Saturday, April 14, 2007
One small addition to the recent discussion in comments on these pages about orchestral seating orders. The conductors Daniel Barenboim and Pierre Boulez have recently been sharing a Mahler cycle in Berlin with the Staatskapelle. Eleonore Büning, in This morning's Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, notes that Boulez has re-arranged the orchestra in the manner of Stokowski, "...the hierarchical-pragmatic variant, in which the outer voices sit far apart, the concertmaster no longer looking directly in the eyes of the solo cellist, so that everything is focused on the central control of the conductor." Barenboim, on the other hand, has stuck with the traditional German seating, an artifact of the historical assemblage of the orchestra, and the arrangement with which Mahler himself would have been familiar.