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15 Questions to Richard Boothby/Fretwork

img  Tobias

Hi! How are you? Where are you?
I’m very well and I’m at home in lovely Wandsworth, London.

What’s on your schedule right now?
Fretwork have just come back from a North American Tour, and next week we have three dates in the UK with the wonderful Emma Kirkby, doing all-Byrd programmes.

If you hadn’t chosen for music, what do you think you would do right now?
I would probably be sailing the seven seas as a master mariner, which was what my father was, and what my brother was until he got a shore job.

What or who was your biggest influence as an artist?

Probably Nikolaus Harnoncourt, with whom I studied at the Salzburg Mozarteum in 1980/81. His dynamic musicality and insistance that music should mean something was galvnising for me.

What’s the hardest part about being a musician and what’s the best?

The hardest is travelling, which has become cheaper, but worse over the years; the best is playing itself.

What’s your view on the classical music scene at present? Is there a crisis?
Of course there’s a crisis – but a crisis that has come from musicians not realising there was one for years. The classical music industry (if one can call it that) has a difficulty with change; but change happens, whether we want it or not.

Some feel there is no need to record classical music any more, that it’s all been done before. What do you tell them?
There is very little need to record classical music any more. The differences between performances and performers are more perceived by the performers than the listeners; a point understood by Naxos.

What constitutes a good live performance in your opinion? What’s your approach to performing on stage?
It requires the active participation of the audience in listeneing and going with the performance. Our approach is usually from the left side.

What does the word “interpretation” mean to you?

It means putting yourself between two other things i.e. the composer and the audience. Cn’t really see any other way of doing it.

True or false: It is the duty of an artist to put his personal emotions into the music he plays.

It is no duty, but, if the music is the be your own and mean something to someone else, then this will inevitably happen.

True or false: “Music is my first love”

True or false: People need to be educated about classical music, before they can really appreciate it.
False. What does ‘really appreciate’ mean? Do you really appreciate all classical  music? Or all rock, pop, jazz, world etc music. The question suggests a snobbism that seeks to exclude – there’s the crisis.

You are given the position of artistic director of a concert hall. What would be on your program for this season?
As eclectic as possible: collaborations between musical genres; morning, lunchtime, early evening, late night, all night concerts.

What’s your favourite classical CD at the moment?
I don’t listen to music.

Have you ever tried playing a different instrument? If yes, how good were you at it?

I frequently try to play the keyboard – it is appalling.

Picture by Edward Webb


"Agricola: Chansons" by Alexander Agricola & Fabrice Fitch - 2006
Bach: Alio Modo by Johann Sebastian Bach - 2005
Consort Songs by William Byrd - 2004
Im Maien by Ludwig Senfl - 2004
Above the Starrs by Thomas Tomkins - 2003
The Art of Fugue by J.S. Bach - 2002
Harmonice Musices Odhecaton compiled by Ottaviano Petrucci - 2001
The Hidden Face by John Tavener and John Taverner - 2001
Celestiall Witchcraft - 1999
Sit Fast - 1997
Matthew Locke:Consort of Fower Parts by Matthew Locke - 1996
Concord is conquer'd by William Lawes - 1995
Henry Purcell:The Fantazias and In Nomines by Henry Purcell - 1995
William Byrd:The Complete Consort Music by William Byrd - 1994
The English Viol - 1994 (compilation album)
A Play of Passion - 1992
Music for Viols - 1992
For ye Violls by William Lawes - 1991
Lachrimae by John Dowland - 1990
Goe nightly cares by John Dowland and William Byrd - 1990
Night's Black Bird by John Dowland and William Byrd - 1989
Cries and Fancies by Orlando Gibbons - 1989
Armada - 1988
Heart's Ease - 1988
In Nomine - 1987


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