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


Paris, Rome and Milan -- those were uncertain times just before the declaration of World War II. Afterwards, there were the National Gallery Concerts founded by Dame Myra Hess, and concerts at the Cambridge Theatre where Moura performed Brahms Second and Rachmaninov Third Concertos with Sidney Beer, which together with the Khachaturian Concerto directed by Alan Bush, one year on in 1940, laid the foundations for her international career. The war didn't stop music-making and she was busy playing to factory and dock workers throughout Britain, literally working like mad. Then she met Lt Col Colin Defries, who she eventually agreed to marry. He was kind, but much older, and it resembled a father-daughter type relationship, she asking if he would agree to a separation if she should meet a younger man.

A recording of the Mendelssohn Concerto in G minor and the Litolff Scherzo for EMI was supervised by Walter Legge, at the time exciting but rather frightening because of his exacting demands, superfine hearing and quest for perfection. Legge wanted more repertoire from her, but Moura refused, pleading that Gieseking and Cortot had better versions of Debussy and Chopin already on their catalogue.

Liberated Paris witnessed her collaboration with Sir Adrian Boult and L'Orchestre de la Societé des Concerts du Conservatoire in the Khachaturian once more, and Alan Rawsthorne's Piano Concerto No 1. A dinner Party saw her in a beautifully engaging new Ricci style dress. She performed at the Proms in the summer of 1945, and she was invited to appear the next year at the Prague Spring Festival that the Czechs were planning, the British Council sponsoring the British contingent. Boult was again on hand to accompany her in John Ireland's Piano Concerto, and there was a marathon solo recital the next day.

At long last in 1948, came the promised début in the United States, the unexpected meeting with Bennet Korn, who worked in radio, eventually television. The problems of separating from husband Colin, the eventual marriage to Bennet, the bright life and late nights, trying to have a family three times without success and not trying so hard to continue her musical career led to another divorce in 1961. After a passionate affair, she decided to return to England and also consulted her Rome agent for advice. She was told: 'You're completely forgotten. They're all whizz-kids here'.

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Copyright © 29 May 2001 Bill Newman, Edgware, UK




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