Worse than Most? He never wasNews
My monthly essay in The Critic examines the early struggles of a world conductor.
The ugliest epithet ever attached to a conductor in my time was coined in the late 1980s when two London orchestras were fighting it out for the right to sole residency at the Royal Festival Hall. Neither organisation was in good shape.
The Philharmonia Orchestra was conducted by Giuseppe Sinopoli, an Italian psychoanalyst whose ideas floated above the players’ heads. The London Philharmonic was losing the inspirational Klaus Tennstedt to cancer and players were unsure about his successor, a bespectacled Austrian, not yet 30, who went by the assumed name of Franz Welser-Möst.
Two backbench musicians duly dubbed him Frankly Worse than Most, an insult aimed not just at the man but the entire maestro breed. All conductors, the tag implied, were rubbish. This one was just WTM….
Read on here (and subscribe).