Never thought it’d be Smetana
Maybe I knew I’d start a blog one day. Maybe I imagined it’d be bright and brilliant, full of erudite observations. And followed dutifully, bootifully by hoardes of admirers. Maybe I thought I’d post the odd video of someone conducting something. But, you know, I never ever dreamt that my first video post would be Vltava, from Smetana’s Ma Vlast. (It is, by the way, if I get that far – this isn’t a red herring).
Then, for all sorts of reasons, I was reminded today of this incredible musician, this poet with his hands (and, in rehearsal, an alchemist of words and imagery). Straight away, it was obvious what my first video would be – Ferenc Fricsay, one of the most extraordinary conductors. He makes this music sound almost unbearably alive. Achingly full of character, dance, and – excuse the pun – flow. His spirit and energy are still convincing today. Infectious! Even in monoaural monochrome.
Such a tragedy his life was cut short. And that there aren’t more conductors around today to take these kind of risks…