I remember Kubelík telling me that I needed to change the seating of the orchestra. Under Kubelík's baton, the orchestra always sat with separated first and second violins. Then under Solti the violins sat together on the conductor's left with the cellos to the right, on the outside. When I came, the violas sat on the outside instead, which made many musicians unhappy. The cellists were especially disappointed, because they were used to sitting to the conductor's right, and they felt they had more room and independence that way. I felt that the sound and balance in the strings was not right, however, and opted for the more traditional `German' seating, with the violas outside and the cellos inside, facing out, giving a fuller picture of the bass. I had always had doubts about dividing the first and second violins. First of all, with the second violins on the conductor's right, they would be playing in the wrong direction - that is, with their instruments facing away from the audience. And second, the problems of the ensemble, especially in unison or octave passages, would be greater because of the difficulty in hearing from one side of the stage to the other. Later, after we rebuilt Orchestra Hall to correct this deficiency, I became more and more convinced that the advantages of separating the violins were greater than the disadvantages and that Kubelík was right.
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