Meeting Martinů

Adventures of a little boy with Monsieur Martinů

Adrian Schürch

My mother had once some friends from the circle of musicians. So with us, especially Mr. Paul Sacher and Mr. and Mrs. Rafael Kubelik and Ludmilla were often a guest. When the Martinů attracted to Sachers the Schoenberg whether Pratteln, we also made mitihnen acquaintance. Our hotel was ideally located for Monsieur Martinů, since it was up to der Tramlinie Basel Pratteln. He could equally use it as a base. By tram he went from town to us with full shopping bags, took some refreshment orthe dinner with us and then hoping that one of us has time to take him on den Schönenberg. Was that not the case, so he had to take the tram to move nach Pratteln and then to walk for about 30 minutes after home. With seinem  Charme he took us almost always a chauffeur, which he obviously very fit.

I had a very special relationship with Monsieur Martinů. Since he did not understand German, but I had learned in school only a few words of French, we could hardly talk. I believe that he estimated to have someone around them, with demer probably could communicate, but asked no questions and did not expect any explanations. So he took me but occasionally, especially on his walks and shopping trips. He enjoyed everything about nature and there especially the birds. Often ersich sat on a bench and listened. Since we could not talk to each other, I was trying not to disturb the voice of nature. I suppose there arose his music.

The third piece in our excursions was our Rauhaardackel Toto. Toto was as old as I, we had grown up together. There were already a good age for a dog 11, 12 years, our friend had created its own peculiarities. He had no collar leash yet. He came on our walks with or remained at the farmhouse. Sometimes, when it was boring him, he returned to quickly and went to Schoenberg left alone, much to the amusement of Monsieur Martinů. So we were three good, maybe a little strange team.

One day it was opened to me that Monsieur Martinů over the summer (or winter) to Nice going. I was very glad for his return and our joint ventures. But when Monsieur Martinů came back to Schoenberg, and I soon realized that our beautiful short time would not be long. MonsieurMartinů was emaciated massive, its radiance and its vitality wait plummeted, with difficulty he could go from his beloved farmhouse. Soon, he was sent to the hospital Liestal, where I was allowed to visit him briefly. I felt like crying.

In all farewell ceremony we had, Toto and I stay at home, we would have been even get in the way. This warm, welcoming, sometimes mischievous man lives Fortunately in his unique music continues. I am very glad to be MonsieurMartinů met.


On the estate of Mr. and Mrs. Sacher was a pleasure palace from the turn of the century; it was dilapidated and has since been canceled. To this lodge included a feral garden, it Monsieur Martinů very angetanhatte, not least because many birds frolicked here. His whole attention was directed Monsieur Martinů but on a bed of barely five stride. In summer and autumn overgrown - strange for us - bushes of this bed, Monsieur the Martinů in the fall completely removed. In the spring he stressed the sandy soil smooth and kontrolliertedas bed daily. One day he took me once again to this mysterious flower bed. Previously, he had taken from the kitchen a long knife. Now he dug with their hands in the earth, and anything by. In his hand he held a wonderful Weis asparagus. He proudly walked her home, where Charlotte, the kochenkonnte excellent, the lone asparagus cooked in salt water and with a homemade mayonnaise reserved the eager spade engraver. The total return is unlikely to have exceeded the half-dozen, but every single rod was done professionally.


Occasionally, Mrs. Martinů their relationship with Paris. For a short time Monsieur Martinů enjoyed this Strohwitwertum. Usually he first went on a shopping spree to Basel and returned with full grids. Who would have thought Monsieur Martinů would have a meal at this time with his friends and acquaintances, was disappointed. On the contrary, according to his purchases, he was swallowed sometimes three to four days as from the ground. The reason for his immersion we found during the inspection of his shopping bags. Easily half a dozen fresh garlic bulbs and a big bag full of onions were dortein identify. On request, he stated that he his favorite dish to cook in the absence of Charlotte: Onion and garlic vegetables. His subsequent exhalations should have made him incapable of society for a few days. Unfortunately, the original recipe of Monsieur Martinů is not obtained.


In Martinů in the household lived a cat, Minouche by name. She was a Tigerli with some white and the great friend of Monsieur Martinů. Minouche could almost anything. Walk around on the wing, sleep in bed, to sit at the table - everything.

Monsieur Martinů was almost always when he went out of the house, a beret. One day he wanted to go out, but his Béret not found. Everywhere was sought. Suddenly Monsieur Martinů discovered his beret, but it had Minouche made to it easily. Monsieur Martinů began to scold the cat; this rose very slowly and fixed her rioters with a determined look. After so much insolence whether the language had recovered, he said to her in a firm voice: "Et surtout ne fais pas des grimasses!" Slowly pulled the cat from there, and our walk could start.


Monsieur Martinů owned a small bird entirely of glass, which had its place on a bookshelf. He, too, was a good friend of Monsieur Martinů and received his cuddles. One day Minouche threw down the small glass bird. MonsieurMartinů was heartbroken, but it was found that the bird had just broken a leg. With glue the leg was fixed again, but protected for safety with Zündhölzchen and sewing thread. But Fifi could not even go in search of food now. MonsieurMartinů managed Remedy with a piece of cardboard; it with a four-color ballpoint pen a garden fence, grass, worms and beetles were drawn and well furnished Fifi put into it. Monsieur Martinů was very proud of his work


Monsieur Martinů appeared at us usually between four and five clock. At that time I was mostly on my homework. Since my room was above the front door, I was usually the first to notice the appearance of Monsieur Martinů. Stairs. Open the door. "Bonjour, Monsieur Martinů, Entrez." He took off his jacket and Bérets, presented his yellow shopping bag and headed off unceremoniously on "his" blue, deep armchair to. "? Voulez-vous un campari" I asked fluent French, he nodded, smiled slyly and said, ". Avec plaisir" I rushed into the kitchen, glass filled with ice cubes, a small piece of lemon peel, salted lamb's out of the blue box a few even put in the mouth, everything on a tray, Henniezflasche under the arm and down to Monsieur Martinů, who was waiting satisfied. All handles sat as they had already been practiced x-times. Also, I knew exactly how much he wanted Henniez poured, but I stopped with the pouring only on his character. As Monsieur Martinů always wanted his Campari, the ceremony could be significantly shortened, but he and I enjoyed this little game very much. Unfortunately, I then had to retrieve my homework.


In Basel One day there was a feast. The population was asked to flag the houses. In the absence of Basler Swiss flag or a Bernese flag was hung over the balcony with us. To his usual time came Monsieur Martinůund the flag looked at in detail. He asked what it was, and I said: "C'est l'Ours de Berne." Another view to the flag and then his comment: ". Il a l'air très méchant"


At that time recordings with Monsieur Martinů's music were a rarity. About seven detours a band of Czechoslovakia was distended with Martinů's music. To this event also to pay tribute enough, people were invited. Monsieur Martinů drew his blue, deep chair. The tape recorder was started and everyone listened taken to the music. The play was over, moving silence. The drowned it out of the blue chair: "Ça, c'est du Respighi!"

It should be noted that a piece of Monsieur Martinů was premiered recently. In a newspaper criticism was to read that Monsieur Martinů's music Respighi-esque've influences. This assessment has Monsieur Martinů, I believe, very annoyed.


Mr. Sacher owned a black Rolls Royce and a blue Bentley; these were eliminated from a chauffeur, Werner, down. Werner was wearing a dark blue livery and occasionally a hat with black, stiff plate. Monsieur Martinů took the opportunity, if possible down with Mr. Sacher, Rolls Royce and Werner in the city. At that time there were in Basel Street Cafe par excellence, the casino. At the central square about 50 small marble tables and plastic chairs were set up and very Basel gathered there under the motto: See and be seen.

Occasionally occurred in the casino before the eyes of the café guests strange. A black Rolls Royce drove up and stopped. A liveried chauffeur got out, walked around this vehicle and opened the rear. The necks in the café became longer, the tension rose - who will now get well? A world-renowned musician, a well-known painter or even a movie star (most like Brigitte Bardot or so)? First, a pair of blue sneakers Bata became visible, then followed by a pair of olive green corduroy trousers, a little too tight gray jacket, a hand with a yellow nylon string bag and finally a black beret. Et voilà, Monsieur Martinů stood on the sidewalk, said goodbye to Werner and moved into town jaunty step. The speculation and this mystery was great, just speculation. Monsieur Martinů seemed to enjoy it.


After-made shopping spree Monsieur Martinů wont even sit in the street café Casinozu. Before he sat down, he was looking for the operator. He sought sicheinen free space in the sector in which he did not know the waiter. Rasch was the diligent operation on the spot and asked Monsieur Martinů according to his wishes. MonsieurMartinů ordered Chartreuse rose, the waiter disappeared to come again after some time with the news in casino there is only Chartreuse Verte. Monsieur Martinů was referring to the menu so was sought and talked back and forth spoken to the head waiter, Monsieur Martinů well knew, the poor waiter rushed to help and told him that the requested bottle in a bar of the house in the second was to find stock. The waiter brought the desired drink and Monsieur Martinů was glad to have found a victim of Chartreuse rose. He also told us of it with smile. It is beyond my knowledge of whether Monsieur Martinů really like drinking Chartreuse rose and whether, after Monsieur Martinů was unable to casino against, the menu has been changed to this point.

Piano lesson

My mother and her partner played piano quite well and it was decided after the famous concert in Besancon to venture over to the Concerto for two pianos. After some practice Monsieur Martinů was asked if he wanted to listen to the acquired knowledge times. The three disappeared in the music room and I stayed as possible nearbyShow order not to miss anything. After a few cycles Monsieur Martinů began to correct and explain how he would have played for a job. I did not understand his corrections, but immediately stopped what and how he had improved. So after an hour the door opened again, and I had to quickly hide even better. Two fully completed pianist appeared, followed by a visibly satisfied Monsieur Martinů. For me, the thing had two consequences. For one, I saw that the people should educate myself, had to obey once, and on the other hand, and more importantly, I learned the Concerto for Two Pianos know how it would have actually Monsieur Martinů.

THE COMPOSER overheard

One day we arrived, Monsieur Martinů and I, from a small walk home in Schoenberg. Monsieur Martinů opened the door to his music room, he obviously wanted to work. He had at first but still in the overlying apartment and disappeared. Despite strict prohibition I crept under his wing and waited for the music to come. It should be noted that the wing to have been in possession of Clara Schumann once. Monsieur Martinů came back, and I only saw his blue Bata sneakers. What I heard was not really interesting. He picked chords, wrote, humming, attacked again briefly in the keys, talking to himself in a language I did not understand, so I wrote again assume that Monsieur Martinů had noticed me, because after a short time he went back out of the room and left the door open, what else never happened.


If Monsieur Martinů in our ass, always had bread on the table, because he loved essehr. Monsieur Martinů was in the habit just to eat the soft, but put away the bark. From the friendship between Monsieur Martinů and dachshund dog Toto has already been mentioned. This also continued during the meal. Toto sat next to or better still between the legs of Monsieur Martinů. Monsieur Martinů was pointed out that Toto should not be fed at the table. Toto had but Monsieur Martinů soon sees through and realized that here is something to get. In any case disappeared again pieces of bark without a trace. But occasionally his left hand disappeared under the table and sometimes it flashed across the face of Monsieur Martinů, namely, when Toto pinched out of sheer greed MonsieurMartinů in the fingers. Hypocritical protested Monsieur Martinů again and again not to use the dog to dispose of its bark.


Someday us Mr. and Mrs. Martinů was told to marry. Wirwaren naturally curious as to how this will come. Monsieur and Madame had at that time only can marry civil - for whatever reason - and they decided to make up for a church wedding. With Pastor Max Keller neck in Liestal, the most important thing was found a handful of people were inaugurated and so they were married over 60 years with all that that entails. Of course, I was too young to be there.


It is quite clear that after more than 40 years, a lot has happened other than it was recorded. However, it is also not about to report detail about Monsieur Martinů. I am concerned about showing and to feel the reader what kind of person was Monsieur Martinů, away from the music world. Monsieur Martinů was in my opinion does not like the spotlight, he was rather shy and reserved to the outside world. In people whose trust he caught up with him, he lived on was talkative, outgoing and always ready füreinen hoax. To describe Monsieur Martinů's very difficult it is best to listen to his music.