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Subject: Re: Trov Question on Tempo
From: John Rahbeck <[log in to unmask]>
Reply-To:[log in to unmask]
Date:Sun, 4 Feb 2018 07:14:39 -0500
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The conductor has the following job:
Number one to realize the overall effect of the composer and deliver that effect to the audience. Number two, he must take into account the various abilities and skills of the performers and give them what they need so they can deliver the same. This is providing the conductor has the requisite skills to do so and he has the kind of performers that can deliver, especially music that requires a high level of vocal skill. 
In general, and while it is true some good conductors can be over controlling, the best conductors tend to give those with the most musical ability and stylistic taste and technical skill more slack to accomplish their goals, and tend to reign in those with less, because those with greater skill, ability and taste are able to fit within the overall intent of the composer and know how to work around those less able. There must be a balance between the control of the conductor and what the singers need to function to get the maximum results. That balance to keep the musical energy moving, but not to drag the tempo and lose musical impetus and find that balance where people can deliver is not an easy thing to achieve. Only the best conductors are able to achieve this, and even the best conductors can have off nights, and if the singers and the conductor are having an off night it will mean a dreary night at the opera and lets be honest, with recent events at the Met, what with the massive stroke and passing of Robert Rattray, the Levine situation, the John Copley situation and a host of other situations, I would imagine that that it might not be a very cheery atmosphere right now. 
John Rahbeck 
 
In a message dated 2/3/2018 7:46:20 PM Pacific Standard Time, [log in to unmask] writes:

 
 I think the conductor has the job of setting the template of the performance and to make sure that the shape and continuity correspond to what the composer wrote.

So, I think the conductor is supposed to set the tempo but that he has to do so with enough plasticity to allow the singers and instruments room to provide their unique expressiveness 

Some will disagree and feel the conductor’s role is to be an accompanist. I feel that in such cases, a singer may benefit but the work suffers.

Max Paley

Sent from my iPhone

> On Feb 3, 2018, at 17:31, Kiwi <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
> 
> Just a question that popped up while I was reading some of the interesting comments: in a perfect world, is it the obligation of the singer to follow the tempo of the conductor or the conductor to follow the speed of the singers?
> 
> This is probably a really basic question but it seems, based on some comments, that the tempo in Trov (which I did not hear) varied in speed depending on whether the chorus was involved or the principles. I suppose that was deliberate and was rehearsed that way but if the singers and the podium are not in sync, does the conductor have the obligation to change to support the singers? 
> 
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