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The Earth Earth Earth. This is Bernard Gabriel. For many of our most cultivated musicians and music lovers the highest the noblest the most satisfying music of all is not the sort that brings down the rafters and calls forth the cheers in an opera house. Nor is it the flamboyant performances of even great music by celebrated virtuosos. Not even the magnificence of a first class symphony orchestra led by a magnetic wielder of the baton. But rather music of an intimate nature played by three or four or five instruments most likely in a small concert hall and one not always filled to capacity at that. It is a music removed from the cult of personality from show of any kind. It is
chamber music. And its literature treasures much of the greatest inspirations of the greatest composers chamber music do all those trios quartets quintet cept it's all chamber music has been around a long time. But this broadcaster related to the current music scene insofar as it's possible well that's our goal and I'm lucky once again to have one of the most knowledgeable and distinguished man in the entire field as my guest. And he is Paul ducked our violist. Mister Doctorow is practically born I might say in the chamber music for his father was the violist in the now legendary Bush quartet and he told Dr. also played in that group as Second the oldest right next to his father in many quintets and Mr. Paul Dr. My guest is the founder of The New York sex stats and slate so very much chamber music as a solo player on this somewhat neglected instrument the viola. He's one of the leading exponents in the world
and other and more than that he's transcribed so much music for the viola which has been published by Germans I believe and has recorded extensively for several labels and I hope we can get to talk about these recordings a little later. Mr. Doctor are seems to me that there's a great deal of chamber music being heard these days at least in New York City not only string quartets but so many small combinations and many of them performing a good deal of neglected and you might say almost forgotten music and I want to ask you Do you think that there was this must Infosys chamber music say 30 years ago maybe. Well I came to this country in 47 only and I must say that about the things that happened 35 to 50 years ago approximately an informant a lot of them are Latino. Yeah in my own experience however I say that as much of my emphasis even in the last 20 years. It showed that there's much more emphasis today than at that time especially
between the time before the world and the second world war and and now it has something to do probably and that courts and television and radio has thought that a much classical music to people in general. Well I thought you were going to say what you did and I wanted to ask you why aren't you what you attribute to this interest and you've already said you think that it's largely due to radio and recordings I mean you're rising people with a literature that they perhaps had no contact with before do you think that this is definitely true of course is this great interest a European phenomenon as well as he or I would say in that in Europe with the smaller distances. That was much more chamber music going always always. It was quite easy to play a concert too and it is still easy to play a concert to it in Europe. Paddling only an hour and a half from one
time to the next. Instead of playing for a full house people here will easily travel two hours if they're really into is that to go to a place where chamber music is being played or where any concert is being played because they know they be not get it at their own place. Yes I think I mentioned the figure of say 30 years ago. What were some of the leading all sawmills about that time. What occurs to me of course are the flaws dailies that are still famous quartette course. Yes father and they were in there and go trio in the most authentic what and where they around 3:30. Yes they've definitely been for the last world war and what existed at that time already in its original form. Sponsor. Elizabeth Coolidge field happened to name five
and well you see but I'm getting stuck already in naming Not too many cars. Yes there are not so many that really could make a go off it to there are many more amateurs who played and enjoyed it because that is of course something that we always do. And but I would say that much of the difference between the chamber music of that time and today has to do with the fact that. While in the old days people what have more traditional contact with the composers. Let's say. People who lived and played at the beginning of this century had. That tradition up their peaches and themselves with people like the local mental sun and even Baycol from Brahms and times literally and I of course since the Second World why this has
changed. First of all our tradition is based on the teaching will go through many changes. Number one physically because of various ways to produce our various ways of making a vibrato and the various approaches of a player to his instrument. Number two and I think passed on through the two or more generations will obviously also be changed by personal ideas and other influences from outside. Yes I want to ask you Would you want to mention at least a few of the leading particular quartets that are around just at the moment. Well today of course of the first claim that would come into our head probably is the chilly out and. Naturally artilleries and Leo the name uncaught hats as it would have laughed at you said they're not together now they are that's not happening. They have ceased to perform publicly. However we have a very young
and exciting American flight that way just to go on their way and then of course there's the paper we tell you know and all the quartets that came from here up. With the names of composers attached to them. The summit and I quote that you know think about that and send as many Zagreb but that's not a composer but no no that's the least of these I could really get out of than a quote outright. So we do have many hopes today that play with the valuers styles I would say the should possibly say that while we could without pointing out any particular but are putting any of them down or telling people the virtues of you know as I'm with you I would say that that we should point out the smoothness and facility of the Juilliard Quartet the sound perception of the quantity tell you know what you mean by that.
The sound itself you know the sound itself that they tried to create with the instruments. And I do remember that in the beginning when they came here for the first two years they played on very cheap instruments and nobody believed them. They all thought it of course because it's the quote I tutor you know they would have the most expensive Italian instruments and that was not the case. It was they applying and their idea and the ideal of sound that made them create a good sound. Even with a lot of good in that is a trick yeah. Yeah it is. And the ensemble to think of the unanimity of that court it was remarkable it is. And of course it has something to do with the feeling that the people have for each other. They like each other very much and they are together for 20 years I think more and this is of course what we feel makes it so difficult today to get chamber music in hopes of going the need for long term.
But her singing beacon can't be a fly by night and not even with the greatest intentions and best intentions. Two Three and Four people cannot get together and expect to play well together because they played well alone this is the problem of why so many soloists do not necessarily make a trend a musician all year you're answering all my questions. I'm sorry I just can't imagine a writer. OK all right let's go into the. Bieber told you all my of course that's not a quartet but that's a remarkable group isn't it of the persuasion and the vitality I remember some of that and why is this I wonder if that ever been heard before and a group of I don't know and of course the emos that she is a lot of oh I forgot the one that's right at this time and it has something to do with the conduct that it has of course something to do with the playoff's who highly thought I
musicians and love to do with this kind of music. Well now I getting to interpretation what group would you sing go to obx today perhaps as being particularly akin to Beethoven interpretations. This makes it difficult for me. I would like to either go back a few years and say that I was extremely impressed and still am impressed by the I chord ngs of the bush. I feel that this was really to me the bait hole for performance at its best. We do have many hits today which of course come to these standards and I would like to say one thing that I do not believe that memory serves as a bell. I would love one to say that because I remember performances of the Bush cabal. I think that they were better than anything today. The style has changed and the tradition has changed with
it. I would point out one thing. For example if I may. Although I sort of to get into my own home my father was able to play it once chamber music and as a matter of fact he told me he played the bulk of the winter with four people who all had played. This under him so. This means that I would be the next person in line and that I got to television but I would not want to say that I feel today that I have the television and that I would now be a formidable commitment that exactly as my father had envisaged it. We have had too much time going out and so I come back to your original question I don't want to say that because I feel that the impression I had of the book Bush quote that quite naturally because you know my father played and if I had the honor to play as a second Be honest and performances
that they offer I feel that they were the greatest I really think that their playing was tops especially for a bit older and it was two hours later from cyclers that where I demanded again and again in Europe but also in America in the 30s. What sort of musician usually makes a good chamber music player. He isn't usually a celebrated soloist dizzy although sometimes where do they mostly come from the orchestral orchestras and pick them and say definitely that they come from a particular line of duty. They could be orchestra musicians who want to get away from it all and play but they have far more difficulty to take the time to do it and really for the fun. Yes but as professionals they have to dedicate their time completely to it. They may say I have a lot of orchestra playing I want to do chamber music with
quite a bit of loss of money probably because they have a good job I probably not want to change and they will be unhappy for the rest of their lives as I have experienced myself. So the Philharmonic have a chamber music group. Seems to me they do. Yes but you see all these scopes of course if they are known and belong to the orchestra like the feel of money or as it was in Vienna and over time the concept of a symphony orchestra in Vienna had its own quartet which was called the concept that as many think this was the original Bush. All of these scopes only comprise the four for US style members usually different kinds of Lester and his neighbor. The concept most of the second violin lead to the sort of the old is the sort of cellist. What about all the other members in the co-op that they do not necessarily get included. How do world famous soloists usually do when it comes to ensemble work before you answer that differently.
Yeah that's good. But before you even after that I occurs to me immediately it occurs that Korto and Casals and art to Rubenstein and Chrysler and Heifetz and many others have made notable chamber music but in general I would imagine that the egocentricity of a soloist would interfere with a good blending. Well you know I think that it is very difficult to subdue you ego to the wishes of the of a player. It is incredibly important. More so than the average listener you probably have any allies. To find out how much that is in each part which is of highest order and has to be heard primarily and where you have to stop and give it to somebody else it is of course like a discussion between four people who all have to say something important at times but not all the time. Only that in a discussion the one who
stops talking we'll stop talking completely. While in music the one who has just said something better important will still go on mumbling something which belongs to the music as a secondary or third or fourth voice. While you should hear either the violin or the second violin or the viola or the cello primarily and to do this this is very difficult. Let me ask you Mr Doctor how do you think a quartet made up of Heifetz and voice drag and drop of IJ and perhaps yourself would would make at home boy or prima. Leave me out. Yeah yeah. Now recently the world has never had before. Yes I would say so. And leave it at that because the problems that come with a solo it's playing of course as I said before tried to combat the almost insurmountable chamber
music applying is something for people who have lots of feeling for the value of the score and all the voices and it is very difficult for somebody to change from solo playing to a chamber music playing. I should say that causeway was one of the foremost soloists to play chamber music while Bush was a soloist but always a chamber musician at heart and so was probably a man I do and who too who played very beautiful chamber music although they also know is that there were going to be fights going on between him and colleagues when it came to chamber music playing. Something is puzzled me and how are matters of balance achieved when all four members of a quartet are so very close to the music and well right in its midst. How can I tell if the cello is perhaps too loud or the second violin a bit
harsh this is. Our experience you get used to capacity put your ears on the wall on the other side and tired to listen to what the sound would be should be at the other side of their home and this can be done. It can be done it is very difficult and sometimes you need the help of other people who will advise you. The most difficult spot I think is that after the all a player who faces their way he sitting opposite the first line place away from the audience to where it's his players. So actually the colleagues will always hear more of the viola and then the audience and therefore the balance for that matter may seem wrong to them. While it is not outside and this makes it much harder for the violist. Then for the other players but I don't want to say that a place more difficult to play to be on the carpet and blink the other instruments I just mentioned.
Yes Alan why did you and but this can be done and of course the longer ago place together the better they will find out. Also very important to realize is that one instrument may sound loud close by but and I like the audience has less carrying power than the next instrument which may sound softer. There's a very strange fact that one should keep in mind especially players should keep in mind that sometimes when they put the mute on the instrument and play it sort of softer they carry it much better and may sound even louder than if they forced the instrument into playing loud because by playing loud they often choke the instrument and then carrying power is lost. Once in a while I see a woman in a tree are often in a do all and yes a few times in a string quartet but not so often I wonder why there are many great women violinists challenge. While this is hard to say. The girls may want to
hold it together have been quartets of girls. There have been any notable ones. While I can sort of visualize I got I made about two days of my study in the end of one of them was called device quartet and they were a very nice couple. The other name escapes me but of course I could sing the members in the second violinist in the choir. For instance people are coming and I lay as a forceful first violinist and in chamber music is heard these days very often but I do note that a colony consisting of all girls string quartet for instance. Probably yes but there will be that maybe that should be exactly as good a performance.
On all instruments and as a matter of fact you're asking me the question this hits home because I just found it a slink Tonio with two young playboy did you. The first violinist off let's say the violinist since it is a trio and a cellist. Both ladies and 20s and enjoyed putting this scope together for various reasons obviously but primarily because music is so much that one can do in the strength of the music and the combination with other instruments like quartets flute quartets piano quartets of course. So I was very keen on that. But you see there are two ladies there. You know when the Metropolitan Opera puts on an opera and one of the stars gets sick at the last minute. They often call in a substitute and sometimes they'll go to Philadelphia or halfway across the country and somehow fly them then get in there in time. What happens when a member of a string quartet scheduled for a New York
concert just can't make it that night for one second to get off I think you know me problem as some mountable on string quartet I don't think it that any Ted would want to go playing with out its own members. I placement can be found some concerts have been played with somebody pinching in at the last moment but they don't happen often do they. They don't embarrass me in pretty good health. Goodbye all. Somebody once asked a student I think it was the guy who was once asked by a student what she considers the greatest need for an artist who wants to go out into life what they should have that would really make them into a good artist and looked at her
straight in the eyes and said My dear the constitution of an ox. Because it is obviously primarily necessary to be able to live with other strains of caviling And of course in the home and even worse than today. Today you have a concert today in the home of the next day you fly to London and you have a hostel and a concert in the old days of the I remember the story of the seamy who said people are going to vote when I was singing us today. Today they sing in their home and then two weeks they're saying good luck. Times have changed haven't they. One thing I did want to be sure to ask you is this what do you think of introducing chamber music and music. Bar talk and Faber and people like that to young children in public schools as a first taste of serious music the reason I ask this is because it's being done actually by an idea led by young audiences here in New York and let me first say that I'm like a unit.
What do you thought of the way you asked the question. You set as first impressions after I would say that we should not necessarily give it to them because they may be struck by the impact of the music rather than by its music a value other words a novelty. Of my studies Yes I feel that one should definitely introduce them to both the additional and the contemporary music of course be are today from nearly every go up with today's music the little children of today go up with contemporary music and love with Haydn and Mozart. Do they how do you mean. Young children today are apt to hear very dissonant music unless their parents are musicians I doubt it. I kind of know but the back got so many children that happened it was that the type of music of even Stravinsky would be as foreign to them as anything they've heard rock'n'roll but they don't know what Dawlish more serious stuff is
like. Right I mean that the familiar sound generally today is different to hear jets typewriters and in the old days we may have heard the squeak of a. That was I don't know I thought I'd got up but I think the pain of it all it was you know I think and the hopes of a horse going by over the stagecoach not quite so dissonant would use another lie that exactly not quite so this is much more pleasurable than love we have today and less noisy almost a doctor chamber music is the ideal busman's holiday apparently for almost all serious musicians also most I haven't heard of any who didn't want to indulge when they could I know when talking to Erica Maurine on the air I asked her about her own playing of chamber music and she said every chance she gets. And during the winter it isn't too often but in the summers her greatest pleasure is to get together a few
musicians and played with I quite often feel the same way. The problem is to find three let's say if you play yourself for the other players to play with you I'll tell you the same evening and not if they're not playing themselves and trying to make money. They may have to go out and use that they to go to the author of the play or just have a day off and not do anything about it. If it's the latter then they would easily change and come and play chamber music because they would rather do that and not do anything. That's the way I want to play chamber music because this seems to be the ideal way of putting the music together for voices especially in a quartet for the unit. This is sort of the ultimate beauty of playing where you do not cover anything where you do not double anything. Everyone has an important part to say and it is very
enjoyable if it is done by. I wonder Mr doctor if you could mention just one or two or three possibly works of a contemporary nature that strike you as being especially significant in Germany while I would not necessarily point out any particular work but I would like to say that there are many contemporary compositions for chamber music by practically all of our contemporary composers we have. Very excellent chamber music for instance I believe that he simply performed with my New York's thing Sextet of the six that I Martino the six that buy me low and of course that many hats by me LOL. But this is more a matter of personal taste. Debate on what cats love and dislike others to bottom kuat that's filed by some to be the continuity of battle from and others feel that they are not.
Anyway David because you're certainly not being neglected. I want to post these days and with our final question Mr Dr R.. Which ones of your own recordings would you care to bring to our attention and what are some of your ideas that I kind of question. I coatings that I made and which shortly be available though which is pay up with the Hindemith shrine and the concert of Viola that's on white label that will be CBS Columbia for tele for I caught it and the Hindemith over 36 the older concerto the come the music of the 5 as it is called and I made some I coatings of a collection of music which is available here on investments to call it solos for the viola player which is so early in the election of pieces which I have published for Sharma's some time ago for students as well as for artists. Wonderful when it's been a glimpse only a glimpse into the vast and great world of playing this broadcast. But hopefully on another and not too distant occasion we'll have
a further and a closer look. Meantime my very deep appreciation and thanks to you Paul Dr. R for these chat. And this has been Bernard Gabriel with my wish as ever. Farai we feel with fine music this program was acquired with funds provided by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting. This is the national educational radio network.
Bernard Gabriel
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Chamber Music Today Paul Doktor
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University of Maryland (College Park, Maryland)
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Chicago: “Bernard Gabriel; 35; Chamber Music Today Paul Doktor,” 1971-00-00, University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC, accessed December 4, 2023,
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APA: Bernard Gabriel; 35; Chamber Music Today Paul Doktor. Boston, MA: University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Retrieved from