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There have been a number of recordings of the Featuring of the actors and some of them have been beautiful listen to the other question and I wanted to ask in connection with the work is maybe Saussure knows they could rig a call just briefly the conditions this work was born out of necessity is not right. By that I mean the reason it was written for just seven musicians is that Stravinsky was I think in Switzerland at the time and wanted to present a piece of work and did not have the resources of a large office draws of more. What is the true story you know. Well I you know you can never tell a story and a composer is not going to tell it in a story that you know you shouldn't ask even but I certainly don't think that that's not at all that wasn't there. There isn't for this. As far as I know that it was
really meant that it could to have a underwrote with other words going in you know like they have still in Europe you know they have the village circus going into some of whom one village to the other putting up a tent and having a performace to perform the least every day in another place. Now you can have only seven musicians see him it's much easier than if you have a carcass You know but this was not real you know the music is so beautifully written fantastic you know Stravinsky doesn't make any concessions certainly not music in anything you know he does exactly what he wants and God bless him you know he's still the greatest composer and he goes I mean certainly the greatest composer it down to date is down no questions about it that means he will be to gather deets feet mot certain Haydn and bar. I think a masochistic larcenous he certainly will be.
He does respect a recently at Carnegie Hall although Stravinsky is in his early 80s now. He was due to conduct socketed Pantano because he was ill but the works remain his works are so exciting just exciting to listen to and even to watch an orchestra because of the. Is this an aspect of the audience's enjoyment of attending a concert to see the various directions and designs that occur when a piece of music is played for example the violin section will be moving in one direction and then you have all of this other Cross movement and counter movement of the instruments themselves as well as in something similar to really enjoy you know this person personally being there where all the people would be listening only to recordings and don't live by a major
you know who I am but I don't know what makes. Well they have a broadcast from the you know why they would say OK if I make this like Ted do you think. And softer do you think that music critics are less are more knowledgeable than drama critics or Ted do you think that drama critics are less knowledgeable than music critics. Well we have had a recent addition in and drama criticism and the New York Times which I think is very very good Ed. Clive Barnes and I feel much better about dramatic criticism in New York City generally. I think that there are those but jet out exclusive that particular one particular area I
think that generally the level of dramatic criticism is very low. And my wife was an opera singer so consequently I read a lot of musical reviews and I read our Christmas reviews always I think generally the level of criticism is higher in music than it is for the theater and that very demanding. Do you think of yourself. Yeah. They by the way a man's wife is a very popular and talented producer Brooks and she has been coming to the public's eye more and more now. She was in this last in the production at City Center was a City Opera Traviata. Yeah. And also last season she didn't Rosen get with us Sophie her career was down to the years as just climb climb climb and I think you should probably and very proud of that train and I'm proud and richer and
she's also singing with Mr. Schneider they're doing new school concerts are presenting two concerts at Carnegie Hall on December 20th and twenty ninth Haydn works. And I've no doubt that your school someday and I have two more concerts I'm going to go on 28 and 29. I had a bit of a December 2nd of December where you also had dollar concerts by the way I really like the new school and then they used to give them at the New School another movie. Well that's a good trend I think if if you are responsible I mean as you know and finally as the One Dollar Man. Well I think the public is very very very fortunate in that I think can get all of this for a dollar. Nothing to wear like your silly politicians spending except find a desire to gargle the dollar. Yeah right I would be in that position I would certainly spend more money on music I was
sure of that you had a different point of view than Ted about critics or do I. I think that the damage could be so much better and overall I think. Well let me ask I believe about what you know well just in connection with that. Doesn't a music critic have to have more ammunition then they have to know his onions a bit better. He has to know technically music a bit better than he should but of course I'm going to demand that I don't think they do. How can they have more you know because you mentioned life than to spend on music I mean really you know they study music and then yeah performace do you see people who are much more involved you know the score if you get a new score and I had that idea years ago which I tried out on one critic. I said Now why don't I'm going to send you discourse of the music
which we are going first before Mrs. C.. That you are going to perform and I hope you will take the time to look at it. You know before you know criticize and rightly so he said you know Sasha he said you know why should I look at it you know if I'm starting to look at you know I would have to study it for years you know the words in my in my personal opinion the critic who has the better vocabulary words to you is a better critic. And when he uses up the vocabulary he should retire and I know this and strangely enough a friend of mine who was a pretty music critic in Washington they intelligent boy by the name of they talk maybe you know we heard a few. Yeah and that and he became a music critic and he worked for five years and then suddenly he gave it up and he became a critic criticizing books now that he's still critical of new books which are coming out and then I ask him why
did you give up this show used up all the vocabulary and I couldn't listen anymore to music and this is a very important factor. You know they go every day. A critic goes every day to a concert. And can you imagine how stale he gets I mean and he doesn't go over it you know he did as I really do I mean that's his job to do so he goes and it is natural you know that depends how he feels and what he hears. You know he's mood and I still say you know he has in my opinion a critic has one the responsibility to help music and not to destroy it and all the other thing because as I said before one cus that he's a gavel that he should die. We have now for example a young man came in the New York Times as a critic I don't know a young man now suddenly you know every young man who comes new you know he starts using you know fantastic phrases but the phrases have been used by
all of us already knew for a long time before everybody used up the vocabulary he's still using it more and then you don't notice it if you use it to get shorter. You know naturally and I don't I understand it way well this is a terrible difficult job you know to listen to the same things and to find something new to say. You have nothing new to say it's very difficult. So you try to combine the warts in a sense that's all. In my opinion. That's an interesting viewpoint because it is echoed and has been echoed down through the years that the best directors says the least. Best I mean and the wisest person has nothing to say really to anyone else for the most part but I guess we arrive at that point where we become so full of wisdom. There's no communication necessary. Can you possibly say anything in television about music if you just hear it you know it in the 15 minutes
later you have to ask about it and that he doesn't exist. I mean I couldn't you know look at the score or I mean it takes years of studying you know to finally get in in the material. So the only thing he can do of course in 15 minutes or half an hour. Well just do the best he can be his words which he has to he's to his knowledge as so often happens with one going to the theater and watching a production and saying if you're not Alice watching Macbeth or going listening to something. By Beethoven anyone of his and his or any of our divorce arc and coming away saying I enjoyed that. I enjoyed that performance and lo and behold only picks up the papers the next day and find that he was an idiot for enjoying it because the critics said it was terrible bad. You see this is the tragedy which really face you know that
the people I mean that you pick up you said something important. Then you pick up the paper and read. Why should you you know you should be yourself you know when you go to the theater go to the concert make up your own mind what you like and not you don't need it. You know you certainly don't need. Why waste the time reading area if you have to read a futile book or something else it's much more important to spend it. I mean why should you eat what Mr. So-and-So x. So what about it what you enjoyed or you didn't enjoy because it may be just the come to you very often you know that you know for example I go away from a concert you know and I say my God how bad it was you know and then the next moment you know you just did great just you know playing or whatever it was you know other compositions. What what does the musical life of New York City need sound. Oh it has plenty of everything.
It has spoiled and doesn't need anything I know where yes last year which I thought first of all that it needs much more time for for the musicians I'm speaking first of all much more than they do for the composer to take a little bit more time before he really you know. Now every composer today. Fortunately for them as bad as they complain you know I don't think there was ever a time in the history you know of music where the composer where before so much as yesterday everything displayed in a sense you know somehow there is always a performace. But basically Amazingly the first spurt this is the tragedy and this is also very bad because there are some wonderful words which should be performed more but they die out and you know you graduate only once before you know and finished there.
There is never enough time to study music. Like you know there is nobody in a decision that you know. Musician and you can't do any. Well that's speaking for you and this is of course you know a very difficult point you know now I'm sorry we all face this you know that we haven't got the time like yester cannot afford to have her so one week for one concert on U.S. you know because she has so many responsibility to make it possible you see because you just all private enterprise see the cities and the governments they don't help us at all. And so long as this is not going to be really a step this you know the same like what we are doing the the Christmas Eve concert and it's beautiful to do it but you don't realize you know how difficult it is to do and to fight. Find a few people who give us the money to do it when I need it. We'll I mean that's always in all my life I had this desire you know if I could possibly afford to be a servant you know in music to the people that's my
responsibility. You know so long as I can eat a piece of bread you know and you know and be perfect you know that you know by Shouldn't I try to do the best. Has to be on of a high level I believe I don't believe just to do something you know it has to be really the best I can possibly do that it's been my greatest. Love and desire you my life each. I want to continue you know. And of course the difficulties other people don't realize you know besides making music that you have to find the money for you. Because to me that dollar naturally I mean that you can explain if you know how difficult it is you know to do it today. Well there's always always a deficit every year. I mean Mr. Schneider and I never take any salary for. There's a large deficit and we you know solicit private individuals to help us and unfortunately you know they are private individuals. I never see the mantra. Well maybe they will be. They are in the program.
And Ted what do you do. Do you do it was not not very much different than what Sasha says and that's I think that this is this concert these kind of concerts are an extension of the kind of thing that I do 52 weeks of the year I mean I try in the theater. To do the best the best that I know of and in in the kind of theatrical presentation I'm in the type of play present and the type of performances I do. Money is never has never been an object. And what I select to do Fortunately in many cases they have been financially successful but I do them because I mean I want always to do great things and beautiful things and the plays that I do such things like after tonight and concerts like list wow are. All that's all part of my person.
You know the this is your this year will mark what year your circle in square and so well we're going into our 18th year and by the way. So I should be amused by this. On the opening night of f a denier. There was a policeman in the lobby you know and did a double take and I hadn't seen him in years and I said Bill how are you. And he said Teddy Don't you remember me I said. I said sure remember Bill he said. I said how's everything with you he said. He he said finally I said where were you stationed because that night since it was opening night the precincts and some special fellows around you know and he said I'm so over they all plays overture shared and square which is where the circle had originally started 18 years ago. So I said well how's everything with you he's a fine I'm getting out in two years I'm going on pension but I might not go there.
Yeah yeah yeah. And there's none in sight for me. Well you've made your bed so to speak also does. There's a great deal of talk more and more by Clive Barnes and all the other critics and by all of the individuals concerned about the virtue of the non-virtual of a repertory theatre Have you yet involved yourself in this controversy. Well I say it's a problem that I have a struggle with as matter of fact I had a repertory company that operated under circles and squares auspices at the Martin theatre in which we did or Othello and then we did BOL and we were going to go on and do other plays but the actors by a large portion of the actors with the exception of Mitchell Ryan. All left for another job they were given the opportunity to do something at the inn in the park and they just all laughed in mass the only one that had the honesty and the integrity to stick by it was Mitchell rhyme.
And he has proven to be in amongst that group of actors the best actor. I mean so that he had the moral integrity and the acting talent as well but I've struggled with this problem and I think that there's. I don't know what the answer is for myself because I mean I see it in music. If musicians play together that they in fact. The quality of music improves. And on the other hand I have not seen it in the theater. I haven't seen this. I have seen individually great plays performed in which the people may have on some past occasion worked together but they have not as a permanent. Way of life work together. I think I and I have hesitate to affirm the
notion of a repertory because in this city with New York City which it tracks from a point of view of the theater the best talent. That because of the whole economic situation under which we live in which. You know people have opportunities are constantly being offered movies television bigger income opportunities that there is that our society prohibits. The repertory notion. I mean there is no foundation there is no government support that is that would be large enough to compensate one motion picture Souray for an actor. I mean if an actor hits it I mean take Dustin Hoffman for it as an example who is an actor who always said that he would love to be part of a repertory that was six months ago.
Since then he's made a film with Mike Nichols and he's Harold and I was a new star. So that picture he probably got $25000 to do. I was going to now that's 25 that's oh that's not a lot of money in motion picture terms. Next picture if we if the reviews are what everybody expects them to be his next picture will be a hundred family thousand you have still this person is about the music you don't have it at all. Look how many theaters you have got here and how many orchestras you have in New York City. I mean you mentioned that you know what the difference and how many Repertory Theater theaters you have and what we have in music. Nothing. Absolutely nothing you had a few big orchestras you have if you stink with that you know what working struggling with some exceptions you know with exceptions I don't count you see you know this is a tragedy I think you know that you are sickly much bigger than you in music that you don't have the problem of the enticement of much larger
income for the actors outside of the the group that they're playing well you know to the Saudis so as solo as of course you know you have your. Well that's what's wrong with the musical life of New York City one of the big things of this just is not enough music available to the population here. In order for someone to enjoy a concert it has to be almost a special evening. It shouldn't be that it's a special evening Well don't forget that you had the same like you had you have to speak you had in the 18th century you had you know a boy to eating at home place doing at home reading or playing given that all you see and music certainly was not at home. Every day every night. Yes you had. I mean you didn't have a family. Will you see in heaven your god you didn't have any recordings nothing you had to produce it yourself you don't have to produce anything anymore it's worth
to you on a platter. So why should you do anything. And you become more and more lazy and of course you know it you'll be asked if you my opinion. But even so it's still I think particularly expensive for the average person whose income is not in the five figures to be able to go to a concert. It's just probably that's one of the reasons I remember I started Washington Square gone so I said to myself why does The New Yorker have to go to Tanglewood to hear a concert it takes these girls for a dance a car or train whatever he has to have $50 and he can have it for nothing. Here he comes. Project. The other tell you one thing I don't want to. We have a few minutes but it seems to be I guess indirectly you could be called a starmaker because just about. So many so many actors have appeared at Circle in the square and almost the next season they
are names already and this is happened I guess this is a bet I know why that happens. We do great plays and people. If you are up to the part you get fantastic notoriety. I mean currently in Africa and I have a young girl. Playing that part of you know an incredible role for a 20 year old girl. She is now she's not and never did. Never she's a major discovery. She's never done anything before. As a result of this you know it's you know many many offers this could be unfortunate. Maybe I can compare these in the music you know the study for year one or two works then do we know prize a famous prize to get exactly the same thing with having got to the end I think and then of course they can only play this one note or two Warks And if you're too Ivy then you know to give them another concerto another you know the biggest got passed if you know a tragedy for Dad
because they are like maybe snuff and not a great actress the same down the gate dividing East and they have one thing to do. They play one year. Only one bought but finally they have to do something else and then at last Well that's been that has happened with many many actors. Some of whom were stars that I made that they never went beyond that particular thing the because they did not. They didn't continue to study they didn't continue to work and the offers were just too hot and heavy. On the other hand there are some like George Scott who I think you know George's become greater and greater active because the level of what he the kind of thing that he has been drawn to DO have been important plays and those have been the great challenge and also he worked many years as an actor before.
I mean he got a lot of a lot of ground work and it was different than someone just doing one thing and taking although he didn't then go into just sheer commerce you know and he went he has he's continuously come to do plays of quality that are the same in music and it is quite different for a musician to continually expose himself to Mozart as against some a contemporary composer of not too much depth you know I mean you just learn more that's all. Well our time is up and I didn't even get a chance to ask you Ted about what's going to happen in the future at circle square but we'll save that for another time. We do want to mention before we close though that the Chamber Orchestra under the direction of Alexander Schneider and in conjunction with the doorman will present again the Christmas Eve concert in the 13th season Sunday midnight December 24th at Carnegie Hall at least one two sold out of Stravinsky. This was seminars in theater. A recorded series of discussions with leading members of the theatrical profession join us again for our next program when
host Richard Pyatt will lead another conversation about life in the theater seminars in theatre is produced by radio station WNYC in New York City and is distributed by the national educational radio network.
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Seminars in theatre
Episode Number
Episode 11 of 31
Producing Organization
WNYC (Radio station : New York, N.Y.)
Contributing Organization
University of Maryland (College Park, Maryland)
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Series Description
For series info, see Item 3231. This prog.: Christmas Eve concerts at Carnegie Hall. Ted Mann, producer of Circle in the Square Theater, and Alexander Schneider, conductor
Media type
Producing Organization: WNYC (Radio station : New York, N.Y.)
AAPB Contributor Holdings
University of Maryland
Identifier: 68-11-11 (National Association of Educational Broadcasters)
Format: 1/4 inch audio tape
Duration: 00:27:16
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Chicago: “Seminars in theatre; Episode 11 of 31,” 1968-03-19, University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC, accessed April 25, 2024,
MLA: “Seminars in theatre; Episode 11 of 31.” 1968-03-19. University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Web. April 25, 2024. <>.
APA: Seminars in theatre; Episode 11 of 31. Boston, MA: University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Retrieved from