<< -- 2 -- Jennifer Paull REMINISCENT RETROSPECTIVES
And those who were seen dancing were thought to be insane by those who could not hear the music. -- Friedrich Wilhelm Nietzsche, philosopher (1844-1900)
The Merseyside Wind Ensemble was one of Fritz' ideas. I played in it for several years coming from London when required. I had settled there after having continued my studies at the Royal College of Music. Coming back to Liverpool for Fritz' events was inevitably to anticipate moments of much fun without perfect logistical planning. As Fritz would say, his was an 'elastic band' and its size and proportion were determined by repertoire. He had so much imagination and was always able to pull concerts out of thin air, or so it seemed. However, the finer points of the organisation of travel and food for his musicians were often rather more than a little vague!
Fritz' Georgian house was poetic in those days. A ton (or perhaps two) of music appeared to have fallen through the roof and there had been a private territorial tornado or homely hurricane. All the bric-a-brac sales for miles around had been gutted for interesting objets and a huge quantity of black and white pointing fingers stuck to walls and piles of paperwork. Wonderful smells of cooking came from the kitchen where Bridget Fry, our harpsichordist, his then wife, would be baking between rehearsal sessions.
I gave my own first recital with Fritz and Bridget in Port Sunlight. This was soon to be followed by others, including a series of Mozart Wind Serenades in romantic spots such as Blaenau Ffestiniog, where the trio grew into a group. Nothing was open anywhere for a post concert nibble or drink. I soon realised that taking sandwiches and a thermos was a safety precaution. In fact, a survival kit was always a sound investment.
In Chester once, I learned a valuable lesson the hard way. It was the last time I ate before playing. Perhaps it was the previous, long drive back to Liverpool without even the hope of a crumb that spurred me to join in with the others for a (briefly) most enjoyable, Chinese meal on this pre-concert occasion.
Fritz was conducting (with a pencil as ever) -- and every single repeat of both Mozart Wind Serenades was included. Full value for money was being metered out! My digestion appeared to grind to a sudden, leaden halt and this time it was I who turned puce as I battled my way through the never ending, beautiful, but exhaustingly full bars (of music). A moment never to be forgotten and a rule I have never since broken. I can't play an oboe and digest at the same time. There is an entire world of surrealist, medico-musical research to be done here, but I prefer to think Frank Zappa covered the database.
Copyright © 23 March 2005
Jennifer Paull, Vouvry, Switzerland