<< -- 2 -- Jennifer Paull REMINISCENT RETROSPECTIVES
I have lived in many countries and delighted in travel to others. I shall
never forget the years I lived in Oman and Dubai; the years I returned time
and again to Iran for concerts or festivals or another of the many artistic
arrows with which I have always preferred to fill my quiver. I was instrumental
in the founding of the Teheran Symphony Orchestra, I worked for composers
in Iran, promoted the National Dance Company, and booked the London Philharmonic
Orchestra to record the music for the Shah's official film of the festivities
commemorating the founding of the Persian Empire. I had been invited to
Kabul -- but had never gone.
As a young music student, I used to puff up with arrogant outrage every
time someone asked me what my 'real' job was. I used to think that my horizon
was planted with purely musical forests, and strictly performing ones at
that. It didn't take me long to realise that in my case, this was not
to be. I needed diversity. I did not wish to conform to what was considered
'normal' and 'acceptable' for a performer in those compartmentalised days
of the 1960s. At that time, women in London could only play in the wind
sections of the BBC Symphony and the English Chamber Orchestras. I played
often in both. One didn't need a burkah, but that was small consolation
at the time, especially for someone with an unconventional, pioneering disposition,
and somewhat of a feminist!
Everything altered in my forest of preconceptions the moment I first
heard the oboe d'amore (Brompton Oratory, B Minor Mass, Bach). That
was it! As far as bolts from the blue and their convenience, future prospects,
and comfortable practicalities are concerned, this was more of a Titanic
rather than an Olympic moment. My oboe professor at the Royal College of
Music (Terence MacDonagh) warned me off the 'bloody thing'. I was lost as
far as being 'conventional' and 'reasonable' were concerned. The voice of
reason was to be ignored!
Maybe because I have had to fight so hard to do it, playing the oboe
d'amore became more of a mission than simply performing upon the instrument.
I quickly became a specialist and travelled all over the country playing
in many Bach Cantatas, Passions, and Ravel Boleros -- the other
two B's of this d'amore player's existence being Bed and Breakfast.
Copyright © 31 December 2001
Jennifer Paull, Vouvry, Switzerland
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