Charlie:† I believe you told me Felix heard a soloist from the Frankfurt opera was living nearby so he took the initiative and gave you a call.
Elizabeth:† Thatís right.† It was all his idea.† I jumped on it because, as you know, I loved the guitar as an instrument.† I played the guitar a little for vocal accompaniment when I was young.† The idea that I could be free to just sing and have a real guitarist play was appealing.† I thought it would make an interesting chamber music combination.
Charlie:† Do you think Felix knew what he was letting himself in for?
Elizabeth:† Does one ever?† You start the journey of a thousand miles with one step and off you go.† We learned as we went.† We each had different expectations going in than we did coming out.† I wondered how much composed classical music is there for guitar and voice?† We were delighted to find there is quite a lot.† There is music from every era from the most ancient to the most modern.† Thereís even Italian bel canto for voice and guitar.
Charlie:† Where did it go from there?
Elizabeth:† We realized a voice and guitar duo is very portable.† We can perform anyplace we want, big rooms, little rooms, we didnít have to worry about a piano or other production costs.† That kept the overhead very low.† Felix called various venues.† Germany was full of places to perform.† Every town had a culture center.† Every town had a church where you could put together a performance.† Just hang up your poster and see who comes.† For a while we were playing concerts once a week.† We had lots and lots of concerts and lots of interest.† We did important venues too.† One of them was the Rheingau Festival.† Even Hager invited us to Wolfegg Festival one time.† I was down there to sing with him on a major concert and he hired us to do a recital as well.† We built up a good clientele and performed regularly.
Our main luxury was we lived in nearby towns and we made the time to rehearse a lot.† In professional music rehearsal time is at a premium but we took the time and we became very tight as an ensemble because of all those rehearsals.
Charlie:† What is duo juice?
Elizabeth:† Oh, thatís tea.† Weíd make tea for the very long rehearsals.† We had a lot of insider jokes, kind of like school spirit.
Charlie:† How long did it take to get the duo to where you wanted before you started performances?
Elizabeth:† I think it was about 6 months before we considered ourselves stage ready.† From there, you just keep developing and growing.† We grew into a lot of repertoire and refined many things.† We performed together for over 10 years which culminated in our reunion at Carnegie in February (2005).
Charlie:† How much did you perform pieces before you recorded them?
Elizabeth:† We made sure that anything we recorded had been performed on the stage at least three times.† We didnít record anything new.† We wanted the recording to reflect our performances, not just be a reading.† Sometimes we would record immediately following a concert to make sure we still had the performance feel.†
(Interview with Elizabeth Parcells 2005)