Sunday, January 9, 2011


Nikolaus Harnoncourt is the greatest example of 'mind over matter' in music today. In 1972 he literally bluffed his way into his La Scala conducting debut by pretending that he had any experience conducting opera whatsoever. To this day his podium technique looks like an armchair conductor preening in his living room with the shades drawn, yet no one consistently draws results as exciting out of the most legendary musical organizations in the world. It just goes to show that the conductor's technique has about as much relation to his true musicality as a any musician's natural musicality does to his technical development. Sometimes technique helps, but it can hinder nearly as often.

(What Bach should sound like)

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