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Klarinet Archive - Posting 000971.txt from 2003/06

From: "James O'Briant" <>
Subj: RE: [kl] Left hand conductors
Date: Thu, 26 Jun 2003 11:27:01 -0400

David Dow wrote, in part:

> ... Many years back I remeber seeing Abbado
> in Berlin conduct Brahms 2cd and can honestly
> say I never imagined how fine his conducting
> really was until the slow movement. His
> ability to comunicate the rythmn in the slow
> movement with his right arm was simply
> astounding! The other thing which was a
> wonder was Abbado's ability to get a nuance
> from a phrase with the simplest gesture.

There exists somewhere a twelve or fifteen minute video of Georges
Sebastian conducting the "Prelude and Liebestod" from "Tristan und
Isolde," with the ORTF (French National Radio-TV Orchestra. I recall
seeing it as a "filler" at the end of an opera broadcast on PBS, and I
believe that this was about 1973 or 94.

Sebastian conducted the entire work with his right hand (with baton).
His left arm remained straight down at his side throughout. By the time
I'd seen and heard about five minutes of this performance, I assumed
that his left arm was paralyzed. I've never seen such baton technique!
The beat, the subdivisions, cues, dynamics -- everything was
crystal-clear, conveyed by one arm only.

Then, for the final chord, he raised his left arm and conducted it with
both arms.

If anyone knows a source for that video (preferably on DVD), I'd love to
get hold of a copy. It's a course in conducting, all by itself.]

Jim O'Briant
Bayside Music Press
Gilroy, CA 95020

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