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<<  -- 2 --  Bill Newman    BRAVE NEW WORLD


In his introduction, we are plunged straight away into: 'If we are ever again to enjoy a healthy musical world, it is essential that we learn to read music ... One major reason for the decline in musical literacy has been the rapid decline in home music-making by amateurs' (hear, hear!) - yet in the Vienna of his youth 'I was marched off to my neighborhood music school. Nobody at that point had the slightest intention of making a professional musician of me; music was simply considered an essential part of one's education in those days..' (and, somewhat later) 'I was touted as the chosen assistant to Toscanini and Bruno Walter, but my engagement was due entirely to the failure of a conductor who had been specifically recommended by Walter!!' After skating nicely through appointments at Rochester, Chicago and San Francisco conducting 20th Century music we come to his music directorship of the Boston Symphony where 'I discovered that many decisions about musical policies, among them the huge issue of "modern music" were no longer to be decided freely by the music director.'

From this point onwards I was on his side, warming with great interest to statements like 'My entire conducting career has been devoted to a large complex of music, and there has been no distinction made between classic, modern, or any other large stylistic form.' During the subsection 'A Brave New World Deferred', all-Brahms, Dvorak, Stravinsky and Mahler are all given their mention, the last leading onto the topic 'Why is the symphony dead', which is expertly exploited, whilst the scheduling of programmes dovetails the argument that 'The absentee musical leader is a honest dealer' with 'those people who "know nothing about music" are nevertheless extremely sensitive to symptoms of dishonesty.' (gorgeous!)

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Copyright © 9 September 2000 Bill Newman, Edgware, UK






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