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<<  -- 2 --  Bill Newman    MAESTRO


What's this place you have in Scotland? 'I love other countries, I love cold weather, and I love silence. And in Italy, you know you have to be a millionaire to buy silence. So, I wanted to find a house in a cool, silent place with a garden. I looked in northern France, in Ireland, in England. Finally in Scotland - this beautiful 18th Century Adam house. I was looking at it, and just jokingly said to people "I would love to own this dream house". And the man - he was the son of a millionaire and had this skin malady - the dampness was not very good - said that one day he might have to sell this house. About a year later I received his telegram: "I am selling, and would love you to have the house, as I love your music. I flew to England. I had his price and nearly fainted. "Forget it!". "But I want you to have this house. I shall feel so proud - I will take a third off". It was still way over what I could afford. No. He pleaded with me: 'What if I give you ten years to pay for it?" Did he really mean it? Yes, and the payments were arranged through my bank; so much each year, and I signed the contract. I nearly went through hell thinking I will never own it, but I eventually made the final payment, and it's mine!' How often does he go there? 'Whenever I am not here - you know I have this house in the Piazza de Duomo, I don't even have that; it's crumbling - I am there. It is home.'

Is he still able to compose? ' I don't, for one simple reason. When I try, my angina pectoris begins; I get scared and have to lie down. Then you interrupt the flow of creation and have to start all over again. If only I could beat it and get the strength back in my heart once more - it's difficult at my age. I try to write good music, but it was different when I was young - then, composing was a necessity. Now, it is a thing of beauty.' What impressed me was the totally different style of writing in the two Concertos for Piano and Violin, compared to the operas and ballet scores. 'But you can also say that Mozart's String Quartets are unlike his operas!' Yet, this is unusual in more recent times where a composer's music is still recognizably identifiable as their own creation, except where he deliberately changes his whole style of writing. Penderecki's earlier works had such strength and originality - Threnody for the Victims of Hiroshima, St Luke Passion, Polish Requiem - in going 'tonal' his latest piece sounds a cliché of the one before. 'Yes ... it is a shame he declined so quickly.

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Copyright © 5 September 2000 Bill Newman, Edgware, UK





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