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There’s a wonderful 12-part film series released by French
television between 1987 and 1991 entitled, “Les Leçons
Particulières De Musique,” containing private music lessons
devised by Olivier Bernager and François Manceaux. If this
DVD is any indication, the discs in this series focus upon
well-known musicians in teaching capacities, presumably
making each DVD a “mini lesson.” This DVD is entitled,
“Private Music Lessons Volume Nine: Conductor & Teacher
Marek Janowski” and is directed by Michel Follin.

During this 55-minute disc, Janowski (1939 – ) advised a young
conductor, Olivier Dejours. These lessons took place while
Janowski conducted the Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio
France and the Gürzenich-Orchester Köln. His tenure as the
Music Director of the Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio
France was served between 1984 and 2000. During the private
sessions, he also illustrated points to Dejours from the piano.
These sessions are interspersed with footage of Janowski
conducting a rehearsal of the Berlioz “Requiem,” at the
Cologne Cathedral. For teaching purposes with Dejours,
Janowski used Ludwig van Beethoven’s “Egmont Overture”
and Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s “Symphony No. 41 in C Major,”
known as the “Jupiter.”

Marek Janowski was born in Poland, and moved to Germany
as a small child. While there he received his musical training,
most notably in Cologne under Wolfgang Sawallisch. Janowski
rose through the musical ranks according to the “old school”
custom, conducting at various regional opera houses before
beginning his professional career in the mid 1960’s.

In this revealing 1989 film, Janowski is shown clearly
dispensing his wisdom to Dejours, and indicating how to
achieve specific results with an orchestra. He doesn’t lapse
into metaphysical “mumbo-jumbo,” like many of his famous
older colleagues, but prefers to get to the heart of the matter
in a clear and practical fashion. Having said that, as well as
observing him conduct an orchestra, it’s clear that although
Janowski may not have the reputation of other more famous
maestri, he is obviously a musician of formidable capabilities.
During these lessons, Janowski provides direct answers to
questions, often politely stopping Dejours and the orchestra
during the sessions, to explain and demonstrate how to
achieve the best results. This no-nonsense approach cuts
straight to the issue at hand, and Janowski ends this disc
by conducting a performance of the “Egmont Overture” with
the Gürzenich-Orchester Köln.

Obviously, I would highly recommend this DVD to aspiring
conductors, and also to anyone who is interested in the
“process” of conducting and music making. This 2011 DVD
release under the Harmonia Mundi label is in French, with
subtitle options.