Score Marking

Conductor Kenneth Woods provides yet another fascinating look inside his profession with this post on score marking. Among the many gems is this:

Some conductors highlight every meter change- I was taught to do this, but rarely do it at all anymore. However, if there is a choice between putting in a big, ugly, yellow highlighter mark or fucking up a concert, I find that is an easy choice.
When I was conducting regularly, I was doing mostly new pieces, my own and others. I found that the more conducting I did, the less I marked. Looking through scores I performed, I find the occasional circle around something, or an expression marking underlined.

I own most of the scores I own for analytical, not performing, purposes. For the pieces I constantly return to, I have at least two copies, one for analysis (with tons of markings), and a clean one for reading/listening.

Speaking of listening:

Brahms: Symphony 4. Karajan, BPO. I love this performance, but I'd also be interested in recommendations of others, especially by active conductors.

Golijov: Ayre. I remain unconvinced by this piece as a whole, as I remain in awe of Dawn Upshaw's performance. This time though, I found myself quite moved by the final song, "Ariadna en su labertino".

Bartok: Quartet 4. Emerson Quartet. A tough-minded reading of this terse, hard-boiled work.

Matthew Sweet, 100% Fun. Power-pop, my favorite kind: Melodic and crunchy.


  1. Herbert Blomstedt did the 4th extremely well a couple of years ago at the SFS, so if there's a recording by him it might be good. There is a Mackerras set with the Scottish Chamber Orchestra that is well worth hearing and off the beaten track of Brahms interpretation, as it is unsentimental.

    For inactive conductors, Walter, who had a special way with Brahms (there is also his great German Requiem recording, with Seefried and London). I will also hazard a guess that Furtwaengler is worth hearing in Brahms.

  2. Anonymous1:43 PM

    Yes, in fact I was listening to the Walter recording of the Brahms Fourth just last night.