<< -- 2 -- Bill Newman ADMIRING COLLEAGUES
'Here, your South Bank level and Salford University Lunchtime Concert
audience, and many like them, represents your community concert and small
music society level. They'll bring the 90 year-old Blüthner
into the local school hall, and I will go there and play. People are genuinely
enthusiastic and honestly want to be there for the experience.' MJ: 'At
the Academy, where there are half the students there used to be, the same
handful will still end up playing. Those who never got on the professional
platform went into the community to join amateur orchestras or music clubs.
They kept the thing going, and that's now disappearing with the middle
person listening to their CDs at home.'
Live chamber music is now a contender in the popularity stakes. MJ: 'I
love it, but if you're doing a trio you have three fees instead of
one, and more rehearsal time. Although it's hard to make a decent
living, in the end, it's the most fun of all.' MA: 'I think music
was meant to be a shared experience, whether between solo artist and audience,
but is not really for the big halls either. So it's back to the economics
of the thing.' Where does contact with the audience start? 'From the very
first step you take on to the stage, before you play a note. You move from
behind the freezer and from that moment you want to give and communicate,
to make a connection. It's not a conscious thing.'
'I feel I have to unload whatever it is that I've got ready. It's
time to get the show on the road. I don't often think about it, I'm
too busy doing it! In Russia, I finished the first piece, stood up, bowed.
The hall was full, everyone clapping madly but looking incredibly miserable
with not a smile in sight. Back stage, I was told not to worry, but I wasn't
happy. "If this is how they look when they're ok, what happens
if they don't like me?" "They get up and leave!"
Like Peter Katin performing in Japan. While playing his normal, pretty
reasonable self, he could see people getting up and leaving. "Am I
that bad?" Then he noticed they were all coming back. At the end he
had a standing ovation, playing encore after encore. He quizzed the promoter:
"What went on?" He got an answer he didn't expect: "But
you have just played through an earthquake!"'
Copyright © 26 September 2000
Bill Newman, Edgware, UK
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