All of the conductors I've had in the past have had a very... English style of conducting. They show you what they want with the baton and then you play it, but God forbid that you play with or (gasp) before the baton. I appreciate this style of conducting because I'm able to clearly understand not only when the conductor expects me to play something, but also how.
But watching Valery Gergiev conducting Rimsky Korsakov's Scheherazade, I have no clue what in the actual heck is even going on. He has little or no ictus, his hands essentially move in fast twitchy circles with the occasional flourish for the whole time, and I can't see very much anticipation of the next part of the piece. He seems to be reacting to the music the whole time.
This sounds very complain-y, but don't worry. I think the music he makes sounds amazing. As a matter of fact, his frenzied, almost manic style of conducting produces a very energetic vibe that the musicians pick up on and carry through to their music.
So the question:
How exactly do orchestras interpret conducting styles like Mr. Gergiev's, and are there any unseen benefits to this sort of seemingly unclear style? Are there some conducting styles that are better than others?