Conductors - do you 'sing' when conducting - even in performance?

Discussion in 'The Rehearsal Room' started by Dave Payn, Sep 23, 2004.

  1. Dave Payn

    Dave Payn Active Member

    Strange topic, maybe? But the link is, oddly enough, Rienzi! The choice of Howard Lorriman's arrangement for this year's top section areas made me dig out the all Wagner recording I have by the Canadian Brass and brass of the Berlin Phil and Bayreuth Festival Orchestra, although it is an 'expurgated' version of Rienzi that they perform.

    Nevertheless, on track 3, Entry of the Guests from Tannhauser, someone (I presume the conductor!) can clearly be heard 'vocalising' a rhythm - not, I guess, through any need to convey what the rhythm is supposed to be, but probably as a result of having a deep affinity and loving of the music and allowing himself (in this case Edo de Waart) to get carried away! All the same, I'm surprised it wasn't edited out!

    Nevertheless, on the LSO Live label, Sir Colin Davis' frequent vocal intrusions can't be edited out! The pianist Glenn Gould was also famous for 'sounding off'

    So do any conductors occasionally 'forget themeselves' as they immerse themselves in the music and 'sing' or at least vocalise the passages you're conducting? Ever done it on a contest stage?....... ;-)

    I don't think I have in performance (certainly have in rehearsal!), but perhaps if one does, they don't even realise!
    Last edited: Sep 23, 2004
  2. Keppler

    Keppler Moderator Staff Member

    one of my pet hates, this....
    I don't mind if it's the odd time, to aid a section with a passage or something, but it's hard work trying to play in tune with some conductor bellowing away in his own world...
  3. ian perks

    ian perks Active Member

    Went to HARROGATE to hear National Finals ;

    In 2nd section one certain Conductor was telling his band on stage how they were playing the piece throughout.
    I am sure the the ADJUDICATORS must have heard him !!:-?
  4. davidsait

    davidsait Member

    One of the best brass band conductors I've ever had always used to sing parts during a rehearsal - can't say wether it helped or hindered me, but it certainly didn't annoy me. He did manage to stop once on the stage, though I get the feeling it was hard work for him!
  5. tubafran

    tubafran Active Member

    Heard that too as it was quite loud. I wonder what the band members thought about this? We were doing a recording some time ago and our conductor was merrily singing along and the mic was just above his head - doh. Couldn't really shout out to tell him to shut up though.
  6. davidquinlan

    davidquinlan Member

    I'm sure I heard a conductor during the 4th section at Harrogate this year.. wasn't singing.. but issuing "commands" .. :)

    Easy Now, not too loud etc...

    made me chuckle!

    Have experienced conductors singing when things have gone astray before...
  7. NeilW

    NeilW Member

    John Knight, who taught me and conducted the Mid-Hant's Schools and then its metamorphosis into Hampshire Youth got comments in adjudicators reports the "the conductor shouldn't sing" :)

    Didn't do the band any harm - was just his way of working - and it got results in contests! (not many bands with an average age < 18 in the Championship section as we were!)

  8. lynchie

    lynchie Active Member

    I've caught myself doing this sometimes, especially if it's something I've played the trombone part to I'll just start singing that part without thinking... I think that's why I don't get to conduct very much...
  9. drummerboy

    drummerboy Member

    On a similar note, Leonard Berstein did this quite a lot, certainly in his younger days I believe. Didn't stop him being one of the best and most influential conductors of modern times though!
  10. brasscrest

    brasscrest Active Member

    I've heard a recording of the Mozart Requiem with Toscanini conducting where he clearly yells "MOLTO" just before the full orchestral tutti in the Dies Irae.
  11. MattB

    MattB Member

    Must admit, it's something I tend to do a lot of! It's not a concious thing, I just catch myself doing it! Must try to tone it down though, as I did it on stage not too long ago!
  12. Lotta

    Lotta Member

    I know a conductor that sings all the time!!! Wouldnt be so bad but he sings everything on one note!! Not good.... especially greensleeves!
  13. Dave Payn

    Dave Payn Active Member

    Quite useful in One Note Samba, though..... ;-)
  14. Lotta

    Lotta Member

    now I know why people moan about your jokes!!!!
  15. Dave1

    Dave1 Member

    Try not to sing but do sometimes BUT have been know to shout (quite loud as well) on the contest stage.
    In my defense I shout good things as well as bad!
  16. PeterBale

    PeterBale Moderator Staff Member

    I thought it was "Sing of good things, not sad; sing of happy, not sad . . ." :oops:
  17. Dave Payn

    Dave Payn Active Member

    Karen Carpenter lives! :)
  18. mikelyons

    mikelyons Supporting Member

    If I were going to lie I'd have to say I don't sing along. However, being honest and truthful - up to a point - I bashfully admit that I sing along. Especially if a particular section is getting it wrong.

    It's worse with one of my own pieces as I can't abide it when the band are sloppy in their reading. At least I no longer have to put up with a certain horn player who tried to tell me I'd written something different to what I thought. :)
  19. barkiniron

    barkiniron New Member

    One well known conductor / adjudicator makes a rather loud raspy noise from the back of his throat when he starts to get exited (whilst conducting).

    I won't name him, but those people on here who have been conducted by him will no doubt know who I mean!!
  20. Dave Payn

    Dave Payn Active Member

    Better that the raspy noises are from his throat and not his backside....