“I wish I could describe every Congress and every lecture as appropriately as I do in the case of Leeuwenhorst 1980. This is not always possible for reasons of space. But this time I would like to make an exception and bring back the vivid and colourful memories by reprinting Reinhold Träger’s report, which appeared in ESTA News No 5/June 1980.” – M. Kroemer
Between Tulip and Dunes by Reinhold Träger
When at the closing ceremony of the 1979 Congress in Stockholm little clogs were distributed as presents; hardly anyone of the recipients could possibly guess what enormous preparations had thus begun for the meeting in 1980. “It was a very good time!” This typical, laconic statement by a member of Ihe British delegation actually says everything. It was made on 15 April, 1980, at the departure of the ESTA members from the convention centre “De Leeuwenhorst” in Nordwijkerhout. Netherlands has shown to us that the country does not only have tulips, windmills and clogs to offer, but also a grand culture in the area of humanities and art including music and various other disciplines.
“Frisia non cantat” was the humorous prophecy of doom made by the Dutch Minister of Culture, Mevrouv M.H.M.F. Gardeniers-Berendsen, in his welcoming speech at the opening of the ESTA Congress 1980 Nederland. For us this was a special sign of appreciation. After all, not every country sends its minister of culture to the inauguration of an ESTA Congress. At this point, our special thanks to the organising committee – EST A Nederland headed by President Jaring, with Walta, Piet’t Hart, Jet den Hertog, Helen Scott, Elias Arizcuren and Johannes Lievart as well as to all our committed ESTA colleagues who were there for us as helpers and friends and attended to all our needs throughout the entire Congress.
People – Music – Nature – a perfect symbiosis, which only a convention centre such as “De Leeuwenhorst” is able to forge, located between breath-taking fields of tulips, dunes and the sea in a lovely climate, excellent food and accommodation, friendly service, and ideal working conditions thanks to rooms just right for the respective purpose – be it lectures, concerts or individual music-making — an opportunity, by the way, which was used by many participants enthusiastically often late into the night without disturbing anybody. Or you could relax and recreate by riding a bike, making a hiking tour, playing table tennis or billiard, etc. The programme, clearly presented in the red “Rostal Bible”, offered a fine alternation between demanding lectures, relaxing sightseeing trips, inspiring concerts and other events. An OSTA-Shop not only offered music, books and the usual utensils, but provided also an insight into the high status of the art of violin building in Netherlands.
The lectures began with a contribution on group teaching by Tom de Vree, Rotterdam, which was didactically well-structured and included some very interesting aspects concerning this ever controversial subject. A scientifically highly interesting lecture on ”Micro-tonal Music” and, connected to it, on “Clean Intonation” was presented by Jeanne and Bouw Lemkes (NL) at Teylers Museum in Haarlem. A demonstration on the 31-tone Fokker organ connected to the same theme by Anton de Beer (NL) amazed even those among the audience familiar with the subject. With “Mensendieck Integrated into Music” Ans Samama (NL) gave a fine presentation of the problems of proper breathing and physical relaxation. With “What Happened after Flesch” Berta Volmer (FRG) took up a subject that had already been raised in Stockholm with “Between Sevcik and Flesch” (R. Lorkovic). Ms Volmer’s theoretical descriptions were complemented vividly by a “live student object”. One highlight in the series was definitely a discussion on “Musical Ideas and Instrumental Sequence of Movements”, which had been announced as a Discussion of Three. F. v. Hausegger (FRG) gave a circumspect, philosophical introduction to the theme and explained how and why this interesting “trio” had been put together: Roswitha von Lingelsheim (FRG), teacher of breathing, voice and movement training at the Hannover School of Music and Theatre, gave an excellently structured presentation on movement, posture and breathing studies. A group of students was integrated into the practical part of the study. The third person in the trio was Hans Heinz Schneeberger (CH). Inspired by figure skating, he demonstrated movements associated with playing the violin, such as the consumption of kinetic energy by the bow as well as stylistic ways of expression, using selected examples from solo, sonata and concerto literature. “Practical Hints for Rhythmic Playing” were given by Anna Marlon (CH). She presented interesting examples on how to cope safely even with complex rhythms by analysing individual figures and breaking them down into their smallest components. Willem Noske (NL) held a brilliant lecture on “Dutch Music and Its Composers”, which was especially revealing due to the historical- sociological background which he provided. A presentation that had been looked forward to with particular anticipation was the comparative reflection on the two cello concertos by Schumann and Dvorak. Andre Navarra, first and only ESTA guest from France, accomplished this delicate task most charmingly and nonchalantly using a master-class student as a model.
Day trips took us to Amsterdam (with a boat tour of the city’s famous “grachten”, lunch in the interesting former Lutheran Round Chapel, opportunities to visit museums and to go shopping), to Haarlem (Teylers Museum) with a reception given by the mayor in the Old Town Hall, and, of course, to famous “Keukenhof” with its sea of flowers not far away from “Leeuwenhorst”.
A true surprise was in store for us at the introduction to this excursion. There are very few distinguished persons indeed to whom the honour is bestowed to become immortal so-to- speak by having a special tulip variety named after him or her. After “Giuseppe Verdi” and “Fritz Kreisler”, to name just two, it was now “Max Rostal”, who was included as well into the circle of eternal blossoming. Jaring Walta presented ESTA President Prof. Max Rostal the first bunch of tulips bearing this name as a token of gratitude and appreciation for his artistic contribution to and organisational efforts for ESTA. Also during this international meeting Max Rostal was always in the forefront. All assignments were equally important to him, from doing the honours during receptions, chairing discussions, giving introductions to lectures and helping with their translation. As always, he was the untiring motor of this interesting Congress and the grand person uniting all events.
The concerts gave a fine overview of the specificities in the development of Dutch music, with which many ESTA participants were not so familiar. Apart from Willem de Fesch, the best-known composer, names such as David Petersen, Frederik Johannes Wittenberg, Christian Ernst Graaf or Jan Brandts Buys were interesting discoveries for us. Willem Noske commented these names in a flowery way by referring to them, for example, as “little Bach or Telemann”, and his “Consortium Neederlandicum” in varying composition presented interesting works from 1680 to 1910. Contemporary music was presented, partly with 31-tone pieces even, by Jeanne and Bouw Lemkes with admirable dedication and virtuosity with works by Henk Badings, Alan Ridout and others. We were impressed by the young generation of Dutch violinists. In a concert given by young musicians we met – with Marike Blankenstijn, Theodora Graets, Jaap van Zweden, all violinists, and Hans Roelofsen, double bass, – highly-talented and well-trained instrumentalists. The same can be said of Isabella van Keulen and Ioa-Silva Gavrila, two very young violinists, who provided the musical framework at the opening ceremony and whose temperamental and technically brilliant interpretation of several violin duets was received enthusiastically. Residentie Orkest den Haag conducted by Hans Vonk was just celebrating its 75th anniversary and gave as symphony concert at the architecturally unconventional Nederlands Congresgebouw in The Hague. On the programme were Tchaikovsky’s Piano Concerto No. 1 with Maura Limpany as soloist, Dvorak’s String Serenade and de Falla’s ballet music ‘The Three-Cornered-Hat”. The final concert, which concluded the Congress, was sheer delight for the expert audience. After all, it was performed by no less a person than Max Rostal, violin, Andre Navarra, violoncello, and Günther Ludwig, piano. In the sonatas by Debussy and Busoni for violin and piano Max Rostal gave evidence of his mastery by his refined vibrato and bowing technique, with Günther Ludwig as a congenial partner on the piano. At the end Andre Navarra joined Max Rostal in the virtuoso Duo for Violin and Violoncello by Zoltán Kodály – a fervent finale.
Very rewarding were also the special events “Group Discussions on Questions of Technique” – conveyance of knowledge in a relaxed manner, with a “special touch”, something that should definitely be considered for future Congresses as well. Max Rostal was much “sought after” with shifts, bow changing and springing bowing disciplines”. Joan Dickson and Bouw Lemkes explained, e.g., vibrato, intonation , etc. At the final, joint discussion by all groups feelings ran high about the problem of pitch and fluctuations in pitch level in vibrato, a question lhat certainly will be explored further and in even more depth by various experts.
With more than 200 participants from 12 countries, the ESTA Congress 1980 in Netherlands was a huge success.
The traditional farewell evening had many nice surprises in store for us – pantomimes, a folk-dance group, Bach’s Double Concerto arranged by Teddy Bor (GB) in “combo” instrumentation for two violins and double bass. Max Rostal in clogs and with clay pipe, the ladies decorated with garlands of flowers, merriment on the dance-floor – in short – the sun shone not just outside! Once more, many many thanks to our Dutch friends and, as one of our British colleague put it on the day of our departure: “It was a very good time!”
The General Meeting of the Delegates took place on 11 April, 1980.
The meeting of the delegates went off’ very well and all members of the Central Committee were re-elected into their offices: Max Rostal, President; Marianne Kroemer, Vice-President; Wolfgang U. Stettler, Treasurer; Gerhard Müller-Seydlitz and Sven Karpe, Auditors; Maria Naef-Busato, Secretary. The growing number of members (more than two thousand) made it necessary to enlarge the Central Committee. The newly elected members were Nannie Jamieson (GB) and Werner Scholz (GDR). There was unanimous agreement that continued efforts should be made to integrate also Branches from Eastern European countries. The venues of the next International Congresses were decided upon: 1981 Great Britain, Edinburgh (9-16 April); 1982 Austria, Graz (13-20 April); 1983 German Democratic Republic, Leipzig or Dresden.
Germany, Switzerland and Austria had to revoke their voluntary commitment to contribute additional 13 1/3% on top of their 25% subscription to ESTA’s headquarters in order to be able to continue publication of the German-language ESTA journal. So did Sweden for the same reason. Müller-Seidlitz presented a six-zone plan for a better grouping of countries the discussion of which was postponed.