“…at the back of every conductor’s mind is a desire to make his orchestra produce a louder noise than anyone else’s orchestra can produce, a really majestic noise, a Niagara Falls of sound. At some time in the course of nearly every concert this desire overpowers him. You can tell when it is coming on by the way he goes into a brief convulsion at that point. The convulsion is useful to the conductor, because it prevents his hearing what the orchestra really sounds like while his fit is on. But if you watch carefully from the house you will usually find that the sound provoked out of a group of exacerbated musicians by any gesture of the convulsive type is less accurate in pitch and less sonorous in decibels than a more objectively conducted fortissimo.” — Virgil Thomson

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