“How to haendel it?”
According to Celibidache the world’s first violin virtuoso,
Ida Haendel is talking about philosophical aspects behind the artistic life. The child prodigy of the thirties is the ageless master of music in our time. Nothing can stop her.
In Rome we met the great conductor and significant composer José Serebrier. Born in Uruguay in 1938 from a Russian father and a Polish mother, he came as a young man to the USA where Leopold Stokowski conducted his music. Later on he was assistant of Dorati in Minneapolis and of Stokowski in Philadelphia, as well as composer in residence of George Szell’s Cleveland Orchestra. He spoke with us about his remarkable carreer, and he told us a lot of superbanecdotes about the great people he met. He answered our questions about his compositions and their motivationand he told us why he doesn’t want to take a permanent post. We followed him with our cameras during the rehearsals with the new founded Orchestra Sinfonica Giovanile di Roma playing Beethoven’s Egmont Overture and Sibelius’ First Symphony. Of course, we all had a wonderful time in the eternal city.
John Corigliano is one of the most interesting and successful composers of the United States today. He won all the important prizes like Pulitzer, Grawemeyer, Oscars etc. His compositions show a virtuosic and original handling of form and orchestration. We first talked with Corigliano before the Mannheim performance of his new work ‘The Mannheim Rocket’. Then we met him in his home in NYC and documented his work with the pianist Juan Chuquisengo and the Corigliano Quartet.
David Del Tredici
David Del Tredici started his career as one of America’s most gifted pianists who played with conductors like Leopold Stokowski. As a composer he was interested in avantgarde but turned away from it. He had a long obsession with Lewis Carroll’s ‘Alice in Wonderland’ that resulted in enthusiastically praised works such as the very tonal ‘In Memory of a Summer Day’ and ‘An Alice Symphony’. Recently Del Treedici uses all his musical reputation to write music of a ‘homosexual character’. In the two interview sessions he tries to explain what he means by that, he talks about his biography and plays some of his music with irresistible charm and skill on the piano in his illustrious flat.
Peteris Vasks is the leading Latvian composer of our time. In his musical language elements of the avantgarde are connected with pure remarkable melody and sonorous harmony into an expressive dramaturgy of form. In his interview he talks about his biographical background under Soviet suppression and about his spiritual message as a composer.
Detlev Glanert is one of the most prominent German composers of the Henze school. As an opera composer he had some great successes. His orchestral style is very personal and highly elaborate. Despite the very complexity of his scores he doesn’t belong to the experimental avantgarde. He talks about his access to musical form and about the human relevance of his musical output.
Gabriel Saab (1923 – 2003)
After he had finished his professional life as an agricultural commissar for the United Nations Gabriel Saab turned to his lifelong passion for composing. He had been one of the closest friends of the great German conductor Carl Schuricht and many other famous musicians like Wilhelm Furtwängler, and he gave financial support to many history making musical projects. The Carl Schuricht Edition of the german label Archiphon profited from his generous aid and advice. His First Symphony Opus 1 that was written after the age of 65 was released on CD. It is tonal, clearly constructed music in a style that may be compared with Sibelius or Vaughan Williams. The more Brucknerian Second Symphony will be first performed this summer. Gabriel Saab talks about his relation with his great musical idols, about his own musical ethos and about the composers he likes the most-
György Sándor (1912 – 2005)
György Sándor was one of Béla Bartók’s closest pupils. He played the world premiere of Bartók’s Third Piano Concerto, recorded all the Bartók piano works several times on CD and recently edited the score of Bartók’s own version of his Concerto for orchestra for piano solo for the first time. We met Sándor in his flat at NYC’s Central Park. He spoke about his approach to music, about his time with Bartók and about other interesting subjects.
Gustav Kuhn ranks among the most prominent Austrian conductors of our time. He is feared among his colleagues for his clear-cut and fearless statements about the decadent state of the classical music world and therefore made himself a symbol of credibility. He must be considered an outsider now, as he was able to build up his wonderful Accademia for singers near Lucca and to establish an extraordinarily popular festival in the Austrian village Erl. Today he is one of the leading conducting teachers all over the world and propagates his ethos of quality and independence, of resistance against the abysses of commercialism. The first interview is a good introduction into his way of looking at the world (including the famous box on the ear episode), the second interview concentrates on his approach to Wagner’s ‘Ring of the Nibelungs’ that has been recently released on CD.
Carl Schachter is one of today’s most interesting musicologists. There is probably no-one who went deeper into understanding Heinrich Schenker’s fundamental theories about musical structure. He doesn’t use these theories in an academic way. Everything is verified by the listener’s perception. In this direct way the structure of music is explained in the most possible lively manner, as a dynamic process. Schachter discusses mainly with the pianist Juan Chuquisengo who took some lessons with him. They both demonstrate the relevance of the progressed Schenkerian method on the piano.
The French pianist Jean-Yves Thibaudet has made an impressive international career. He is a very virtuosic player with a wide range of colours and some experience in jazz. He talks about his teachers (mainly Ciccolini) and idols, about his musical criteria and the human aspect.