“Inside Conducting”: a guide to conducting

Posted on: July 25, 2013

“Conductors love telling stories, especially stories about other conductors, and every chapter of this otherwise determinedly pragmatic book begins with one,” writes James McConnachie in his review of Christopher Seaman’s book Inside Conducting (University of Rochester Press, 2013) in Saturday’s (7/20)The Spectator magazine (London). “What do conductors actually do? Some are skeptical. The Polish pianist André Tchaikowsky told Christopher Seaman that he never looked at conductors ‘because he couldn’t understand what any of them were doing.’ … Now Christopher Seaman, who is renowned for his teaching work at the Guildhall School of Music … provides a barrage of straight answers. Most are directed towards real would-be conductors … but there’s plenty for the outsider looking in.… Getting started is one answer… Controlling tempo and dynamics is another answer.… Demonstrativeness, above all, is to be avoided: ‘I sometimes tell students who thrash around ineffectively with paroxysms of emotion that they’re meant to be cooking the music, not eating it.’ … The problem is that Seaman isn’t quite sure who he’s addressing … there’s disappointingly little on choral conducting.… This book certainly demystifies the art and the figure of the conductor. The danger is that it takes it too far.”


Posted July 25, 2013