<< -- 3 -- Bill Newman MIND MY HARPSICHORD!
As I remember it, those stairs were just about wide enough to accommodate
said harpsichord, but cornering was extremely hazardous. About eight able-minded
bodies, controlled by the grinning Kipnis had a never-to-be-forgotten adventure
in how to tilt, without dropping or letting go, said cumbersome and expensive
object through about six 90 degree turns, and not one succumbed to heart
failure! Gerard Hoffnung, who was still alive then, should have been there.
I can only compare it to a situation in reverse, that I tried to negotiate
but had to give up on, involving endeavouring to lift, by some unseemly
device, an upright piano from a photographer's window to be taken away and
deposited in our family lounge. It wouldn't go down the guy's stairs, let
alone through his bedroom door or window area! Such was part of my life,
at that period.
I can remember incidents at those sessions, as if they were yesterday.
I had a kind of telepathetic relationship with Nev -- who I thought was in
love with leader Iona Brown, with whom he was flirting madly. Then there
was Kenneth Heath, cello, from my EMI-Mercury days, and John Brown, double-bass,
who struck me as the musical equivalent of 'Uncle Mac' on BBC's Children's
Hour. A nice bunch! Igor was busy most of the time scoffing a hamburger,
which he propped up on the music stand before and after solos. The only
musician I didn't converse with was oboist Janet Craxton who had an important
role to play in Concerto No 8 in D minor, reconstructed from Bach's manuscript
by Igor himself. I also vaguely remember the two Dolmetsch sisters Jeanne
and Marguerite, but they were too busy rehearsing for their part in No 7
in G minor.
The control room was partitioned off at the rear -- a kind of elongated
area with one large and lengthy arm chair at the back, and long tables for
the unflappable producer Paul Myers and his engineer assistants. Steven
E Paul (later a producer for Columbia Masterworks) was editor. Igor had
his main say in all takes, while Neville kept a perfect sense of perspective
overall. Olympic's stark, extremely bright lighting -- after all it is a
pop studio -- may have caused some tiredness to some, but we were too busy
to notice it.
Copyright © 15 March 2002
Bill Newman, Edgware, UK
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