Ex-Boston concertmaster: Music directors matter less nowadays

Joseph Silverstein, who led the Boston Symphony from the front seat for 22 years (1962-84), has been sharing his views of the world with our friends at Resmusica in Paris. He is critical, as ever, but also hopeful and kind:

I see all these young musicians who are studying the violin, which is not easy! Why do they do that? Probably because of the personal expression it makes possible, because of the depth of experience brought by composers. If this kind of desire persists, there must be something good about it.

Read the full interview here (in English).

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  • Dear Readers, Mr Lebrecht once agains takes a musician’s comment out of context, contorts it, and inserts it into a headline for dramatic effect. Mr Lebrecht, you are alienating your readers, many of whom are repeatedly disappointed by your eye-catching yet erroneous headlines.

    • ” many of whom are repeatedly disappointed…” Really? You have some evidence for that assertion? You can speak only for yourself, I suggest, not for the ‘many’. I, for one, find Mr Lebrecht’s headlines neither misleading nor disappointing.

      • Harold, did you read the interview with JS, where he doesn’t say “Music Directors matter less, ” but rather points to the factors that are involved in shaping the distinctive sound of an orchestra? As for this blog, it’s not hard to find the dozens of comments in the past months repeatedly pointing out the discrepancy between the editor’s boulevard-attention-grabbing-headlines and the substance of the article. I speak for all those who actually analyze what they read.

  • What you are referring to in the “manner” of Mr. Lebrecht’s headlines is called “Click Bait.”
    A headline conceived to get a reader to click on the article. Occasionally it is clever, but often not; I find it unfortunate that it is used in this site.

  • “Hilary Hahn or Frank Peter Zimmermann reached a level of virtuosity which is well beyond what preceded them”

    Really ? Better than Heifetz or Milstein or Oistrakh or Kogan etc. etc. ?

    • I agree. Ms. Hahn puts me to sleep. Zimmermann doesn’t, and that’s about it. Their impeccability overwhelms their absent personalities. A few notes of Oistrakh, Milstein, Heifitz, or Kogan – you know who’s playing.

  • Silverstein spouts a lot of what one
    would almost call baloney .He is careful
    to say nothing but dresses it up well. The Hahn, Zimmermann observation
    is nonsense –

  • I found this quote from Maestro Silverstein at the end of the interview more interesting and inspiring for musicians in this century:

    “I am 82 and I have been a professional since 1947. At that time, Mahler and Bruckner were very rare, Haydn was limited to the London symphonies. Today orchestras play Schubert symphonies 2, 3 and 4, the Czech suite by Dvořák, all these works we did not know, and in the process the orchestras play better. I see all these young musicians who are studying the violin, which is not easy! Why do they do that? Probably because of the personal expression it makes possible, because of the depth of experience brought by composers. If this kind of desire persists, there must be something good about it.”

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