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<<  -- 2 --  Bill Newman    SHARING THE RESPONSE


'It also depends on the soloist. Some like Peter Donohoe want to play it all, while others may not like it. But I am there to accompany.' But the orchestral role in both Brahms concertos is just as important. 'Of course, our part in the finished performance makes us equals'. My colleague John Wallace, a Friend of the Phil, mentioned a performance where Simon Rattle and the CBSO were much better than the soloist. 'Not possible. It is wrong if the piano is dominated, and the other way round. It must be both !'

Where did you receive your initial training? 'It wasn't Prague; it was in Ostrava, north of Moravia. I was born 10-14 miles from Hukvaldy, Janácek's birthplace. North Moravia -- there is nothing but poor country with hills and sheeps (sic!). I met many different people, but two helped me to be a conductor. Josef Daniel, conductor of the Janácek Philharmonic Orchestra, also taught at the conservatoire. It was between 1966-72. He was to die of cancer, but as his student I was very keen and happy with life playing oboe, then French horn. Suddenly I saw in the papers a notice about starting a class for conductors. Please to come! I hadn't really wanted to be one; it was a joke!'

But Daniel's tuition acted like a catalyst. 'He was a crazy man, and I became hotter and more excited, deciding to drop the French horn until I could be one. "No, no, NO! You must still play if you want to become a conductor. You must do everything." I was then also crazy, and he began to explain music to me. For two years he talked about symphonies, and I didn't open one score. With a baton (he demonstrated) I moved this way, round that way, forte -- piano -- slow -- fast -- accent, measures of 2/4, 3/4, 4/4. He was at the piano: "What's the matter? I can't understand you. Where are you? Where is your beat? No! too late, too late! Wrong." It would have been a crime to open the score, and he was right. Despite one or two cries, I had to feel for the expression until I had found it.'

'If you want to conduct, you cannot think about the ethics'. It must be spontaneous. 'Automatic, whatever the markings. You know these young conductors; they are doing nothing, and they come to conduct an orchestra and -- pouff -- when they play the audience see they are jumping up and down like monkeys. Really, it is most important and when you understand it, then you can go on to do something else.'

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Copyright © 28 June 2001 Bill Newman, Edgware, UK




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