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<<  -- 2 --  Bill Newman    AFTER ANTAL DORÁTI

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A smaller stairway connects the ground floor area just inside the main entrance to downstairs rooms, that have spaces for washing, ironing and mending, storage of various kinds, and a student room for reading purposes as well as resting facilities. Further Doráti art exhibits are in evidence, including a number that are the subject of poster displays at various concert functions.

Ilse von Alpenheim at the piano. Photo © Bill Newman
Ilse von Alpenheim at the piano. Photo © Bill Newman

On the ground floor itself is the main lounge; very much a place where important conversations take place. Drinks are dispensed, and one can listen to some delightful piano playing by our hostess, commercial gramophone recordings, or that special treat that leads on to new insights and sudden realizations communicated through hitherto unseen musical events on VHS Video. A kitchen and mezzanine lie immediately behind an outside veranda that leads through to a picturesque garden of rhododendrons and grape vines. A small room situated at the rear contains every mod con from the computer-internet world that keeps us in touch with people, world affairs and new happenings on the music scene.

The view from the Doráti / Von Alpenheim house. Photo © Bill Newman
The view from the Doráti / Von Alpenheim house. Photo © Bill Newman

Outside large bay windows the questing eye and camera lens gravitate constantly towards a central cluster of buildings nestled away in the distance, at the foot of one of the most splendid and famous of mountain ranges -- the Mönch, Jungfrau and Eiger. Alternately shrouded in mist, then suddenly revealing their full glory as the morning sun allowed one to rejoice and marvel at the same moment, I realized just how fortunate two people were discovering this idyllic paradise in the first place, totally removed from the eternal noise and bustle of city life. Ideal, in fact, to relax and unwind, readjusting before getting on with number one tasks of composing, conducting, keyboard preparation, or entertaining other important professional colleagues, family friends, and so on.

The concert hall in Gerzensee Village. Photo © Bill Newman
The concert hall in Gerzensee Village. Photo © Bill Newman

I soon found out that on the occasion of Doráti's eightieth birthday, a small concert hall was hired out for a programme of his own works. This was in a rather long building in the so-called Gerzensee Village, while the dining party afterwards comprised musicians, colleagues and orchestra managers, of course, old friends ... Archie Newman and Rosie Valentine (RPO), James Mallinson (Decca) and Eve Edwards (Philips), a reminder of those joyful followings in the orchestral reception area of the Royal Festival Hall, London, at the close of Royal Philharmonic Orchestra concerts during the 1960s-70s.

At the cemetery behind the small church tower stands a simple head stone. Doráti, who lived from 1906-88, is buried here, and a short distance away can be seen the painting he made of that church on the front of a wheely bin, gloriously true to life by virtue of its colourful indestructability.

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Copyright © 10 August 2003 Bill Newman, Edgware, UK

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