<< -- 3 -- Bill Newman IMPULSE AND SPACE
'People don't like to be embarassed, and Menotti's
music can open up subjects that we don't feel comfortable about.
Some find this schmalzy, but he is a theatrical man to his fingertips'.
But isn't this also to do with the composer and his music versus
the critics? 'Yes it is, but some of the barriers are being broken
down because of the recordings. Since The Consul records it was staged,
as a direct result of The Intendant coming, in Washington, the Teatro Colon
in Buenos Aires, in Helsinki, and Vienna at the Volksoper. I don't
believe this would have happened if we hadn't revived it in Spoleto.
It will be interesting to see if this happens with The Saint '.
I found his Violin Concerto very impressive. 'Me too, especially
the first movement. A very lyrical piece, and I think that Jenifer Koh made
a very good case for it.'
Hickox, with his very wide range of repertoire has come a long way since
he was in charge of the London Symphony Chorus. 'The repertoire is
my choice, and as successor to Arthur Oldham the training I received
was invaluable. Working over ten years, first hand with Abbado, Previn,
Sir Colin Davis -- who was particularly kind -- Celibidache. With these names
regularly, you learn rather a lot!'
'Celibidache drove me mad. The first rehearsal of Fauré's
Requiem was the most interesting thing I'd been to all my life, and
his knowledge of the music was fantastic. But it seemed to me that he hadn't
the slightest idea how to perform the work, only rehearse it. It became
slower and slower, and my chorus flatter and flatter because they couldn't
breathe it. In the end we had spent a week on a work which normally takes
two or three days, and the result was disappointing. We also did the Brahms
Requiem with him. I know there was a division of opinion -- some orchestral
members would give up everything to play for him, while others deliberately
took their holiday when he came '.
This writer disagrees. I have a CD of the Fauré performance from
April 1982 with soloists Marie McLaughlin and Gwynne Howell (Exclusive EX92T52)
which compares to the very moving account of the BBC Radio 3 broadcast.
Replaying it, slight flattening of pitch occurs during the Offertoire
following the baritone solo, where chorus high notes have minimum instrumental
support lower down. Overall timing (41 minutes) is roughly three to five
minutes slower than the norm, but apart from occasional broadenings of pace
in quieter, modulatory passages, the basic tempo is remarkably even.
Copyright © 10 January 2002
Bill Newman, Edgware, Middlesex, UK
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