Denis Vaughan CAARE

Written by: Colin Anderson

Denis Vaughan is working hard both to promote music and ensure that Lottery money is released to support musical and sporting activities. He is President of CAARE – Council for the Advancement of Arts, Recreation and Education – and on 17 May in the Royal Festival Hall is conducting a charity concert on behalf of CAARE, which includes Dvořák’s ‘New World’ Symphony played from the manuscript…

Australian-born conductor Denis Vaughan, one-time assistant to Sir Thomas Beecham, is working on scores when I call on him in Floral Street, near the Royal Opera. He may be in his late ‘seventies but his energy belies this. He is President of CAARE (Council for the Advancement of Arts, Recreation and Education) and describes the National Lottery as “my baby. I formed the Lottery Promotion Company to create the Lottery. We then got into the lobbying game.” CAARE is funded out of Vaughan’s “own pocket. I’ve always worked for the good of spreading music. A great American benefactress, Alice Tully, who gave a hall to Lincoln Center in New York, was a great friend of mine; she left me her Swiss bank account when she died.”

Vaughan outlines CAARE as “seeking to monitor the Lottery to make sure that the Ministry and Downing Street see the value of, above all, the Arts, and then sport, in daily life. We had to put in sport because otherwise we couldn’t get any interest from Parliament. Because we are independent we can say things that others can’t. We provide the Government with information and help that can’t be got in any other way. Within the Treasury there’s a culture team that consists only of economists and they don’t realise the productivity about having a big investment in culture, and in sport. CAARE is about convincing and persuading Government. The Government hasn’t done what we wanted it to.” In short, there’s a lot of unused Lottery money that Denis is trying to get released. But he is “very encouraged that Labour is promising to do many things that CAARE has proposed for years. Now we must keep them up to the mark.”

As has already been exposed by other musicians, most recently Sir Peter Maxwell Davies in his Royal Philharmonic Society Lecture, there is a gap in young people’s musical education and a bias to pop music, the latter a constant irritant on most television programmes. “It’s fundamentally worrying. I wrote a book, “The Effect of Music on Body and Soul”, which shows how all our subtle emotions are only available if they are sparked at a certain time. If you do the opposite of this, such as distortion in the sound, constant regular beats, which have no subtlety to them, all those things are belittling and dumbing-down our emotions. It’s very depressing.” (Broadcasters: please note!)

On the 17th, in the Royal Festival Hall, Vaughan, a cinema projectionist in his youth and a double bassist in Beecham’s Royal Philharmonic, is conducting the London Philharmonic (also formed by Beecham) in a CAARE charity concert. The music is by Schubert, Debussy and Rachmaninov, and, significantly, also includes Dvořák’s ‘New World’ Symphony played from the manuscript. A recreation of the New York premiere? “Better than that because the parts were incorrect. Dvořák wrote a large amount of inner subtlety, five or six different types of attack within the same chord. There’s an average of 60 changes per page. I have delivered to the LPO parts that are exactly as in the manuscript. Sir Charles Mackerras thinks it could be printed as written.”

Vaughan describes this concert’s music as consisting of “tremendous favourites and I want to illustrate numerous things, not least the Viennese style of singing the first note of every phrase a little bit longer and also the theatrical awareness needed for Dvořák.” The soloist in Rachmaninov’s Piano Concerto No.1 is Clemens Leske. “I’ve know him since his birth; his father played two pianos with me at school. Clem’s been to Juilliard and he’s had tremendous successes.” Vaughan says the evening is “dedicated to Beecham and it’s a landmark concert as I haven’t conducted in the Festival Hall for a few years.” Keen-eared aficionados of Dvořák should have a revealing evening, discover a new pianist, and the concert itself supports an immensely important cause. “I want CAARE to be strengthened from this and also for people to realise that there is nobody in Government who really cares about the place of culture in our lives.”

  • Denis Vaughan conducts the London Philharmonic on 17 May in the Royal Festival Hall
  • South Bank
  • LPO
  • The above article was published in “What’s On in London” on 4 May 2005 and is reproduced here with permission

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