Interview with Maria Kämmerling about Leif Christensen (April 2018)
When and how did you met Leif Christensen?
I met Leif on a ….. guitarcourse in Germany …. in the late 60th.
Listening to his records I was surprised to find a different kind of guitar player: he didn’t follow an ideal recital but he prefered to play the intire repertoire of a composer.. this was different at those times…
You are right in seeing Leif as a player who always did everything to perform the composer correctly.Therefor he concentrated on just ONE composer, he didn´t like potpourri-performances at all.
How did he decide to play both Royal Winter Music Sonatas? He was the first to record them…
We knew Julian Breams recording of H.W.Henzes Royal Winter Music nr.1 and than the desire to record both Winter Musics grew in Leif and at last : he did it !
You were a great duo, what did you prefer to play? Your record with Giuliani music was fantastic…
During our marriage I always had played chamber music with different colleguas and I said to Leif “we two ought to play guitar duets”,but his answer always was “oh, no, when we two start to play together then we´ll be divorced” – because we had many musician-couples at the music academy who got devorced as soon as they began to play together……
But in the 80th I got Leif convinced that we ought to play together, and it worked very well.
It was classical guitar duets – we played on two instuments from the time- but it´s possible that we also would have found the way to other periods in guitar-duet playing.
What was he working on when that terrible accident happend?
In 1988 at the time of our car crash Leif was in the recording his Tarrega-CD. He had finished the half of it, and our record company PAULA publihed the Tarrega together with his earlier made Llobet-CD.
How did he find the music of Vasilii Stepanovich Sarenko? I think that he was the only one to make a record with his repertoire..the music is really beautiful…
Your ask about Sarenko. You see, Leif had contact to Matanya Ophee in Boston,USA. Matanya is russian and he got Leif interested in russian music. Matanya would have preferred that Leif made CD with different russian guitarcomposers.
But – as I mentioned before – Leif prefered to concentrate on ONE composer,and,after at have looked on several composers, he said to me “I think I´ll take Sarenko”.
And it´s beautyful music. But of course he had to have a russian guitar. So he got the instrument from Russia and played his Sarenko.
What would you think his carrer could be now, without that crash car?
You ask what I think Leif would have done further on. Oh yes,he would have made at lot. As Erik sìStenstadvold writes on the CD-label “his legacy of records is greater than many musicians realize in a lifetme.”
Maria, this is my last question: what happend to you after that terrible car incident? What did you do after it?
Your last question is about my life. The last 30 years are completely different from my life with Leif and our music.
I lost my job at the conserbatory but luckly I got lessons at the musicshool in Holstebro (in the northwest of Jutland) where I moved in 1999. Now I’m retiered (I am 72 now) and I have to calm down with everything. My town – Holstebro- is quite interesting on the cultural plane and I often listen to classical concerts.
Of course the last 30 years of my life have been complicated – but who is telling us that life has to bee easy ????