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While it may be easy to dismiss this as something curious or perhaps even humorous, the implications of the use of technology in this fashion are far more important than most realize; the end results being insidious and very dangerous to the health of the art form. The short of it is exactly as Sugarbrie points out; "Leni and Yuri communicate things you can't quantify into computer code". Now, it may be possible that this device does in fact cut back on the amount of time that a beginning conducting student needs to learn the very basics of technique; but at what cost? One of the very first things that one learns (should learn) when studying conducting is that it is humans beings (musicians) not machines, that will be reacting to the guidance of the baton. While technique is clearly very important, it is the feeling behind that technique that ellicits good and inspired playing from musicians. Indeed, some of the most memorable musical moments I can recall while following a conductor have been when the conductor has had the courage to put his/her arms down and "conduct" hardly at all, in certain places in the score. The best conductors have an ability to convey their message to the musicians in a very subtle almost non-physical way. The point of all this is that rapport with musicians should be taught at the beginning, and what a shame to think that young aspiring conductors may be denied this very important and fundamental lesson. This is IMO yet another example of technology creeping in and threatening long established values and causing a decline in the quality of music and music making. Nothing new unfortunately for there are much more blatant examples of things such as this. So many of the things that we as audiophiles decry are very connected to this issue. Much of the technology used by recording engineers today,it could be argued, was not created out of need; but rather, the technology was invented and then engineers found a use for it, oftentimes to the detriment of the music. Why do so many recordings that don't use multimiking/multitracking or artificial effects sound so good and so convincing? Going back to the issue of this electronic monkey suit. If you read the article (thanks Pls1) you will see reference made to "virtual orchestras". This term is unfortunately nothing new to musicians, although the business of this "suit" might be. Most music lovers that I know are completely unaware of the movement by producers within some "commercial" music genres, specifically musical theater (Broadway), to do away in their productions with as many live musicians as possible. We are all aware (I hope) of the destructive effect that the use of synthesizers in place of real instruments has had on much commercial music; wether it be Broadway, pop, rock. There have been many threads concerning and discussing this. But now we have a movement in place whose aim it is to,if not do away with musicians entirely, to reduce their number to the point where all that is needed to put on a production is a couple of synthesizer players, a bank of computers and a "conductor" operating some sort of electronic controller. Do we need to discuss what the end result will sound like in comparison to a real orchestra? Sad indeed. Is it any wonder that quality music making seems to be getting more and more scarce? And don't think for a moment that more serious musical forms won't or aren't being affected. Jazz certainly has been (smooth jazz ??!!). Is classical immune? I wonder. The respect for the art form is not there to the extent that it once was. This is why now, more than ever, an involved music audience is needed. SUPPORT LIVE MUSIC. Music and musicians need your involvement and support. The good things that technology gives us, these wonderful sound systems that we buy for our hobby, would be useless if the new software available is not worthy.
I see no harm in it, if it is used just as a learning tool, much like a metronome. But if a student is down-graded because they do poorly with the machine, I agree, we are in trouble.
I also agree that a lot of classical recordings are over-recorded and over-produced. One of my favorite Mozart recording is the Piano Concertos numbers 20 and 27 with Clifford Curzon piano, conducted by Benjamin Britten. I was not surprised after I read in the liner notes that Curzon and Britten controlled the recording sessions, with musical considerations taking precedent over technical ones; and Mr. Curzon had the final say on the final product. We need more of this.