Conductor's Corner

Carl's Conducting Perspectives   PowerPoint Presentations

Carl's Conducting Perspectives

The Rehearsal - Preparing for a Successful Concert
While much has been written about the grammar of conducting—beat patterns, gestures and the like—the following discussion presents ideas about preparing for a rehearsal and techniques for running a rehearsal. [More]

Accompanying Concertos or Solo Pieces
There are some basics in conducting accompaniments that are necessary to adhere to. First of all, the soloist has a lot to think about, and the last of these should be the conductor. [More]

Beethoven - Symphony #4
The opening of the symphony presents various problems for the players. The most apparent is for the winds to be able to hold the long note for the 5 measures, which very well may influence the choice of tempo. Beethoven's indication of quarter note = 66 may seem on the fast side, but it enables the players, including the flutist, to hold the long B flat without needing to breathe again. [More]

Copland - Appalachian Spring
Copland's brilliant ballet score, entitled Appalachian Spring, won the Pulitzer Prize for Music in 1945. The following article deals with the suite for full orchestra, but the majority of the observations would be applicable for the version for 13 players. [More]

Debussy - Afternoon of a Faun
Debussy's Afternoon of a Faun was a landmark work in the history of music. It is a difficult piece to conduct on every level: sound, timbre, atmosphere, balance, pacing, to say nothing of good ensemble. The following article is a result of having conducted and taught this piece many times; each time has afforded me the opportunity to gather a little more experience and understanding of how to present it to the orchestra and the audience. [More]

Dvorak - Symphony #9
Dvorak's Symphony #9 is one of the most beloved works in the symphonic repertoire. Having had the experience of conducting it many times, I have accumulated a list of ideas, suggestions, and alterations that might be of interest. These comments are in the spirit of bringing out all the amazing colors, counterpoint and drama of the piece that perhaps go beyond the printed page, and which I have found helpful to performing the piece. [More]

Elgar - Enigma Variations
Edward Elgar's Enigma Variations is one of the most beloved pieces in the symphonic repertoire. These variations, which depict his friends, are both creative as well as endearing, and the variety, content, and length make it an ideal choice for the second half of a concert. [More]

Gershwin - An American in Paris
While we are so grateful for the wonderful music that George Gershwin has left us, we can only speculate as to what he might have written had he lived beyond his 38 short years. [More]

Hindemith - Symphonic Metamorphoses On Themes of Carl Maria von Weber
Hindemith's Symphonic Metamorphoses is a brilliant, imaginative, colorful, and dramatic composition; based on some obscure piano duets by Carl Maria von Weber and an ancient Chinese melody, it is astounding to hear how Hindemith weaves a fascinating pallet of sounds and moods. [More]

Menotti - Amahl and the Night Visitors
In December of 1982, I had the disctinct honor and pleasure of working with one of the finest opera composers of our time: Gian-Carlo Menotti. His presence as stage director of the Cleveland Opera Theater's performance of Amahl and the Night Visitors afforded an opportunity to those working in the production to better understand his intentions in the areas of musical interpretation and character development. [More]

Rimsky-Korsakov - Scheherazade
Scheherazade, Rimsky Korsako's beloved fantasy inspired by One Thousand and One Nights, is a tour de force for symphony orchestra, which presents challenges for both the orchestra and the conductor. [More]

Rossini - William Tell Oveture
Truly one of the greatest overtures of all time, Rossini's William Tell, written for perhaps the longest opera of all time, doesn't fit the typical mold of his overtures. [More]

Sibelius - Violin Concerto
The Sibelius Violin Concerto is surely one of the mainstays of the violin repertoire. I have attempted to point out some of the issues encountered in conducting this wonderful piece. The comments below are what I've found to be helpful. [More]

Strauss - Til Eulenspiegel
Til Eulenspiegel's Merry Pranks, Richard Strauss' 15 minute tone poem portraying the 15th century practical joker is a high-paced romp based primarily on two themes. The first of these is a heard in the opening phrase of the violins in augmentation, later heard in its definitive form in the piccolo clarinet. The second is the famous horn call. Strauss weaves his brilliant scherzo using these two themes in a variety of guises, along with additional themes helping to depict the various escapades of our roguish protagonist.[More]

Stravinsky - The Rite of Spring
Stravinsky's Rite of Spring is surely one of the great masterpieces of the symphonic literature. This rehearsal guide may be more appropriate for advanced student orchestras than professional orchestras, but hopefully there will be food for thought for conductors of all calibers of orchestras. [More]

Tchaikovsky - Romeo and Juliet Overture-Fantasy
Included are some interpretive ideas for Tchaikovsky's beloved masterpiece. These ideas are based on having conducted and taught this piece many times, and are mostly practical suggestions for performance. [More]

PowerPoint Presentations – an audience guide to active listening

These PowerPoint presentations may be used during performance to enable the audience to follow specific pieces of music.