Conductor Marek Janowski
Two Conversations with Bruce Duffie
|Born in 1939 in Warsaw and educated
in Germany, Marek Janowski’s artistic path led him from Assistant positions
in Aachen, Cologne, Düsseldorf and Hamburg to his appointment as General
Music Director in Freiburg im Breisgau (1973-75) and Dortmund (1975-79).
Whilst in Dortmund, his reputation grew rapidly and he was invited to conduct
in many of Europe’s leading opera houses. There is not one world-renowned
opera house where he has not been a regular guest since the late 1970s, from
the Metropolitan Opera New York to the Bayerischer Staatsoper Munich; from
Chicago and San Francisco to Hamburg; from Vienna and Berlin to Paris.
Marek Janowski stepped back from the opera scene in the 1990s in order to
concentrate on the great German symphonic repertoire. He now enjoys an outstanding
reputation amongst the premier orchestras of Europe and North America and
is recognised for his ability to create orchestras of international standing
as well as for his interpretation of the core German repertoire.
Between 1984 and 2000, as Musical Director of the Orchestre Philharmonique
de Radio France, Marek Janowski took the orchestra to a position of pre-eminence
in France, as well as abroad. From 1986 to 1990, in addition to his position
in France, Janowski held the title of Chief Conductor of the Gürzenich-Orchester
in Cologne and between 1997 and 1999, he was also First Guest Conductor of
the Deutsche Symphonie-Orchester Berlin. From 2000 to 2005 Janowski served
as Music Director of the Orchestre Philharmonique de Monte-Carlo, and from
2001 to 2003 he also held the position of Chief Conductor with the Dresdner
Marek Janowski has made many recordings over the past 30 years, including
many complete operas and symphonic cycles, many of which have been awarded
international prizes. To this day, his recording of Richard Wagner’s complete
tetralogy the Ring Cycle with the Staatskapelle Dresden (1980-83) remains
one of the most distinguished and musically interesting recordings that has
been made of this work. His recent Bruckner cycle with the Orchestre de la
Suisse Romande, recorded for Pentatone has also been accorded high praise.
Contained on this webpage are two interviews with Marek Janowski.
Both were held in Chicago while he was conducting at Lyric Opera. The
first one was done in October of 1980, on the day before the first performance
of the new production of Lohengrin,
and centered on Wagner. The second took place a year later, and was
mostly about Richard Strauss.
Material from the first interview was published in two issues of Wagner News early in 1981, and portions
of each interview were aired several times on WNIB, Classical 97 in Chicago.
This presentation contains both of the entire conversations.
Being a very articulate man, I have left many of his interesting choices
of words and some of the Germanic style structures he used. Though
helping him slightly here and there, this transcript accurately reflects
the thoughts and enthusiasm which Janowski poured out during our meetings.
I'm going to give myself a picture of Chicago in the next days following
the first performance. The rehearsal period is very hard work because
it's much less time than in Germany for such a production. The rehearsals
have to be very dense.
Bruce Duffie: How
much time do you have here?
MJ: It's more or
less just a fortnight or so. The German system is quite different from
here, of course. The whole thing would take at least four weeks or
so. But German theaters have performances each evening, so it's completely
different from here.
BD: How about the
MJ: That's very
good. Both groups – chorus
and orchestra – made
a big impression. Very professional attitude, very cooperative, very
disciplined. It was a joy to work with them. Really.
BD: So all the
preparation is done before opening night. Is there any more rehearsal
or touch-up after the show has opened?
MJ: No, normally
not. It can happen when one of the principal artists gets sick, but
there is nothing planned. It is not necessary.
BD: Do you have
much call to replace a singer because of illness or other indisposition?
I hope not. It depends on such a lot of things. Just in the last
days here in Chicago, it's sunny but it's getting colder. We had a
few days last week when it was very cold and such changing of temperatures
is a big problem for the singers, of course. Touch wood [taps table]
nothing will happen.
at Lyric Opera of Chicago
1980 - Lohengrin - with Johns, Marton, Martin, Roar, Sotin, Monk; Oswald (dir
1981 - Ariadne auf Naxos - with
Meier/Rysanek, Johns, Schmidt/Minton, Welting, Gordon, Negrini; Neugebauer (dir),
1984 - Frau ohne Schatten - with
Marton, Johns, Zschau,
Nimsgern, Dunn, Doss; Corsaro (dir), Chase
1985-86 - Miestersinger - with
Kavrakos, Del Carlo,
Kaasch; Merrill (dir), O'Hearn
1996-97 - Zauberflöte - with
Lopardo, Norberg-Schultz, Bär, Kodalli, Selig/Moll, Siena/Cangelosi; Everding (dir), Zimmermann
-- Names which are links, both
in this box and in the text below, refer to my interviews elsewhere on this
BD: Tell us a little
about Lohengrin. Is this the
first Wagner that you've conducted?
MJ: No, no.
It's not the first Wagner that I've conducted. This Lohengrin is my fourth or fifth new production
of this piece. I have conducted it often, but new productions this
year have included one in Orange in southern France with Everding at the
open-air theater with 14,000 people.
BD: How is the
balance in a place with 14,000 people?
MJ: It's one of
the real acoustic miracles of Western Europe. It's an amphitheater,
and you can listen even in the last row upstairs to one violin playing pianissimo. The acoustic circumstances
are really fantastic!
BD: How are the
acoustics on the stage for the singers? Can they hear the orchestra?
MJ: It's not easy,
but if you get used to this circumstance it works quite well. The distances
BD: I would think
that in a regular house, where the voice comes back to the singer, they'd
be more confident.
MJ: There it doesn't
come back, but in a very strange way you get used to it. Everding tried
to stage the Swan Chorus – a very difficult part for
the chorus in the first act where Lohengrin appears –
by dividing them into two groups just standing in front of one another at
a distance of maybe 80-100 meters. We thought that would be impossible,
that it could not work acoustically together, but it worked perfectly!
BD: The back chorus
didn't have to anticipate the beat?
It was OK. Then I've done Lohengrin
quite a few other times, so I've developed experience with the difficulties
of the piece. Apart from the Dutchman,
which I've only done occasionally, I've done all of the Wagner operas quite
often in the last years.
BD: Even the Ring?
MJ: Yes, even the
Ring lots of times, and I'm going
to record the Ring in the next four
years with the Staatskappelle Dresden. This will be the first digital
Ring recording, starting with Rheingold, and during the next three
and a half years the rest. I've done Parsifal, and I've done Tristan, Tannhäuser...
BD: Can you reveal
a few details about the Ring or
is it a closely guarded secret?
MJ: No, it's known
to the Western European public. The cast will be Theo Adam as the Wotans,
Schreier will be Loge
and the Siegfried Mime, and Kollo
as both Siegfrieds. Hagen is not yet cast because it will be recorded
until '83, and you must first be very careful about casting that role too
soon because of vocal development that you wouldn't like. Brünnhilde
with be Jeannine Altmeyer – her first. She is
coming to this role.
BD: I had an impression
of Altmeyer as being lighter – more an Elsa, perhaps.
MJ: No, no.
In the last two years she's changed in lots of aspects. She was supposed
to sing in this current season her first Isolde at Stuttgart but she didn't
want to do it. She and Eva Marton possibly will be, in a few years,
the two ‘solutions’ to this role.
Marton is also thinking about the whole thing very cautiously, very carefully,
but I think she will be one of the possibilities also. But Altmeyer
has decided to accept this Ring.
BD: For the recording
MJ: Always after
the recordings there will be a concert performance with the cast in Dresden.
Sieglinde will be Jessye Norman, which I think is a marvelous solution vocally,
and Alberich will be Nimsgern. Rheinmaidens will be Lucia Popp, Hanna
Schwarz, and a young unknown singer from East Germany, so the whole cast
could be really something.
BD: It sounds exciting.
Is there a difference in preparing operas for recordings and for the stage?
MJ: Firstly, it
should not be. When you make artistic considerations concerning general
views of interpretation of the piece, it should not. But then when
you know which very specific problems are connected with a recording, you
should have an idea or you should have a second view on the piece that's
not so much concerned with a production as an opera, but with certain details
about appealings of voices to a tape or not. Then the whole thing gets
a second aspect, which is different from the aspect of interpretation.
That needs a certain experience in operatic recordings. I don't know
if I have enough, but I've done some recordings and that's perhaps a help.
The whole thing is a tremendous task, a very big general problem.
BD: Do you find
MJ: Sometimes yes, sometimes no. I hope it
will be satisfying in the way we are planning this recording of the Ring. There are some problems not
solved yet in digital recording concerning edits. Cutting and putting
a tape together the normal way is not possible, so for this production we
have worked out another system of producing it, and I hope it will work.
With the complete technical recording machines at work, I will do quite a
lot of orchestral rehearsals before the sessions. So during these rehearsals
we can find out any balance problems. Apart from a few places, there
are no problems with ensemble singing – only the Rheinmaidens,
the Valkeries, and the chorus in Götterdämmerung.
Otherwise you can put the voice on the balanced orchestra. There is
only one person singing, so the balance can be set up this way.
BD: Will you be
laying down an orchestral ‘track’ and adding the voices
MJ: No, no!
We will be preparing the
full orchestra to a nearly perfect standard concerning the tape with the
orchestra. Then we propose that we should produce in one session of
3 to 3 1/2 hours about half hour of music. One run-through, perhaps
a second one correcting some things, and a third one and that's it.
Not the way of recording in small pieces of 2 minutes or so and putting it
together and praying to God that it works, but having larger parts in the
way of more going through it. I hope very much that this will be a
big help to keep the thing alive.
BD: More or less
performing an entire scene?
MJ: More or less,
BD: That should
work better for the singers and for the orchestra.
MJ: We hope so.
BD: There will
be the recording, then a concert. How will that concert differ from
MJ: It will not
differ at all. It's the same cast of course. Perhaps in the three
larger operas there might be just a day of rest or so before the concert,
then just a concert of the piece that has just been recorded.
to the world your full conception?
MJ: Ja, ja, more or less.
BD: Just a hypothetical
question. Suppose that someone goes to the performance, then later
buys the record and says that it's not the same at all?
MJ: Well, I don't
know . . .
BD: What I'm asking
is, how much of the recording is controlled by the engineers and the producer,
and how much say-so do you have?
MJ: A difficult
question; difficult to answer. I hope that this way of taping
– by doing more or less scenes in a session –
it should be and will be as close as possible to a straight-through performance.
I hope that very much. I can't guarantee it, but hope it will be very
BD: What is the
future of operatic recording(s)? If there is a perfect performance
of a work, do you think it sets up an impossible standard to achieve in the
MJ: That's the
danger; that's the problem. In Europe and in America there is one basic
misunderstanding of what a recording should be. There is a terrible
mixing up of an artificial product to put it in competition with a live going-on
BD: They should
be two separate things?
MJ: I think so.
My personal opinion is that even the most perfect recording cannot give you
– and should not give you – that what
you get when you are in an audience with 1,000 or 2,000 other living people
observing a living and going-on performance, and not sitting isolated at
home with your quadro and stereo machines and just one point in the room
where it is acoustically perfect. It's never in a normal performance;
there is no place that is acoustic perfection. You have a surrogate,
an artificial surrogate of a thing that's not alive. Of course recordings
have done a lot, brought a lot of really marvelous development to musical
things. Orchestras have improved fantastically since recordings exist.
We have a tremendous development of precision and control.
BD: So we strive
even more toward this perfection?
can be a bad word, but not always. It is generally a bad word.
It's something, perfection. In my opinion, recordings should be a means
of informing people about a piece. It is not a piece. I don't
want to say a ‘live’ performance, but a living performance sometimes
can be a piece. For me, personally, a recording never can be a piece.
BD: It loses something
being stamped in plastic?
MJ: Oh, ja! I think so. It's really
terrible that living artists are playing against our recordings. Our
recordings are threatening ourselves, and it's sometimes not very easy to
get around with this. There are some artists who are super-perfect
in recording and much less perfect in doing things live. The young
people who listen – the ‘fans’
– don't really realize how different these two levels of bringing
music to people is.
BD: Two completely
MJ: Yes, I think
BD: And they should
MJ: Oh yes, nothing
BD: What about
taking the recordings one step farther and putting an opera on film?
Does this bring it closer to the real thing, or is it still a plastic non-living
MJ: I think also
a film is not essentially living theater. It's the photography of living
theatre. It's very close to it, like a good photo of your face is very
very close to your face and can show you something that's behind your skin,
but it is not your face. But just as recordings do, films of opera
could bring thoughts and thousands of people closer to that which we call
operatic music. It makes it more popular, more ‘democratic’
– that's a mis-used word often.
More universally accepted?
No longer belonging only to the upper classes. It could always be a
help to bring people closer to it, but listening to a real going-on performance
at a distance of 50-100 meters or so is a completely different thing.
* * *
BD: How would you
go about bringing Wagner to someone who has never heard an opera or never
heard a Wagner opera before? What kind of advice would you give?
MJ: If he is interested
in music but not having heard Wagner, I would tell him very much not to get
his first contact with things like Meistersinger
or Tristan or Parsifal or the Ring pieces. I would tell him to
observe the line that starts with middle or later Beethoven –
across Carl Maria von Weber – Freischutz and Euyranthe...
BD: Not Oberon?
– not concerning the quality but only the way of the development
that leads to Wagner. Then try to get a connection either to Tannhäuser, Holländer or Lohengrin. These are early or middle
pieces, depending on how many sections you put on Wagner's life. The
Dutchman perhaps as a revolutionary
piece is slightly left apart. You can find a more earlier ‘German’
style in the Tannhäuser and
more Italian, French (Meyerbeer) way of handling the voices in Lohengrin. Of course the very popular
themes in it could give a certain appeal to these pieces to an interested
new music listener.
BD: It's a way
MJ: Yes, that's
it. But Wagner has presented an orchestral-musical presentation of
what he thinks a miracle should be in Lohengrin.
It's fantastic; the Prelude to Act I,
for instance, or other places where Lohengrin appears. The divided high
violins is a fantastic thing. When a person has gotten more or less
familiar with this style, then I would tell him to try listening to Meistersinger, or try Tristan – but that's
a masterpiece and it's difficult to hear really. Well, Meistersinger perhaps, or Walküre. That could be the
BD: So you're saying
to come to it gradually?
MJ: That way, really.
BD: Then you're
really urging people to come to Wagner the way Wagner came to himself!
MJ: I would say
so, yes. It's very evident and very important that people who are interested
in this sort of music should know Wagner's roots. The better ones are
Beethoven, whom he admired tremendously, and Weber whose pieces he knew very
well. Euryanthe is just the
same subject as Lohengrin, and musically
the bad couple – Friedrich and Ortrud –
has its model in Euryanthe,
and Wagner knew it very well. The things that were important for Wagner
were in the French/Meyerbeer line, and the other line is Beethoven/Weber,
helping Wagner to find his style.
BD: Meyerbeer is
certainly more grandiose.
MJ: Ja, ja! And these two lines come together
somewhere between Rienzi and Lohengrin. He found himself by
being concerned with these two lines. I can't say more than ‘concerned’.
BD: Is there any
antecedent from Bellini? I know Wagner worked with Norma.
MJ: As you know
he admired it very much. I've said Meyerbeer line, but that is very
general. If you insist on asking me on Bellini, I think there are lots
of parts in Lohengrin that demonstrate
not the virtuoso line of Bellini lines, but the more deeply lyric line.
There are parts of the great Norma/Adalgisa duet that are very close to the
Lohengrin Bridal Chamber Scene
– not in the musical theme and not in the basic musical attitude,
but in the leading vocal line.
BD: What about
the early works of Wagner – do they have a place in
the modern repertoire?
MJ: I wouldn't
BD: If you were
asked to conduct Feen or Liebesverbot, would you?
MJ: I was just
asked to do a concert performance of Liebesverbot
in Berlin in 1984, and I wouldn't. I would with a very good cast, and
I have done Rienzi in a concert
performance but not onstage. There are some places in Rienzi which really show what would come
or could come. The overture and some scenes are fantastic. Not
very skillful handling of the orchestration, but it shows something that
would come in Tannhäuser and
Lohengrin, but not at all in the
way of the later pieces. There is a real transformation in Wagner's
style completely after Lohengrin.
BD: Is there any
point in finishing up Die Hochzeit,
or would that just be a curiosity?
MJ: I would say
BD: How much influence
on you as a conductor are the prose writings, the polemical writings of Wagner?
MJ: There is some
importance in a historical or semi-philosophical view. It can or could
describe a personality that was never at peace with itself – always
thinking and trying to change his mind on some problems. I know what's
behind your question and I want to be very careful especially for those who
study the prose works, not to mix them up with what he wrote later.
It's a very difficult question and I'm very cautious.
BD: It seems to
me that Wagner contradicts himself occasionally -- especially by the time
you get to Parsifal.
Not only musical aspects but in philosophical and general artistic aspects,
he's one of the most sparkling figures of the whole western cultural history.
BD: Do you regard
him as a giant?
MJ: Yes, in a way,
yes, I do so. In Parsifal,
lots of places in the Ring.
The Tristan third act, for me, belongs
to the ten most important musical events we've had in the last 300 years.
BD: Do you find
this kind of depth in any other composer?
MJ: In other ways,
of course. Mozart's Don Giovanni
is far away from Wagner, but concerning depth there are some places in Così Fan Tutte, and in a more
popular way of depth in the Magic Flute.
Very close to Wagner are some parts of Fidelio
and the 9th Symphony that's very
close to it. Perhaps in only talking about stage music, it's in Monteverdi.
BD: Do you think
there's a place for Monteverdi in today's repertoire?
MJ: I think so,
but about Gluck, to be honest, I'm doubting.
BD: You'd replace
Gluck with Monteverdi?
MJ: That's a very
BD: Do you think
Monteverdi can be done in the larger houses such as Chicago?
MJ: No. I
wouldn't. You can; you can arrange it but I wouldn't tell people to
do it in such a theater.
BD: But if they
approached you with a workable idea, you might participate?
BD: If you were
doing a Monteverdi work, would you try to get ‘authentic’
instruments, or would you use modern ones?
I would say the authentic ones have a good aspect to show it as has been
done hundreds of years ago, but, for instance, we don't play Beethoven sonatas
on a hammerklavier at this time.
BD: Sometimes there's
a recording of one.
MJ: Of course sometimes
it is done, but generally we play Mozart piano concertos on normal instruments
and we do the St. Matthew Passion
in big halls. The circumstances of these older centuries is very different;
the rooms were much smaller and the whole thing was not so big as we do them
today. The approach of doing everything very originally is OK in that
it demonstrates something to you, but it's not at all sacrilegious to do
a masterpiece in the instrumental surroundings of your time.
BD: You feel Monteverdi
would approve of using modern instruments and modern stage techniques?
MJ: Yes, yes.
I think so.
BD: What about
versions – for instance right now in Chicago we have
Boris in the original version.
Would you prefer doing that kind of thing or the Rimski edition or the Shostakovich
MJ: That's a very
personal question. I know all three versions. I would think that
now one should not do the Rimsky-Korsakov version. I wouldn't, but
to answer it very personally I would say I prefer doing the Shostakovich
version because he was slightly more skillful in handling the orchestra.
It is very, very close to the original thoughts that come out of the original
score, but were not handled so skillfully by Mussorgsky.
BD: Is there a
place in the opera house or the concert hall for performance of works by
MJ: Difficult question.
There should be, but they are not often done. But first you must define
a bit more clearly what you mean by ‘minor’ composers.
BD: When you do
twenty works in a season, you can't do twenty masterpieces. You must
do works that have not remained in the repertoire and perhaps new works that
may fail. If an opera house asked you to do an opera by a composer
that you don't think is very good, would you do it, or would you say, “No,
I would rather do something else?”
MJ: Oh no, no.
If in my personal opinion I would think, “Well, it's
not my special cup of tea,” but it's not really a bad
work, one should give it a chance once again to come before the public.
As history teaches us sometimes, you remember that for a hundred years, nothing
was heard of the works of Bach. Then when Mendelssohn gave him a new
chance, we discovered what it was. One should be very careful in saying,
“No, I never world . . . ”
BD: Do you think
there are some masterpieces lurking on the shelves someplace?
MJ: That should
be done but very rarely? I think Weber's Oberon and Euryanthe, for instance. For me
personally, the early Verdi is not worth being done, but that is a personal
view. There are all the pieces from the early part of this twentieth
century – not Schoenberg, Berg, and Webern
– but Schrecker, Korngold, and such.
BD: These should
MJ: I think so,
to give them a new chance.
BD: What about
new works – world premieres? And also, where
do you think opera is going?
MJ: To answer honestly,
I don't know. [Pauses a moment to think] I know Ligeti pieces
and Krzysztof Penderecki,
but to be truthful, I am dubious about what is coming in this special kind
BD: Just in opera,
or in symphonic works also?
MJ: In symphonic
works it's perhaps easier, but in opera there are lots of pieces that are
going to be written and going to be performed, but the question is what would
remain for twenty or thirty or fifty years or so. I'm slightly pessimistic,
but I would be happy if in ten years I could tell you I failed in saying
what I've just said!
BD: You don't see any
other giant on the horizon?
MJ: I think a very
important person is Lutosławski, a very important one. I think Ligeti
without a doubt a very, very important man.
BD: Have you done
some of his works?
MJ: Not his stage
works, but his concert pieces. To know how Ligeti's development will
go, one has to wait for it to happen. Those are two... perhaps one
or two of the younger Polish generation will become known...
BD: You mentioned
Penderecki. Did you see his Paradise
Lost which had its world premiere here in Chicago?
MJ: Yes, in Munich.
BD: Did you enjoy
MJ: Difficult to
BD: Was it done
I would be very interested in the development of Penderecki. You know
I have conducted the recording of the Devils
of Loudun! So I know his different style – very
precise very clear. [In the recording
shown at right, the central role of Jeanne is sung by Tatiana Troyanos.]
BD: Is there any
relationship between the Devils and
MJ: No. None
BD: Is it almost
as though it were from the pen of two different composers?
MJ: That I wouldn't
say, but it's a complete changing of style. Perhaps not a complete
changing of musical attitude in its widest sense, but I don't know where
this leads to, or to what end this changing will come.
BD: What about
chamber works – is there a place today for chamber
operas and smaller works? As we've said, everything today is so big...
MJ: Well, a ‘place
for’ or a ‘public for’ are two different
questions! It's difficult to answer. There should be a place
for them, and the possibility of having places and small publics should be
BD: Is there anything
in music right now that you're unhappy with – performance
styles or trends in composition or something else?
MJ: It may be a
contradiction, but I would say I really have some anxiety concerning that
mound of mechanical perfection that we have achieved in producing of musical
works – not just the recordings, but the performing.
I fear we are not far away from a standard of perfection that brings to us
a certain real collapse of spontaneity and the human aspect of music.
Perhaps I am wrong...
BD: Are we becoming
MJ: We would never
become machines, but we appreciate machines too much, and what is philosophically
behind machines. I hope this development comes to an end someday.
BD: Where should
we go instead?
MJ: This point
is what makes me doubtful of the development of our whole musical culture
– losing the living aspects of this art.
BD: Are we perhaps
rounding out an era? Might we need to go to something completely new
that has no relation to what we have been doing?
MJ: Let us arrange
another meeting in twenty years to continue this discussion! [Both
* * *
BD: Coming back
to Wagner once more, people seem to be very passionate either one way or
the other about him in a way that is unique. No other composer seems
to elicit this fierce devotion either for or against.
MJ: It's true.
You cannot take a middle ground. It's always either enthusiastic “Yes!”
or terrible “No!” with nothing in between. That
develops a lot of fanatic attitudes which is always dangerous.
BD: But we find
this in no other composer – not even Mozart.
Mozart certainly was a giant...
MJ: Yes, but in
a way we call ‘divine’. I would hesitate in calling
Wagner a divine giant.
BD: Is he a mad
MJ: No, not mad,
but divine means ‘God-like’, and Wagner is less and
BD: Can you account
for this? Is it because of what Wagner was, or because of what we think
MJ: Not in Lohengrin
or Tannhäuser so much, but
the two most important philosophical things in human life he brought into
music – love and power. It's involved in the
second half of the last century in philosophy concerned with Schopenhauer
and Nietzsche, but these two things could touch all people, more or less,
or could reach them. In a miraculous way he brought these into the
music; not into the words that he used, but into the music itself.
His Wotan and Alberich portrayals really demonstrate what musical power can
BD: Are Wotan and
Alberich two sides of the same coin?
MJ: [Thinks a moment]
You have asked this and I've never thought about it, but it couldn't be completely
wrong what you said. Perhaps... [Musing on these ideas]
The aspect of power... the aspect of love in the second act of Tristan going to the third act, and the
first act of Walküre, and even
love and power in the second act of Parsifal...
BD: Can they come
together – love and power?
MJ: No. I
don't think they can come really together, but they can be pointed out in
BD: But they will
still be two distinct entities?
MJ: I would think
BD: Can one person
have both love and power?
What do you think? I don't know.
BD: I don't know
either... I'll write these down for our conversation twenty years from
BD: It's fascinating.
With no other composer can we get this kind of depth.
MJ: You're right.
And it's fascinating – all the other composers, the
fellow composers and later ones all knew it! They knew it! You
know how Verdi admired Wagner.
BD: Did they know
they were going to be overshadowed?
BD: Is that why
we are, at times, afraid of Wagner – because he swamps
MJ: Partly it could
BD: It's the kind
of discussion that can go on infinitely, and often does so in the Wagner
Society. It must be broken off to be picked up again at another time,
and broken off again for there is no solution.
MJ: But that's
the later Wagner – not so much the Lohengrin and Tannhäuser, but more the later works,
though Lohengrin in some places
shows something of the later ideas. The mystic aspects of Lohengrin are kinds of examples which
point the way to Wagner's musical future.
BD: If Wagner had
not written anything after Lohengrin
– due to his early death, perhaps – where
would his place be in the firmament of operatic composers? Would he
be just another Weber?
MJ: Perhaps, but
very famous, that's for sure. Lohengrin
is a very popular thing, as is Tannhäuser,
and in a way Holländer also.
He would be a very popular, very famous composer, but not at all this man
who is the reason for the Wagner Society debates. There would be no
debate, or nearly nothing.
BD: Just another
BD: Can you project
anything beyond Parsifal
– if he had lived another 10 years or so and had written another
MJ: Can you project
another piece after the Magic Flute
if Mozart would have been alive?
BD: I'd love to
have more from either of these two composers!
Some people die physically when perhaps there's nothing to come. I
can't imagine something behind Parsifal
BD: He knew this
was his last work?
MJ: Oh no, but
it appeared to be that way, and it was not wrong. Of course it's a
real pity that Mozart died at thirty-six.
BD: Is it my greed
to want more from Mozart and more from Wagner?
BD: When Verdi
was writing, he seemed to project a finality with Aïda, and later came up with Otello and Fastaff, both master-strokes.
MJ: Ja, perhaps, as he himself thought, his
only masterpieces. Verdi was very important for operatic development
and for developing a musical-dramatic aspect to bring into music, particularly
some scenes in Rigoletto and Traviata, and also Ballo in Maschera; parts of these, but
not the whole things. But I'm not a great admirer of Aïda. It has a marvelous third
and fourth act, but for me, one and two are too...
Not the scenery, but yes, ‘showy’ would be right.
But I agree with you that the other two, Otello and Falstaff, are tremendous masterpieces.
But in Germany at least, Falstaff
is never popular. We have The Merry
Wives of Windsor by Nicolai, with very touching music, very elegant
music. It's a nice piece, of course, but this piece beats the masterwork
of Verdi very much. Falstaff
has not a chance in Germany.
BD: I have periods
of sadness when I lament the fact that Verdi never composed his King Lear.
BD: If he could
have done Otello, then Lear, then Falstaff...
MJ: Right, I agree.
Verdi recognized that he couldn't do it. Not for weakness, but he couldn't
face this Shakespearian attitude. That's something. He was involved
in it, but he felt he was not capable of doing it. That closes the
door on it.
BD: Have you seen
Lear by Reimann?
Not bad at all. Perhaps that is one opera which could have a chance.
I appreciate your taking the time to discuss all of this today.
MJ: It was a pleasure.
BD: I hope you
will come back to Chicago.
MJ: If there is
something interesting. Then we can continue . . . . . . . . .
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One year later, Janowski was back in Chicago for Ariadne auf Naxos. While setting
up for the second conversation, we chatted about his following appearance
in Chicago (three years hence, in 1984) which would be Die Frau ohne Schatten. I mentioned
that I had been waiting for a long time to see this work in the theater,
and was particularly looking forward to seeing it . . . . . . . .
MJ: It’s well worth
the wait, without any question. The second act of Die Frau ohne Schatten is the best act
Strauss has ever written, even taking into account the different
parts and the different periods of his slightly changed style of composing
where he has reached such depth in his musical inventions. It’s always
all over the earlier pieces – not only in opera but
in the orchestra pieces until the last ones – this
tremendous capability of just having found a musical idea then transforming
it in all these different ways – motive, abbreviation,
prolongation, things like that. He’s the most experienced man in this
– and this is not a real criticism on Strauss – but as a matter
of fact, sometimes there’s certain lack of depth in it. It’s so superficial,
so brilliant in all the handling of the ideas and the really dramatic things
on stage that one sometimes would like to have the same amount of depths
in the musical thought. It’s like this to me and to a lot of
experienced Strauss conductors too. But in Frau ohne Schatten, particularly in the
second act, there is his real heart written in it. It is tremendously
orchestrated and it’s great. The problem is that it’s too philosophical
in the basic thoughts that made it, until the last fifteen or twenty years,
even in Western Europe, impossible for that piece to get a real popular success.
This wall doesn’t exist anymore. It’s a big hit.
BD: Has the wall
gone, or have we gone over the wall?
MJ: [Pause for
a moment] I think we have gone over the wall. I would say that.
BD: It’s us, the
public, that has grown?
Does the rest of the opera approach the level of the second act?
MJ: Let me explain that from our normal estimated
point of view of our West European experience with Strauss. I
have my doubts about it, but it is said that the third act should be slightly
weaker. They all say it, but I doubt it. The whole hymn-like
finale is perhaps a bit too, as we say, standing with both feet on the earth!
But there are things before in the third act which are really great music,
without any question. The first act possibly doesn’t have the same
stringent attack, because to many things have to be explained. The
first act is about sixty or sixty-five minutes, but it takes forty minutes
not to explain but to try
to explain the background of the whole thing! The last scene of the
first act, for instance, when Barak comes back with the guards watching the
town at the end of it, is great without any question.
BD: The technical
demands of this work are also huge.
MJ: In every and
any aspect really. Not stage directing, but arranging a
stage for that piece means really the whole technical possibilities of a
bigger opera house are needed.
BD: Have you seen
the production at the Met? They use the stage elevators and everything.
MJ: No. I
did it in Dortmund, and it was really an incredible task each performance
for the technical people to get the thing all done with these elevators up
and down and under the stage. So it’s very difficult, really.
BD: Is the technical
facility backstage here in Chicago good enough?
MJ: I don’t know,
but if they want to do it, they have to do it and to find a way. As
a matter of fact, the technical staff, the people who do their job there,
are very, very good and very clever, very fast in solving problems and things
like that. The rehearsal situation with the orchestra will not be so
easy. Either you do it with a planned possibility to bring the whole
thing to a really first-class performance, or you shouldn’t dare it.
But of course that’s not the question. If there would be enough rehearsals
for the orchestra, they would do it very well, but it’s just the amount of
extra time for the unusual things.
BD: By that time
the orchestra will have played Rosenkavalier,
Ariadne, several Wagner pieces,
etc. Will all of this help in the orchestra’s development of grasping
MJ: Yes and no.
The orchestra here is really experienced. It is very tricky in handling
Italian style, and they do that very well. When they are well rehearsed,
then they can play very well, but the Strauss and Wagner style in general
is not so close to the general American orchestra’s attitude of playing.
What we have with the best European orchestras is the combination of a tremendous
demand of precision with a certain relaxed attitude to that precision, and
they don’t have here yet. They want to make it very precise and they
wish to push a thing just in the right direction.
BD: So with a bit
more experience they’ll become more relaxed?
MJ: That’s it.
Ariadne nowadays is extraordinary
example for this. They have played all the performances really very,
very good without any question. They have done a marvelous opening
night, and were very precise in every small detail. That was very,
very good. They worked hard and with patience, and rehearsed with a
lot of energy and had a fine result. We have now just had the fifth
performance and it’s always growing. They regard me and with each performance
I am conducting them less, less, less. It makes it more risky for them
to play, and that leads now, after a couple of performances when they know
what the other people are doing around them – which
for such a chamber music piece is very important – they are much more relaxed.
At the last two performances – last Saturday and Tuesday – they come closer
and closer to that way of being not to terribly precise. You know what
I mean? It has to remain precise but a bit... [pauses to think
BD: So it’s not
MJ: That’s it!
The tradition here is much more concerned about and with Italian opera.
If they would do during each year at least two productions of German opera,
they would possibly build this up. For Mrs. Fox, very much the first,
the most important thing has been the Italian opera style. If it changes
a bit like this, it would help very much to improve the basic preparation
for German opera.
BD: Do you see
the repertoire being a little more adventurous now under Ardis Krainik?
MJ: Could be.
I hope very much that the two papers here of the town, with their official
comments on repertoire and how to build up a season, would encourage her
very much to take these steps now. That could be possible.
BD: Is the Lyric
in a position to do things like Lulu?
[Lyric would present its first production of Lulu during the 1987-88 season with Catherine
Malfitano, Jacque Trussel,
Victor Braun, and Evelyn
Lear as Countess Geschwitz (!), conducted by Dennis Russell Davies.]
MJ: Without any
question, without any question.
BD: I just wonder
if the public in Chicago ready for Lulu?
MJ: Well, let’s
come back again to Ariadne, which,
apart from Munich and even in Vienna, as we say, is not a box-office thriller,
and has its problems. It’s a big success here. The people who
come really like it. They love it.
BD: We’ve had Rosenkavalier twice, and it did very
well both times. We’ve had Salome and Elektra, of course, and now
you’re looking at Frau ohne Schatten.
What are some of the other Strauss works that should be done here?
MJ: If you’ve had
Salome and Elektra, and if you’ve had Rosenkavalier for the second time, the
next step is precisely right in trying to get something like Frau ohne Schatten. I agree to
you without any question that should be the next step. It should not
be Arabella, which is much weaker
than Rosenkavalier and very close
stylistic to it. Then if you have done Frau ohne Schatten, you should really
risk one of the very late things ...
BD: Like Die Schweigsame
MJ: You should
come to this later. We are not talking about comedy pieces, just important
pieces of Strauss. Think about Daphne
and Capriccio, these two things.
It’s very demanding for the public but they are both great pieces.
BD: If you were
to do Capriccio, would you say that
it should be done in English?
MJ: Yes, I would
say so, and I would say so also to the comedy part of Strauss’s operas.
You should do a Schweigsame Frau
in English. With such a girl as Ruth Welting, for instance, she must
BD: She’d make
a great Aminta!
MJ: Extremely well!
BD: Where do we
find a bass for Sir Morosus?
MJ: That could
be very difficult, it could be really very difficult. For it to be
first-class, around Europe it’s only Kurt Moll and Matti Salminen who do
BD: Who is on your
MJ: Theo Adam.
He wouldn’t do it anymore now. These three are really the leading people.
There might be others... Could be from the quality of the voice, I don’t
know. I must find out about that; the type I can judge, but I like
the quality of the voice of your American Paul Plishka. He is a great
bass with a wonderful warm timbre, but I have no idea how he is as a comedian
BD: You need a
comedian but you can’t just pluck out any old Don Pasquale.
MJ: Nichts, nichts! It’s a real, very,
very heavy vocal role. It needs a first-class bass and no ‘comic-buffo’,
or something like that. You’d need to have voice really.
BD: So you’re making
a distinction between a comedian and a buffo?
MJ: Yes, in the
aspect of Fach. A buffo very
often is the bass with a small, weaker voice.
BD: Coming back
to this problem of doing things in English, why was the decision made not
to do the Prologue of Ariadne in
English here in Chicago?
MJ: As a matter
of fact, I think it hadn’t been really discussed. When I signed this
contract, it was just last year when I was here in Lohengrin. There were all these
troubles fixing the season and talking about the cast and that’s it.
Then the change in the management came, and the casting was more or less
really done. While I was in Europe I thought about that, and with most
of the cast it would not have been a problem. If I would do it abroad
again somewhere, I really would try to talk with the management very early
about making the Prologue in the local language. It would mean, though,
that you lose some of these beautiful untranslatable things that have Hofmannsthal-style
rhythm, which can exist only in German, of course. You cannot really
do it well. I’ve thought about that and it would be very tricky.
It would be a real loss of high-developed German literature. It’s very
special and very uncommon, even to Germans. The duet of Zerbinetta
and the Composer at the end of the Vorspiel
is just an artificial play with words that you cannot understand as a foreigner.
BD: I was talking
to Timothy Nolan [who was singing the role of Harlequin] and he said he was
going into a production where the Prologue was going to be in English, and
also in the comedians’ parts of the opera. Do
you think that’s too much?
MJ: Let me just
think about it. [Thinks for a moment] No, that wouldn’t do.
How do you feel about the original version of Ariadne? Does it stand up as a
MJ: No, no, no,
no. They try it from time to time in Germany, but it’s always a flop.
Who could sing that Zerbinetta then? The whole thing is one tone higher
and the work itself is ten minutes longer.
BD: They did a
concert performance with the Boston Symphony for Beverly Sills a number of
years ago. Erich Leinsdorf
Well, okay yes.
BD: So it then
becomes sort of an occasional piece for a star soprano?
MJ: Yes, I would
* * *
BD: I assume you
have done Salome and Elektra?
BD: I have this
impossible dream of seeing a double-bill of those two together. Am
MJ: [Very long
pause to think] Not from the question of time for the evening.
BD: But from the
question of intensity?
MJ: It’s the intensity,
or better to say the tension of both pieces could be possibly too much.
BD: Would you ever
get involved in a production where you did something else with Salome, like Gianni Schicchi or something similar?
MJ: That I wouldn’t
do. You could think about a real contrast along a double-bill evening.
For instance, Bluebeard of Bartók.
It just takes an hour or so and is a mystery. But if you do Elektra, without any question that must
be the second piece of that performance, and that could possibly kill all
the Bluebeard in your mind.
BD: So really they
should just stand alone?
MJ: Yes, that’d
be better. Daphne is just
the same thing. It is one hour-forty.
BD: When you do
Capriccio, do you do it in one piece
MJ: It depends.
Very often the management are the people who want it to be performed.
As a connoisseur of that piece, I would always prefer to do it without a
break. As a matter of fact, it’s the truth that Strauss wanted the
break. When it could be first performed were the War years, and it
was always dangerous to keep people very long in the night in the theatre.
That’s the real reason. Very few people know that. I know that
from the first stage ‘chef’ of Capriccio,
Rudolf Hartmann, who did all these Strauss first performances. It’s
the truth about that, not having a break in the score was to shorten the
whole for half an hour to let the people get home earlier. It’s this
reason, nothing else.
BD: So then it’s
two and a half hours, and they go home?
MJ: That’s it.
I’ve done it without break and I’ve done it with break. With break
is much more relaxing for the people, the normal people. It’s basically
a without-break piece. It’s very demanding, but Rheingold is the same thing. It’s
two-twenty and people stay there also without a break.
BD: I guess the
people who go to Rheingold are used
to sitting through Wagner performances. They think of Götterdämmerung and Parsifal, whereas the Strauss people
are more accustomed to even the longest being Rosenkavalier. When you do Rosenkavalier, do you put any cuts in
it at all?
MJ: There are lots
of so-called traditional cuts, and all these vocal things have to be handled
with care really. I’m very careful in making Rosenkavalier cuts. I wouldn’t
like at all the cuts around the final scene of the second act. I would
very much prefer to have all this uncut. You have to have some
cuts in the third act without any question, really for dramatic reasons.
But I never do all the so-called traditional and sometimes very provincial
cuts that they have. It would be interesting to have it really once
without any cuts, but that would demonstrate some weaker points in the third
act – not from Strauss but from Hofmannsthal.
BD: Let me ask
about Die Liebe der Danae.
Where does that fit into the canon? It was taken up to the dress rehearsal
in ’44, so it really dates from that period, even though it didn’t get a
premiere until ’52.
MJ: Yes, that is
right. Until now I’ve never conducted it, but I’m going to conduct
it in a concert performance next February in Paris with the Orchestre National.
It’s the first performance in France at all of that piece. It
has weaker parts in it, and then it’s got some splendid things. It’s
not really scheduled now, but we possibly could record the whole thing in
’83 in Berlin. It’s just been talked about for a very long time, really
years ago. It was an idea of EMI, who are nowadays in terrible financial
problems. When you record such pieces as Schweigsame Frau and Capriccio, that’s not a sure bet to sell.
It is a must for all the ‘knowing people’ but you can’t really earn money
with it. They hesitated for a very long time, and I think it’s just
in these months they are coming back to that idea to do that. It would
be possibly done in Berlin in the early summer of ’83 with the Berlin Symphony
BD: Concert performance
and the recording altogether?
MJ: Of course,
BD: Is there any
point ever in doing Friedenstag again?
MJ: Well, could
be, but not me. That’s not my cup of tea!
BD: What about
the very early ones?
MJ: Feuersnot? No. I don’t
know Guntram, only excerpts of it,
but I know Feuersnot. It shows
the footsteps to develop his experience in how to handle an operatic idea.
BD: One other piece
of Strauss has always fascinated me – Des
Esels Schatten (The Donkey’s Shadow). Do
you know that work at all?
MJ: No, I don’t
know it. There are quite a number of things that Strauss has written
for vocal with piano which are really never done.
BD: Oh, like Enoch Arden. There is a recording
of that with Claude Rains and Glenn Gould.
MJ: Yes, indeed,
yes, which is very strange. There’re lots of undiscovered things.
BD: The Chicago
Symphony Chorus did Tageszeiten recently.
MJ: Yes, was interesting?
BD: Yes, it was
a nice piece I thought. Strauss is fascinating. Did he live too
long? Did he live beyond his imagination?
MJ: No! You
can say yes, but I love Strauss. I feel very close to him. I
admire the general handling of the orchestral material in his early days
and in his last days really. In such things as Metamorphosen for the twenty-three string
players or the Oboe Concerto, all
the last pieces and the Four Last Songs
demonstrate for me that he didn’t live too long.
One of the early pieces that I love is the Serenade in Eb.
MJ: Very nice piece.
BD: I played contrabassoon
in that one time, and it’s just marvelous.
it’s marvelous. The Serenade is
a very good piece, incredibly, fantastically written piece. The Metamorphosen is a piece of half an hour
or so, written as a result of when he saw Munich destroyed. That was
the reason for writing it. At the end of the Second World War, he saw
the broken opera house and all the important buildings destroyed by the War.
He was so depressed so he wrote this piece. It’s not a thing for just
normal music lovers. There’s so much depth in it and so much experience
and skillfulness in handling the counterpoint. It’s great music, it’s
BD: What is the
relationship of the tone poems to the operas?
MJ: [Thinks for
a moment] It’s dangerous to say, but I really think all the world’s
successes of Don Juan and Till Eulenspiegel were only preparation.
Opera was his job, you know. The best parts of the tone poems were
very talented preparation to what’s coming with the operas.
* * *
BD: How’s your
Ring coming along?
MJ: Walküre was done in Dresden just
before I came here, and Rheingold
has been released here. Walküre
is going to be released some month early autumn next year or so. We
will start Siegfried in February
and March of next year.
Is the recording going the way you had planned?
MJ: Touch wood
[knocks on the table] exactly. Until now it has gone exactly as it
was planned, really. Everything on time, no cancellation, no sick singer
and all these things that could happen. Nothing like this until now
but we will wait and see! We’ve done two pieces from four but
in quantity, we’ve done, let’s say a third of it now.
From your point of view as the conductor, is it working out the way you want
it? Have the recordings been made the way you envisioned?
MJ: Yes, although
it’s very hard for the conductor, that way of performing. I would really
appreciate to record only and forever under such circumstances – doing all
the orchestral rehearsals in the recording studio, never another place, always
there. The whole technique is with the rehearsals. We just rehearse
this or that, and then I have them tape it. Then there’s taken lot
of time after the rehearsals just to discuss the different things and then
adjusting things with the orchestra in the next rehearsal. It’s all
prepared for the technical side, and that’s a tremendous help, without any
question. For instance, in the final duet of Act I of Walküre, from when Sieglinde re-enters
the stage it’s twenty-two minutes. We have rehearsed it with the orchestra
and we have rehearsed it with the singers – a rehearsal, not a tape recording
– for some balance things for the technicians for about an hour
or so. Then we had a break and I discussed it with the two singers.
After the break I told the orchestra to correct a few things in balance,
and then we did it. One run through [hitting the table with joy] and
that’s on the tape. There’s no correction, nothing! You
have to be lucky of course. It can happen that there is one or other thing
you have to correct, but there was nothing to correct. That was it.
Here is another example. We did the Fricka scene of the second act with
Minton and Adam. The whole thing is twenty-five minutes or so, which
is not so difficult for the orchestra as the finale of Act One. For
that I had with her a piano rehearsal in the afternoon. It was an evening
session, and of course again it was prepared with the orchestra. We
rehearsed some things – transitions – then
we did it once through. There was something to correct and we had the
break, and after the break we did a second version, and that was it.
After the second version we corrected one note only. It was fabulous,
fantastic really, but it cannot always be like that.
BD: Were you lucky
with the opening of the third act, with all of the Valkyries?
MJ: We knew which
sort of problems there would be for the technical people, so we arranged
this. We had all these girls who were all very well prepared.
It was going to be recorded on a Saturday, and we really planned for it two
sessions – which is very much for such a thing, but
with all the acoustic problems with eight voices, it’s ooooooooooooooooh,
BD: It is as many
voices at one time as you have in the whole thing except for the chorus in
MJ: Yes, and my
assistant coached them all together on the Friday afternoon for a couple
of hours to make all the musical things, the lengths of the notes
right. Then I worked with them again with piano in the studio.
The whole time during this piano rehearsal they were placed on the stands
where they had to sing it later in order to find the right balance of the
voices. So the technique really trained with this rehearsal their abilities
and possibilities. On the technical side, we found that one engineer
couldn’t really do it.
BD: Did he run
out of fingers to use on the control board?
MJ: It’s too much,
so they made a real co-production of that. The engineer of the East
German firm, who did the whole thing normally and the producer of the West
German firm was a very experienced engineer also, both stood like organ players
on the console. They learned that, and we had a very short morning
session. Not three hours, not at all, and then we said it’s better
to relax and we would do it in the evening. There was just one run
through and it was finished!
BD: That was it???
MJ: Yes, yes!
[Both laugh] We have been very, very careful with that in planning
the right circumstances, and that worked out, yes.
BD: I hope that
the rest of the cycle gets done in single takes!
MJ: [With a broad
smile] Well, no one could predict this, but it was for me a really
exciting experience. We really fight for sticking to this way of preparing
the orchestra and having all the technical possibilities around you.
This is a very good way of producing it. This is so important because
these pieces are so long. You could sub-divide the thing into many
shorter takes, but it could happen that you lose the contact with the stringendo of the whole thing.
If we do the Danae, I will insist
on having the same situation.
BD: What other recordings are in the planning
MJ: Danae is probably the next one after
the Ring. There is some discussion
of doing with the Royal Philharmonic in Liverpool a whole disc of Korngold
things that have not yet been recorded. I have done his Violanta, and they are thinking of very
much about his late works like the Symphony
in F#. There exists also a very, very tricky piano concerto.
BD: Will you do
Der Ring des Polykrates?
MJ: There’s no
opera nowadays in the talks.
BD: Did you enjoy
MJ: Yes, very much.
BD: You worked
well with George Korngold?
BD: Did he have
any suggestions for you about the music?
MJ: He always tells
me things for the interpretation of the pieces, yes. He had the one
or another suggestion to bring into it because in Germany he liked the way
that it was done, but he remembered the one or another place his father had
said, “That’s more important. Watch out for this or
that.” But he’s a nice man and he’s always trying
to push me to do some other of his father’s pieces.
BD: Will you record
a disc of his films scores?
MJ: Er, no.
I didn’t know all of them, but not really. The F# Symphony was a very, very difficult
and really good piece; very modern; not really contemporary but not that
late romanticism of Tote Stadt or
Violanta. It was written much
BD: Do you think
these works – Tote Stadt and Violanta – could
be done on the stage today successfully?
MJ: Tote Stadt without any question would
be a big success, but it really depends on stage directors. If there’s
a good staging, I cannot imagine that it is not a success. Violanta, I think no.
MJ: The basic dramatic
display is very weak. It’s just an opportunity to show two singers
who are in very good command of their voice.
BD: Is it a more
introverted drama, or is there no drama there?
MJ: No, it’s not
introverted, it’s just cheap. It’s a cheap, new verismo blood and love
story. That’s it! Remember, it was composed by a seventeen year
BD: Thank you so
very much for talking with me again. It was a great pleasure.
MJ: And for me
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© 1980 & 1981 Bruce Duffie
The first conversation was recorded at the studios of WNIB, Chicago,
on October 9, 1980. The second conversation was recorded at Janowski's
apartment in Chicago on October 29, 1981. Portions of both were broadcast
on WNIB in 1989, 1990, 1994 and 1999. The Wagner sections of the first
conversation were transcribed and published in Wagner News in the issues of January
and March of 1981. The transcript of that first interview was completed
and re-edited in 2014, along with a transcript of the second interview, and
it was all posted on this website at that time.
To see a full list (with links) of interviews which have been transcribed
and posted on this website, click here.
winning broadcaster Bruce Duffie was with WNIB, Classical 97 in Chicago
from 1975 until its final moment as a classical station in February of 2001.
His interviews have also appeared in various magazines and journals since
1980, and he now continues his broadcast series on WNUR-FM, as well
as on Contemporary Classical Internet Radio.
You are invited to visit his website
for more information about his work, including selected transcripts of other
interviews, plus a full list of his guests. He would also like to call
your attention to the photos and information about his grandfather,
who was a pioneer in the automotive field more than a century ago.
You may also send him E-Mail with
comments, questions and suggestions.