, Hickox, 1992)

1944-45 Concerto for Oboe, String Orchestra and Harp [20] (Nicholas Daniel, City of London Sinfonia,
Hickox, 1992)

Calypso from The Rakes Progress, [4] (arr. Christopher Palmer, LSO, Hickox, 1993)
Suite for Oboe and Harp [6] (Nicholas Daniel, Ieuan Jones, 1993)

1945-46 Sonata alla Toccata [solo piano, 10] (Sheila Randell, Lyrita, 1960; Julian Milford, 2000)

Odd Man Out Suite [arr. Christopher Palmer, 27] (LSO, Hickox, 1993)


Fanfare for a Joyful Occasion for Brass and Percussion [4] (LSO, Hickox, 1992)
The Fallen Idol Suite [arr. Christopher Palmer, 21] (LSO, Hickox, 1993)
Concerto No. 2 in G Major for String Orchestra [14] (LPO, Alwyn, Lyrita, 1979; City of London
Sinfonia, Hickox, 1992)
Sonata for Flute and Piano [8] (Kate Hill, Julius Drake, 1994)


The History of Mr. Polly Suite [arr. Christopher Palmer, 21] (LSO, Hickox)
JCG Vol. 22, Nos. 1 & 2

Symphony No. 1 [41] (LPO, William Alwyn, Lyrita, 1977; LSO, Hickox, 1993)

Music for Three Players [16] (Haffner Wind Ensemble, 1993)

Festival March [8] (LPO, Alwyn, Lyrita, 1985; LSO, Hickox, 1992)


Trio for Flute, Cello, and Piano [14] (Haffner Wind Ensemble, 1993)


Symphonic PreludeThe Magic Island [11] (LPO, Alwyn, Lyrita, 1972; LSO, Hickox, 1992)


Symphony No. 2 [31] (LPO, Alwyn, Lyrita, 1975; LSO, Hickox, 1992)


Lyra AngelicaConcerto for Harp and String Orchestra [30] (Osian Ellis, LPO, Alwyn, Lyrita,
1979; Rachel Masters, City of London Sinfonia, Hickox, 1992)


Crepuscule for Solo Harp [3] (Ieuan Jones, 1994)

String Quartet No. 1 in D Minor [23] (The Gabrielli Quartet, Unicorn Records, 1971; The Quartet of
London, 1982)
Autumn Legend for Cor Anglais and String Orchestra [12] (Geoffrey Browne, LPO, Alwyn, Lyrita,
1979; Nicholas Daniel, City of London Sinfonia, Hickox, 1992)


Symphony No. 3 [34] (LPO, Alwyn, Lyrita, 1972; LSO, Hickox, 1993)
Fantasy-Waltzes [solo piano, 35] (Sheila Randell, Lyrita, 1960; John Ogden, 1985; Julian Milford, 2000)
Overture: The Moor of Venice [arr. Frank Wright, for brass band, 9] (The Williams Fairey Band,
Bryan HurdleyBrass from the Masters, Vol. I1997)


Elizabethan Dances [18] (Nos. 1,2,5,4, LPO, Alwyn, Lyrita, 1979; complete, LSO, Hickox, 1992)


Twelve Preludes [solo piano, 26] (John Ogden, 1985)

Symphony No. 4 [37] (LPO, Alwyn, Lyrita, 1975; LSO, Hickox, 1992)


Overture Derby Day, [6] (LPO, Alwyn, Lyrita, 1979; LPO, Hickox, 1992)
Piano Concerto No. 2 [32] (Howard Shelley, LSO, Hickox, 1993)


Movements for Piano [16] (Julian Milford, 2000)


String Trio [16] (The Quartet of London, 1985)

Sonata for Clarinet and Piano [12] (Joy Farrall, Julius Drake, 1994)


Concerto Grosso No. 3 for Woodwind, Brass, and Strings [15] (City of London Sinfonia,
Hickox, 1992)
JCG Vol. 22, Nos. 1 & 2



Sinfonietta for Strings [25] (LPO, Alwyn, Lyrita, 1972; LSO, Hickox, 1993)
Mirages, A Song Cycle for Baritone and Piano [words by Alwyn, 26] (Benjamin Luxon, David
Willison, Lyita LP, 1972)


Naides: Fantasy-Sonata for Flute and Harp [12] (Christopher Hyde-Smith, Mariso Robles, Lyrita,
1972; Kate Hill, Ieuan Jones, 1993)


Symphony No. 5 Hydriotaphia [16] (LPO, Alwyn, Lyrita, 1975; LSO, Hickox, 1993)


String Quartet No. 2 Spring Waters [21] (The Quartet of London, 1982)
A Leave-Taking, for Tenor and Piano [25] (Anthony Rolfe-Johnson, Graham Johnson, 1984)


Invocations, for Soprano and Piano [20] (Jill Gomez, John Constable, 1983)
Miss Julie, an opera in two acts [118] (Jill Gomez, Benjamin Luxon, Della Jones, John Mitchinson,
The Philharmonia Orchestra, Vilem Tausky, Lyrita, 1977)



Concerto for Flute and Eight Wind Instruments [18] (The Haffner Wind Ensemble of London,
Nicholas Daniel, 1993)
String Quartet No. 3 [23] (The Quartet of London, 1985)

NOTE: * This list was compiled in July 2000. (In 2001, a second volume of film music was released by Chandos
CHAN 9959.) All recordings are on the Chandos label unless otherwise indicated; LPO=The London Philharmonic
Orchestra; LSO=The London Symphony Orchestra.

Brian Murphy was born in 1939 in Detroit and educated at the University of Detroit, Harvard, and the
University of London. He has taught English at Oakland University since 1969 and became Director of the
Universitys Honors College in 1985. He is the author of two books, a study of CS Lewis and a novel, The
Enigma Variations.


JCG Vol. 22, Nos. 1 & 2

Organizing and Conducting the

College-Community Orchestra
By Victor Vallo Jr.

The college-community orchestra is a musical

phenomenon that has continued to grow in interest and
participation throughout the nineteenth and twentieth
centuries. It involves town-and-gown musicians
combining their creative energies to make music together.
Fred Petty, in his article College-Community Orchestra,
describes the college-community orchestra as an ever
growing body of instrumentalists open to college students,
faculty, and community musicians, performing a rich
variety of music from Vivaldi to Ives.1 With this kind of
ensemble comes opportunities for life-long learning for
conductors and musicians of all ages.

experience for college students that they might otherwise

not have. Values such as these make college-community
orchestras a valuable part of the cultural climate of any
college and community.


If no orchestra exists at the local college, university, or in

the community, the situation may be ripe for starting one.
In organizing a college-community orchestra, there are a
few things to consider. Representatives from the college,
preferably the president and the continuing-education
division, should be contacted to determine whether the
To understand a college-community orchestra, one must college would be willing and able to support such an
first understand what a community orchestra is. It can ensemble. Once an agreement has been reached between
be considered a group of amateur musicians from the the college and community representatives to jointly
local community who voluntarily come together to enjoy organize such an orchestra, there are at least seven areas
performing music as an ensemble. As the Latin word that need to be addressed: membership, logistics, funding,
amare (to love) implies, amateurs do what they do out publicity, patrons, programming, and a board of directors.
of a love for that activity. This does not necessarily imply
a lack of professional standards in amateurs. Douglas 1. Membership: Securing membership is the first thing
Sanford mentions that it is not surprising that a great to consider in starting a college-community orchestra.
artistic growth in so-called amateur organizations, Whether one is planning on a string orchestra or a full
combined with a seriously troubled situation among many symphony orchestra, much depends on what the initial
professional ensembles, has resulted in an environment interest level is. A survey of the community and the college
in which a few community orchestras are now challenging should be done to see if there will be adequate numbers
professional orchestras for a share of the audience and kinds of instrumentalists for the various sections of
the orchestra. As is generally the case, there will probably
be a shortage of string players compared to a plethora of
College-community orchestras are an extension of wind and percussion players.
community orchestras in that they involve members of
both the college or university and the local community. Next comes the challenge of trying to achieve a balance
The value of these orchestras is that they bring together of instrumentation. This can be done through auditions
the talents of both, thereby fostering a healthy rapport and by establishing a waiting list. For example, what do
between the local and the educational communities. you do if six clarinets are interested but you can only
College-community orchestras also provide an orchestral accept two?

JCG Vol. 22, Nos. 1 & 2


If you do not have enough string players, a possible

solution could be to ask if anyone in the orchestra plays a
secondary string instrument to fill in the missing parts.


The college should concurrently be contacted to see what

instruments are represented by its interested faculty, staff,
and students. If the college agrees to sponsor this new
ensemble, it could look at the student records to see who
has an orchestral background. These students could then
be directly contacted to invite their participation.


2. Logistics: Good logistics becomes the next important

step, especially in locating a suitable space to rehearse
on a regular basis. The college should have at least one
adequately sized rehearsal space that can accommodate
a group of 25 to 50 musicians. A flat space is preferable,
one that is well-lighted, temperature-controlled, and has
good acoustics. The stage of an auditorium can be
excellent, providing the college would allow its use on a
regular basis. Accessibility for larger instruments such as
double basses and percussion (i.e. timpani) is important,
especially since the players need to have easy access to
and from the rehearsal area.


Sponsorship of particular concerts by

Paid promotional advertisements in the
concert programs
Grants from arts agencies and foundations

4. Publicity: Good publicity and public relations are

vital to the orchestras success and positive image in the
community. Concerts with effective publicity will help
attract an audience, which in turn will bring in future
patrons of the orchestra. Effective publicity can be best
achieved by organizing a publicity committee from the
members of the orchestra who can place ads in the
newspaper, conduct a phone marketing campaign, and
contact the local radio stations. There may be a member
of the orchestra who has media connections. Flyers can
be designed and distributed to each member of the
orchestra for posting in the community and around the college.

The sponsoring college can help by publicizing the

orchestra in its campus newspaper, newsletter, web
pages, and campus-wide e-mail. The Chamber of
Commerce may be interested in adding information about
the orchestra in their newsletter and calendar of events.
The availability of an adequate number of chairs is another If the college-community orchestra is offered for
consideration. The need for music stands can be resolved academic credit, the course listing should also be
by the players bringing a folding music stand if the college published by the college and the Chamber of Commerce.
does not have any or enough.
5. Patrons: Orchestra patrons can be a vital source of
Concerning music, the orchestra has the option of community contacts, funding, and overall support on a
borrowing music from a local public or private school stable and continuing basis. Once a patron list is
orchestra, college, or another community orchestra. established, a mailing list of their names and addresses
Renting or purchasing the music is another option, which can be created. The names of patrons can be listed in the
depends upon funding, the next topic.
program, which may encourage other people to become
patrons of the orchestra.
3. Funding: Adequate funding is the next vital area of
concern in organizing a new college-community orchestra. 6. Programming: Well-chosen literature will have a
Sponsorship by the college does not necessarily mean very significant effect on the morale and success of the
that the college will fund the orchestra, especially if it is orchestra. It is crucial that the music not only be within
providing a rehearsal space. Because the orchestra the capability of the general level of the group, but that it
cannot rely entirely on volunteer conductors and borrowing simply be fun to play and listen to! If the music is too
all of its music, it becomes necessary to find adequate difficult or the music is not fun to play, the morale and
and consistent sources of funding:
eventually the attendance at rehearsals may be diminished.
a. Dues from orchestra members
It would be helpful to ask members of the orchestra what
b. Fund-raising activities
pieces they would like to perform. This could only
c. Admission fees at concerts
enhance the morale of the group by allowing them input
d. Donations at concerts
into the programming for the orchestra.

JCG Vol. 22, Nos. 1 & 2

A variety of music needs to be selected in programming

for a college-community orchestra (a recommended list
of repertoire is at the end of this article). Whereas
audience appeal should be considered when choosing
music, it is also important that the orchestra as a whole
be considered. An audience will hear the piece only
once, but the orchestra will hear the work many times
in rehearsal. A survey conducted by James Van Horn
found that in music of America as well as with Europe,
conductors seem to try to program things that have
familiarity for their audiences.3 This familiarity factor,
as he calls it, has become vital for both audience and
orchestra appeal.

It is up to the conductor to ensure that all rehearsals are
well planned before each rehearsal. As a conducting
teacher once told this author, every rehearsal should be
treated as a performance. Each rehearsal must be a
focused and combined effort by all to achieve the
maximum musical results in the limited time available. In
order to do this, there are a number of areas that are
suggested for the conductor:

1. Rehearsal Schedule: Once a suitable rehearsal

schedule is established (at least once each week), the
day and time of rehearsal needs to be consistent
Another aspect in choosing literature is whether to throughout the season. This will allow the members to
borrow, rent, or purchase the music. Budgetary schedule around a set time frame for maximum and timely
considerations need to be taken into account in this attendance at all rehearsals. Publishing a detailed schedule
matter. Borrowing music is successful as long as you for each rehearsal can also facilitate good attendance and
are known by the lender, and he or she is not wary of morale. It is important to coordinate all rehearsals and
lending music for free. Renting music is another concerts with the academic calendar first to avoid any
possibility, but sometimes this can be rather costly, schedule conflicts.
especially if not all the parts are returned in time or are
not in their original condition. Renting also puts a time 2. Rehearsal Climate: The members need to feel
constraint on the orchestra because it has to have the welcome and not pressured to perform perfectly at all
music ready for performance in a limited amount of time. rehearsals. No one should ever be embarrassed at
anytime in a rehearsal. Its good for the conductor to
Finally, purchasing the music is also a possibility and is have high expectations of the members and to ask for
sometimes preferable because it allows the orchestra their best efforts, but he or she should never let those
to be able to rehearse it longer and mark it as needed. expectations get in the way of treating the members with
It also enables the orchestra to build its own music kindness and understanding.
library. Purchasing is often only slightly more expensive
than renting.
3. Musical Objectives: Each rehearsal needs to have
its own attainable musical objectives. To do this, the
7. Board of Directors: One of the most important conductor should have clear and predetermined goals
organizational steps is to form a Board of Directors to for each rehearsal. If possible, after handing out all of the
attend to the business and legal matters of the orchestra.4 music, publish in the rehearsal schedule which pieces or
It should consist of select members of the orchestra, sections of pieces are going to be rehearsed each week
community members, and members from the college/ so that the members know ahead of time what is going to
university. Ideally, representation should also be from be focused on and practice beforehand. Such a schedule
the local schools, media, churches, professional would also help the woodwind, brass, and percussion
community, and a lawyer to handle any of the legal players know when to be present, especially if they are
matters. The board should take the leadership role in not called for in certain works.
handling most, if not all, managerial duties (i.e. setting
up by-laws) so that the conductor may focus his or her Another musical objective is to help the orchestra better
energies on the musical growth and direction of the understand the music they are rehearsing and will
orchestra. The conductor should be ex officio on the eventually perform. To do this, the conductor must
assume the role of teacher. The enjoyment of the music
JCG Vol. 22, Nos. 1 & 2


by the orchestra members will hopefully increase as their

understanding of the music increases. Malcolm Holmes
said it well when he remarked: To develop a good
amateur orchestra, the conductor must have had sufficient
training and experience in the mechanics of his art to enable
him to teach his players, collectively and individually...(he)
must be a teacher in the finest sense of the word.5

to perform a concert at that event for both the college

and the local community.
3. Attire: It is important that the orchestra look as
uniform and as professional as possible. Concert black
should be the acceptable attire, which means a tuxedo
for the male members and black dress or pants suit for
the female members. If new tuxedos pose a financial
burden, used tuxedos or black suits should be considered.
Looking professional will help to enhance the orchestras
perception of itself as well as the audiences perception
of the orchestra.

4. Rehearsal Breaks: Knowing when to schedule

breaks is another important aspect of rehearsals. If
rehearsals are more than two hours, a break should be
scheduled soon after the first hour. In addition, collegecommunity orchestras tend to have a number of older
musicians who may appreciate breaks more than their 4. Recording: A good audio and/or video recording of
younger counterparts.
selected concerts is an excellent way to preserve the
musical efforts of the orchestra. With todays audio and
5. Open Rehearsals: Since a part of the orchestras video advancements, a respectable digital recording can
success depends on the support of the college and the be made very economically.
community, open rehearsals can help to enhance that
support. There may be members of the community (i.e. A compact disc would be a great way to archive the
parents) as well as students who wish to attend a rehearsal concerts and let the members either have or purchase
just to see how their children, friends, and colleagues are their own CD. Selling or giving away these CDs to
doing. Whether the open rehearsals are attended or not, patrons at future concerts can also help promote
an invitation should still be offered.
community support.

5. Reception: An excellent way to end a concert would

be to host a reception immediately following the concert.
The musical efforts of any college-community orchestra This allows the audience to informally meet the members
need to culminate with a successful concert. To help of the orchestra and hopefully help personalize their
achieve this culmination of combined efforts, it is experience at the concert. Informal conversations with
suggested that the conductor also consider the following: the players and the conductor at these receptions are
also, from this authors experience, excellent opportunities
1. Concert Schedule: Concerts should be scheduled to recruit prospective members for the orchestra.
with the agreement of both the college and community
members of the orchestra. The number of concerts
should be based on the time anticipated to prepare the
music. One or two concerts a semester offers the group The college-community orchestra is a unique and
attainable musical goals as well as giving the orchestra wonderful kind of musical organization today. One of its
ample time to prepare the music for concert performance. raisons dtre is to be a contribution to the cultural needs
and desires of the academic and local communities.
2. Concert Locations: It is important that concert Another purpose of the college-community orchestra is
locations be strategically selected to allow for maximum to be an opportunity to make music for itself and its
audience attendance and the best acoustics possible. audiences. Gerard Wolfe says it well by commenting
Churches and college auditoriums can be excellent that performing in the (college-community) orchestra
locations, especially if the acoustics are good and there gives a great many people the chance to enjoy classical
is sufficient seating. If there is a special event at the music in a way formerly not available, and to perform
college, what better way to say thanks than by offering publicly, while enhancing their own musical skills.6 In



JCG Vol. 22, Nos. 1 & 2

the long run, the orchestra, the college, and the community
are the musical beneficiaries.


Russian Sailors Dance from

The Red Poppy




Peer Gynt Suite

Holberg Suite


Water Music
Royal Fireworks Music

Haydn, F.J.

Symphony No. 94 (Surprise)

Symphony No. 100 (Military)
Symphony No. 103 (Drum Roll)
Symphony No. 104 (London)


Variations on America
The Unanswered Question


Sabre Dance from Gayane


Intermezzo from Cavalleria Rusticana


Hebrides Overture
Symphony No. 3 (Scottish)
Symphony No. 4 (Italian)


Overture to the Marriage of Figaro

Overture to the Impresario
Overture to the Magic Flute
Overture to Cosi fan Tutte
Eine Kleine Nachtmusik
Symphony No. 35 (Haffner)
Symphony No, 36 (Linz)
Symphony No. 40


Night on Bald Mountain (arr. Simpson)


Overture to Orpheus in the Underworld


Lieutenant Kije Suite



Bach, J.S.





Brandenburg Concertos Nos. 3 & 4

Egmont Overture
Leonore Overture
Symphony Nos. 1 & 2
Selections from West Side Story
(arr. Mason)
Overture to Candide
A Musical Toast
LArlesienne Suite No. 2
Symphony in C
In the Steppes of Central Asia
Academic Festival Overture
Hungarian Dances Nos. 5 & 6
Variations on a Theme of Haydn
Hoe-Down from Rodeo
Outdoor Overture
Variations on a Shaker Melody


Concerto Grosso No. 8

(Christmas Concerto)


Slavonic Dances (Opus 46)

Symphony No. 8


Nimrod from Enigma Variations

Pomp and Circumstance
Marches Nos. 1-4


American in Paris Suite (arr. Whitney)

Porgy and Bess (selections)

Gould, Morton American Salute

JCG Vol. 22, Nos. 1 & 2



Russian Easter Overture

Procession of the Nobles from Mlada


Overture to the Barber of Seville

Overture to the Thieving Magpie


Carnival of the Animals

March Militaire Francaise from
Algerian Suite

Von Supp

Light Cavalry Overture

Poet and Peasant Overture


Fred Petty, College-Community Orchestra, p. 1.

Douglas Sanford, The Rise of Community

Orchestras, pp. 1-2.


Symphony Nos. 5 and 8

Rosamunde Overture

James Van Horn, The Community Orchestra: A Handbook

for Conductors, Managers, and Boards, p. 91.


Stars and Stripes Forever

(and all concert marches)

James Van Horn, pp. 5-6.

Malcolm H. Holmes, Conducting an Amateur

Orchestra, p. 3.

Gerard Wolfe, College-Community Orchestras, pp. 1-2.

R. Schumann

Symphony No. 1 (Spring)


Festive Overture


The Swan of Tuonela

J. Strauss

Emperor Waltz
Radetzky March
Overture to Die Fledermaus
Thunder and Lightning Polka


Circus Polka


March Slav
The Nutcracker
Symphony No. 2 (Little Russian)


Triumphal March from Aida


Prelude to Act III of Lohengrin

Prelude to Die Meistersinger
von Nurnberg
Procession to the Cathedral from
Siegfried Idyll


JCG Vol. 22, Nos. 1 & 2

Holmes, Malcolm H. Conducting an Amateur Orchestra.
Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1951.
Petty, Fred. College-Community Orchestra. Internet
article, 1997.
Sanford, Douglas. The Rise of CommunitOrchestras.
The Podium, March 1997.
Van Horn, James. The Community Orchestra:
A Handbook for Conductors, Managers, and
Boards. Westport: Greenwood Press, 1979.
Wolfe, Gerard. College-Community Orchestras.
E-mail article: grw@uwm.edu, January 1998.

Dr. Victor Vallo is an Associate Professor of Music
at Anderson College (SC) where he is the
Coordinator of Music Education and Director of
Instrumental Activities. In 2001 Dr. Vallo was
appointed as the new Music Director/Conductor of
the Anderson Symphony Orchestra.

A Study of Student-Community Orchestras

in the United States and Canada
By Dr. Lyn Schenbeck & Rebecca Jones Rose

The student-community orchestra can be a valuable asset

to many institutions of higher education. In order to create
and maintain a viable organization, college and community
must work together to solve problems including
governance, seating, solos, number and location of
performances, social interaction, patronage (i.e., financial
support), and community service. This study was
prepared under the Research Scholars Program at Agnes
Scott College in which an undergraduate student and a
faculty member may collaborate on a research project.
Our project explored a number of issues that affect a
student-community orchestra.

colleges and arranged each category by student

population to create several tablesComparison Data
(Appendix A), Budget Figures (Appendix B), Orchestra
Numbers (Appendix C), and General Information
(Appendix D). Unanswered questions are blanks in the
tables. The following commentary includes quotes
extracted from the surveys.


In our orchestra, the concertmaster and each section

principal sit in on auditions. While we dont actually
vote on who is accepted, I always ask for input on
each auditionee, and each one of the players present
signs the form regardless of whether the individual is
accepted or not. Often the principals know their
sections better than I do and are more capable of
determining whether the individual will fit in.

We used the following parameters to define the


According to our surveys, the conductor (and/or artistic
director) usually runs the auditions.

a. Orchestras had to contain both students and

significant numbers of community members.
b. Conductors had to be on the college or university
When a community player is hesitant to play alone, I
c. Students might or might not receive college allow that individual to sit in one night and audition
by playing in the section. As a retired music teacher,
credit for participation in the orchestra.
We developed a survey form which was sent to every
student-community orchestra we could locate in the U.
S. and Canada utilizing the index under Director of
Orchestra, in the College Music Societys (1999-2000)
Directory of Music Facilities in Colleges and
Universities, U. S. and Canada. Each school was called
to determine whether its orchestra fit our parameters.
Seventy-two schools in the United States and Canada
had such organizations.
Forty, or 56%, of our surveys were returned. We
separated schools into liberal arts and non-liberal arts

that person may have the power to bring in (or

discourage) many students and former students who
are quite good. Therefore, having him in the orchestra,
even if his playing is not specifically on the technical
level I want would be a wise political move that would
gain more than it would cost in terms of personnel.

Audition repertoire varies greatly. Almost all schools allow

the auditionee to choose a solo in addition to other
requirements. Only about half the schools require sight
reading and/or scales. Several schools indicated that the
audition team selected one scale and the auditionee chose
the other. Most organizations require an orchestral excerpt
as part of the audition.

JCG Vol. 22, Nos. 1 & 2



In several organizations seats are simply assigned by the

conductor. Community members usually sit toward the
The survey did not show a correlation between total back and I try to put weaker students with community
population of the institution and the size of the orchestra, members for mentoring possibilities. Three organizations
nor did total population relate to the proportion of surveyed do a combination of assignment, audition, and
community and student members. It was evident from challenges so they can place community and faculty
the surveys that no matter how many violins are in an members where they would help the most, or [in the]
orchestra, the number of other string instruments was back of the sectionto be supportive, not to replace or
rarely proportionate. These numbers varied greatly in demote regulars. In one school paid or faculty
some places from year to year. For a couple of years I members are placedstudents must audition.
might have 8 cellos and 12 violins, and then the tables
will turn and Ill have 10 cellos and 6 violins. All but one In the woodwinds and brass the problem can be even
orchestra either had a plethora of winds or just enough, more difficult because much of the classical repertory
while 6% were lacking in one or more brass players, and requires only pairs of winds and brass. If the school has
5% lacked percussionists. (See Appendix C.)
its own wind ensemble or band, the problem is somewhat
alleviated since other opportunities for performance exist.
If, however, orchestra is the only instrumental
performance ensemble on campus or in the community,
Some conductors allow community seats to remain the determination of who will play which parts can be
constant, moving students around as needed. Other very complicated. Schools address that problem in
organizations do placement auditions each year, some different ways.
run jointly by the principal chair of each section with the
conductor, moving everyones seat accordingly. One Some tell community members up front that if there are
conductor said, Ours is called seating check.All string students who can play those parts, student instrumentalists
players are scored on three excerpts from the concert will have priority. Assuming this, the next question
music. [They] are scored by hired players (pros), and becomes: When students get priority, what happens to
are reseated for the concert based on [their] scores. community members, particularly those who have been
Another approach some schools take, more easily done with the orchestra for some time? One school solved
in a small orchestra, is to allow each section to determine that problem by creating its own internal wind ensemble
its own seats by consensus.
and using one of the wind players, either student or
community, to conduct it. This would be a good task for
A number of ensembles rotate seats (in all instruments) a retired music teacher whose playing may no longer be
with each concert. This gives the community and student on the highest level. That way, when the conductor is
members an opportunity to sit in different places and hear working with the strings, the wind ensemble will be
the orchestra from varied perspectives. Unfortunately, preparing its own piece(s). Another conductor said, I
many community members, especially the older players, am loyal to long-time community players for filling spots
do not like that because they have become comfortable where some years there are no students. But when good
in a particular place. One conductor said, Some long- students come, the community players are always willing
time community members are not rotatedthis is our to give them a chance to play. Another suggests, Ask
community members how they feel about this issue. Dont
make any assumptions.
Seating challenges are addressed in several ways.
[Challenges are decided] on the advice of the studio Other schools audition winds and brass every year and
teacher for that section. Music majors who play well simply use the best players. The obvious difficulty
come first. [Challenges] are allowed only for principal indicated with this method is that when students graduate,
chairs. [Challenges] are allowed only if it is mutually new students may not enter on those instruments, and
agreeable with the person being challenged.
one must revert to the community for players. Other


JCG Vol. 22, Nos. 1 & 2

respondents asserted that community competition

becomes more intense, and they end up with better
players. Some use more than one player per part on each
wind and brass part, which allows a number of players
to gain experience on those parts. Several begin that way
and then audition players right before the concert to
determine who will play a particular concert. The rationale
appears to be that rehearsals are always covered, and
those players who are really interested and dedicated
practice harder for the chance to play the concert.

All of them feel that having input in the form of committees

and an elected Board makes the ensemble more
educational and challenging.

The issue of assigning principal chairs in the strings is more

complicated. Many schools simply leave the principal
player in that seat unless someone challenges. Fourteen
schools said that they pay professionals to play principal
even if they have capable students. Several others place
faculty in those chairs. Most schools, however, audition
their own orchestra members for principal chairs and leave
these people in place until they either graduate or choose
to leave. All orchestras that do not pay professionals said
that they give students priority in principal chairs. In order
to maintain sound leadership, particularly if the principal
chair is an inexperienced student, a faculty member or
strong community member is often placed on the inside
of the first stand. This allows the student to get the
experience of leading with help from another strong player.
One conductor said, I always use students as principal
players, give them the responsibility of bowing the parts,
leading the section, playing the solos, but the faculty
member [or community person] who sits beside him or
her becomes a mentor who is ultimately responsible.

Most of the other 23% (those that do have boards) are

liberal arts colleges. Few have constitutions that structure
the government. All have at least a president and the
conductor/music director on the board. Four have atlarge community members and no at-large students. Two
schools include at-large students and no at-large
community members; two other schools have both. One
school has a chaplain and a student conductor on its board
in addition to a full slate of officers. Some boards meet
monthly, others twice each year, and still another, twice
each semester. Length of meeting time ranges from one
to three hours.


They especially like the at-large members because these people

An ensemble that interacts positively will produce much

better music than one pervaded by strife and negativity.
The personality of the conductor and the governance of
the orchestra can have an enormous effect upon members
attitudes. One comment on my teaching evaluations was
Now that we [students] have input into the orchestra I
enjoy playing more because I feel like my opinions really
matter. Another commented, Some of my community
people just want to play, while others are really interested
in lending their experience and wisdom to the board. All
my students, however, want a say in how the orchestra is
run. Theyre not interested in artistic control, but just want
to help with PR and ideas for different kinds of concerts.

can share anything with them and I become aware of potential

The conductor/artistic director, alone, governs 77% of

the orchestras surveyed. The only remarks made by
conductors who assumed sole leadership were: I have
an instrumental handbook that I wrote, and as a
University course, we do have a syllabus.

The thing I like best about the board is that I dont have to
worry about whether problems exist. My board members keep
me apprised of any problems so we can take steps to solve them
before any major issues arise. Many times an orchestra does
not feel comfortable talking directly with me about something
of concern, but most are very comfortable with their peers.
are there primarily to foster good communication. [A] member

General tasks of the various boards include public

relations, fund raising, social events, conflict resolution,
music selection, and budget. Another conductor
commented, The most important aspect of my
orchestras governing body is the communication comfort
level when the members dont have to talk to the
conductor directly. They are more comfortable giving
suggestions to their peers. From these two statements,
perhaps the main responsibility of the governing body is

JCG Vol. 22, Nos. 1 & 2


to help maintain good communication between conductor inconsistency of percussion needs presents a problem.
We have no solid core of regular percussionists except
and members.
our own timpanist. We fill the section ad hoc. Percussion
Of the conductors surveyed, 45% ask for input regarding needs vary greatly from concert to concert. We almost
repertoire, 30% allow some input, and the rest do not. always need a timpanist, but not all timpanists can play
other instruments so I tend to shy away from music with
Some comments follow: I generally ask for input during
many percussion parts. It is also difficult to know how to
one year that will be used for the next academic year. I redistribute the parts if we dont have enough players to
try to vary the repertoire so that it challenges different cover all of them.
sections for each concert. I want them to like the
repertoire, but I must choose based on its educational Lack of academic credit was another concern. Over the
value as well. My orchestra often comes up with better past decade many schools that had never given academic
suggestions than I do because many of them, especially credit for ensembles have begun to do so. Those schools
the community people, have played longer than I have. that do not yet offer credit are finding that current students
It would seem that encouraging suggestions is important. may not become part of an ensemble without it. One
Many factors are involved in the choice of repertoire,
some of which, such as budget restrictions, the conductor
may not be willing to share with the group for appropriate
reasons. One conductor whose yearly budget for
repertoire was $500 said I hesitate to share the amount
of my budget with the orchestra or they might think we
cant afford to perform good music. They know we have
a small library. This can be particularly true in an
academic setting.. One program I chose turned out to
be too easy for the orchestra. They learned all the music
so quickly that I had to add a piece or two. I asked them
for suggestions and got several good ones. When I added
the extra piece, several community members told me that
they were excited and challenged by the new pieces and
were glad I had asked them for help. The same people
also said that they were glad all the music was not this


Seventy-six percent of the schools indicated the constant
need to recruit strings. In surveyed community colleges,
the turnover of students is so great that they indicated the
need to have a very strong community base, particularly
in the string area. One school indicated concern over lack
of quality as well as quantity among string players. We
not only have trouble getting strings, but I am concerned
about the quality of the ones we do get. Only 10% of
the schools needed to recruit woodwinds, 3% needed
brass, 11% needed percussion, and 10% indicated that
their needs vary significantly from year to year. The


JCG Vol. 22, Nos. 1 & 2

conductor said, When our school began to offer

academic credit six years ago, the size of our ensembles
almost doubled. I also believe that todays society is one
of rewards. Students feel that if there is no external
reward, the internal one is not good enough to satisfy
them. It is sad.
Competition among colleges and lack of scholarship funds
were two other repeated concerns among conductors.
More and more, its not about how good you are, but
how much money you can offer the student. Schools are
finding it necessary to buy students. In urban areas
where there may be as many as twenty or thirty schools,
competition for talent is often fierce. Several conductors
in schools with populations less than 2000 indicated that
larger schools with bigger orchestras seem to be attracting
more students, especially strings.
Schools are addressing recruitment needs in a number of

used word-of-mouth,
contacted high school teachers,
made telephone calls
ran ads in community newspapers
ran ads in campus newspapers
did nothing

Some suggestions to enhance recruiting were: creating

chamber groups within the orchestra, sending out
information packets to incoming college and area high
school students, having faculty and/or the orchestra itself

visit area high schools and area festivals, telephoning conductors commented on this issue with various
community musicians, and creating and distributing flyers perspectives: I come here to play. I have arthritis
in the community.
and I cant practice too much. Im willing to do what
I can, but if the musics too hard I wont stay in [the
Of recruiting quality string players, one conductor said, orchestra]. It is often difficult to choose repertoire
We also teach pre-college students [in order] to raise that is challenging enough to keep the students happy,
the standards of string playing in the area. A number of but easy enough that the community people dont
schools are beginning preparatory programs for children. need to put in hours of practice. Students resent
Some sponsor Suzuki programs, others have the community players that show up once in a while and
neighborhood music schools, where children in urban dont practice their parts. Another related comment was
areas can come to the college on Saturdays for I cant build the quality of the orchestra if the community
instruction. The instructors for these lessons range players dont practice.
from graduate and exceptional undergraduate
students to adjunct and sometime even full-time How do we deal with the people in the orchestra that
faculty. The experience for student instructors is dont practice? Several conductors indicated that, for the
invaluable, particularly those who want to teach after student, the grade helps that process. The community
graduation. If a high school student, for example, is population must be inspired to practice. In the area of
taught by a current college student and is good student resentment for community players who dont
enough to play in the orchestra, the fact that the practice and whose attendance is not good, one
college student is also in the ensemble will stimulate conductor said Therefore, students and community
a childs interest in joining the orchestra. The fees players [together] decide whether or not [the recalcitrant
for these lessons are graduated according to parental players] can continue to stay with the orchestra. Another
incomes, and the schools often make special said, I make sure to have community as well as students
arrangements with a local music store to rent on the Board of Directors. These issues have been
instruments. This helps both school and community addressed in our Constitution, a document that is given
to make yet another connection.
to each member upon entrance into the orchestra. I
believe that repertoire can make all the difference [in the
Two conductors solved the problem of scholarship retention process], so I ask for input from both community
needs by establishing patron committees that created
and student members. I have found that by making the
an endowment fund. Another worked with the
community people active in the organization, either by
development office at his college to target specific
having representatives on the Board, or by setting up
donors for endowed chairs.
committees in which they can participate, they come more
regularly. We have an attendance policy for all members.
Although all these issues are important in the
There is some leeway for work, but our players all must
recruitment process, it is often the personalities of
follow the rules or may not remain in the orchestra.
those doing the recruiting that can make the most
difference. If they like and trust the conductor,
recruiting is much easier. If the membership is upbeat The subject of adjunct faculty was also a concern. We
full-time instrumental teachers on our
and positive, they will attract more people. I find have few
that the more accessible I am to the membership, the faculty. Another pertinent comment was: The adjunct
more they will recruit on their own for the ensemble. faculty will not play in the orchestra unless they get paid.
It is definitely word of mouth that makes the most The full-time faculty members dont have time to play in
the orchestra. If we had more faculty in the orchestra, I
think more of our students and community people would
The level of repertoire affects retention. If the music stay.
is too easy, the membership is bored; if it is too
difficult, some people become discouraged. Many Some general suggestions for retention were also made
JCG Vol. 22, Nos. 1 & 2


I take my orchestra on an outing each semester. When

they bond with one another its easier to keep them year
after year. Sometimes we go to a concert; other times to
a local master class. I bring in guest conductors. I
host workshops and master classes on my campus. We
try to have professional meetings on campus that concern
string players. I try to be as flexible as possible with the
schedule for non-majors and community personnel.

Many living composers are sensitive to those issues. At

the recent Southeastern regional Conductors Guild
meeting in Atlanta, composer James Oliverio made a point
to tell conductors that he is self-published and has a sliding
fee scale for all his pieces. He stressed that he will work
with any school to help make it possible for them to
perform his music. Other composers are also beginning
to do that. With the creation of computer-notation
software, it is much easier to be self-published, so parts
are easier to generate and maintain. This can substantially
help to reduce fees. One conductors comment that seems
vitally important was, I used to make assumptions that
all rental fees were outside my budgetary capability. I am
Since most orchestras play a variety of music written
often wrong and so I now dont rule anything out until I
before the twentieth century, the only style period the
check it out.
survey addressed was the twentieth century. Of the
schools surveyed, 58% perform twentieth-century music
on a regular basis. Conductors indicated that 15% of the
rest perform it sometimes and 27% do not perform it at
Total budget figures reported in the survey range from
all. Sixteen schools (70%) of the fifty-eight percent that
$300 to $100,000 per year. No correlation between size
perform it regularly are liberal arts colleges. One
of school or type of institution and the yearly budget
conductor who regularly performs twentieth-century amount was evident from the numbers (Appendix A).
music added, . . . and we regularly do works by living The orchestra with the highest number of paid players
composers, very important.
(54) has an annual budget of $18,000. In the case of an
The biggest stumbling block to the performance of
twentieth-century music appears to be budget. A great
deal of that music is rental-only and the fees tend to be
high. Fees usually depend on the length of the piece,
seating capacity of the venue, whether or not it is open to
the public, whether or not there is an admission charge,
and how many performances will be done. In the pop
and musical theatre realm, that fee goes even higher. As
one conductor from a small liberal arts college said, Your
library hasnt gained anything and you must rent again to
perform the piece at some future date. An even stronger
comment was also made, Why should I have to rent a
piece of music and pay extra fees when my school is
already licensed, as it should be, by ASCAP, BMI, and
SESAC? Those blanket licenses are very reasonable and
I have no problem with that, but I feel that I am being
charged twice for the privilege of playing music that I
consider important. Another said, If conductors dont
champion and commission new works by living
composers, who will? But I am disappointed to hear
about a new work, or even to commission one, and then
discover that I cant perform it, or cant perform it again
without a rental fee.

JCG Vol. 22, Nos. 1 & 2

orchestra with a $17,000 annual budget, regular salaries

(10 paid players) account for 60% of that ensembles
expenses. The orchestra with the largest budget
($100,000) has only 7 paid players. Soloists account for
20% of its total expenses and extra salary for the
conductor (beyond that which the college pays) accounts
for 33%. Music rental and purchase combined are only
3% of that orchestras budget and players salaries
account for 18%.
Conductors indicated that revenues were often obtained
from multiple sources. Some schools got revenues from
each category, while others got all revenue from one
category. Most obtained funds from at least two of the
sources below:
college funds:
corporate sponsors:
private donors:
arts grants:
endowed funds:
fund raising:
other grants:
member dues:


See Appendix B for a table showing the relationship between revenue origins and the population of the institution.
Expenses included everything from players salaries to scholarship aid. Several conductors indicated that their funds
were simply part of the general music department budget and they didnt know exactly how much they had to spend.
One conductor said, [It is] difficult to identify as we are a university orchestra, so, for example, office supplies are
supplied as needed, as are publicity, travel, house management, instrument maintenance, and recruiting activities.
The only budget item I can refer to is music purchase/rental. Funds are spent in [the areas of recruitment and
retention, publicity, and office supplies] but they come from the General Music Department budget and not the
Orchestra Budget. Others had separate budgets for each category. Expenses that were listed under other were
salaries for conductors and business managers.
Music purchase and rental represents a high proportion of many budgets. It would be helpful in smaller towns if a
library could be created that is central to a group of member schools and maintained by fees from each institution or
orchestra from which parts could be borrowed. For those of us in areas where there is a regional or state orchestra
that has a good library, perhaps arrangements could be made to pay them the fee and use their resources. The
money would help with upkeep of the library, perhaps even hiring an extra librarian just to help fill the needs of the

We initially assumed that schools with larger student populations would have larger orchestras and budgets. We also
thought that non-liberal-arts schools would most likely have larger orchestras and budgets than liberal arts colleges,
particularly because many of these institutions have schools of music or conservatories from which to draw students.
Yet our data revealed no differences between liberal arts and non-liberal arts schools in terms of anything surveyed;
however, since our study excluded orchestras made up only of students or students and faculty, it presumably
excluded many institutions in the conservatory or large school-of-music category. Such institutions may well fit our
original assumptions.
Issues faced by student-community orchestras are unusual in many ways. These groups can bring their communities
and colleges together like no other activity. Our goal was to assess the status of these ensembles regarding specific
issues, using our findings to suggest ways they could be improved. Respondents commentaries turned out to be
more useful than the statistics, since the quantitative data we gathered yielded few significant correlations. Many
anecdotes, however, contained helpful suggestions in matters such as personnel, scheduling, and repertoire.

Lyn Schenbeck has her doctorate in both Instrumental and Choral Conducting from the University of
Colorado-Boulder. Her many accomplishments include conducting choirs and orchestras around the country,
writing liner notes for 5 different record labels, and serving on the Board of Governors of the NARAS/
Atlanta. Dr. Schenbeck is currently Director of Choral and Orchestral Activities at Agnes Scott College in
Decatur, Georgia, where she conducts the Orchestra, two choirs, and teaches voice and opera/musical theatre.

Rebecca Jones Rose is currently a Social Studies Teacher and Music Ministry Co-Moderator at St. Pius the X
Catholic High School, Atlanta, GA. She also plays in the Agnes Scott College Community Orchestra.
JCG Vol. 22, Nos. 1 & 2



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JCG Vol. 22, Nos. 1 & 2

JCG Vol. 22, Nos. 1 & 2




By Welborne E. Young

One of the most rewarding and challenging pursuits a

conductor can undertake is directing and conducting an
amateur community choir. The singing membership of
these ensembles presents the conductor with an array of
abilities, backgrounds, and ages as they express a love
of music making that drives and enlivens their pursuit for
musical excellence. Robert Shaw addressed this
particular aspect of amateur music making in a letter to
the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra Chorus, I have felt for
some years that the arts were too important to be left
entirely to the professionals...Even with the best of
intentions, the things that people do for love are likely
to undergo modification when done only for money.1

instrument with which the conductor must work within

an ensemble of blended abilities often without the benefit
of a common vocabulary.

Group vocal challenges are as numerous as the articles

and books on vocal pedagogy. This article will address
only one issue, the utilization of the head voice with the
goal of correcting some vocal problems common to most
amateur community choirs. Specifically these problems
are: the soprano and alto voice between G4 and C5,
inflexibility and pitch obscurity in the bass voice below
D3, and strident singing beyond, or inability to access
notes above, the upper passaggio for sopranos and
tenors. Simple exercises that require little technical
Aside from the challenges of governance, marketing, and explanation will be suggested to correct these problems.
fund-raising, conductors of amateur community choirs These suggestions are not intended to be a panacea.
must address the problems resulting from the blended Thomas Hemsley writes, In practice, if singers are to
vocal abilities of their ensemble. Unlike most other develop the ability to respond with accuracy and subtlety
community music organizations where private lessons or to all shades of feeling and meaning, the head-voice or
school study were necessary for members to learn to mezza voce must be an essential ingredient in all their
play their instruments, the membership of these ensembles singing.2
is a confluence of singers who have never studied voice
and singers who are well trained. Often, a common It must be stated here that there are differing opinions
musical and vocal technical languages may not exist. The among voice professionals on the number of vocal
questions of whether the conductor should be teaching registers. James McKinney, and many voice-science
voice, of the effectiveness of group instruction, or even professionals, identify three registers: modal, fry, and
of whether choral demands on the voice versus solo falsetto (for men) or whistle (for women). McKinney states
demands on the voice are compatible will not be further, that it is in the modal register where the majority
discussed in this article. The voice is, however, the of singing occurs. It is the non-static nature of the larynx

JCG Vol. 22, Nos. 1 & 2

and the thinning or thickening of the vocal folds that allows

evenness and transition of the singing voice from lowest
notes to highest.3 Richard Miller, on the other hand, writes
that the terminology used by speech investigators
(McKinney may be included) is too limiting and ignores
the subtle differences in a number of register timbres
recognized in traditional schools of singing.4 He further
states, there are two transition points or passaggi, the
primo passaggio and the secondo passaggio, that define
three registers: the chest voice, the mix or middle voice,
and the head voice.5 Miller relies on historical writing,
recognition of aural cues in timbre, and singer sensation
and vibration to support his statement. The untrained
singers especially need the timbre and sensation indicators
to improve their singing. It is Millers vocal register
terminology that will be used here.
Because of their vital connection to engaging the headvoice, two topics specific to the entire ensemble need to
be discussed before proceeding to the main body of the
paper, 1) the steps to producing the singing voice and 2)
vowel production. First, untrained singers and the
ensemble in general need a systematic and consistent
approach to creating sound. Appropriate space precedes
an energized breath, which precedes sound or, basically:
space, air, and then sound. Appropriate space includes
both pharyngeal space and aperture (mouth opening)
space. This brings to mind the often-used expression,
Breath in the vowel. If the singer can re-create the
sensation, then the vocal tract and the aperture will be in
the correct position to produce the desired sound. While
there are several differing views on breathing, James
McKinney outlines the process in four steps: inhalation,
suspension, exhalation (singing), and recovery.6 It is in
the transition from the suspension phase to the exhalation
phase that many amateur singers have trouble. The
tendency is to mistakenly use too much tension in
positioning the vocal folds as a valve to hold air in thus
making them rigid. This rigidity affects onset and all
subsequent sounds. Glottal onsets, ragged starts, and
overly weighty, dull, and inflexible singing are indicators
of this problem. Two exercises applied in warm-ups can
assist the singers in becoming aware of the vocal
mechanism without undue technical explanation from the
conductor. During breathing exercises, reduce or eliminate
the suspension phase by immediately and gently reversing
the airflow after inhalation. This will help keep the vocal

folds open and pliable. Miller writes of an aspirate onset

to help correct this problem as well.7 Have the choir
perform Exercise 1. Request that the ensemble sustain
an aspirate sound on the first pitch and slowly allow the
vocal folds to engage until the most vibrant singing tone is
achieved before completing the exercise. Begin the
exercise in the key of D and ascend by half steps. Do not
exceed the key of B-flat. This range of keys aids the
singer in strengthening the middle voice by mixing the head
voice down.


Second, finding the correct gradation of vowel or vowel

color for the pitch to be sung is frequently difficult for
untrained singers. What may be the most vibrant vowel
production for the alto section at a specific pitch may
need to be modified by all other sections because of the
pitches those sections are singing or singer ability. Miller
states, In the historical Italian School concentration is
on graduated vowel modification. Flexible adjustment of
the vocal tract must be permitted in order to define all
vowel forms.8 This implies that a unified ensemble vowel
may require simultaneous adjustments of that vowel from
section to section based on range. It is, therefore, not
contrary to state that conductors must strive for vowel
unification throughout the ensemble especially when that
means a variety of vowel colors are necessary to unify
the group vowel sound. Below, Chart 1 illustrates the
continuum of vowels using the International Phonetic
Alphabet (IPA).


Given the fluid nature of vowel color in relation to pitch,

this investigation will address only the most common issue
with the [a] sound. Frequently, the untrained singer cannot
sense the pharyngeal space needed to correctly produce
the vowels at any given pitch. A most common error
occurs when the open vowel [a] becomes [^] in the
JCG Vol. 22, Nos. 1 & 2


singers voice. The pharyngeal space has collapsed and

the soft palate has dropped. The untrained singer needs
to feel the sensation necessary to correct this problem.
Ask the ensemble to repeat after you while you vary the
[a] sound in brightness and pitch in rapid succession. Once
the ensemble achieves the vibrancy and space you are
seeking, immediately apply that sound to Exercise 1
above. If there is a particular place in the music you are
working on that requires that sound apply it there as well.
Many untrained singers inadvertently isolate vocal
registers. One common example of this is found in the
soprano and alto voice in the range G4 to C5. At one
extreme there is the upper limit of the chest voice and at
the other extreme there is the lower limit of the head voice.
When isolated, the untrained chest voice will have strength
to about G4, while the untrained head voice will have
strength beginning about C5. Singing with pure head-voice
below C5 produces a weak unfocused sound, while
forcing the chest-voice above G4 produces a loud, raw
sound. Both lack focus and pitch integrity. A mixture of
these two voices must occur to create evenness and
flexibility in this range. Singers should try to strengthen
and integrate the head voice down. Hemsley states, One
thing is certain...the head-voice must always be part of
the mixture, and should always lead.9 To achieve this
mixture in womens voices the [u] and [o]sounds tend to
provide the most pharyngeal space. These closed vowels
can also aid in reducing the amount of chest voice a singer
might tend to engage. In Exercise 2 below, the singers
should be encouraged to create the necessary space,
accelerate the air, resist getting louder as they ascend the
first interval of a perfect fourth, and maintain a piano
dynamic. Further, they should maintain the openness and
light production they achieved as they descend. Begin
the exercise in the key of D and ascend to the key of F or
F-sharp. Work your way back to the key of D. Again,
this range of keys develops the middle voice by integrating
the head voice down.

of the vocal tract as they ascend without losing the forward

focus of the [u] sound. Used in warm-ups this aids the
singer in exploring the head voice.
Whether it is a reflection of current cultural influences or
a misunderstanding by singers that what they feel as they
sing is necessarily what is heard, many amateur bass
singers overly darken vowels and overly engage their
chest voice. This practice renders the voice inflexible,
obscures the pitch, and actually reduces the volume
produced. Bass singers should not falsely add to the
timbre they naturally create. Most often, the singer makes
too much space too low in the vocal register and sings
too loudly creating a faux bass resonance. This may cause
an abundance of vibration in their heads, but the actual
sound is trapped in the mouth and throat and lacks
vibrancy and direction. Inability to move notes in tempo,
to accurately sing correct intervals greater than a third,
and to sustain pitch integrity are all symptoms of a lack of
head-voice integration. To correct this, begin with a
falsetto exercise that has two stages. Singers should sing
a descending five-note major scale from dominant to tonic
on either [u] or [o] beginning high in the falsetto. Each
succession of the exercise is a half step lower. Singers
should carry the falsetto as low as possible. This provides
the singer with a pharyngeal sensation that they should
be able to re-create in the head voice. Ask the singers to
now sing the same exercise beginning on B3 utilizing the
pharyngeal space and lightness of production they
developed from the falsetto stage of the exercise. The
head voice will probably be weak but should develop.
Exercise 3 illustrates another exercise to integrate the head
voice down. On the lowest note, the singer changes to
the [u] sound and is encouraged to create the necessary
space and accelerate the breath prior to negotiating the
octave leap. Further, the pharyngeal space and light vocal
production should be carried down the scale.



When done correctly, the singers will feel the lengthening


JCG Vol. 22, Nos. 1 & 2

For greatest effectiveness, this exercise should be carried

no higher than the key of E and no lower than the key of
A. For all sections, rapid scale and arpeggios should be

scheduled regularly into the warm-ups to improve vocal

flexibility, breath management, and integration of the head

the tongue is placed for the [i] sound), modify the [o] to
[U], and modify the [a] to [].

Sopranos and tenors frequently encounter trouble
accessing notes in the highest part of their range and
making them beautiful within the context of the ensemble
sound. The more extreme the note or the more demanding
the tessitura, greater is the need for the singer to
understand how vowel modification, integration of the
head voice, and breath energy affect the voice as it
approaches the upper notes. Sudden shifts in space, both
pharyngeal and aperture, or inappropriate adjustments
in breath energy at the apogee of the vocal line defeat
beautiful singing. Above all, the conductor must help the
singer sense the subtle changes in vowel, breath energy,
and pharyngeal space prior to arriving at the moment.
Exercise 4 couples an energized breath with vowel
modification exercises as the singer moves from a closed
bright sound [i]or closed dark sound [o]to the open [a].
Again, it is the more closed vowels that encourage
utilization of the head voice. Begin the exercise with the
[i] sound. As the singers ascend, the vowel should modify
slightly (open) as they reach the top and sing [a]. Each
repetition of the exercise should be a half step higher. At
the key of E or F change the beginning sound to [o]. This
change should allow for more pharyngeal and aperture
space for the higher notes.

This exercise, like the others, ascends by half step. The

singers should become aware of the space and breath
needed to sing beautiful vowels above the staff. As has
been mentioned before, the use of rapid scales and
arpeggios extends the vocal range, encourages an
energized breath, requires vowel modification, and aids
in integrating the head voice.

Shaw has written, It is clear to anyone who has worked

with choruses of both amateur and professional voices,
that well-taught voices can make a better choral sound
than un-taught voices. The teaching of voice has to be
one of the most difficult and complicated of musical
endeavors. You cant see it, you cant touch it and, if
youre the one doing it, you have to depend upon someone
else even to hear it.10 Developing the head voice is one
element necessary for the conductor to successfully
combine the blended abilities of an amateur community
choir. It can strengthen the soprano and alto middle voice,
lighten and add vibrancy and accuracy to the bass voice,
and assist the soprano and tenor voices into their highest
pitches. This will in-turn improve ensemble intonation,
blend, balance, vibrancy, and open avenues to more
expressive, dynamic singing. The suggestions given here
are by no means intended to be all encompassing. They
It is important that the conductor listens for and corrects are what many amateurs need; simple and to the point,
any [a] sound that is too spread or too dark as this will related to sensation, and fairly easy to execute.
impede the singers ability to access the highest notes
with any grace. A more legato exercise that focuses on One final word about amateur community choirs. When
space and vowel modification to encourage the utilization the ensemble is confident of the technical work and
of the head voice is below in Exercise 5. This exercise therefore free to give heart, personal experience, and spirit
can be sung on [i], [o], or [a] with modification as the to their performance, the music lives in a special way.
singer approaches the perfect fifth. Modify the [i] sound This type of performance transforms the individual singer,
with the aid of a closed German mixed vowel, [y] the conductor, and the audience alike. Humankind is
(this vowel is considered mixed because the lips, aperture, rewarded with the lofty ideas that sustain the soul. This
choral work is rewarding.
and pharyngeal space are placed for the [u] sound but
JCG Vol. 22, Nos. 1 & 2



Robert Shaw, Letter to the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra Chorus, November 9, 1983.

Thomas Hemsley, Singing and Imagination: A Human Approach to a Great Musical Tradition (Oxford:
Oxford University Press, 1998), 52.
James McKinney, The Diagnosis and Correction of Vocal Faults, p. 97.

Richard Miller, The Structure of Singing, p. 115


McKinney, p. 51.

Miller, p. 8.

Miller, p. 155.

Hemsley, p. 54.


Robert Shaw, Letter to the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra Chorus, September 20, 1984.

Hemsley, Thomas: Singing and Imagination: A Human Approach to a Great Musical Tradition. Oxford:
Oxford University Press, 1998.
McKinney, James C.: The Diagnosis and Correction of Vocal Faults. Nashville: Broadman Press, 1982.
Miller, Richard: The Structure of Singing. New York: Schirmer Books, 1986.
Shaw, Robert: Atlanta, to the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra Chorus.
(Provided through the generosity and kindness of Randy Price, University of North Carolina at Greensboro.)

Welborn Young, formerly the Artistic Director and Conductor for Windy City Performing Arts in Chicago, is
on the choral faculty at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro and is the Director of the Choral
Society of Greensboro.


JCG Vol. 22, Nos. 1 & 2


By Lee G. Barrow

Originally published in 1960 by Editions Salabert, the first edition of Poulencs Gloria included a full score, a piano/
vocal score, a choral score, and orchestral parts (available on rental only). As pointed out in several earlier publications,
the materials of this first printing contain several hundred errors, from missing markings to incorrect notes and
rhythms.1 In addition, the three scores and the parts conflict in dozens of places.
In 1996, Salabert issued a new printing of the three scores (but not the orchestral parts). The new piano/vocal and
choral scores are not correctedthey are simply reprints of the earlier scores with new covers. The full score,
however, is newly engraved, and many of the errors found in the first edition have been corrected.
The new full score is a welcome improvement with many enhancements (such as measure numbers), but over a
hundred errors and conflicts remain. The job of identifying and correcting the remaining mistakes is a long and
laborious process.
The first step in solving the problem of the errors in the performing materials is to assure that you receive the 1996 full
Below is a list of the errors appearing in the new full score, along with a some clarifying discussion.

The Bass Clarinet always transposes a second rather than a ninth, even when written in treble clef.


Bass Clarinet
English Horn


left hand
right hand
Soprano soloist

Vln I
Vln II

1st Violin
2nd Violin

JCG Vol. 22, Nos. 1 & 2






* 22

4 before 1
3 before 3
4th of 4
4th of 4
4 before 7
2 before 7
2 before 8
3 before 9
2-1 before 9

Vln II
Tbn 2(3)
Tbn 2
Ob 2

* 55
* 61

1 before 10
1 before 11


remove slur from 3rd to 4th notes

remove slurs from 3 rd to 4 th notes ?2
remove slurs from 3 rd to 4 th notes ?2
add at end of measure
change dynamic to mp
add unis.
remove sans sourd.
remove notes, insert rest3
change dynamic to p
change dynamic to mp
this measure is for 3 rd Tbn, not 2nd
change last note from A# to B
add accent on downbeat of both measures (note that in
Ob 1 the first accent is placed in the staff above)
raise all notes in this measure up one octave4
change measure to read: 5

* 62



Add a2

3rd of 13

Vln I

be aware that the parts have:

5 before 15
5 before 15
3 before 15
4th of 15
3 rd of 18
3 rd of 18
6th of 19
6th of 19
1st 3 of 20

A, B
Vln I
Fl 2
Vla (lower)
Ob 1

add dynamic f
add dynamic mf
remove syllable -a and add tie?6
MS has no dynamic indication; could be f
add div, (tutti refers to la moiti in previous measure)
low C at forte is correct
change last note from B to C7
change B to A?8
change word fragment from a-mus to ca-mus
change dynamic from f to ff
change 1. to a2
change dynamic from f to mf
change time sig. to 4/4, remove Altos final quarter rest
this line (Gratias agimus tibi) is for Alto, not Sopr.;
extend each slur to cover all notes in its measure

II. Laudamus te

* 17
* 32
* 34


JCG Vol. 22, Nos. 1 & 2

(the manuscript has:)


2nd of 21
4th of 21

Vln II

add unis.
clarification: last note of upper part is C-flat
Add divisi


4 before 23


add dynamic mf

4 before 23
3-2 before 24
2 before 26
1 before 26


add pizz.
add divisi in m. 71, unis. in m. 72
add divisi
add divisi at end of measure

* 20

1-2 of 28
3-4 of 28
2 before 29
1-2 of 29
3 rd of 29

All strings
S solo
S solo
Vln I
S solo

add sourdines (for entire movement)

add slur to Domine
add slur to Domine
add breath mark between Deus and Pater
change dynamic to ppp (other strings retain pp)
add unis.
add single slur to Pater omnipotens
change to read:

* 30
* 32

3 rd of 29
3-4 of 29
5th of 29
5-6 of 29
6th of 29
1-2 of 30
2 before 31
1 before 31
1-2 of 31
3rd of 31
1-2 of 32

S solo
S solo
S solo
S solo
S solo
Vln I
S solo, T

change dynamic to ppp

add slur to Domine
add dynamic mf at beginning
add slur to Domine
add dynamic f on 2nd beat
remove slur from Rex coelestis, both measures
change dynamic to p (other strings retain mf)
add single slur to Pater omnipotens
add divisi
add slur to Domine
add unis.
change both measures:

* 42

1 before 33
2nd of 33


change last note to 16th note followed by 16th rest

add unis.
change to read:


1-2 of 34
3-4 of 34
1-2 of 35

S solo
S solo
S solo

add slur to Domine

add slur to Domine
moiti, not tous
add single slur to Deus Pater

III. Domine Deus

JCG Vol. 22, Nos. 1 & 2



3-4 of 35

S solo

add single slur to Pater omnipotens

IV. Domine Fili unigenite

Note: pickup is numbered as measure 1, first complete measure is numbered as measure 2.
* 14
* 38

3 before 37
3rd of 37
4th of 35
3-4 of 35
3-4 of 35

Trp 2-3
Vla 1

add 2. (2nd trumpet only)

dynamic f is not in MS; still fff?
add accents on beats 2 and 3 as in EH9
first and last notes are C# (add sharp)
add arco on 2nd beat, as in Vln II
add dynamic ff

V. Domine Deus
Note: pickup is numbered as measure 1, first complete measure is numbered as measure 2. This caused the
opening measures in the Oboe II part to extract incorrectly as two measures rest rather than a quarter
pickup followed by one measure rest.

2nd of 42





1 before 45



1-2 of 45
5 before 46
5 before 46
4 before 46

S solo
S solo

* 23
* 39
* 42
* 45

4-3 before 46
3 before 46
3 before 46
3rd of 47
3rd of 47
2 before 48
1 before 48
3rd of 48
4th of 48
1 before 49
2nd of 49
1 before 50
3-4 of 50

S solo
S solo
Vln II
Vln II
Vla 1-2,Vc
S solo
S solo,S
S solo


JCG Vol. 22, Nos. 1 & 2

in MS, tempo indication is Trs lent, not Bien lent

add dynamic ff
Change lower note in r.h. to A-flat to avoid G-nat.-G#
(MS) has Fx-G#
sans presser does not appear in the MS; piano/vocal
MS has plus allant, MS has nothing
add solo
dynamics: NIS has f for upper woodwinds, no marking
for bassoons, mf for horns, no marking for harp and
strings; decrescendo begins in middle of measure for all
add slur to each Domine Deus
remove ties, last two notes (EH and BCI ties remain)
raise last note (-tis) up one octave
add dot to first note; subsequent notes in measure are
add slur to each Domine Deus
remove mf (maintain pp; mf is for T solo only)
change last beat to eighth note + eighth rest
add one slur to deprecationem (MS: S solo but not B)
remove arco and slur (still pizz.)
add arco
add solo on last note of measure
change 6th note from C# to D#
add solo on last note of measure
raise last note of measure up one octave?11
add slur to deprecationem (MS: solo only, not chorus)
change dynamic to ff (retain f for other strings)
add slur to nostram (MS: both solo and S chorus)
raise last note of measure up one octave?11
add slur to each Domine Deus


5th of 50
6th of 50
7th of 50

S solo
Vln II

add slur to Agnus, add slur to Dei

change last note from F-flat to E-flat
note that Cl2 part is written on Cl1 staff
change rhythm to read:



Tpt 1-2
Vln I

change dynamic from mf to f

one too many notes - change to read:

1-2 of 53
3rd of 53
1-2 of 54
3-4 of 54

S solo
Tpt 1-2
S solo
S solo

upper part: change 2nd & 6th notes from C to D-flat12

remove slur on peccata mundi
add ties 13
add slur to each Domine Deus
add slur to each Agnus and to each Dei
add pizz.
add pizz.

4 of 57

remove dot from half note, add quarter rest at end

of measure (woodwinds and strings retain dot)
change last note from written D to E
add octave Ds:

change metronome marking to q = 96

extend slurs to include one more note
first 2 beats pizz., last 2 beats arco (Vlns arco all beats)
change last note from G# to B
change dynamic from f to ff
add 16th note slash on each note (as in Vlns)
add 1. (1st piccolo only)
add 16th note slash on each note
change 4th note from written B-flat to A (E-flat in Tenor is
add divisi
no further divisi-upper parts play upper note only, lower
parts play lower note only, remove other notes
add divisi in m. 49, unis. in m. 50, divisi in m. 51
add unis. for all
add sourd.
add molto above decrescendo
add natural

* 60
* 62
* 72
VI. Qui sedes

4 of 57
4-5 of 57

Hn3-4, Tuba,
Hn 3-4
T &B

* 14
* 34

2nd of 58
3rd of 58
6th of 58
3rd of 59
1st 2 of 60
4th of 60
4th of 60
2nd of 61


* 46

1 before 62
3-4 of 54


* 52

3-4 of 54
1 before 63
1 before 64
3 before 65

Vln II,Vc

JCG Vol. 22, Nos. 1 & 2


* 62
* 63
* 68
* 69

3 before 65
2 before 65
4 before 66
3 before 66
3 before 66
2 before 66
1-2 of 66
3rd of 66



3rd of 66
3 before 67
3-1 before 67
3rd of 67
3rd of 68


* 88

3rd of 68

Vla solo

raise last 4 notes in l.h. up an octave14

raise last 3 notes in l.h. up an octave14
add de la pointe
raise first 3 notes up an octave
add natural
raise last 4 notes in l.h. up an octave14
raise last 3 notes in l.h. up an octave14
add de la pointe; add tremolo slashes on each note
move alto clef one measure earlier (notes in m. 73 are
correct as printed once clef is moved)
add natural
add crescendo (appears only in Alto in MS)
add de la pointe and tremolo slashes
add tous
Add ff at beginning of measure
add natural
change l.h. to read: (nothing in r.h.)

remove lower note (D)


Joe Hickman and Jeffry Moyers pointed out many errors in the American Choral Foundation Research Memorandum
#143, November 1986. The author identified additional errors in the Research Memorandum #146, November
1987, and discussed several problem areas in the July 1988 issue of the International Choral Bulletin. Joe Hickman
published a new list of corrections in the November 1999 Choral Journal.

In the first measure of the work, the 3rd and 4th notes in the English Horn and the strings were originally slurred, but
Poulenc crossed out the slurs. It is possible if not likely that he intended for them to be removed here as well. In the
piano/vocal manuscript, the slurs do not appear in any of the three statements of this figure.

In this measure Poulenc wrote repeat signs (./.) on all instrumental staves rather than copying out the previous
measure, a practice which created some errors elsewhere. Since the Harp plays in m. 19 but not in m. 20, it follows
that, for this virtually exact repeat, it should play in 21 but not 22. This is how the 1960 score reads.

Both manuscripts originally had the Tenors as shown in the new score, but in both, [80] was added above all notes
in the measure. This is scratched out in the piano/vocal manuscript but not the orchestral manuscript. In the composersupervised recording, the Tenors appear to be singing the upper octave.

In the manuscript, the English Horn and the Flute originally had only one note on the downbeat of both this measure
and the previous measure. In the English Horn, the final rest was erased and the second note added in both measures.
This is also the case in m. 61 of the Flute; in m. 62, the rest was erased but the second note is missing.

At two before 17 both manuscripts originally had Glo-ri-a, but in both Poulenc erased the final -a and added a tie
between the last two notes. At 3 before 15, the last two notes of the Bass are also tied, so it is likely that the -a should

JCG Vol. 22, Nos. 1 & 2

be removed here as well. Since the word Gloria is not a 13Not in the manuscript, but the notes are tied in the parts
part of this portion of the text, perhaps Poulenc intended and the piano/vocal manuscript has whole notes. Note
this as a fragment of the word glorificamus. Note that that the clarinets are tied at two before 49.
another fragment of this word appears just before 18.
1n the manuscript, the last group of notes in the right
The manuscript does have a B here, but the piano/vocal hand were originally an octave lower (i.e. identical to
manuscript, the Viola part, and the doubling Horn all have thefirst half of measure), and Poulenc added [80] above.
C. The C also creates a match with the other statements Its placement opens the possibility that he intended for
both hands to be raised one octave.
of this figure.

The manuscript clearly has G for Ob 2 (which Salabert

has changed to F) and B for Ob 1. The piano/vocal
manuscript has F-A here but no G or B. The cluster FG-A-B (plus D-C in bass and E above) seems unlikely. Barrow, Lee G. Errata in the Scores and Parts of
A more likely possibility is that the G and B were intended
Francis Poulencs Gloria: A Second Look.
for the transposing clarinets; note that this exact G-B
American Choral Foundation Research
figure, along with the same underlying harmony, appears
Memorandum #146, November 1987
in the Clarinets at 4 before 15 and 6 after 19.
___. Francis Poulencs Gloria: Clearing Up
In the manuscript, the accents are between the Oboe and
Discrepancies Among the Published Scores.
English Horn staves and are probably intended for both.
International Choral Bulletin, April 1988

In the manuscript, each staff was originally marked f Hickman, Joe and Jeffry Moyers. Errata in the Scores
here except for the Contrabass, which had ff. These were
and Parts of Francis Poulencs Gloria. American
all changed to mf in red. In addition, large red ps appear
Choral Foundation Research Memorandum #143,
in two places (above the Flute and Violin 1 staves),but
November 1986.1
none of the mf markings were removed. The piano/vocal
manuscript has f for the Soprano Solo and Poulenc, Francis. Echo and Source: Selected
accompaniment, mf for the Basses.
Correspondence, 1915-1963. Translated and edited
by Sidney Buckland. London: V. Gollancz, 1991.
The word suscipe appears seven times in this movement,
almost always the same except for pitch. In the piano/vocal 1Joe Hickman and Jeffry Moyers identified many of the
manuscript, the accompanying bass line moves up one errors in the American Choral Foundation Research
octave with each successive beat, each of the seven times. Memorandum #143. Additional corrections appeared
In the orchestral manuscript, the final note of the Cello in Research Memorandum #146, and several of the
and Contrabass moves up the octave 3 times and stays problem areas were discussed in the April 1988 issue of
down 4 times, one of which Poulenc corrected with [80] the International Choral Bulletin.
and one of which Salabert has raised. These corrections,
along with the consistent piano/vocal manuscript, bring up
the possibility that all should move up.
Lee G. Barrow, Professor of Music and Head of Fine
The manuscript does have Cs here, but in the piano/ Arts at North Georgia College & State University in
vocal manuscript the Cs were changed to D-flat. With Dahlonega, has conducted college, church and
this change, the measure matches all other appearances community choirs and orchestras for 25 years. He has
of this figure between 50 and 55.
been researching Poulencs Gloria for two decades.

JCG Vol. 22, Nos. 1 & 2


Books in Review
Craig Kirchhoff, Series Advisor, Windependence: A Repertoire Series For Wind Bands, (New York, NY: Boosey
& Hawkes,2001).

Reviewed by Tom Erdman

Designed as a series of accessible and serious original compositions and orchestral transcriptions for concert band,
Windependence is a graduated collection of music intended for concert and festival performance. The newly composed
or transcribed pieces in the series are placed into three performance levels: Apprentice, Master, and Artist. The
repertoire in the apprentice level is aimed at less-experienced instrumentalists with limited technical proficiency. The
master level pieces are intended to challenge high school bands as well as some collegiate ensembles. Artist level
material is designed to be performed by only the best high school, university and professional ensembles.
The series is overseen by Craig Kirchhoff, familiar to wind directors as Professor of Conducting and Director of
Bands at the University of Minnesota and Principal Guest Conductor of the Tokyo Kosei Wind Orchestra. Previous to
his appointment at Minnesota, Kirchhoff was Director of Bands at Ohio State University and is widely called upon as
both clinician and guest conductor throughout the United States, Canada, Europe, and Japan.
The initial nine releases in the series are by Kenneth Amis, Timothy Broege (2), Jeffrey Brooks, Alan Fletcher, Shelly
Hanson, Joseph Kreines (2), and Shafer Mahoney. All are well-respected musicians who have yet to leave their mark
in the field of band writing. Along with the score and parts, a companion CD containing a full-length performance of
each piece by excellent semi-professional and collegiate ensembles is provided.
Air from County Derry (320), transcribed by Kreines, apprentice level, is a truly excellent transcription for younger
ensembles of the familiar Grainger setting. The opening woodwind passage contains cued notes for euphonium and
tuba should bassoons and b-flat contrabass clarinet not be available. The work is lushly scored, mostly for full ensemble,
but fair warning is given to developing ensembles where students dont have a strong command of breath control.
This is best illustrated by the first b-flat trumpets going to a in measure 66 of this sixty-eight bar arrangement, which
is the 26th measure of a 28-bar continuous phrase.
Amiss arrangement of Dvoraks Slavonic Dance, No. 7, Op. 72 (330), is appropriately placed in the master level
category, as it will challenge good high school and collegiate bands. Crisp articulation of the many varied placements
and scorings of dotted-eighth sixteenth note phrases is essential to success. Light and clean air control is required
in order for the work to avoid bogging down in both tempo and clarity of line in full-ensemble passages.
Mahoneys Sparkle (413), artist category, is a mildly amusing composition that opens with some extremely difficult
contrasting flute and clarinet runs at a moderate tempo, later doubled by piano. The piece transitions to easy brass and
saxophone lines punctuated by an easy low-brass rhythm first introduced in the lower woodwinds at the beginning of
the piece. The percussion parts are full, requiring a lot of different instruments, but are not technically challenging.
While this review only spotlights three works from the initial publication run, they serve to point out early trends of the
series: conductors must scan the scores carefully to see if the works are truly playable by their ensemble, as the works
do not neatly fit into the three listed categories; and there are some great pieces contained within, but not every work is
a gem. Overall, Kirchhoff and Boosey & Hawkes are to be highly commended for making an effort into providing new
literature of a serious nature for bands, when so much of what is newly composed and published for bands today is drivel.


JCG Vol. 22, Nos. 1 & 2

The reviewer, Dr. Thomas R. Erdmann, is currently

Director of Bands and Associate Professor of Music
and Education at Elon University, in Elon, North
Carolina. He has published two books, and over 30
papers in a variety of journals.

John Canarina, Uncle Sams Orchestra, Memories Of
The Seventh Army Symphony, (Rochester, NY:
University of Rochester Press, 1998); 205pp.; ISBN: 1

Reviewed by Henry Bloch

I happily welcome a book that many conductors and other
musicians will enjoy. Uncle Sams Orchestra reads like
shoptalk among conductors and musicians who
participated and fondly remember an intriguing venture
within the U.S. Army after World War II. That the Army
would recognize the public-relations potential of such a
cultural endeavor and support it is indeed remarkable. John
Canarina, a long time active member of the Conductors
Guild, affectionately compiled the story through interviews
and correspondence with former members, administrators,
and other involved parties. Canarina deserves additional
thanks for the splendid idea of mentioning the post-Army
whereabouts and careers of the erstwhile members of
the Seventh Army Symphony. The memoir would have
been even more valuable from a historians point of view,
if the collected information had been documented by
reference to the records of the U.S. Seventh Army and
other relevant sources.
Samuel Adler, now a well respected composer and teacher
who recently retired from the Eastman School of Music
in Rochester, was asked to establish the Seventh Army
Symphony. In the early 1950s, he was succeeded by James
Dixon who, as one of the first conductors of the orchestra,
set enviable standards of performance at concerts
throughout Germany. Eventually the tradition of
remarkable music making was carried on by Kenneth
Schermerhorn and a long line of conductors many of whom
pursued careers in music after service in the army.
Likewise, many of the players moved on to distinguished
positions in the finest orchestras.
At a time of declining morale, in 1953, Dixon invited his
former teacher and mentor, Dmitri Mitropoulos, to visit the
orchestra and, with his inspirational personality, help to return
the orchestra to a purposeful course of action under the
supervision of Seventh Army Lieutenant General Anthony
McAuliffe. Still, the discipline of the Army and the discipline

of an orchestra are not the same and accommodations

frequently were necessary. According to Canarina, David
Amram tells irreverent anecdotes related to his
unacceptable haircuts. The logic of the Armys way of
thinking also seems to have led to a variety of amusing
ways of convincing the superiors of the needs of an
orchestra. At one time, the orchestra had only one clarinetist,
but most scores call for two clarinets. This did not seem too
serious to the Army. They wondered of the one clarinetist
could play a little louder to cover for two! Similarly, when
the young Charles Rosen who was not a member of the
Army, was invited to appear as guest soloist, he did not
know that customary pre-concert arrangements could not
be taken for granted. Nor was it easy to convince the Army
that their readily available baby grand piano was inadequate
for performances of a Brahms or Bartok piano concerto
and that a suitable instrument had to be found in the
community in a hurry.
In the summer of 1959, John Canarina arrived in the
Symphony as a bassist. Soon thereafter he was given
conductorial responsibilities and was introduced to the
vagaries of a musical organization in the Army. His
comments on the serious aspects of the task are interesting.
His comments on funny situations are entertaining. With
delightful candor, he describes the unexpected call of the
orchestra members to a rifle range qualification exercise.
Usually they were excused from such drills. They did not
even have guns! The account of the drill and its ultimately
successful outcome is hilarious!
On the more serious side, Canarina has helped to create
an image of the Seventh Army Symphony as a
humanitarian, cultural ambassador of the United States.
Its success can best be measured by the response of its
audiences all over occupied Europe and elsewhere.
Inevitable or not, it left a lasting impression on its audiences
and those who participated in its mission.

Carl S. Leafsteadt, Inside Bluebeards Castle, (Music
and Drama in Bela Bartks Opera); (New York,NY:
Oxford University Press, 1999); 246 pp.; $45; ISBN: 019-5109 99-6.

Reviewed by Henry Bloch

Bela Bartks opera Bluebeards Castle (1911) has met
with a varied fate on the stage of the important opera houses
of the world. The libretto by Bela Balazs was greeted with

JCG Vol. 22, Nos. 1 & 2


enthusiasm as a novelty in the opera house by some and

was rejected for its lack of drama by others. At the same
time, Bartks efforts to create the first national opera in
Hungary met with a mixed reception. The setting of the
text in the manner of magyar folk songs, which he had
recently discovered, was not recognized as such. Also,
the minimal use of lyrical passages was looked upon as a
weakness by an audience which was accustomed to a
mixture of Italian, French, and Wagnerian repertoire. In
view of many questions that might arise in this context, the
painstaking study of the subject by Carl S. Leafstedt is
most welcome. The author examines not only the
relationship and cooperation of Balazs and Bartk in the
creation of Bluebeards Castle, but he also analyzes
Balazss unusual literary background and relationship to the
symbolists including Maurice Maeterlinck. He then goes on
to study the musical features - tonal and motivic - and the
works musico-dramatic symbolism.

Romania. The vocal parts reflect a remarkable blend of

the folk rhythms with speech patterns of the Hungarian
language. Such a hybrid reflects Bartks much admired
model, Debussys Pelleas et Melisande. In performance,
a rubato element is blended into the subtle declamation
lending it considerable rhythmic elasticity. However, the
orchestra owes little to Bartks French model. Rather, it
underlines dramatic elements and supplies power when it
is needed, a technique reminiscent of Wagner and Strauss.
Indeed, certain musical ideas undergo transformations to
amplify the progress of the story. Chapters devoted to
detailed analysis of individual scenes and to Bartks
revisions of the opera between 1911 and 1917 help the
reader to gain a deeper understanding of the composers
intentions. The additional fact that many of the relevant
manuscript scores and first published editions are kept
together in Peter Bartks collection in Homossen, Florida,
facilitates close examination of the sources.

According to Leafstedt, Balazs recalled his own and

Bartks goal to write a truly Hungarian opera but he never
ignored Maeterlincks work Balazs aimed to create a play
related to modern symbolist style for dramatic reasons. In
addition, the works of Ibsen, Strindberg, DAnnunzio,
Hofmannsthal, and Maeterlinck were part of his artistic
heritage. Hence the influence of dramatic realism,
psychological logic, and other contemporary trends. But
Maeterlincks symbolism exerted the strongest impact on
Balazss work. Together, Balazs and Bartk were also
drawn to influences from Eastern European folk art,
notably from that of the Magyars of Transylvania.

The limited success of Bluebeard in the opera house

invites speculation . Leafstedt cites a study by the
musicologist Carl Dahlhaus who describes a musicodramatic genre based on a play which is set to music without
significant adaptations. He calls it literature opera and
cites as outstanding examples Debussys Pelleas et
Melisande , Strauss Salome , and Elektra .In similar
fashion, Bartk set Balazss Bluebeard to music without
considearable changes. Dahlhaus suggests that such a
union of a play with music need to be studied closely to
understand its potential for success as an opera.

Leafstedt maintains that Bluebeard was a deliberate

attempt to supplant dominant Wagnerian tradition with a
Hungarian style based on native folk music. Contrary to
grand structures devised by Hofmannsthal for Richard
Strauss in Salome and Elektra , Balazss Bluebeard
centered around seven clearly defined pictures, which
offered Bartk the opportunity for smaller musical
structures. His libretto represented a departure from the
traditions of symbolist drama as, for example, Maeterlincks
Pelleas et Melisande . In place of the extended sequences,
he supplied a series of shorter units which lent themselves
to non-Wagnerian techniques of composition. Indeed, the
setting of the Seven Doors, each representing one episode
of the play, served Bartks talent for musical imagery
well. Dramatic effects were hightened by intense use of
lights or the lack thereof, and in the music, different aspects
of the story are centered around the tones of C and F#.

Indeed, in recent decades composers have chosen plays

or novels by outstanding writers as libretti. They appear to
follow the example of symbolist writers and composers to
preserve the literary text as best they can. But that requires
musical considerations if not concessions. Dahlhaus
suggests that a successful formula was found by Debussy
and Richard Strauss. More recently, Carlyle Floyd (Of
Mice and Men), and John Corigliano (The Ghosts of
Versailles) are among the few who achieved success. On
the other hand, John Harbisons The Great Gatsby seemed
to move along very slowly despite some charged dialogues,
brilliant ensemble scenes and colorful orchestrations.
Similarly, William Mayers A Death in the Family got off
to a good start, but, perhaps too much respect for the
beautiful lines of James Agee is responsible for some tedious
moments in the dramatic progress of the action. Some
other new operas were plagued with similar difficulties.

In Bluebeard Bartk experimented with a new vocal

style derived from folk idioms found in Transylvania, now

Leafstedts book is thoughtful from many points of view.

It is particularly valuable to anyone wishing to perform


JCG Vol. 22, Nos. 1 & 2

Bluebeard , but it raises questions in relation to the creation of other new operas as well.
Henry Bloch is a member of the Board of Directors and Archivistfor the Conductors Guild.

Edited by Michael Stern, Max Rudolf: A Musical Life, Writings and Letters. (Hillsdale, NY: Pendragon Press2001);
530pp., $46.00 (with Guild Member Discount: $41.00); ISBN 1-577647-038-5.

Reviewed by John Canarina

Of all the major conductors active in the worlds of symphony orchestras and opera companies, Max Rudolf was the
only one who took an active interest in the Conductors Guild. He was also one of the very few who could be accurately
described as a scholar, even though he himself did not exactly endorse that term as applied to himself. If one requires
proof of his great scholarship, it will certainly be found in this book.
Long-time members of the Conductors Guild will perhaps be familiar with some of the contents, for many of the essays
included originally appeared in our Journal. Thus we have his thoughts on Authenticity in Musical Performance, The
Metronome Indications in Beethovens Symphonies, Inner Repeats in the Da Capo of Classical Minuets and Scherzos,
and many other topics. The question of those inner repeats continues to be a controversial subject among critics,
conductors, and other musicians. Max Rudolf was in favor of them, and offers convincing evidence for their observance,
even though such observance can still be a matter of ones personal feeling.
Of equal importance to the articles are the many letters written to fellow conductors, such as George Szell and Erich
Leinsdorf, instrumentalists such as Rudolf Serkin and Isaac Stern, and musicologists such as Bathis Churgin and
Maynard Solomon. In many instances we are given all or part of the letter that prompted Rudolfs response. The
question of tempos in various Mozart arias is a frequent topic of discussion between Rudolf and Jean-Pierre Marty.
Malcolm Frager is another instrumentalist with whom Rudolf had frequent correspondence, especially in the matter of the
tempo for the trio of the scherzo of Beethovens Ninth Symphony, about which Frager seemed particularly obsessed. In
one instance (January 26, 1986) Rudolf finds it a bit tedious to reply to Fragers comments, and later chastises him even
further. (It should be mentioned, however, that Rudolf and Frager were always on the very best of terms.)
As for being a bit tedious, one could apply those words to Rudolfs rather lengthy essay on Storm and Stress in
Music. This, however, is an exception to the remainder of the contents, which are absolutely fascinating to readthe
workings of the mind of a great musician who cared enough about music to want desperately to perform it to the very
best of his ability according to the information left by the composer. As Max Rudolf himself said, The great composers
were giants, while we performers are dwarfs. As for myself, I am content with being a very small dwarf, since I derive
all the satisfaction I need from serving the giants. This book is highly recommended. After all, Max Rudolf, the first
recipient of the Guilds Theodore Thomas Award, was one of us.
One word of caution: Since the book contains so many references to musical examples, it is helpful to have the
appropriate scores at hand while reading it.
John Canarina is Director of Orchestral Studies at Drake University, Des Moines, Iowa. A former Assistant
Conductor of the New York Philharmonic under Leonard Bernsteins direction, he has been a guest conductor
of various orchestras in the United States and Europe. His biography of Pierre Monteux will be published next
year by Amadeus Press.

JCG Vol. 22, Nos. 1 & 2



JCG Vol. 22, Nos. 1 & 2

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JCG Vol. 22, Nos. 1 & 2



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JCG Vol. 22, Nos. 1 & 2

...Advancing the Art and Profession

Mission of the Conductors Guild

The Conductors Guild is dedicated to encouraging and promoting
the highest standards in the art and profession of conducting.
The Conductors Guild is the only music service organization devoted exclusively to the advancement of the art
of conducting and to serving the artistic and professional needs of conductors. The Guild is international in
scope, with a membership of over 1,900 individual and institutional members representing all fifty states and
more than thirty countries, including conductors of major stature and international renown. Membership is open
to all conductors and institutions involved with instrumental and/or vocal music, including symphony and chamber
orchestra, opera, ballet/dance, chorus, music theatre, wind ensemble and band.

History of the Conductors Guild

The Conductors Guild was founded in 1975 at the San Diego Conference of the American Symphony Orchestra
League, and it continued for a decade as a subsidiary of that organization. In 1985 the Guild became independent.
Since then, it has expanded its services and solidified its role as a collective voice for conductors interest
everywhere. It is supported by membership dues, grants, donations and program fees and is registered with the
Internal Revenue Service as a 501(c) 3 not-for-profit corporation.

Purposes of the Conductors Guild

1. To share and exchange relevant musical and professional information about the art of conducting
orchestras, bands, choruses, opera, ballet, musical theater and other instrumental and vocal ensembles;
2. To support the development and training of conductors through workshops seminars, and symposia on the
art of conducting, including, but not limited to, its history, development and current practice;
3. To publish periodicals, newsletters and other writings on the art, history and practice of the profession of
4. To enhance the professionalism of conductors by serving as a clearing house for knowledge and
information regarding the art and practice of conducting;
5. To serve as an advocate for conductors throughout the world;
6. To support the artistic growth of orchestras, bands, choruses and other conducted ensembles; and
7. To communicate to the music community the views and opinions of the Guild.