The art of appointing a chief conductor is a subtle, semi-osmotic process that survived the publicity glare of the late 20th century, only to come unstuck in the 21st. Europe and America can no longer agree on what it takes to make a maestro.
Every now and then, a signpost looms to confirm the distance we have travelled and indicate where we are going. One such milestone pops up this week when BBC Radio 3, purveyor of sonata form and English drama to the upper brows, becomes the principal media partner of the London Jazz Festival, with 20 hours of live relays.
There are at least a dozen maestros under the age of 50 who have the ability to lead music into the new millennium. Their idealism is refreshing and their ideas original, but will they - without regular recording and broadcasts - ever get the opportunity to make an impact on the world at large?
Dans un programme Berg/Webern/Stravinski* un rien didactique (le péché mignon de Boulez) le chef français a su, comme dans ses précédents concerts berlinois (Ravel, Webern) tirer parti de ce qui fait, depuis toujours, la force de l'orchestre (l'effet de masse, l'assise des basses, la discipline d'ensemble)...
A recent Berlin concert series whose program read like an academic tutorial - a weakness of Boulez's - included Berg's Three Pieces from the 'Lyric Suite', Webern's Orchestral pieces (1913; posth.), Stravinsky's Symphonies for Wind Instruments, Symphony in Three Movements and Symphony of Psalms.