The reward for a really bad review
December 30, 2014 by norman lebrecht
Echoes of Harold Schonberg’s Times review that supposedly killed Claude Frank’s career in New York continue to resound.
Here’s how Harold began his review:
Claude Frank, who was a Schnabel student and in recent years has been active with Rudolf Serkin at the Marlboro Music Festival, can, on the basis of his Schumann performance last night, be described as a junior‐executive model of an American pianist. In one respect, his performance of the concerto was quite good—technically clean, musically and rhythmically dependable, textually faithful. It was efficiency personified.
But from another respect, the performance was disappointing. The A minor Concerto is nothing if not poetic; and Mr. Frank’s businesslike playing was skimpy in poetry.
However, a distinguished third party who was involved in these events informs us as follows:
‘Let it be known that George Szell ,who conducted that New York Philharmonic concert, was so annoyed by Schonberg’s review that he changed an already set Cleveland Orchestra program for the following season in order to have Claude play with him there. So actually Harold got Claude an extra and most elegant engagement.’
Good for Szell!
Next Article Previous Article