In a conversation on March 29 he talked about characteristics of Eric and his ways of working:
- His curiosity was insatiable and he was always eager to find new ways of solving problems, loved to explore new music, and always wondered, "how can we make this better?"
- He always worked up until the last second until either the concert or broadcast, not giving up on making it better. "We could all hear that something was out of tune, but he had the curiosity to find keys and tools to solve the problem."
- With his Chamber Choir he could work longer than with the Radio Choir, which was state-run and had to follow strict rules. With the Chamber Choir he would just go on working as long as he felt he needed. Today, people wouldn't accept that, but he was in the right time to be able to do that.
- About his piano playing: "I don't think that any singer or choir can sound as beautiful as when Eric played the piano."
- About his conducting and teaching of conducting: "He always tried to find ways to conduct that are comfortable and good for singers. In this his gestures (and playing) were very vocal. He wanted to wave his arms and hands in such a way that it allows the singers to produce the sound."
- "He never talked much about text or its interpretation, but I later realized he'd thought about it and it was addressed by his hands or way of rehearsing."
- "His choral sound was orchestral and homogeneous, a combination of beauty of sound and intonation."
- New music: "This is a large part of his curiosity, of course. It's not unique, but during his time was unusual."
- What he learned from Eric: "Gesture that gives both singers and instrumentalists time to breathe, to get their instruments going. In concerts, a vocally wonderful way of conducting. The never-ending eagerness to find solutions. And I can't conduct a piece such as Friede auf Erden, for example, without thinking of Eric, having sung it so many times with him. That doesn't mean my interpretation will be the same--he always expected us to do it in our own way--but learning it and so many other great works with him made a huge impact."
While I'm sure there could be more to say, I'll finish up next week with a summary about Eric and his work. After that, a summer hiatus!