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JOHN LUBBOCK talks to Bill Newman


<< Continued from last Saturday

'That TV film of "Great Conductors" a couple of years back. Poor quality old black and white film in mostly terrible sound, but this stuff leapt out of the television set, literally whopping out of the speakers. All the excitement, and the imagination! I don't have decent hi-fi but I do listen to the radio and I am appalled at the ordinariness. You have the agents and the artists with their ambitions to record, and this has encouraged what I rather rudely call a group of conductors who preside over the repetitions of rehearsals. They organise it all - concerts on Thursday, Friday and Saturday, with the recording on Sunday. It's completely pointless - well considered, well rehearsed and played, but so what? There's nothing going on, nothing in the air, no danger, no excitement, but virtuosity for its own sake. Take two different worlds, one with no money, the other with plenty. Would you just make records? They had concerts in Auschwitz, for goodness sake, but when I make a record I try to keep up the spontaneity for 45 minutes, then I look round and see the clock ticking and think that during every take I am conducting and remembering the slips, so we have to cover in bars 6-70 otherwise we will be messing about all day. My head is just completely in the wrong place! A Kings Lynn concert beginning with Kodaly's Dances of Galanta - my clarinettist Julian Farrell playing in such a way you would die for - I had this sudden sense of relief that, thank God, it wasn't being recorded, It is like trapping a wonderful bird in a cage by destroying its reason for existing, and records are like prints of paintings. Marketed much better, yet a reminder, not a substitute.'

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Copyright © 24 June 2000 Bill Newman, Edgware, UK


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