Here’s a question: are the conductors appearing later in the day at an advantage? Having spent the best part of a day in the hall with the orchestra, it’s clear that they are playing better as the day goes on. Is that a reflection of the increasing quality of conductors? Or are they simply reaping the benefit of their opponents’ work earlier in the day?
Well, put it this way. I would be surprised if the 10 who go through to round two all come from the latter part of the day. That said, the three conductors who, as I see it, seemed to have the best rapport with the players have been in the afternoon. And I’ll be amazed if one of this morning’s competitors in particular gets through. But when an orchestra that has been sounding rather good suddenly sounds scrappy and rough round the edges there can be only one person to blame.
Incidentally, I’m keeping an informal scorecard so we’ll see if my choices coincide with those of the panel in due course. No doubt they will all have a complex series of criteria by which to judge them backed up by instinct based on vast experience.