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<<  -- 3 --  Jennifer Paull    REMINISCENT RETROSPECTIVES


In fact, the answer was indeed that this was a performance from Hungary. The operetta had been translated for a most appreciative audience In Budapest. Such an amazing situation proves the 'national' rule by the incongruity of its exception. I started to laugh and couldn't stop. The whole morning had been surreal. Later, I was to discover that the zeppelin had taken part in an air show. Life was real and Dali was surrealist, not the other way around, after all! Listening to patter songs in Hungarian just didn't make sense, and that had nothing to do with a language barrier.

Even those of us who fall beneath music's charm and follow its path as theirs for a lifetime, meet the artificial divisions which we impose upon ourselves. The 'historically correct' lobby would now disapprove of my performing Bach upon an instrument with key work designed during the late 19th century. In so many ways, we make life and music more complicated for ourselves with each generation.

Being a good composer is not enough in today's world where sponsorship and promotion can turn any commodity into an international success. With aggressive marketing, there is no longer a necessity for the 'national' ingredient, but rather its absence that makes better, commercial sense. Our world is shrinking and we are losing musical identity in the process.

Somehow, as someone who had lived in many countries over the years, listening to something intrinsically British has always been poignant. Elgar can make one very homesick, Gilbert and Sullivan, nostalgic.

For some reason, the latter has always been laden with surrealistic, silver overtones; not at all what one would expect from something so solidly realist.

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Copyright © 15 February 2002 Jennifer Paull, Vouvry, Switzerland





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