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Conversation with Stanislav scroll the Cesky. This is another in a continuing series of programs each of which offers the listener a rare opportunity to hear an eminent musician informally discussing his own career and expressing his thoughts about a variety of topics related to the art of music. The regular participants in these discussions are Aaron Parsons professor of music theory at Northwestern University's School of Music and program annotator for the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. And George Stone program director for Zenith radio corporation's serious music station WEAA FM in Chicago. Mr. Parsons and Mr. Stone have as their guest on today's program the music director of the Minneapolis Symphony Orchestra Stanislavski ski. Now here is Aaron Parsons. Let's describe the chess game we know that you are very much involved with the Minneapolis Symphony Orchestra and also you are serving as guest conductor with major orchestras over the country and in Europe.
We know also that you started out as a composer. You must find that you are developing a great conflict between your desire to compose and the demands of full time conducting position. How have you resolved this. Well you have just found the answer only I mean I think this is kind of personal tragedy because indeed I started as a composer and. PERFORMER I would say I was a pianist also played some of the instruments but mostly piano and I stopped piano simply by accident during the war with my hands. I couldn't play anymore but this was I think very fortunate to me and then I started to conduct because I just thought of I had something to say about performances. When I listen to or just compose and then it happened it became
my second or first nature with dime and later on with the old you just as a permanent conductor here and there or just simply guest conductor. I found it completely impossible to do both things at the same time at least better. The problem is even more. The because of those conducting is life work. Also composing. And it goes back to to your mind to kind of orientation the world would you expect would you want to say with both things and completely different concentration necessary for both professions I would say. Probably I could easier teach music and compose or even I could see easier be a pianist or a violinist and perform music. Certain amount of music and compose better to be conductive because you realize that this is completely
impossible because of the amount of thinking preparation and just simply busy time with the orchestra or any administration and music and so on. What I still think now after maybe 10 years of not composing I would like to maybe to find two months. In a year every year to sit down not to conduct and to get sort of equal concentration more in there in there he directed. Maybe just for necessary thinking about conducting even better than that without conducting with on having this kind of of it in music to me in my mind. May be I would like to start to start again after many years. I would say I would say short pieces. Maybe
I would retake when I left composition as this certain style excuse me the word style but I mean the language if you wish or anything. When I left it in about 10 or 12 years ago just to get back into discount of discipline and maybe later I would try to well to go on to change something in this because one of the reasons I left the composition was not only conducting and busy time but also it was about 55 56. I just didn't like anymore what I'm doing in composition and I realized that I have to change something in so called language for myself not for the others not because we had to. The great break in I know so-called I've got news generally speaking bet with myself I was disgusted with my music. I was repeating them all is the same and I feel that I have to stop. It does happen during the break. I got
more engagements and possibilities and little by little I just stopped completely to compose something no bets. I said both tragedy because I just needed very deeply and very often hearing your composition and I'm just you know very impatient. You use the term style how would you describe the style in which you were right at the time your style. Well I didn't have any pretension to say about style because it's stupid you know the style we can judge starts after after many years of. Perspective but I just called it's you know kind of I said the language and the rest is inextricable. There's a mobbers for the art of Cousin This is our impossibility due to define it. All right well there's nothing nothing more difficult to define than music. But what I wondered was whether you were for example employing a total technique or. Well I started very early as it was
read the child I was amazed with composition with at that time my first God was Mozart Haydn bit of in gods and then little by little and very quickly I probably made the whole 19th century development myself becoming acquainted with the romanticism posta mantis ism and I came to 20 century well though when I was about 80 maybe it seems to me that I have read someplace that you began composing when you were about eight years old. Well even for saves when I was about four and a half and five because I started to write something I wrote an overture when I was seven for the orchestra with the time pretty good knowledge of the instruments who had this interest in it very much and I had the kind of. Hey how's the music making. Because my mother was against my father wasn't any musician but he was crazy about music and we had twice a week of chamber
music at home. Oh you know I don't know really about the level in hell any famous names in my home Betsy justs very decent since you use music maker who was your father an amateur. You know he didn't play anything he was just sort of just enjoying it but my mother was a good pianist but a surgeon you say yes. So maybe this radio well made a difference in the speed of getting the musical iterator. You must of learned are been taught to write. If you started composing at four and a half five you were obviously reading notes and playing the piano. Wonder if we might pursue this edge of this education in early training that you must have had there in the home. Did your mother teacher. Yes she and Lady going to play do with as you can a teacher and she mostly did this very nice way and as I was
crazy builds getting more knowledge and I remember my first I still have this core was a Better Than a Fifth Symphony. And this was a first for you learned yes. Yes and this was what I am as a base imitation of the prime. I just wanted to know how does the orchestra sound and why it sounds this way and I never thought of being a conductor at the time. Believe me it's impossible but it was very very very good later defined knowledge of course just by my interest in competition in instrumentation. Well you must've listened to orchestras there in the last. Yes. Your home. Yes we had the thing at the time at least two officers one was all pro I was you know morning and quite pleasant music alive with all the artists from the entire world coming here now this is the late 1920s
to early 30s. Yes early 30s he was here. You continued your music instruction while you were attending school then as a child in the verse. Yes I just. I was in school as any other boy and no exception. Just doing my kind of education even later became crazy both mathematics and chemistry. It was and I almost for one of two years I thought I'll go this way and I left music for a second time. But then it came along without any thinking of a profession as a profession just kind of well in their need to do it. How do strongly when you decided this how did you go about preparing professionally as a musician. Well it's a very simple answer because I really never thought to do it as in the way I'm doing now. Before the war I thought I might be a concert pianist.
I thought but I wasn't sure because I didn't like to work too long if you know it was boring to me. Just do as we said the bill the bison birth to get the muscles ready to do play to be responding to your wishes. So maybe for a while and later. Absolutely I was when my hands were hurt it was impossible anymore and I just thought oh I'll be. Composing I didn't I didn't think anything if this is going to be a profession you can live with as you know or not. Well I was just kind of absent thinking to the amazement and horror of my father he didn't know what to do with me you know because he wasn't in profession you know even at the time with any any future. Well it was a cause of an injury to your hands that yes resulted in your decision to I see. And apparently this was a crucial point in your life because it turned you from what you thought might be your career so honest.
Yes it just felt maybe that was a crucial because I was almost decided maybe to just do it to go this kind of compositions but here was interesting other piece I thought maybe I'll go with the chemistry or so and the composer Well then you studied music and the regular academic curriculum yes. Concurrently Yes I see where to just study music while you were still in mostly home self-built more or less. I had some very. I would say pleasant contact with university professors but he doing good. If your patient was the university backgrounding bought music he loves and he just gave me some books and connected compositions to give some ideas about music. But you go but you know but of course all kind of
Fiore if you wish the discipline of musical discipline I was self-taught. Well at one point you were far enough along that you decided to go to Paris to study with law as you say about what time did this take place. Yes it was right after the war in 46 I took first position as a conductor permanent conductor and then a year later it just happened I had opportunities to leave Poland and I want to see something more after the war especially was kind of natural wish to get out and just see the world and this was I received a scholarship from the French Ministry of Culture. It is wrong he said someone programs here there was a Polish it wasn't thought he was French. Here's a question for three months. Not to night he belongs here but that is just to go to Paris and to see the overed So I went and of
course as a neighbor and he was the father or the mother of of many older boys composers from before the war I went to. I met her and she was very kind to asked me to bring my compositions to see and we started a very nice relationship to read not as a teacher and because I haven't done anything with her as a course or something about that but she corrected my compositions and I wrote something in various and it was marvelous about her that she didn't pose any point of view of her own music or any aesthetics that would be different from mine but she tried to correct it and tell me something from purely my point of view. First she said that if you start with the first page this does this then logically speaking you should and so on. So this was not his of her read and I think she gave me my words and sitting in music no doubt.
Apparently this is true love. The same thing that you describe is true of many composers I think of a large group of American composers Aaron Copeland Roy Erez and infinite numbers others who were in Paris at about the time that this was about all the time yet it was been years of war so that she has made a great dent on American music. Yes I virtuous had a profound influence when I meant it. It was almost the thing to do house of theirs which you know that some composers say well I I haven't been with yellow it was just unique not to be without her. And later on it's very true. So I went for a couple of months and I stayed two years and I just had the chance to this year really apart unique chance to get involved with the Radio Orchestra and I conducted my own piece with them and apparently they engage me for many concerts after so I stayed for two years after which I as my family
lived in Poland and the 49 brought great tension in politics. I had to go back unless I could hear some persecution of my family and I went back I received a post this poem and conductor contributes in the cracks and it was so finally and it's only in 59 really 60 One night I came to as a Mecca that's going to Minneapolis. We of course in this country are familiar through recordings with the Warsaw orchestra but we don't know of other orchestras in Poland. It will be interesting to talk for just a couple of minutes about the state of music generally there are there are many orchestras in Poland which meant yes I mean he did indeed and after the war it was an obvious situation from one side of the government commutes to government. Maybe for a purpose. For sure for propaganda reasons
adopted a new kind of policy and gave her enough money to create music schools and orchestras almost everywhere. As I said this was certainly a way of making propaganda for the regime as the Russians did bets from other sides. The fact of establishing orchestras and schools and the money for it went to create a new musical life exists in comparable to life in music. Musical life from before the war or instead one century in Poland. So and also as far as you know the full on reading. Showed many almost already two generations of composers after the war. One was all there in the start and before the war but they have developed after the war likely to slough Skeel A-lister and the new generation born after the war is quite strong in in the I would
say. Nobody said they wouldn't and I would as well. In music in composition especially And it seems that the war as a horrible thing for five six years and especially a time after the war which was not really finished arise because of it rushing a division created to kind of of earthquake I call it morally mentally and produced the amount of and qualities of composers that we never had before. And this and this in moments of the musical life is so real became very strong after the war. And. Also ask me about the orchestras all cities start to do with their own orchestras some of them were poor and dusts with supper with her mothers and so on but there was a tendency to
especially with the new outcomes from the conservatories music schools to do it better. And after widen the ballots already in early fifties the poem had some good orchestras also worse of the nation a locust rather than a raid unique attributes and about five six of white good breeding would state your orchestras and all together they have I don't know of maybe 30 or 40 of Celie many officers in every city not all of those grades are good bets. Very decent and there if you need to do is use music making. Thank you but he still loves what was your first permanent post it was the best LOL. Yes he said the breast present was the last of the police near you without hollow for just for one here one season for you right after the war is with us. City feel destroyed with bombs in
ruins and so on but it was a great time. Excuse the rematch. We but out of all the whole person concept I was going to ask that to what extent you had any involvement with opera. Not very much generally speaking because I usually I have been in the US would he have been a conductor with a symphony orchestra so I didn't have much time to make over as also of it how many operas that I don't like I would never conduct and any any engagements just I don't care about the music and I just simply don't like even the care but I think this is like music. Would it be unfair to all what some of these are. Well no but I think there are some great operators and there's no difference of being of connect your brain symphony. If the music is on the same level for insists to me See any Most of that and if you Davy or some back there operas are great and some contemporary operas
and you go back to look there's a lot of things you have these appeal to you. Yes. I wonder if we could go back to the musical life after the war in Poland and I have as a focal point nine hundred fifty six years when there was a great change in the political climate yes. And music flourished. But now we are constantly asking how this music suddenly flourished so fast in a country from which we had heard very little for so long a time. But it seems to me you have put your finger on the key here and in describing the schools which were set up by the government immediately following the war. I wonder if you could give us some notion of the extent of these schools. And how how they did so much so fast because that's from about 1960 to six about 10 years and then all of a sudden there was a great there's a flourishing of con schools in 10 years could produce a lot
of musicians players performance. Can you Spider his or wind instruments on there who went to the orchestras and therefore the level of the orchestras could go up. So it was professionally good schooling. We had some good teachers from before the war because Young was better income position. I think this is more or less inextricable fact in the history of almost every country there are some periods of time when certain things flourish. Suddenly or you have just maybe just completely disorganized scant chance that you have a group of of people famous producing it so can result in science or or or art and certainly it is in art is not
only that. There was money for establishing office and schools and music schools but I think this was much deeper because there was a young generation of right after the war come from the ruins and they didn't have any schools during the war preparation but they had they have been morally afflicted by the war and of this kind of need for resurrection. And speaking broadly produced going to depth or needed to do something in arts especially the political life was terrible. After the war. Important poor and untrue and it was not we one wasn't freed. So to me the amounts and the quality of composers of the war really. Do not depend on the new police ie with forming
life. Maybe later on maybe now the very new generation now of their 20 years of those schools maybe they'll produce something as an amount and then pick up some some of what he did here and there but at that time it was so either I did off of the big earthquake you could find diamonds of gold here and there. Well maybe just complicated abstract and irrational my explanation but I feel this way and I think it makes a great deal of sense. And as you say these things arise from external circumstances and it usually is very difficult to pinpoint precisely why at the time. Yeah simple but we're getting it's a kind of movement which is self advancing. I think that. Well obviously this has happened in Poland. We know that there are are many young composers in Poland who are doing highly significant things and we
haven't had the opportunity as yet to become acquainted with all of them but we think of such a man as Penderecki years and the impact he has had here and certainly his impact in his native land upon others must be you know fortunately greater. Yes and as a technician also he had an impact also on other composers after the first edition of his. Well I don't know what's really with his work was but one of the first words of the Trinity for the victims of it he was here with us and with some new ways of producing certain sonorities of songs from string instruments and the boat six months later you could see here and there an old rule that you know other composers not only in bold and go but of us very much using the same devices now this is you open this chorus and 50 60 percent of new scores have to save. I don't see this although he's intervention probably. We have as a as in science you maybe you have sometimes in two different countries completely unfairly
barely in time but just not disconnected completely. You have two inventions of the same and so are two isn't it because this is also true but he had also. In fact as a duty technician with new ideas of Doan's of sonorities But you ask about the 56 is interesting because as I said using art as a form of propaganda. After the war composers especially with performance not so much what the foremost we all Ltd's what we are doing what kind of music we are writing or performing as you know. At that thought I meant 49 the Soviet composers like Shostakovich Prokosch of the time and speak of others that were criticised for their form of zoom and the same happened in Poland very strictly so
and because were computer stupid because it was just a simplification of the whole subject to the point of complete ignorance by formalism they simply met any of these modern tendencies. Yes they just see and also is something connected with the Western music for instance he was was forbidden to play in both countries for a long time and a composer who would like to get a commission and be played in their fifties early fifties would have to compose a kind of tonal after take of ski music with him. So this was also great limitations. Many composers continue their writing and just skipped Secret's completely because the view could be even X-posts of persecution of some of the roach. Why. Two things one is for the officials and one for themselves.
That's two versions of the same work you mean no or no device works just listen to different things especially good for good because there was no difficulty rights for commissions because if the review could turn out a state can totters about a yard. Yes yes and this was a very unfortunate and you see 56 came out after first of all at the start instead became a slight change in pressure governmental pressure and all those countries and more liberals and more courageous people are just especially writers of science. They moved towards the sort of liberation they try to convince the officials that Archita can stay this way this is just the end of culture and everything and they prepared the evolution 66 in a great degree in the intellectuals in the history six at the time of the solution. It came and the balance came to the other
point it was completely free will do you right. And of course if you were allowed immediate relaxation of these areas it wasn't immediate but little by little but finally would be October with a new government of gold at the time it became almost immediate that you could write and you could say anything you wish.
A conversation with
Episode Number
#10 (Reel 1)
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University of Maryland (College Park, Maryland)
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Identifier: 69-12-10 (National Association of Educational Broadcasters)
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Duration: 00:30:16
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