Steven was an impassioned artist who always spoke quietly in rehearsal. Indefatigable, his conducting style was something like a smooth shake, a revolving. Precision and passion are not often balanced in a person without effort, but they were in Steven. Steven had something of the hair-shirted prophet about him, especially regarding the music he believed in. He had to endure considerable disappointment on this front. Much of the time his audiences were small. He kept right on going.
He had to be convinced that Rosenkavalier was a worthwhile project, and was by the marvelous singing of Charlotte Dobbs. When she started the Act 1 monologue he just stopped and feasted. This was only a brief moment, very brief. Then he went on being Steven. This was the only time I ever saw him do this. It is dear to me. Salvation to the Savior, as Parsifal would say. I will always treasure the Pelléas we did because it seemed a piece that Steven could love from the start without any polemical resistance. Most precious to me were the last few minutes of the love scene in the fourth act. Here, after a long day, he, Richard, and Vivien startled me with the specificity of their singing as the vindictive Golaud approaches, “Va-t’en il a tout vu… Il nous tuera! Go, leave! He’s coming, he will kill us both,” says Pelléas. “Non, non, tant mieux! Tant mieux! All the better! All the better!,” says Mélisande.
A cutting truth it was, always there, but now visible, almighty. That night there was a full moon in my window, and I could see its light differently than I had ever seen it before because of those lines. I have not been able to see it that way again. Anyway, snow is falling outside the window now. Snow makes everything quiet. Steve is quiet. William Blake said that “Energy is eternal delight.” Do not worry, do not fret. Steven has the energy, and Steven has his delight.