Benjamin Zander, conductor of the Boston Philharmonic Orchestra, has a blog:
This story is about orchestra empowerment.
Throughout the rehearsal process of Mahlerâ€™s Ninth Symphony with the Philharmonia Orchestra of London, I had been aware that one of the violinists had been sitting in an overly-relaxed, almost slouched position. By the time of the dress rehearsal, her posture, still unchanged, was in noticeable contrast to the other players, who were now fired-up and physically demonstrative. Although her playing was completely professional, the gut-wrenching intensity of Mahlerâ€™s final testament made her off-hand appearance, dispiriting in any performance, seem particularly incongruous in this one.
At the end of the rehearsal, I went up to her and asked whether anything was amiss. Her response surprised me. â€œAre these your bowings?â€ she inquired. When I told her that these were the bowings we had used in our last performance in Boston, she commented, â€œThe music goes too fast for all these bow changes. I just cannot get into the string.â€ Since I know how difficult it is to apply a fast-moving bow to the string with enough pressure to make a big sound, I suggested that perhaps we should take a slower tempo. But she was taken aback. â€œDonâ€™t be ridiculous,â€ she remonstrated, â€œyou should perform it the way you feel it. But you did ask.â€
(via Universal Hub)