As a youngster, I remember reading about these two artists and their recording sessions and informal concerts wherever there were havens of relative safety available, during Hitler's obscene attacks on the civilians living in the principal cities and towns of England.
Which leads me to the many recitals that Myra Hess gave during this period, with Royalty attending at times. Hess did not hesitate in lending her great talents to her loving audiences at a time when Dame Myra was at the height of her powers, giving these oppressed people some respite and relief through the magic of her Mozart and Beethoven ; to mention but two of a massive number of the great composers she could perform at any given time.
Hess is still remembered, especially in Great Britain, as one of her great musicians - her recordings are the testimony, as to her place in the history of music.
Incidentally, she was a great Jazz enthusiast, and happened to be a teacher of the mother of none other than Dave Brubeck.
Another lady, who, sadly, is less well remembered, was Eileen Joyce. Although a native Australian, she spent her adult life in Britain , and was thought of as a British pianist.
Her pianistic powers were astonishing, and at a young age, was recognized rather quickly. The critic Kolodin wrote of her as "the greatest unknown pianist in the world." Her repertoire was amazingly wide and eclectic; more importantly, her artistry was top level. Unfortunately, rheumatism invaded her system, and her career was relatively brief, about thirty years. This event shortened not only her career but also historic remembrance, and her attainments have been pretty well obfuscated by time.
But, may I mention just a few of the great number of conductors who were her partners when she chose to play a Concerto?
Sergiu Celibidache; Eugene Ormandy; Sir Colin Davis, Sir Thomas Beecham; Herbert Von Karajan...
Pretty fair company -
Labels: Two Great Ladies