Profession – Orchestra Artist
The psychology of the work of an orchestral musician is sparingly covered in literature. This article is addressed primarily to students of the orchestra faculty of musical universities preparing themselves for work in orchestra groups, and students – conductors. However, the problems raised in it are interesting not only for students, but for everyone who loves symphonic music.The article is not about the features of one particular orchestra band, but about the typical joys and sorrows that, according to the author, are experienced by all orchestral musicians of the world.
For most artists of the orchestra, collective creative work is the meaning of life and a source of great joy. However, the orchestra’s work has a number of features that not all musicians like, but who have to put up with, as they are inevitable. However, the negative aspects of orchestral work cannot overshadow the musician’s love for creativity.
Unfortunately, not all conductors need vivid, imaginative thinking of musicians playing tutti. Some of them value above all not the individual creative style of the orchestra, but the accurate, reliable, trouble-free game and creative obedience. A parade of words for the artistic originality of the personality of each musician, they can easily do without this “service”.
Some musicians playing in a group say that they need individual creative writing only once – during a competition to fill a vacant seat in an orchestra. These orchestra students are certainly cunning. In orchestra performance, the individual creative style of each musician is extremely important: after all, only relying on a personal beginning, he can create a deep artistic image, and no conductor messages will help the cause if the performer himself is spiritually poor.
The idea of the conductor, no matter how carefully thought out in the home laboratory, is just the ground on which, in the course of working with a real orchestra, parts (sometimes very important) are polished and each musician contributes to the final (voiced) version of the conductor’s intentions. The interpretation of the work offered by the orchestra is the result of the efforts of many people, and the conductor is assigned the most important role in its creation.
The auditory representations that the conductor “scrolls” in his head before meeting with the orchestra cannot be realized with absolute accuracy. Real sound always brings something unexpected.
Conductors do not like to say that their interpretation of the performed work is influenced by orchestral musicians. If they admit this, they pretend that they always control what is happening, that they themselves always decide which proposals of the orchestra to accept and which to reject. So, for example, K. P. Kondrashin in his book “The World of the Conductor” writes: “If the proposed by the orchestra is different from what you have imagined, and you put up with it you are no longer the master of interpretation. You need to make the orchestra play those timbres that you imagined. ”2
In my opinion, the expression “master of interpretation” is unsuccessful in this case. No conductor of the world can be the sole “master of interpretation”, because the performing style of the orchestral collective inevitably imposes a seal on everything that he does. In the process of creative communication of the maestro with a particular orchestra, the “dream-up” plan changes by him regardless of his will.
The traditions in which the orchestral ensemble was brought up have no less influence on the artistic result than the conductor’s intentions endured by the maestro at home. This is especially noticeable when a touring conductor performs, for example, the music of George Gershwin in Russia or in San Francisco. No matter how the Russian conductor insists on his performing concept of Porgy and Bess, Negro musicians will play in their own way. And if successful, the maestro pretends to have achieved exactly what he wanted.
You can become the sole “master of interpretation” only if you play alone, for example, while playing piano pieces or sonatas. The conductor of the orchestra, no matter how authoritative it may be, no matter how obedient to it the orchestra, is not entitled to call itself that.
Students studying in musical universities at the Faculty of Symphonic Conducting, we must not forget that although the conductor has a leading role in creating the interpretation of the composition, he is not the only author.
Sometimes it happens that the orchestra artists, led by a talented organizer, rally for a while in a monolithic collective of like-minded people. But it is impossible to imagine an orchestra in which all the musicians at each rehearsal, at each concert think and feel the same way.
If an orchestra group has its own creative style, then it acts as a collective soloist. The task is not only to play together, but also to create freely, liberated, as good soloists do, to create, without fear of falling out of the ensemble, and not falling out of it.