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Elgar Unwrapped

Manchester Camerata

RNCM Concert Hall, 30 April 2012

Gábor Takács-Nagy.  Photo credit: Jonathan Keenan

Gábor Takács-Nagy. Photo credit: Jonathan Keenan

Here, speaking to a select few, Gábor Takács-Nagy gave some interesting insights into the conductor’s art.

To start with, there was an exposition and discussion of Elgar’s Serenade for Strings and of the conductor’s role as a whole.  This was followed by questions and further discussion.  The work was then played in full.

Takács-Nagy made the point that the conductor’s role is to lead and guide, to take a stance.  He was obliged to know as much as possible about a particular work, to understand it to his limits, but once he’d done this it was permissible to interpret and play it relatively freely.  One had earned that right.  One’s knowledge and understanding would necessarily act as a constraint, otherwise this freedom was absolute.

It is wonderful that Takács-Nagy is such a personable and enthusiastic figure, friendly yet somehow formal.  His talk was educational and sprinkled with the kind of beautiful stories that have become his trademark.  The performance of Elgar’s Serenade was transporting and, altogether, the evening offered a privileged peek into the music-making process.

Elgar’s Serenade for Strings will be played again by Manchester Camerata at the concert in Dewsbury Town Hall on 17 May, details here.