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<<  -- 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.

Igor Kipnis and Bill Newman

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.

Paul Myers, Igor Kipnis and Bill Newman

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.

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Copyright © 15 March 2002 Bill Newman, Edgware, UK






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