Saturday, March 7, 2009

Into the Gramophone's archives

Today brought a big deal for nuts like me. You can now log onto Gramophone Magazine's Web site and get free access to their archives. That is all the magazines since 1923!!

This is fantastic. This is like Christmas! I love Gramophone ever since they were nice enough to print my letter and now I dived into their archives with excitement and glee. That is my letter pictured above. See, not only do I enjoy perusing the archives, I am in them.

Once I signed onto the archives, I know you will find this hard to believe but the first thing I looked up was: "Pennario." There were over 150 references to him. This is heaven. This is the kind of thing I dream about at night.

There was one story where someone caught up with Pennario at his hotel when he was in London and got two quotes out of him. One was: "I feel something like a phantom." Because as the writer pointed out, Pennario had not been to London for six years, and existed to the public only through his records. This was in 1958 and he had not been there since 1952 when he made his debut at the Wigmore Hall.

Wow, Pennario would hate that link I put just now. He would totally kill me.

Where was I? I got a kick out of reading that interview, is what I was saying. I have found so few interviews with Leonard Pennario. That is one reason I wanted to write about him. No one else over the years ever seemed to have had much luck sitting him down and getting him to talk.

Here is the other quote Pennario gave to the Gramophone reporter.

We talked about what he called "intercutting "—the joining together of several "takes" to make a record which is presented as a single performance. Pennario likes to minimize this practice, but told me of a fellow pianist who actually boasted that there were one hundred splices in the master-tape of a single recording. Pennario does not concern himself with engineering techniques in the studio: "People say — was there one mike? Where was it placed? But I never know, because I'm in another world."

Isn't that wonderful? That made me all proud and nostalgic for the old man. I am reading it thinking yep, that's my guy. That's Pennario.

I wonder who that pianist was with 100 splices. Ahahahahahaha!

I do not expect that anyone will have one tenth the fun I am having with Gramophone's archives! But it is nice to know they are there, that is for sure. Explore them, have fun. It's free. Just click here.

1 comment:

  1. I don't know the name, but I'll bet it was the same guy who heard the assembled performance in the company of recording execs and the conductor he had recorded with (it was for a concerto). According to the story, at the end of the piece, the pianist looked at everyone and said, "Pretty good, eh?" The conductor replied, "It's beautiful. Don't you wish you could play like that?"