Today's Classical Music Video

Thursday, February 9, 2012

The Conductor as Comedian

This video has being making its way around the world. But in case you missed it here it is. I first encountered it on Tim Smith's Clefnotes ( Tim commented that if Oliver Hardy had been a conductor he probably would have looked something like this. And why not? I happen to be an Oliver Hardy (and Stan Laurel) admirer. On the other hand if you take the view that there is a certain decorum and discipline expected of conductors you might be offended.

I have always thought that serious music requires serious conducting. But in this case we are dealing with Leonard Bernstein's operetta/comic opera/broadway musical Candide. It is deliberately satirical but it is also meant to be entertaining. Take a look at the video of Candide conducted by the composer in 1989 (DG B0006905-09 (DVD).

In this week's video the conductor is an American named Joseph A. Olefirowicz and he is leading a performance at the Vienna Volksoper. We see him as the orchestra sees him and most of his gestures are directed at the players not the audience. Maestro Olefirowicz is clearly enjoying himself and perhaps we should enjoy it too.

Paul E. Robinson

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