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.


<<  -- 4 --  Jennifer Paull    REMINISCENT RETROSPECTIVES


The love and understanding of trains and boats and planes (not the song, the real things) is an awareness little bestowed upon me. My ignorance of their individual charm must be frustrating to the enlightened! I just remember Fritz had a car. It was a very beautiful car with a detachable hood (of which I have no recollection as I only sat inside it when it was open and very full of musicians). I believe it was made circa 1933. I also have a faint idea it was a Bentley, but could not claim that with certainty. I can distinguish between makes of oboe d'amore with much more accuracy than I can models of the aforementioned methods of getting from A to B. I am also going back many pages in quite a crowded, mental diary (I add as a feeble excuse).

The dashboard was the most luscious, polished walnut. The car was the sort of vintage model in which the driver had to pull out long wooden 'doorknobs' from it, which were suitably marked 'choke' or whatever (forgive me). Fritz had cunningly stuck on a '4ft Flute' organ stop and I remember thinking what a brilliant idea that was. The dashboard had been transformed into an organ console -- or so it felt as we thundered through Liverpool, toccata-like (Widor, Symphony No 5). This idea was so typical of the clever man whose languages were spoken or played, always with flair, intelligence and wit. Unlike his travel plans, his books were really well thought out and tremendous, brilliant successes. One of the Learn Yerself Scouse series has been my constant companion for years. I can safely say that nobody in the Swiss, wine-growing village where I live today would understand a single word -- and that not simply because it is not written in French.

All of Fritz' titles are plays on words. I remember his telling me (with more than one grain of salt) that he had always wanted to have a double-barrelled name and 'Looking-Glass' would certainly be a perfect upper crust translation of 'Spiegl' (spiegel = mirror); hence one of his titles, Music through the Looking Glass.

A Selection of Titles:

Keep Taking the Tabloids. What the Papers Say and How They Say It (1983)

The Joy of Words. A Bedside Book for English Lovers (1986)

The Lives, Wives and Loves of the Great Composers (1996)

An Illustrated Everyday History of Liverpool and Merseyside (1998)

MuSick Notes: A Medical Songbook (2001)

Fritz Spiegl's MuSick Notes - A Medical Songbook
Fritz Spiegl's MuSick Notes - A Medical Songbook

Contradictionary: Of Confusibles, Lookalikes and Soundalikes (published posthumously in 2003)

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Copyright © 23 March 2005 Jennifer Paull, Vouvry, Switzerland


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