In an extraordinary article done for the June 2003 number of Notes, a publication of the Music Library Association offering news and analysis about music and music librarianship, author John Bewley gives a detailed overview of the score annotations of longtime music director of the Philadelphia Orchestra (1938-1980), Eugene Ormandy.
The art of conducting consists in large measure of elements hidden from the general audience. Other than participating musicians, few people get to witness the rehearsal technique of conductors and understand how their musical goals are communicated. Even fewer see the process involved in preparing musical scores for performance. Fortunately, many conductors leave behind a written legacy in the form of markings entered on the scores they use for study or performance. While the entire realm of mental preparation cannot possibly be revealed through these annotations, such markings can offer substantial information about many aspects of a conductor's preparation process. Therefore, a study of conductor score markings has the potential to increase our understanding of the art of conducting in general and the specific techniques of individual conductors.
One conductor whose collection of scores is remarkably intact and well-preserved is Eugene Ormandy (1899-1985).
As the twentieth anniversary of Ormandy's death approaches, there is renewed interest in — and appreciation for — his work. Born in the nineteenth century, he carried many of its musical traditions forward into the twentieth century. Virtually all of his conducting and recording were done before the era of authentic performance practice had begun to enter the orchestral world. It is fair to say that his utmost concern as a conductor was for the creation of beautiful sound. The extent of the markings in his scores demonstrates how assiduously he pursued that goal, whether or not critics of his approach agreed.
This lengthy and detailed article, "Marking The Way: The Significance Of Eugene Ormandy's Score Annotations", is well worth one's time reading in full.
(Our thanks to CM&OF member, "Maestrob", for the link.)