To The Times, 2008-ish

Letter following a Times review of a Philharmonia concert, Bolero was part of the programme.

Oh dear, yet another music reviewer who thinks that the conductor is responsible for the music. Why do people dismiss the musicians, the people who actually produce the notes?  In his review, GB says he “liked Salonen’s opening snare drum taps”.  Did Salonen get up and play them then?  No, a member of the percussion section was totally responsible for the sound, the feel, and anything that GB liked about the drum taps. All Salonen did was give a downbeat, telling the musician when to begin.  However, earlier in the review, “Katia and Marielle Labeque’s snugly interlocked precision at the keys…” was mentioned.  So it’s OK to credit soloists with an aural contribution to the concert, but not the members of the orchestra?  Is he sure Salonen didn’t play that bit too?  (Remember that) when you go to hear a concert, the conductor is the only person on stage who doesn’t make a single sound.


Dan Jenkins.

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