Monday 18 September 2000
Costed out a future recording project in detail this morning, as the first stage in the search for a financial backer for it. It’s not cheap (for us anyway) but then nothing ever is when you look at the bottom line. Look higher up the spreadsheet and no-one really gets paid that much.
Catherine Bott emailed me a kind review of a recent concert from the Birmingham Post – rather than being described as her ‘accompanist’ (a label keyboard players are prone to take with slightly hurt feelings), I’m apparently her ‘artistic partner and foil’, which is rather nice. A Dudley Moore to her Peter Cook perhaps? The review signs off with ‘when such a fortepiano is played by McGuinness, who needs a pianoforte?’ As I remember, a good ol’ black pianoforte would have been quite welcome that night, as the little Viennese thing I had to play wasn’t in the best of health. And it was on the radio as well – I’ve never dared listen to the tape, although it’s sitting here on the desk in front of me. Halfway through the afternoon, Malcolm Greenhalgh, who was tuning and did a wonderful job turning the thing into something approaching a musical instrument, exclaimed ‘I hate fortepianos! Give me two organs and four harpsichords any day’.
I had a chance to talk fortepianos this afternoon with Philip Jenkins, who’s head of keyboard studies at the RSAMD. I was in there as external examiner to someone’s harpsichord re-sit – it must be a dismal business, having to prepare for an exam when all the other students are still on holiday. We ended up talking about the downturn in music education in British schools, which is now making itself felt a bit higher up the ladder. Nearly all of his star postgraduate students are now from Eastern Europe or the Far East – the British ones don’t seem to make the grade (or maybe they just go elsewhere).