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BILL NEWMAN talks to British clarinettist


<< Continued from last week

That brings me to further topics, firstly the way you rearrange other music like Prokofiev's Flute (Violin) Sonata No 2. 'It's a challenge with all those high notes, and hard to do. But musicians like it because you have the brightness of the flute version, and you have the lower notes like the G string on the violin'. When you come out you impart the feeling that you are in to this now and are going to show the audience how to approach it, but you do it in a non-affecting way. You're on stage and the audience love it, they're lapping it up. Projection of personality is somehow important, isn't it? 'Yes, but it's not a conscious thing and if you said to me afterwards "you smiled at this point, then you moved to the left", I don't know I've done it; all I know is what the piece is like and what I want to get over to the audience. I like to respond to the moment and do whatever I think is necessary, but a great actor would say "You don't plan that and wouldn't look into the mirror". That doesn't work'. Conductors do! 'Yes I have seen them preening themselves - that's wrong! The subconscious takes over while you are performing, but sometimes when the venue is no good with a bad acoustic, the piano is out of tune, or the hall is far too hot, your subconscious state is affected and you become aware instead of all these other technical problems. You have to cope as best as possible and control it as far as possible.' Part of the hazards of being a performer by accepting the situation, rising above it and saying 'to hell, let's get on with it!'  'Yes, but be aware of the danger of an echoey acoustic where you are probably obtrusive at a spacious tempo with dynamics harder to achieve. On one level, you are wary of all these things too, which kind of splits you into three different personalities while playing.'

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Copyright © 25 July 2000 Bill Newman, Edgware, UK





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