The invisible maestro at Mainly Mozart

Where was the conductor for this stellar concert?

William Preucil: The luminary.
  • William Preucil: The luminary.

The last time I spoke with Mainly Mozart music director Michael Francis, he mentioned a book entitled The Ignorant Maestro by Itay Talgam. I looked it up and realized the author had made one of my all-time favorite TED talks.

The TED Talk is called Lead like the great conductors, and while it is about leadership it is also about music. During the talk Talgam mentions feeling superfluous as a conductor and discusses what a conductor does and if it is necessary.

It would appear that maestro Francis has taken the sentiment to heart as he was absent at Wednesday's Mainly Mozart concert. Either that or he was conducting from the astral plain in his invisibility cloak.

Itay Talgam

...lead like the great conductors TED talk

...lead like the great conductors TED talk

The orchestra performed sans conductor and appeared to be unphased. While there was no conductor there was most certainly a leader. That leader was concertmaster and luminary William Preucil who provided some direction from the soloist position in Mendelssohn Concerto for Violin and Piano and then from the concertmaster seat in Haydn’s Symphony No. 39 and Mozart’s Symphony No. 25.

At every performance of the Mainly Mozart Festival Orchestra there are moments when the tuning aligns with such perfection that the sound glistens. This conductor-less concert was no different. It’s difficult for this effect to occur with a full symphonic orchestra although not impossible. It’s easier to accomplish with a quartet or quintet.

The Mainly Mozart group sits between the two. The orchestra might be the perfect size for such moments. The sound that issues is difficult to describe. Words such as shimmering, glowing, translucent, etc. come to mind. Of course, all those words have to do with vision instead of hearing. This is the problem.

Perhaps, and this is just a suggestion, if you are reading this you bring yourself and a friend to the next concert of the Mainly Mozart Festival Orchestra and hear for yourself. It’s at the Balboa Theatre on Saturday, June 11, 7:30 p.m. There is a pre-concert selection of music at 6:30 p.m. for ticket holders.

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The rehearsal on Friday had a conductor and it was one of the most amazing musical experiences I have ever witnessed.

Good to hear your supping at the abundant table of the Mainly Mozart Festival. The tradition of performing without a conductor is an ancient one with Mozart himself often being the soloist and the de facto conductor as was Mr. Preucil in this concert.

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