Salient. Victoria University of Wellington Students' Newspaper. Volume 31, No. 25. October 8, 1968
Film director San Peckinpah (Deadly Companions, Guns In The Afternoon and Major Dundee) arrives here this week to start talks with various people about a film based on a gold rush quest in the 1910s, provisionally called The Ballad Of Cable Hogue", starring Jason Robards and Stella Stevens. Half-Indian Peckinpah is one of those rare people one may meet in a life-time. I am sincerely hoping Warners-Seven Arts won't mind us popping up the road to his Kings Cross Motel to speak to him. His career has been nothing but erratic and stormy. Charles Higham (who writes about films and things for the Sydney Herald) quotes Charlton Heston as saying that Peckinpah was a feisty little tiger." Aha!
To me the most profound encounter with a rare artist was that of meeting young English mezzo-soprano Janet Baker, and hearing her on two occasions sing with the Sydney Symphony Orchestra. This beautiful Yorkshire lass has arrived at the height of her fame and should be in New Zealand now commencing her tour with the orchestra and on solo recitals.
Unfortunately I was not here to hear her sing solo, a concert in which Australian critic Wolfgang Wagner wrote: "Janet Baker's one and only Sydney recital last week was one of those rare occasions when it feels good to be alive and to be able to enjoy music. One could just not help to fall in love with this glorious voice and her winning personality".
On the first night Miss Baker sang Brahms's Four Serious Songs with such a majesty of tone and deeply profound enunciation I have never heard anywhere by anyone before.
The song "O Fod, Wie Bitter" was one of the most noble and moving experience of a lifetime. She applies this easy concept of delighting and shoping registers with a clarity and loveliness usually not associated with contemporary singers. 83-ycar-old Otto Klemperer's new version of the Bach B Minor Mass contains arias by Janet Baker that will serve in history as some of the greatest ever recorded.
The second night I heard her in the Brahms Alto Rhapsody, overcoming the wide leaps with a translucent subliminal tone and rising like a sonorous bird over the male choir. Artistry that manifest as intense as this is only served once in a lifetime. I do sincerely hope you hear her