A hilarious blog by Gareth Davies, principal flute of the London Symphony Orchestra, tells what really happens when a conductor is unwell. In this instance, Sir John Eliot Gardiner was puking in Paris five minutes before curtain and the players were trying to remember Plan B.
Read it here.
Happily, conductors are made of sterner stuff than tennis aces – witness Rafa Nadal wussing out of the Australian Open – and Beethoven is better at concentrating the mind than another set against Andy Murray. The end result was that the piccolo player got a free beer (she often does, I hear, and well deserved).
I once heard Franz Welser-Möst heaving his guts out in the interval of a Tokyo concert. He returned from the flush to give a Beethoven Fifth of reckless intensity, so edgy that no-one’s insides were safe. That’s music – you feel something, and you share it with others.