September 15, 2014
The Stravinsky Essay was written by Igor Stravinsky a composer who expressed his harsh feelings towards conductors in this passage. In this passage Stravinsky uses sarcasm and negative diction along with comparisons to express his dislike of egotistical, arrogant, and pandering conductors. He finds their job non-authentic and all conductors do is stand there and perform gestures that make the audience get the perception that the conductor has this great passion for his work, but according to Stravinsky they are merely putting on a show.
Stravinsky says that "conducting like politics, rarely attracts original minds and exploits personalities" (paragraph 1, lines 1-4). The writer makes a comparison in two different sections of the passage. He compares conducting to politics and "great" conductors to "great" actors. Conducting to him is not for passion sake but rather making a career. Conductors work to make people think one thing but not what is always true.
They use the power of persuasion of the minds and thoughts of the audiences that came to watch. In paragraph two lines 25-28 Stravinsky goes on to compare "great" actors to "great" conductors. He says that conductors are "unable to play anything but themselves; being unable to adapt themselves to the work, they adapt the work to themselves, to their "style", their mannerisms". The author is eluding to the fact that conductors cannot play the instruments that they are conducting. They go out and perform like actors on a stage. They make it suitable for themselves. Stravinsky does not like that conductors are praised when they cannot really do the job. "If you are incapable of listening, the conductor will show you what to feel. Thus the film-actor type of conductor will act out a life of...