Whether a piece demands andante cantabile or largissimo, the "stick" has the final say. Balanced in the maestro's hand, the baton marks out the rhythm and delimits space. Way back in the 17th century, French composer Lully once beat his staff so vigorously that he delivered himself a fatal blow! Meanwhile in London, the ungainly staff was perhaps unsurprisingly giving way to the lighter and more graceful baton.
However, conductors over time have proven that they don't need wands to create musical magic. Musicians will follow their maestro through hell and high water in pursuit of the ultimate musical moment–even if the maestro conducts with his eyes closed (Karajan), if hands replace the traditional sticks (Stokowski, Boulez, Masur, Seiji Ozawa), or if the orchestra's only clues come in the way of blinks and head wobbles (Bernstein).
London Philharmonic Orchestra
London Symphony Orchestra
Lucerne Festival 2006
Toscanini, Furtwängler, Karajan, Menuhin, Abbado
The Historic Stravinsky Memorial Concert, April 1972
With the Orchestre de Paris and the Ensemble intercontemporain
Live in Ramallah
With Le Concert des Nations
Waldbühne 2003: A Gershwin Night – Berliner Philharmoniker
Lucerne Festival 2014
Insula Orchestra and accentus choir
The Lanaudiere Festival
Mariinsky Theatre Orchestra
Complete Cycle of Beethoven's Symphonies
Europakonzert 2014, Berlin
2008 Nobel Prize Concert
Waldbühne 2006: Sheherazade, An Oriental Night – Berliner Philharmoniker
Robert Carsen (stage director), Emmanuelle Haïm (conductor) – With Danielle de Niese (Poppea), Alice Coote (Nerone), Iestyn Davies (Ottone)...
A documentary on female conductors