¡Habanera!

Habanera? Of course you know what it is! A very famous example — The dance originates from Havana, hence Habanera; its provenance being more obvious, perhaps, from its other title, the Havanaise. As a popular rhythm it certainly caught on with French composers during the latter half of the nineteenth and early twentieth century; here’s another version, […]

Contemporary conduct

The twentieth century, as it progressed, presented serious challenges for the listener. But not only audiences were tested by this complex ‘new  music’; the job of conducting these scores demanded a whole new raft of techniques. There were complicated cross-rhythms: strange new time signatures: There were aleatoric scores with their chance elements, graphic scores that sometimes […]

Getting (and keeping) it together

You’ve studied the score, understood the ‘topography’ of the piece, decided on the ‘correct’ tempo for each movement, and so on. Now it’s time to put the whole thing together and, working with the orchestra, sort out details of articulation, dynamic, ensemble and balance, and how to negotiate any difficult corners that the work presents. Here, […]