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I asked Martin Jones what led him to record Grainger, and how he compared with Liszt. 'I did that partially because no one else had thought of doing it. It was a wonderful sort of detective story to search all the globe to find the music. I think Grainger would have agreed that he was nothing like the musical genius that Liszt was. He just had nothing like the originality - he was into too many things. And because nobody could afford an orchestra of impossible dimensions, he put The Warriors on to 2 pianos with 3 pianists. Liszt was much more controlled in his outlets.'

András Schiff once said that it was beneath his dignity to play Strauss transcriptions in recital, despite opposite opinions that they are damned good music and should be included, not just as encores. MJ: 'I stick them in there. Audiences know the basic material that you're going to mess with and they like to see you fight for your life and find out what you are going to come up with. Lately I've been playing the Pabst-Tchaikovsky Sleeping Beauty Waltz, and next will be Rosenthal's Souvenirs de Vienne. I love all that stuff. You don't want a dinner of 4 courses of meat. You have your soup, then your meat, then you have some fun near the end! I think that Godowsky-Albéniz Triana is better than the original - more pianistic, although more complicated.'

MA: 'It was never stressed - when, at one point in my later-to-middle teens I was heading that way. My teacher was a little wary because she didn't feel I had been steeped enough in other "meat". I have stayed in that track until now, although I am doing a transcription of Tchaikovsky's Romeo and Juliet Fantasy Overture with another pianist. I still have a lot of repertoire to learn. But it's up to my record company - I don't worry who has recorded what.'

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Copyright © 19 September 2000 Bill Newman, Edgware, UK




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