8 years ago

Volume 16 Issue 2 - October 2010

  • Text
  • Choir
  • Toronto
  • Concerts
  • Artistic
  • Choral
  • Singers
  • Orchestra
  • Musical
  • Arts
  • Ensemble

Is that part of who you

Is that part of who you are – needing to give your opinion and speak outabout what you feel is wrong? ---Do you see yourself as a spokesman for Canadian music? That’speople weren’t looking at our musical past with any interest or careIn one of your reviews you talked aboutdealing with “problems of clarification andadvocacy.” That phrase seems to describeyour own writing – you’re clarifying, butyou’re also advocating at the same time.of years if you’re talking about our aboriginal culture. So come on!Forty years ago you wrote, “Foreign writers, editors and publishersare appallingly ignorant of Canada’s musical attainments and prefer toremain so.” Have things changed much since then? There were no basic references like the Encyclopedia of Music inCanadaWhat about that controversial article you wrote called About CanadianMusic: The P.R. Failure, where you said – You’re throwing all theseIf that’s the case, it would be very interesting to know why. You wrote,“We clearly live in an age of whammo successes from Les Miserablesto Nixon in China, of eclecticism, the so-called ‘new accessibility,’technologically easy solutions, casual throwaway forms....The youngercomposers of Canada face the challenge of those whammo successeswith their slickness and their bland ‘listener-friendly’ accessibility.” Doyou still mean that? This was almost 20 years ago, and now the COC isproducing Nixon in China in the spring. Nixon in ChinaDr.AtomicBut does that lead to composers today writing things that could havebeen written one hundred years ago, or even 50 years ago? I remember --temporarychoral literature just gets ig---John Beckwith in conversationwith NMC’s Robert Aitken.You went to Paris in 1950 to study privatelywith Nadia Boulanger, but you left early,after one year – were you unhappy with what you were getting from her?to be able to anticipate what she was going to say about what I washer greatly.I was wondering whether it was because you felt more in line with Bachand the Germanic tradition rather than the French. cantatas.In a newspaper obituary you wrote about Otto Joachim recently, youquoted him telling you, “John, there are only two kinds of music – Bachand all the rest.” You wrote that it has become one of your favouritesayings. Who would you send students to listen to today? What about later music? SymphonyYou grew up in Victoria – was that a predominantly British-influencedmusical culture at that time? 10 thewholenote.comOctober 1 - November 7, 2010PHOTO ANDRÉ LEDUC

school nothing. Even in Toronto at that time there were very fewat it.You are playing the piano in the upcoming concert of your music withNew Music Concerts. Have you done much performing in recent years?I got the Symphonic Etudes of -Did you dream of becoming aconcert pianist when you wereyoung?touring professional pianist.What about composing? Did you know what kind of music you wanted to compose? That’s interesting because Poulenc has such a distinctive voice – a kindof attitude. Piano Concerto -“If a young doctor suddenly says,I’m going to find a cure for polio,they need to know that a cure forpolio has already been found.”use instruments in a newthat haven’t been put togetherbefore.If you were teaching university today would you encourage students todo that? I think it’s the obvious thing if you’re an artist. If you’recontinued on page 56 October 1 - November 7, 2010 11

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