Keeping Classical Music Simple
Boyce Lancaster talks with Maestro Albert-George Schram, the resident staff conductor of the Columbus Symphony Orchestra, about how conductors need to wary of music that looks simple.
Especially when Schram is faced with the music of Mozart or Haydn, he loves simplicity of their music, despite their reputations for writing complex scores, but always strives to show the orchestra where the beauty lies.
Highlights From This Interview:
Albert-George: “There’s a certain innocence with it, I guess. Even though it might be profound, I love the innocence that comes from not having to coordinate or figure out what 88 different musicians are doing. We should not confuse complexity with profundity. It’s simple. I can look at the score and know exactly what’s happening without having to look at it too long.”
Boyce: “Sometimes the hardest music to make well is the ‘simple’ music.”
Albert-George: “It is. It’s because we want it to be so pristine and crystal clear. I’ve heard a lot of performances where everything is pristine and clear, and it bores the hell out of me. Because people somehow look at the page and look at the simplicity of it, and look at the limited number of parts that have to be played to do it well, and they sort of think therefore it’s sort of void of life on some level. That because it’s so simple that all you have to do is represent the little notes on the page and it will all sort of ‘be there.’
Albert-George: “You don’t need to teach a bunch of artists how to play their instruments. They know it better than I do. But one of my jobs is to show them where the muse lies.”