Tuesday, 30 July 2013

Moore Music

The great accompanist Gerald Moore - born on this day in 1899 - had a slow and tortuous start in music. In boyhood, his mother had to drag him to the piano, 'an unwilling, snivelling child - I did not absorb music into my being until my middle twenties'. At one time, while living with his family in Toronto, he found himself working as a cinema organist, accompanying silent films. He characterised the cinema organ as 'an instrument of torture, sharing pride of place for sheer horror with the saxophone, the harmonica and the concertina'. No bagpipes? Perhaps they don't qualify as a musical instrument - no reason why they should... As for the harmonica, I'm inclined to agree, but this morning I had a listen to Vaughan Williams's Romance for Harmonica, Strings and Piano - and it's really rather good, using the harmonica's strange sound qualities to produce some very pleasing textures. Here's a link...
As for the concertina - here's a concertina band playing Vaughan Williams.
But back to Moore - here he is with Fischer-Dieskau and Schubert. At his farewell concert in 1967, Moore ended, solo, with a piano arrangement of An Die Musik. What better swansong?