Music and Vision homepage Jenna Orkin: Writer Wannabe Seeks Brush With Death - From the heights of greatness (the Juilliard School; musicians Rosalyn Tureck and Nadia Boulanger) via way-ward paths to the depths of wickedness these reminiscences will entertain and enlighten.


<<  -- 3 --  Bill Newman    DAME MOURA LYMPANY


She was in her late 70s when we first met, and I was amazed at her marvellous plasticity of keyboard style, outwardly non-virtuosic but rekindling the essence behind the notes in the printed score. My late colleague Joan Jenkins remembered valuable pointers at childhood lessons: 'Never rush as if you are trying to catch a train. Always remain calm when sitting comfortably on the piano stool by relaxing the whole body. Position the hands -- then imagine yourself gently walking on the keys. Arrange your feet on the soft and sustaining pedals in readiness to carry out instructions -- always clearly marked in the score. When playing anything, it is very important to realize that the melody is often in the left hand, too!' As she explained to me: 'During performance I let my fingers do the work by playing into the phrase, making the piano sing the melodic line and bringing out the essential harmonic colours.'

On the subject of early recordings, however, I was adamant in my beliefs. Listening to the Decca discs produced between the mid 40s and early 50s there was so much still to admire and philosophise over, and critical reappraisal has born this out in various CD retransfers. Her first 1945 complete Rachmaninov Preludes, still awaiting reissue, is a remarkable collector's document of poetry and brilliance.

When EMI engaged her these qualities were enhanced, particularly with the advent of superior sound reproduction, for series of recordings that coincided with her reputation at home and abroad. Several no longer on EMI's HMV C 78rpm, CLP/CSD LP prefixes subsequently reappeared on their counterpart Classics for Pleasure, or the now defunct Cambridge label. CFP, encouraged with sales at super budget price, also took the opportunity of making further recordings with her. There were also new additions for the RCA Reader's Digest subscription series. On compact disc, she made two new EMI top sellers -- Best Loved Piano Classics -- which extended her repertoire to include miniatures by Dvorák, MacDowell, Chaminade, Rubinstein, Bach, Daquin, Handel, Paderewski and Satie. Further reissues appeared on Olympia, Dutton, Ivory Classics and Carlton Classics. Her final recordings were for Warner Classics' Erato label.

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Copyright © 24 May 2001 Bill Newman, Edgware, UK




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