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Amfortas
October 14th, 2015, 07:43 PM
Based on a recommendation from the teacher of my adult ed class on symphonies, I've purchased this:

http://cdn.wwnorton.com/cms/books/9780393334203_300.jpg

An intriguing read, though a bit depressing. The basic premise: music sucks.

Florestan
October 14th, 2015, 11:33 PM
I read part of this (some was well over my head).
http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/411YCtLr3RL._SX336_BO1,204,203,200_.jpg

The author looked at a handfull or two classical works including as I recall, two Beethoven symphonies and how a variety of conductors (dozens as I recall) handled the score. The conclusion was that few conductors were faithful to the score. I mainly focused on the Beethoven symphony parts, and recall three faithful conductors were noted (at least in their handling of that particular symphony): Carlos Kleiber, Bernard Haitink, and James Levine. He greatly disparaged some of the HIP performance conductors, and among them I recall the Hanover Band getting a very bad review, his comments on Hanover coming across rather disparaging.

The author also noted that many conductors present quite the overdone display of gestures and such, and that audiences seem to like watching this, instead of the orchestra. Often orchestral members will not care for a conductor and will not always follow the conductor if they don't like him.

I do think it was an interesting book and worth a read. Google up a few reviews, as mine is surely incomplete--I had the three faithful conductor's names jotted down on a scrap by my computer--the rest of this review is from my imperfect memory.