Davies: conductors churning out “production-line performances”

Posted on: January 11, 2011

In Sunday’s (1/9) Scotsman, Mike Merritt writes, “He has conducted some of the world’s greatest orchestras for more than 50 years. But now, at the age of 76, the Master of the Queen’s Music, Sir Peter Maxwell Davies, has decided to hang up his baton—but not without a swipe at some of his modern colleagues, who he accuses of being more interested in the money than the art. Orkney-based Sir Peter, who stands to lose up to £100,000 a year following his decision, says too many modern conductors are just churning out ‘production-line performances.’ Maxwell Davies, also a prolific composer, declines to name those he feels are guilty but says: ‘I only started conducting because too many conductors couldn’t conduct my work because they said it was too difficult. … They wanted to keep their world safe, but music is not safe and nor should it be.’ … Although he refuses to single out those he targets for criticism, two contemporaries he excludes from that list are British conductor Sir Simon Rattle and the French conductor and composer Pierre Boulez. He described them as ‘real masters’ of their art.”

Posted January 11, 2011