sonatas across the room because he didn't like that particular edition, (Simon & Schuster), a gift from my mother. The man, a talented (can't go so far as to call him gifted) pianist, had the piano-side manner of a porcupine, and an ego that occupied what space his seven foot Steinway concert grand didn't take up.
The reason behind this colossal ego? His recent solo piano performance at New York City's Carnegie Hall.
Carnegie Hall! WOW!! Impressive, right? The pinnacle of success has been achieved when you can proclaim that you performed at Carnegie Hall. Or so I thought at the time. Back then I didn't know space in that performance venue can be leased. By anyone. Anyone approved by whoever authorizes the concert billing. I had assumed that Dr. Anti-Simon & Schuster had been invited to perform there. He had not. He'd rented the space for his solo recital. LaDiDah.
The 1990–1991 season at Carnegie Hall marked its centennial. Since the hall's official opening on May 5, 1891, more than 46,000 concerts have been performed in its three halls.
The acoustics are reportedly amazing. The architect, William Burnett Tuthill, opted not to install heavy velvet curtains and chandeliers commonly seen in theater halls, believing they impaired good sound distribution. The elliptical shape with a slightly extended stage and domed ceiling allow sounds, from pianissimo to sforzando to be heard in any location in the hall with equal clarity and richness.
A fellow approached a man carrying a violin case leaving Carnegie Hall from the backstage entrance and asked,
"Could you tell me how to get to Carnegie Hall?"
(The violinist was Mischa Elman.) Without slowing down
he answered, "Practice."
it would take five years to recover from that concert touted as a circus show before another hard rock band was allowed in the hallowed Hall: Led Zeppelin. Can't imagine either of these bands playing in such a stately space. With its superb acoustics I wouldn't be surprised if some audience members left with less hearing ability than what they walked in with.
A photo I took of Royal Albert Hall during my 2006 visit to London. Six MILLION red bricks!
1808-1828 and subsequently occupied between 1836-1849 by the Countess of Blessington and Count D’Orsay. After they vacated the house in 1851 it was opened as the ‘Universal Symposium of All Nations’, a restaurant run by chef Alexis Soyer.
Royal Albert Hall interior....a venue used not only for
concerts, but sporting events as well. This image reminded me of when I saw John McEnroe and Jimmy Connors go to battle with their tennis rackets and infamous verbal sparring in New Orleans' Superdome, late 1970s.
Sir Thomas Beecham, British conductor
Wilhelm (Richard) Wagner, German composer
Van Morrison, British singer-songwriter
Kendo Nagasaki/Peter Thornley, British masked
John McEnroe, 50 times (plays annually in the Masters
tennis tournament in December)
Victoria Wood, British comedian, actress, pianist
Cirque du Soleil, French-Canadian circus troupe;
Bonnie Tyler, Welsh singer-songwriter
Anna Pavlova, Russian ballerina
Oscar Peterson, Canadian jazz pianist, composer
Giuseppi Verdi, Italian composer
And tens of dozens more: Moody Blues, Beach Boys, Meatloaf, John Fogerty, Crosby/Stills&Nash, The Who, Chuck Berry, The Rolling Stones, Yoko Ono and of course, Sir Elton John.