The Silent Musician: Why Conducting Matters by Mark Wigglesworth - review by David Nice

David Nice

One Man Band

The Silent Musician: Why Conducting Matters


Faber & Faber 250pp £14.99 order from our bookshop

‘Trust the players,’ 89-year-old Bernard Haitink told a twenty-something conductor in Lucerne this spring, ‘they have so much more experience than you do.’ Haitink says relatively little during his conducting master classes, but all of it – mostly common sense – has a profound effect upon his acolytes. Whether more of that kind of sound advice could fill a book might seem doubtful. Yet it does, compellingly.

Mark Wigglesworth, during his year and a bit as music director of English National Opera (ENO), showed what a conductor can achieve. The five productions of which he took charge – The Force of Destiny, The Magic Flute, Jenůfa, Lady Macbeth of Mtsensk and Don Giovanni – represented the highest

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