Posted tagged ‘conductors’

Overrated: The Conductor

September 7, 2015

Staff shortages and rapidly increasing costs contributed to the demise of the bus conductor job. Most buses are now manned by one person where previously the driver concentrated on the road and the “clippy” took the fares. There is little debate that the conductor fulfilled a responsible position. Plainly speaking, he was needed. Contrast this with the role of a conductor in an orchestra. What’s going on there?

There’s this big band of players blaring away and in charge of the whole shebang noise is a hairy man waving a baton about. And they call this culture. Apparently, it’s his pointers and gestures that cue in all the musicians. Why is this? Don’t the violinists and violaists and the rest not know the timing or structure of the song? Don’t they practise? Re-Hearse? Is the tune that complicated they don’t know when it’s their time to string or blow or beat. What amateurs. Getting tips from the conductor is cheating. In my eyes they are not playing “live” if they need help in finding the right tempo. Live shows are prone to the odd mistake and that is what makes them more thrilling than this abomination of listening to music by numbers.

Even more amazing is the fact that after the recital the conductor gets the tiger’s share of the appaws. Are the audience crazy? This is the only guy that isn’t playing an instrument. Consider the poor bloke on the complicated surgical implement, the Oboe. He’s been blowing his boe until his lungs are as limp as a Spa Francorchamps Vettel Pirelli yet someone waving a wand and sharing his dandruff is the star. When Oboea recovers his breath he should challenge the conductor to a game of blow football. Not so classy with a straw, now are you, Hairdo?

Back to the audience. Is it any wonder they clap the least talented member of the ensemble. Why are these fakes/flakes all dressed up to the ninety-niners to listen to cartoon music? As soon as I hear “classical music” I think of Tom and Jerry. Tom’s plans have backfired again and the hot iron has landed on his head turning it into an accordion. Furthermore, the humble accordion doesn’t make the cut into the orchestra final round. The Alexandrian Brothers chest expander has failed where the stupid bassoon and yawning trombone have hit the fairway.

How does one go about applying for the job of conductor or should I say, ahem, musical director? Do the interview board give you a baton and say “John Majorette”, “Conduct better than any heavy metal”, “Get with the beat, Baggy”, “Wave it like Pipeline, Oahu” . Eagerly I scour the employment pages looking for a shot at the conductor gig. My hair is long enough and I can twirl a stick; half of the people in the West coast can do this, it’s in our DNA. If I had a chance to impress the judges I would show off my freestyle conducting skills-

Flick the stick round my fingers like all good drummers do.

Switch the stick from left hand behind my neck to right hand.

Swish a Zorro Z as I carve the air.

Hold the stick two-handed, raise it over my head and then chop it right down like its an axe.

Nutmeg the Tuba player with the stick then drop a shoulder bodyswerving the cellist out the building, do a 360 turn on the triangulist, flip-flap the Harpist and end with a rainbow flick over the complete woodwind section. 

After all that I think I deserve a standing ovation because, let’s face it, all the rest is background music compared to the Maestro. But this won’t happen because the game is up for orchestral conductors. You’ve been sussed out. The finale is here. Get the bus home. There are no conductors on it, including you.

*****

What do you call a snake in charge of an orchestra? A Boa Conductor.

This conductor entered a bar in Greece. It had five seats in it. He threw one of them out. There’s only four seats in a bar.

A conductor hit himself in the eye with his stick making it bloodshot. The Francophile culture vultures in the crowd called it the Baton Rouge.

*****

Not all classical music is rubbish. This is my favourite piece.

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