The language of the heart

hoetzl

Austrian conductor Ernest Hoetzl leads the Tel Aviv Soloists Ensemble in an interesting program, which features works by Bach, Tchaikovsky and Veress, with the Silver-Garburg piano duo as soloists. Prior to the performance, the conductor talks about his career and the concert program.

He says that in his high school years, he had already made up his mind to become a musician. His parents didn’t object but wanted him to learn something “real” in addition. His choice of subjects was most practical.

“From a very young age I had an affinity for ancient cultures, so I opted for Latin, Greek and Sanskrit,” he says.

Over the years, Hoetzl has been pursuing two careers. In addition to his many degrees in piano performance, conducting, musicology and music education, he also acquired a PhD in philosophy and is fluent in nine languages.

“I picked up all these languages because I made it a habit when going to different countries to try to learn the local language. This provides access to the hearts and feelings of the people, to the very soul of the people. So I kept adding languages to my list,” he explains.

The list of languages includes Russian.

“Many years ago, when I started conducting in Armenia, I discovered that people there spoke only Armenian and Russian. Armenian is far too difficult and small in terms of population, so I picked up Russian, which was not easy either, but it paid off. On my recent visits to Israel, when I conducted the Rishon and Haifa symphony orchestras, I had a great time communicating in this language with many musicians who came from the former USSR,” he says.

But with all due respect for his love of languages, Hoetzl admits that for him, making music is a privilege.

“For me, music is a bridge to the people. As Pythagoras said, ‘Music is the language of the heart, the only language that enters the soul without having to pass through the filter of the brain first.’ I think that is a great quote. And if you know this language, you are able to communicate with your audience on a metaphoric level, which is a great blessing.”

Among his favorite conductors are Herbert von Karajan, Nikolaus Harnoncourt and Daniel Barenboim.

“A good conductor is one who is able to explain his musical ideas to the orchestra and to project them to the audience,” he says.

And where is the borderline between the conductor’s interpretation and the composer’s concept of the piece? “That is one of the most difficult questions of musicology. I wrote a book about it, and it would take an entire semester to give an answer.

But in a nutshell, the question actually is about what the composer had in mind when he composed the piece and what kind of effect he wanted it to have on the audience. Naturally, the audience has changed over the past 300 years, so if you want to create the same effect as Mozart did on his audience, you have to use different means. So you have to put your interpretation between these two points. I think that as long as it has some meaning and you manage to move your audience, the job is done well,” he says.

Speaking about the concert program, the conductor finds it most interesting and stresses that he will have the privilege of performing with his two good musical friends, Sivan Silver and Gil Garburg.

“In my eyes, they are two halves of a whole because when they play on two pianos, it sounds like one, and it’s amazing. The program features Homage to Paul Klee for Two Pianos and Orchestra by Sandor Veress; Bach’s Concerto for Two Pianos in C Minor; and Tchaikovsky’s Serenade for Strings,” he says.

The concerts take place on February 13 at Rappaport Hall in Haifa; and February 14 at the Israeli Conservatory in Tel Aviv. For tickets, call 054-693-4439.

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