Sunday, May 20, 2018

Diminished Blogging

I feel I need to apologize to my readers for the scarce amount of blogging I have managed lately. I'm not sure it is going to greatly improve in the near future. The problem is that my current career in business has been going so well that it is taking up most of my focus. There is little time or energy left to delve into musical matters. I manage to pick up the guitar from time to time and sporadically work on a new composition, but this is in the bits of time that come free.

I am still working my way through the Haydn Edition, just coming to the end of the string quartets. Next up are the piano trios, of which I only know a few. I have been watching a few videos of Valery Gergiev conducting lately, like this one, Rimsky-Korsakov, Scheherazade with the Vienna Phillies:

Much of the time, as here, he conducts with no baton and a lot of finger wiggling. But I have seen him conducting with what seems to be a cocktail skewer as in this performance of the Shostakovich Symphony No. 10 with the National Youth Orchestra of the US:

And here he seems to be conducting with what almost looks like a toothpick:

Maybe he just likes to travel light? I can't find any mention in the Wikipedia article on Valery Gergiev that mentions his propensity for really tiny batons. Do any of my readers have any information?


Will Wilkin said...

Do orchestral musicians actually look at the baton or more likely are they just catching the rhythms of his swinging white cuffs? Maybe the baton is just to give his fingers a point of fixation, and the not for visibility after all?

Oh and I must mention how my awesome 18yo son Justin often explores my box set of complete Haydn symphonies, or like just a few nights ago took out my CD of Haydn piano sonatas on historic pianofortes. And he often explores the Mozart chamber music sets I have too. I've been driving very far to work the last few weeks and take consolation in how Sirius XM Symphony Hall radio plays a lot of Haydn and Mozart symphonies.

Let Rome burn, I have a fiddle to play.

Bryan Townsend said...

The standard baton, white and about a foot in length, I think is meant to be quite visible. But yes, of course the orchestra follows the whole movement of the arms.

Great stuff, Haydn!