It might be thought presumptuous to detail every thought, beat, and gesture in conducting the standard repertoire, for the art of interpretation must always, by its very nature, be a personal one. But from his lifelong experience in conducting the Beethoven symphonies Norman Del Mar is able to lead us in a discussion of them with passion and great insight.This is an essential guide for students of these great works and a starting-point for
young conductors. Del Mar offers an analysis of the music's structure, pointing out key events in the score and offering advice on how to achieve the desired effect. He also compares variant readings in the different editions. But his book further traces the development of Beethoven's style and that
of the symphony over the 24 years of their composition, from the inspired yet simple First, so evocative of Haydn and Mozart, to the supreme peak of the 'Choral', one of the greatest masterpieces of the symphonic form. Del Mar is thus able to speak to all devotees of Beethoven's symphonic output, and enhance our appreciation of these works.
`...this new book about performing the Beetoven symphonies will be of interest to many. ...the first of a number that the author intends to publish; others will be on Brahms, Tchaikowsky, Debussy and hopefully, on Strauss himself. ...underlines the many changes in performance practice that have taken place during this century. ...Each chapter in this new study is devoted to a single symphony. Clear technical interpretative advice predominates ...The
analyses are elegantly spices with anecdotes...conductors at every stage of their careers should welcome this book and profit by its fund of practical wisdom.'
Denis McCaldin, The Musical Times
'Del Mar modestly and successfully presents some of the issues facing a conductor in each symphony. His experience asa professional player and conductor, and his distinguished record as a teacher, ideally qualify him for the task. The quality of the book is in Del Mar's generous dissemination of his cast experience of practical music, in combination with his considerable experience as a writer ... Warnings of problems and various tips and alternatives
abound, showing great professional attention to detail. His knowledge of discrepancies between various editions of scores and orchestral parts, and his understanding of the autograph scores, is invaluable. Also striking is his great sensitivity to players.'
Brio, Autumn/Winter 1993, Vol. 30, No. 2
Symphony no 1 in C major, Op 21; symphony no 2 in D major, Op 36; symphony no 3 in E flat, Op 53 ("Erotica"); symphony no 4 in B flat, Op 60; symphony no 5 in C minor, Op 67; symphony No 6 in F major, Op 68 ("Pastoral"); symphony no 7 in A major, Op 92; symphony no 8 in F major, Op 93; symphony no 9 in D minor, Op 125 ("Choral").