IN SEARCH OF EXCELLENCE
By Rex Taylor
I guess if you’re reading this then it maybe applicable to you too given that you’ve watched or are watching the 7 videos from Stuart Ross &/or Jay Kubassek.
Sydney Symphony Orchestra
Do any of the above tick your boxes ???
Friday last I attended the Sydney Opera House Concert Hall for a concert with the Sydney Symphony Orchestra and Guest Soloist – Anne-Sophie Mutter – violin virtuoso….and last night listened to the direct broadcast on Classic FM as THAT is how great the concert was and became almost essential over anything else on offer….my football team having bowed out last week !!!
“Our Fate lies not in the Stars, but in ourselves.”
– Shakespeare –
This, one of Ms Mutter’s comments early in and the interview recorded back in 2014 upon her second visit to Australia. It strikes as a good life ethic.
Her program was all Dvorak, opening with the short but beautiful Romance in F minor Op 11., followed by the Concerto in A minor Op 53 – 3 movements – Allegro ma non troppo, Adagio ma non troppo, Allegro giocoso, ma non troppo. I list the titles of the 3 movements of the Symphony because as, effectively a non musician, they amuse me. Because they mean to be played fast, but not too fast, Slow but not too slow, Playful but not too playful…I mean seriously YOU work it out !!! But it does follow In Search of Excellence !!
But I guess that’s for the Conductor and orchestra members to work out. And work out they did as did Ms Mutter. All to extraordinary and rapturous applause thereafter. As a workout, playing the violin for just on an hour full on, must have been a workout in itself as I remarked in the Interval, my arms were aching from applause of 5 or so minutes much less playing a violin for 60 minutes full on.
Now I must tell you I am no aficionado – I just like classical music and especially as played at this concert.
The second half was Beethoven’s EROICA or Symphony No 3 in E flat Op 55. It was magnificent !! Conductor was a young Czech ‘athlete’ who looked & moved like an expert on the podium and without a score in front of him which I guess only underlined his brilliance (and excellence) – any conductor worth his baton probably knows the EROICA from memory anyway. And like Ms Mutter, was not unpleasant on the eye. His reading of the Beethoven was (I found) terrific, all of which was somewhat allegro ma non troppo.
And thus today I pondered on that Shakespeare quote and my enjoyment of the concert. And took me back to years earlier and some of the higher moments I’ve experienced.
When I was in Les Mis (West End) 1990/91 I had the good fortune to meet and become friends with the amazing Marilyn Horne (read more about her) per favour Mario Frangoulis, the Enjolras and at the time the Maria Callas scholarship holder, brought me to his dressing room to meet La Horne. Her career dubs her as a Prima Donna, to meet her is to experience anything but a Prima Donna. But then I’ve found the GREAT ones have no need for Prima donnerish behaviour nor attitudes….as with Anne-Sophie Mutter if you’re able to access the interview mentioned above. It was back in the early 90’s (1990’s) that I met MH and had several moments thereafter with the great lady. On the occasion of her solo recital at the Royal Opera House when I attended with two mates at the time, and rang in advance to put myself on her ‘guest list’ to allow a visit after the performance. I told my friends Come On let’s go back and ask to meet with Ms Horne and they scoffed but followed.
At the Stage Door, an immense and authoritative stage door man demanded “Can I help you ??” and, having checked the list, and with a huge change in attitude invited us through the door to be escorted through the labyrinth of corridors to La Horne’s dressing room where we joined a queue of approx 30 people waiting. We stood for all of a minute when a lady exited from the dressing room asking for me and when I identified myself we were immediately escorted in….to the chagrin of those ahead in the queue. Ms Horne was so welcoming, she signed all 3 programs, laughed and chatted for several minutes until I begged her excuses as she had many awaiting to greet her. As we walked from the Stage Door to Covent Garden tube, my 2 mates were punching me profusely for having not let on but with full appreciation for the experience.
STARS OF STAGE & SCREEN
And then to rewind many years to shortly after I’d arrived In London and before I got into my first West End musical, I’d taken a job as a receptionist in a Harley Street Medical Clinic of several floors and many medical specialists, one of whom – a Doctor Wilkinson I recall – had a contract with an Insurance Company to medically certify Stars to the film industry prior commencement of their contracts. Charlton Heston, Virginia McKenna, Dirk Bogarde and Glenda Jackson were amongst many I met. With Glenda Jackson, Oscar winner etc etc but as normal as normal can be, she actually spoke into a recording I was making for a friend in Australia to put in the mail….he was bowled over when he received it and heard her very unmistakable voice saying HI GORDON with a couple of minutes of idle chat as well. Prima Donna by profession not by nature.
And so In Search of Excellence….
There are so many cliches, sayings, statements from all sorts of areas reference success, motivation and indeed, continuity. And I suggest that, like me, you – the reader are in tune with the motivation of life in a continual search for excellence, for learning more, for moving forward, for never giving up….
I guess also, it’s why we’re into SFM as a stage of that progression forward, of further development, of assisting others, and being, along with them, better individuals.
The outstanding University of Personal Development.
I believe I might be right.