Tom Service’s witty and entertaining column on ‘the conductor conundrum’ (September) describes a phenomenon I had been waiting to read about for some time. I had just seen Daniel Barenboim conduct his West-eastern Divan Orchestra at the BBC Proms and found myself fixated on watching him work his magic. There were times where the animated Barenboim seemed to expel musical colour onto the orchestra and others where he was completely still, allowing the musicians to lead themselves.
Complete wizardry! Some time ago I attended an open rehearsal with Sir Simon Rattle and the LSO which opened my eyes to the detail and precision with which a conductor can attune the sound. I agree with Service when he says conductors today have more responsibility, both in shaping the orchestral
sound and in captivating audiences. There is huge scope for broadening of the role as he alludes, but I believe there is always a place for the magic a conductor can bring.
Emily Bevington, Molesey