George Trautwein and his wife Barbara spent close to a year in Goa in 1989-90, a period that I still remember as “golden” in my life, as it was my introduction to so many aspects of music, the repertoire, performance, and rehearsal, personal practice and technique. I reproduce here a large portion of the letter I sent him today:


Hi George,

Sorry for the long pause in my correspondence with you. It’s just been one little thing after another, and I’ve not had the time to just sit down and write. But you and Barbara are so much on my mind, in so many different ways, so much of the time, you wouldn’t believe it.

One recent example: I’m just back from Bombay after a concert by the Symphony Orchestra of India, which played quite wonderfully Bizet’s Symphony no. 1 in C. Also on the programme were Tchaikovsky’s Serenade Melancolique, Ravel’s Tzigane, and two works by Bruch: his Romance for viola and orchestra, and his Concerto for violin and viola in E minor (soloists Miguel da Silva viola and Elina Buksha violin; Augustin Dumay conducted the orchestra and played the solo parts in the Tchaik and Ravel).

I have to think of you both of course, whenever I’m at the NCPA, because it was thanks to you that I not only got there but got a chance to play in it for the first time.

But there’s another reason I thought especially of you at the concert. The orchestra began to play an encore piece that was vaguely familiar, like meeting a very old friend after such a long time that you can’t quite remember details but you’re sure it’s a familiar face.

I racked my brains and sorted through the ‘files’ in my head. Could this be Elgar? No. Certainly not this composer or that for various reasons, stylistic or period, etc.

And then it came to me. It was the Adagietto from Bizet’s L’Arlesienne Suite no. 1! Suddenly I was back in 1989, and I could ‘see’ you conducting the rest of us in the Bombay Chamber Orchestra through that lovely movement. It was a lovely flash that lasted a few seconds and then was gone.

I still wasn’t sure, and went back to my cousin’s house in Bombay, switched on the internet, and got onto YouTube. I had to listen past the first two movements and there it was!

I have so much to thank you for; in those nine months you spent with us, you broadened my horizons in ways that I could not have imagined! I am so grateful! You gave me a sense of wonder and awe about music and its connections to the other arts and to history, that I still possess ever since, to this day. Thank you once again!

Lots of love from us all,