This essay has been submitted by a student. This is not an example of the work written by professional essay writers.

Conducting and Politics: a Igor Stravinsky's Comparison

downloadDownload printPrint

Remember! This is just a sample.

You can get your custom paper by one of our expert writers.

Get custom essay

121 writers online

Conducting and Politics: a Igor Stravinsky's Comparison essay

Igor Stravinsky, often hailed has one of the greatest and most influential composers of the 20th Century, influencing other legendary composers such as Aaron Copeland, remarked that “conducting, like politics, rarely attracts original minds.” His strong rhetoric undoubtedly conveyed the idea that conductors may be “unequipped” and ultimately unqualified to do their job whilst keeping their position of “arbitrary authority” because they are good at “power politics.”

In addition to the last statement, it is gathered right from the beginning of the document that, according to Stravinsky, politics and conducting have a lot in common. In the first sentence, he makes the claim that both are “more for the making of careers and the exploitation of personalities than a profession for the application of exact and standardized discipline,” meaning that there isn’t a certain set of rules to abide by when conducting music or politics, which also means that he hints at a belief that both are informal in nature, given that a lack of a defined set of rules and mannerisms constitutes informality.

He goes on to say that “society women (including critics)” are more akin to observing aspects of the conductor other than his or her “musical qualities.” That could be a possible hint pointing towards a belief that perhaps critics and other spectators are more entertained by the informality they see leading the orchestra rather than the musicians themselves. To elaborate further, it may even be said that Stravinsky’s point was to convey the idea that in this way, the conductor distracts the audience and turns them from listeners to viewers.

It can then be deduced that he is not only comparing conducting and politics, but he is also juxtaposing conductors and the musicians being conducted because he mentions that a conductor can be “less well equipped for his work than his players,” which helps reemphasize the point that a conductor holds a less valuable position than those actually playing. After that, he gives the mention that “his [the conductor’s] career is not dependent on” the musicians, an almost ironic statement considering that a conductor is usually held to the highest esteem when he or she can be such an “incomplete musician.”

With the emergence of the second paragraph of the document, Mr. Stravinsky diagnoses conductors of having the “ego disease,” declaring that it was “naturally high to begin with,” further stating that “the disease grows like a tropical weed under the sun of a pandering public,” which is a metaphor that symbolizes how the audience contributes to the growing popularity of this phenomenon; how they practically encourage the conductor “to impose a purely egotistical, false, arbitrary authority,” and how they seemingly exaggerate the “real value” of the conductor “as opposed to the music-business.”

It is partially the conductor’s fault for exhibiting attention-seeking values, as Stravinsky mentions how the “cult of the ‘great’ conductor also tends to substitute looking for listening,” further elaborating that even “reviewers who habitually fall into the trap of describing a conductor’s appearance rather than the way he makes music sound” and that “the important part of the performance becomes the gesture.” His point was that people rely too much on how the conductor, who knows that he has the attention of the audience, to give cues on how the piece should be interpreted rather than each individual interpret the piece in his or her own way.

He finally confirms his overall belief by saying outright: “If you are incapable of listening, the conductor will show you what to feel.” He alludes to a “film-actor type of conductor,” “acting out” his own version of Napoleon in Eroica, to emphasize this point. In a Coup de grâce, a final blow to conductors, he summarizes all that he said while ending his allusion: “If you are unable to listen to the music, you watch the corybantics, and if you are able, you had better not go to the concert.”

Remember: This is just a sample from a fellow student.

Your time is important. Let us write you an essay from scratch

experts 450+ experts on 30 subjects ready to help you just now

delivery Starting from 3 hours delivery

Find Free Essays

We provide you with original essay samples, perfect formatting and styling

Cite this Essay

To export a reference to this article please select a referencing style below:

Conducting and Politics: A Igor Stravinsky’s Comparison. (2019, April 10). GradesFixer. Retrieved December 7, 2022, from
“Conducting and Politics: A Igor Stravinsky’s Comparison.” GradesFixer, 10 Apr. 2019,
Conducting and Politics: A Igor Stravinsky’s Comparison. [online]. Available at: <> [Accessed 7 Dec. 2022].
Conducting and Politics: A Igor Stravinsky’s Comparison [Internet]. GradesFixer. 2019 Apr 10 [cited 2022 Dec 7]. Available from:
copy to clipboard

Where do you want us to send this sample?

    By clicking “Continue”, you agree to our terms of service and privacy policy.


    Be careful. This essay is not unique

    This essay was donated by a student and is likely to have been used and submitted before

    Download this Sample

    Free samples may contain mistakes and not unique parts


    Sorry, we could not paraphrase this essay. Our professional writers can rewrite it and get you a unique paper.



    Please check your inbox.

    We can write you a custom essay that will follow your exact instructions and meet the deadlines. Let's fix your grades together!


    Hi there!

    Are you interested in getting a customized paper?

    Check it out!
    Don't use plagiarized sources. Get your custom essay. Get custom paper

    Get expert help for your assignment!

    We can help you get a better grade and deliver your task on time!

    • Instructions Followed To The Letter
    • Deadlines Met At Every Stage
    • Unique And Plagiarism Free
    Get your paper order now