The fifth in a short series.
This weekend’s attempts by the Berlin Philharmonic and the Düsseldorf Symphony orchestras to put on video concerts from their main stage in reduced groups and without an audience have exposed the bankruptcy of that idea.
Yes, it was important to get out again and demonstrate the will to perform.
But the performances themselves were flaccid, dispiriting and ultimately unnecessary. I doubt we shall see any successes in that genre.
When each piece ended, the conductor dropped his arms and – nothing happened. No applause. No relief. No catharsis.
The players looked a bit stunned, disappointed, unsure of themselves.
Most unsure were the conductors.
For concerts of this small scale, they were not needed. Their presence was purely gestural.
All evidence from western governments suggests we will not see large orchestral performances again for a year or two.
So what are we to do about conductors?
Put them on furlough?