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LIBOR PESEK in conversation with Bill Newman


<< Continued from page 2

Knowing the question concerned him, how does he cajole more people to go concerts of Czech music by Smetana, Dvorák, Janácek and Martinu? Is there a reluctance in promoters to programme it, when audiences stay away? 'I wouldn't quite agree, because the basic interest of music lovers in the British Isles is incredible. Perhaps people don't come because they expect bigger names on the podium, or they are over-saturated with concerts, like the three the Czech National performed in Birmingham. What concerns me more are the two concerts I did with the Czech Philharmonic about 3 years ago in the Albemarle Series where I presented Suk's Ripening - the gem of Czech turn-of-the-century music - and Ostricil's Calvary, and only half the hall was full. That was a warning signal that audiences don't wish to hear the music performed by Czechoslovakia's first orchestra. They didn't come, and that was alarming!' Or to hear other essentially melodious, superbly orchestrated works like Suk's A Summer Tale (a favourite of Mahler's), and Novák's The Eternal Longing, In the Tatras, South Bohemian Suite.

'It is interesting that you mention Suk's A Summer Tale, because in 1984 the Philharmonia Orchestra wanted a programme of Czech music, and I suggested it as progressively finer than his Asrael Symphony , but in the end it came to Liverpool to choose the Asrael to perform alongside Martinu Symphony 6. The Liverpudlians grew gradually to like A Summer Tale, and I agree with you - it is probably his best piece in that it leads elsewhere into other realms, whereas his Epilogue is a little bit beyond either - downhill, already.'

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Copyright © 27 June 2000 Bill Newman, Edgware, UK


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