Bignaf, what I meant was that they (Mozart, Chopin, et. al.) use the same basic symbols and framework to communicate their ideas. I didn't mean to say they composed in the same style. Granted, new notations have developed (i.e. pedal signs and more dynamic extremes as you noted), but whether I'm reading Palestrina or Rutter (of course there are exceptions like Norman Luboff), I use the same set of fundamental rules to read them.
<P>As I said, I feel performance is a <I>collaborative</I> effort on the part of the conductor and the players. There is give and take, and yes, the conductor usually is the single biggest influence over the work as a whole. Even so, I have had instances where I was the soloist and the conductor pretty much completely deferred to me with the orchestra following him. Of course that doesn't release me from the responsibility of staying on the same planet as the conductor with regards to musical intent.
When it comes to ensembles, I agree of course that the director/conductor should dictate the details of the performance, but I don't feel those dictates are the sole influence of the performance, intentional or accidental.
<P>Keeping my voice part in mind, HOW DARE you say that singers are ONLY instruments!!!?!
<p>[ 12-31-2002: Message edited by: operatenor ]