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LIBOR PESEK in conversation with Bill Newman


<< Continued from page 5

'Now we have music that is more together, and I am getting lazier and lazier!' Beecham's Brahms 2 at the Edinburgh Festival also had that spark of greatness that wasn't part of the rehearsal. 'Munch didn't rehearse, either, but I think the Royal Liverpool Phil is really amazing. They have a great future ahead of them, and we were lucky because there was a crisis here during which we acquired some fantastic young people, leaders of sections who decided not to go, but stayed. They are maturing to become an invaluable presence in the orchestra itself. Although personnel change, there are still invisible spirits within orchestras that persevere. It's something mystical, because bad manners in orchestras also stay, like loud playing in the Czech Philharmonic, being late, not playing together. But the good things are still there, and the more I conduct the longer I will go on, and I like first to listen to what orchestral players say and have to offer. Use the beautiful flowers that they offer and give or filter the weeds away, but you can hardly come to any orchestra and make them only play your way - it's a mutual exchange of experience, and it gives me pleasure.' The same conductor performing the same work with different orchestras can also have various results. 'The conductor doesn't stay the same, either, because orchestras bring in other aspects and materials. It's like working with sandstone and every other type of stone. That's the kind of flexibility one should have; I hope this is recreativity, without being stubborn or square. My Liverpool years have changed me totally, and I go for more precision in my stick technique. It used to be: "Libor, where is the down beat?" and I listened! Being Conductor Laureate means 4 weeks a year with some 10-12 concerts, which is adequate because I like to stay as somebody with presence, with, as they say, Liboresque ideas. When asked how long I would stay, I always answered: "As long as we stay productive." Then I made my final decision to leave, not only because I wanted more time for my personal life and home, but I thought it might just be the time to get them someone else with new ideas, because just imagine year after year the same face, same hands which practically say all the same things. All of us are limited in our expressiveness; it is to our mutual good to step aside. I have various guest conductor assignments, and wish to slow down.

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Copyright © 4 July 2000 Bill Newman, Edgware, UK


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