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Nelson interview

Michael Grover wrote (April 15, 2002):
Here is a very interesting interview with conductor John Nelson. (I confess I'm not sure who he is; I just happened to wander onto this interview in my random surfings.) Look halfway down the interview for some enlightening comments on Bach, the St. Matthew Passion, and the "authentic movement" (as he so calls it.)

Aryeh Oron (wrote (April 15, 2002):
[To Michael Grover] It is indeed interesting to read the point of view of a conductor about issues that are important to us all (members of the BCML & BRML. For example, I can easily concur with him when he says,'I would trade ten operas to do one St. Matthew Passion.' (BWV 244)

On the other hand, I was somewhat dissapointed to read the following statement, 'It is the Christoph von Dohnanyis and George Soltis of this world that have abdicated and we are scared to do this music because we don't think we can do it right any more because the authentic movement is "doing it right".' After many hours of listening to Bach' vocal music, my interim conclusion is that no approach can claim of 'Doing it right'. IMO, The most important factor of a good perfomance is being true to yourself. Bernstein said once (more a less, I am quoting from memory), 'A good performance is not about what the composder wanted, neither is it about what I want. It is about what I believe represents in the best way what the composer wanted." The spirited recording of SMP by Solti with modern instruments is a proof that authencity is not the only valid approach of performing Bach's vocal music.

John Nelson has done few recordings of movements from Bach's vocal works. You can see the list in the page:
These recordings are dominated by the singers. So it is difficult to get real impression of the conductor.

A short bio of the man is available at the page:

Pete Blue wrote (April 15, 2002):
[To Aryeh Oron] Re John Nelson: I attended a performance of the SMP (BWV 244) in Nashville, Tennessee in the mid-1970s when he was conductor of the Nashville Symphony. It was just before he went to Indianapolis. I remember it being very good. About that time, I also remember a performance of La Boheme in concert, with soloists imported from the New York City Opera (Patricia Wise, Patricia Brooks). I haven't heard a better conducted Boheme since. i was in the first row, and I remember Nelson lipsynching the entire libretto to the orchestra from memory. I thought his career would rise higher than it has. Maybe being an American and working outside the Northeast Corridor had something to do with it.


John Nelson: Short Biography | Orchestra of St. Luke's | Ensemble Orchestral de Paris | Recordings of Vocal Works | Chicago Bach Project | General Discussions

Conductors of Vocal Works: Main Page | A | B | C | D | E | F | G | H | I | J | K | L | M | N | O | P | Q | R | S | T | U | V | W | X | Y | Z | Singers & Instrumentalists


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