Welcome to the summer issue. We are twice blessed by the writing of Jon Tolansky, featuring interviews with two remarkable figures. The first, filmmaker Bruno Monsaingeon, is the more familiar name, with his riveting documentaries on Richter, Gould, Oistrakh, et al. Here, he shares his formative musical influences, and takes us behind the scenes of these memorable projects. And did you know he is a splendid violinist? That, too, is covered.
How many musicians can say they’ve played not only with Frank Sinatra and the Beatles, but also with Pierre Monteux and Benjamin Britten? Almost certainly only one: percussionist Tristan Fry. In a career spanning more than sixty years, and continues apace today, for sheer ability and musicianship he is perhaps the most gifted percussionist of the last half century. Jon is our guide on a retrospective of Tristan Fry’s first sixty years.
Artist and writer Neale Osborne returns, inaugurating a new department: Repertoire Rarities. No epoch will be out of bounds, but the 20th Century will take pride of place. First stop: the music of Gian Francesco Malipiero. Along with an appreciation of this “genuine harlequin”, Neale provides a listening guide to the composer’s opera L’Ofreide. Both are brought to life with his evocative prose and richly imaginative illustrations.
He conducted at the Musikvereinsaal, Carnegie Hall, the Concertgebouw, Royal Albert Hall…the list goes on. But the glorious Indian Summer of Bruno Walter’s long recording career was made at American Legion Hall in Hollywood, California, an unlikely location scouted by a 28-year-old Columbia Records producer named John McClure – in our Soundings Department.
Did you know the founder of Parnassus Records, Leslie Gerber, wrote liner notes for Glenn Gould? From 1970s mail-order LP catalogs to Columbia Records to building his own historical label, not only has Leslie’s life been rich in music, but so have the countless he’s brought music to – read about it in our Label Focus.
In the Art of Cover Art, we profile Joe Weitz. Although he earned his bread and butter as part of the revolutionary Madison Avenue advertising scene of 1950s New York (think “Mad Men”), he also designed amazing cover art for Westminster, Columbia, RCA, Decca, et al. In homage to Bruno Walter, Portraiture and Design reviews the various album covers used for his 1959 Columbia recording of Mozart’s “Haffner” Symphony.
In Part II of “Rachmaninoff at 150”, we survey most of the biographies that have been written about the great composer-pianist-conductor since the 1930s, some with very telling backstories. For Desert Island Discs we travel back to September 1948, Amsterdam. Eduard van Beinum and the Concertgebouw will record a landmark version of Bartók’s Concerto for Orchestra (Decca).
Do you sometimes shop on eBay? Have you lost the occasional auction at the last moment? Then eSnipe is for you. The leading proxy bidding website, it has been profitable longer than Amazon.com. Meet CEO and owner Tom Campbell, and learn how to win the ebay auction for that LP you really, really want.
Another new department begins with this issue: The Curiosity Shop, in which we examine unusual odds and ends in the world of music and collectibles.
Finally, we say goodbye to four amazing pianists in Grace Notes. The Fall issue will be published on 1 November. Thank you again for subscribing and for your support. I hope this finds you well.
—Warm Wishes, Joe Moore