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in conversation with BILL NEWMAN


<< Continued from last week

Mark Anderson goes along with Nimbus letting you record the piece straight through, but how important is it to know the composer's personal thoughts and impressions? I quoted the titles after each of the Debussy Préludes. MJ: 'You couldn't come to them "cold"; you'd have to know about them.' MA: 'But there's a very clear reason and Debussy mentions it in an essay. He places them there because he really doesn't want the titles to detract from the musical content. He was very aware that people could misunderstand, or put the cart before the horse - it's easy to get your perspective a little bit mixed. You have to understand what it's all about for you. That's the beauty, the thumbprint.'

MJ: 'You can make your own "sets" of Preludes, and there is so much more Debussy for you to make whole groups of pieces from that this won't upset the composer's plan at all - from the early Nocturnes right up to the Etudes the whole musical language has changed and that gives much scope for programming and contrast.'

Where Martin Jones has been mostly involved with recording composers' complete solo works, Mark Anderson has set his sights on specific repertoire. Liszt is a case in point. 'Now, that is where the historical, biographic context is so much part of the musical experience. After reading Alan Walker's Liszt biography, and various other things, and digging into the Lives of St Francis of Assisi, it all started to make sense. "God, what a wonderful man", I thought. But it all took time and energy.' And all-embracing. 'It's all so incredibly elegant, all without any kind of aggression - no matter what.'

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Copyright © 19 September 2000 Bill Newman, Edgware, UK




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