Jane Talks, Anecdotes...when our stories are not being told...
What do we do when our stories are not being told?...Dance to the music of the living and dead,
and you will find your way home.
Conductor Rafael Kubelik's great musical and orchestral color visualization
I remember I had been in Holland working on the role of Vitellia in Mozart's La Clemenza di Tito and I received an emergency request to take over a performance in Rome of Elisabeth in Wagner's Tannhäuser. Though there was such demanding focus and such scarcity of time, as always in these emergencies-I was 'taking over the performance', as they say-I recall a memorable feeling of being taken care of by Maestro Kubelik, while 'taking over' this performance, and also my relishing the most ravishing colors this conductor was getting from the orchestra. Kubelik's orchestral color sense was so apparent to me at that time and inspired me so much in all of my work with him. It was in every way exemplary of his great conductor-genius.
It was not until a time later that Maestro Kubelik and the Bayerishe Rundfunk in Munich informed me that they were planning to present Carl Orff's De Temporum fine Comoedia, which I had performed with Herbert von Karajan at the Salzburg Festival, and I was invited to perform the Orff work again with Kubelik in Munich.
The cast of De Temporum fine Comoedia is enormous and the work itself consists of in endless detail, so, though the cast and chorus had scheduled rehearsal with the orchestra, there was not a huge amount of time for long winded specifics, what with the strict time table at hand.
It was for this very reason that the entire cast, chorus, and orchestra were so enthusiastically impressed with Kubelik's handling of a portion of the brass section at one of our early rehearsals, in the shortest amount of time.
The trombones were playing a section of the opera too 'silver' in color, according to Kubelik, and he wanted a 'color of gold' from them. The entire rehearsal came to a standstill, and we all waited, while Kubelik asked the trombones to visualize a 'color of gold' for the particular section they were playing. He stopped and started a few times, while he persisted, and then suddenly, as if magic dust had been sprinkled-and completely audible to all of us present-the trombones played the section with the warmest and most vibrant 'color of gold'. It was a completely different color than before and the color that Kubelik wanted. This brought easily five minutes of cheers from the entire cast, which was likely longer than it had taken Kubelik to obtain the color he wanted. A fabulous moment and it continues to be a story I tell, when recalling special experiences.
Seldom have I worked with such a warm, versatile and compassionate conductor, who showed such great talent as a leader without threatening the world around him. A great conductor and a great man. Colorful excitement, and passionate musical description were celebratory of all of my performing experiences with Maestro Kubelik. A wonderful world was his and I am humbly honored and childishly delighted to have been a part of it!
I wish Kubelik were present in our world today. He would inspire us all with his intuitive-musical invention. The world would be a better place and he is greatly missed!