Last modified on 2 November 2014, at 04:41

Pierre Monteux

Pierre Monteux, conductor

Pierre Monteux (4 April 18751 July 1964) was a conductor who directed over 100 orchestras around the world. He began his career in Paris in music-hall, chamber music and as the principal viola of the Colonne Orchestra. He was in turn principal conductor of the Ballets Russes, the Boston Symphony Orchestra, the San Francisco Symphony Orchestra and the London Symphony Orchestra. As a conductor he premiered several important works, and left a major legacy of recordings.

SourcedEdit

  • I regret they don't have symphony orchestras all over the world so I could see Burma and Samarkand.
    • 'Pierre Monteux in his own words', Classic Record Collector, Autumn 2003, Number 34, p. 18.
  • Debussy was behind me when we played L'après-midi d'un faune because he did not want anything in his score to be changed on account of the dancing. And when we came to a forte, he said 'Monteux, that is a forte, play forte'. He did not want anything shimmering. And he wanted everything exactly in time.
    • Quoted in Nichols, Roger (1992). Debussy Remembered. London: Faber. ISBN 0571153577, p. 186
  • I decided then and there that the symphonies of Beethoven and Brahms were the only music for me, not the music of this crazy Russian. … My one desire was to flee that room and find a quiet corner in which to rest my aching head. Then Diaghilev turned to me and with a smile said, "This is a masterpiece, Monteux, which will completely revolutionize music and make you famous, because you are going to conduct it." And, of course, I did.
    • Quoted in Monteux, Doris G (1965). It's All in the Music: The Life and Work of Pierre Monteux. New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux. OCLC 604146, p. 91
    • On first hearing The Rite of Spring
  • 'E does not know 'is métier.
    • Quoted from Smith, Erik (2005). "Pierre Monteux". Mostly Mozart – Articles, memoirs, rarities and surprises. Winchester: Porcellini Publications. ISBN 0-9544259-1-X., p. 37</ref>
    • When told that he should insist on more rehearsal time because Celibidache was given more rehearsals with an orchestra.
  • Damned professional
    • From Monteux, Fifi (1962). Everyone is Someone. New York: Farrar, Strauss & Cudahy. OCLC 602036672, p. 63
    • When asked in an interview to describe himself (as a conductor) in one word, Monteux replied in two.
  • Stravinsky, 'e can do what 'e like, but I have to do what ze composer 'as written.
    • Quoted from Smith, Erik (2005). "Pierre Monteux". Mostly Mozart – Articles, memoirs, rarities and surprises. Winchester: Porcellini Publications. ISBN 0-9544259-1-X, pp. 36–38
    • Diaghilev asked him to conduct Stravinsky's new Les Noces with no rehearsal, as the composer would already have conducted the first performance, Monteux following on from there.
  • Now that was very impressive. But before you try to impress the ladies in the balcony, make sure the horns come in.
    • Quoted from Freedland, M. André Previn. Century, 1991. p97
    • To a student conductor.
  • Young conductors talk too much.
    • From Monteux, Doris G (1965). It's All in the Music: The Life and Work of Pierre Monteux. New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux. OCLC 604146, p. 196
  • Don’t overconduct; don’t make unnecessary movements or gestures
  • Don’t conduct solo instruments in solo passages; don’t worry or annoy sections or players by looking intently at them in ‘ticklish’ passages
  • Don’t come before the orchestra is you have not mastered the score; don’t practise or learn the score ‘on the orchestra’
  • Don’t be disrespectful to your players (no swearing)
    • Quoted in Monteux, Doris G (1965). It's All in the Music: The Life and Work of Pierre Monteux. New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux. OCLC 604, pp. 215-216
  • I have always felt rather badly for orchestra musicians, especially the stringed instrument player who certainly in his youth expected to be a virtuoso… I admire their patience and ability, and through the years have made the effort to show them my respect and – love in many instances.
    • From Monteux, Doris G (1965). It's All in the Music: The Life and Work of Pierre Monteux. New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux. OCLC 604146, p. 197
  • How I regret not having told César Franck of my profound admiration for him and his music. After playing he Sonata for violin for the first time, I nearly wept over certain phrases. The beauty of it overwhelmed me.
    • Quoted in Monteux, Doris G (1965). It's All in the Music: The Life and Work of Pierre Monteux. New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux. OCLC 604146, p. 196
  • I never conduct any of the ballets I conducted for the Ballets Russes, without my mind's eye being completely aware of the dancers.
    • Monteux
  • I always dreamed in my youth of a great, consuming love. I was often disappointed and returned each time to my music for consolation. It never failed me.
    • From Monteux, Doris G (1965). It's All in the Music: The Life and Work of Pierre Monteux. New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux. OCLC 604146,, p. 198
  • In earlier days I used to like introducing new music in concerts but now I feel that I have done my duty to young composers… so I return to my first love Romantic music – and especially to Brahms who has always been my favourite.
    • 'Pierre Monteux in his own words', Classic Record Collector, Autumn 2003, Number 34, p. 18
  • Told, during the days of segregation in the US, that he couldn't be served as he was trying to take breakfast at a restaurant "for colored folk", he insisted: "But we are colored, my dear. We are pink."
    • From Monteux, Fifi (1962). Everyone is Someone. New York: Farrar, Strauss & Cudahy. OCLC 602036672, pp. 13–15
  • "Madame, everyone is Someone."
    • From Monteux, Fifi (1962). Everyone is Someone. New York: Farrar, Strauss & Cudahy. OCLC 602036672, p. 17
    • Initially told by a hotel owner there were no rooms, she then said “Excuse me sir, I did not know that you were Someone. I think I can accommodate you”. Monteux replied: "Madame, everyone is Someone. Au revoir!" then left.
  • On finishing early at a rehearsal the London Symphony Orchestra leader Hugh Maguire said to Monteux: "Oh Maitre it is so nice to finish early. My wife will be so surprised." Monteux replied: "Be careful. You might be surprised!"
    • From 'Pierre Monteux', Classic Record Collector, Autumn 2003, Number 34.

Quotes about MonteuxEdit

  • Cette grande gloire de la France (Great glory of France)
    • Maurice Chevalier during his act at the Empire Theatre, Paris[1]

ReferencesEdit

  1. Monteux (1962), p. 39

SourcesEdit

  • Monteux, Doris G (1965). It's All in the Music: The Life and Work of Pierre Monteux. New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux. OCLC 604146. 
  • Monteux, Fifi (1962). Everyone is Someone. New York: Farrar, Strauss & Cudahy. OCLC 602036672. 
  • Nichols, Roger (1992). Debussy Remembered. London: Faber. ISBN 0571153577. 
  • Smith, Erik (2005). "Pierre Monteux". Mostly Mozart – Articles, memoirs, rarities and surprises. Winchester: Porcellini Publications. ISBN 0-9544259-1-X.