Nowadays (although I wonder if it really was different in the past), some conductors – even some truly gifted ones – have no compunction about turning up at the first rehearsal shamelessly underprepared. It is as if the ability to “manage” rehearsals efficiently and quickly, not to mention the following concerts, takes precedence over matters of artistry.
I recently witnessed an artist (who is best left unnamed) literally sight-reading Alban Berg’s mysterious violin concerto – with absolute ease … but zero meaning. Cases like that reinforce the necessity of establishing a “pact” for a harmonious reading of any great score.
Read the great violinist’s thoughts on the soloist-conductor relationship here.