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I thought of this again recently when passing through Saltash, birth place of Moura Lympany in 1916, en route to Plymouth. During one of our several discussions she pulled me up sharply: 'Don't you think my later performances are more musical?' To prove her point she had just given a magisterial account of Brahms' Piano Concerto in B flat major with Thomas Sanderling at the Barbican which quite eclipsed a radio transcription of the same work nearly 50 years earlier. And there was Rachmaninov Two at the Proms with Vernon Handley, as well as solo recitals at the Royal Festival Hall (standing in for Tatiana Nikolayeva who had died suddenly), the Hendon Music Society -- particularly her Albéniz, and the Wigmore Hall which included a remarkable Beethoven Sonata Op 109. Unaccountably, I had previously missed out on many other live appearances, except that sensational Khachaturian Concerto with the Philharmonia Orchestra under the composer's direction at the Royal Albert Hall in the mid 50s, and Tchaikovsky's B flat minor with the Royal Philharmonic.

I now found myself dashing up and down the country, wherever she was due to appear!

Her wide cross section of repertoire spans Mozart, Beethoven, Weber, Mendelssohn, Schumann, Brahms, Chopin, Liszt, Grieg, Saint-Saëns, Franck, d'Indy, Dohnanyí and Litolff, taking in other Russian composers like Balakirev, Scriabin, Shostakovich, Prokofiev and Schoenberg; the French impressionists Debussy and Ravel, the Spanish -- Albéniz, Granados, Falla and Turina -- through to 20th Century British post-Romantics Delius, Ireland, Rawsthorne and Arnell.

The Concerto by Richard Arnell -- a composer at one time championed by Beecham -- was premiered in the States with Izler Solomon. Also resident in the USA was Ernest Bloch, and Moura performed the concertante piano part in his Concerto Grosso No 1. Other rarities worthy of mention were Armstrong Gibbs' Peacock Pie Suite and Benjamin Dale's Sonata.

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Copyright © 24 May 2001 Bill Newman, Edgware, UK




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