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CLASSICAL  February 2010

CLASSICAL February 2010

Subject:

Re: Rachmaninoff Mystery Pianist

From:

Steve Schwartz <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

Moderated Classical Music List <[log in to unmask]>

Date:

Wed, 24 Feb 2010 18:27:00 -0800

Content-Type:

text/plain

Parts/Attachments:

Parts/Attachments

text/plain (55 lines)

Bob Sauberly:

>Albert Coates was an arranger of various pieces in most genres as teaching
>items.  He simplifies the technique while retaining the dynamics and
>basic harmonics of pieces.  That's the only Coates I know about who might
>fill the bill here.

From Grove:

Albert Coates

(b St Petersburg, 11/23 April 1882; d Milnerton, nr Cape Town, 11 Dec
1953).  English conductor and composer.  The son of English parents, he
was educated as a scientist at Liverpool University and returned to
Russia to enter his father's business.  Music had a stronger pull than
commerce, however, and in 1902 he entered the Leipzig Conservatory to
study the cello and piano, but became most influenced by Nikisch's
conducting classes.  Coates was engaged as repetiteur at the Leipzig
Opera under Nikisch, then went as conductor successively to Elberfeld
(1906-8), Dresden (as assistant to Schuch) and Mannheim.  An invitation
to conduct Siegfried at St Petersburg in 1911 led to his appointment as
principal conductor at the Mariinsky Theatre there for five years and
brought him into close contact with leading Russian musicians, particularly
Skryabin, of whose music he was a consistent and notable champion.  His
London debut was with the LSO in 1910, and he first appeared at Covent
Garden in 1914 in Tristan und Isolde, and in performances of the Ring
shared with Nikisch.

Leaving Russia in 1919 Coates became a regular conductor with the LSO
in London, giving his first six concerts without fee in order to help
the orchestra.  In this capacity in 1920 he conducted the first performance
of the revised London Symphony by Vaughan Williams, the first complete
performance of Holst's The Planets and the premiere of Bax's Symphony
no.1 (1922); he later introduced to Britain the Third Piano Concerto by
Prokofiev and the Fourth by Rachmaninoff, each with its composer as
soloist.  He began making the first of his many gramophone records with
the LSO in 1920, and took a leading part in the Leeds festivals of 1922
and 1925, at the second of these conducting the premiere of Holst's
Choral Symphony.  Frequent appearances at Covent Garden in Beecham's
opera seasons were interspersed with touring as a guest conductor with
most of the world's leading orchestras, and after his American debut in
1920 he was musical director of the Rochester PO, New York, 1923-5.  His
predilection was for colourful and Romantic works or music of heroic
breadth, corresponding to his own imposing physique.  He settled in South
Africa in 1946 as conductor of the Cape Town Municipal Orchestra.  Among
the best of his recordings are a 1930 Rachmaninoff Third Piano Concerto
with Horowitz, and Wagner extracts with Melchior, Leider and Schorr.

Steve Schwartz

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