Re: Mentorship / Musical memory for a classical musician
posted at 3/4/2013 1:35 PM EST
One of the great rock stories I have heard regarding Bernstein was from a biopic I saw on Emerson Lake and Palmer. All Keith Emerson ever wanted was Bernstein's approval for some reason. Greg Lake, not so much. All he wanted to know was how Bernstein wrote West Side Story, and if any of Elp's music (Pirates) sounded similar. When the band came out with Work's, and was touring in Paris, Elp's manager Stuart Young invited Emerson and Lake to have dinner and a sit down with Bernstein. Emerson had been working on a piano concerto that he wanted Bernstein to hear. At dinner addressing the group of people around the table, Bernstein made some very sarcastic comments directed at Emerson along the lines of our little musican friend here has written a piano concerto that he wants the world to hear. Tell us how many movements (or something to the effect) does it have and in what form do they take. The people around the table laughed, but Bernstein was serious and wanted to hear the piece, and said he would probably drop by the studio tomorrow to hear it. Here is the rest of the story from Emersons own word's:
"Fine," I said, "Good night!" Stuart and I headed outside to hail a cab.
The next night at the studio I'd forewarned Greg and Carl as to the possibility of a visit, hoping for their best behavior, even though I was still burning.
"So bleeping what?" was Greg's reaction.
Seven o'clock and I see a limo draw up outside and the same cashmere coat, worn cape style, sweep across the courtyard towards the studio entrance.
"He's coming guys!"
The boy delivering the pizza would have received at least a stirring of the gastric juices, but sadly in this case everybody else was too busy with a tape splice. The control room door burst open allowing his magnificence to flood everywhere. Greg with his feet firmly up on the control desk, still smoking a joint, growled "Hi Lenny baby...how they hanging?"
The outcome of this little episode was that "Lenny baby" surprisingly, made no reference at all to Greg's inquiry, or to "America", either of his penning or my attribute, was complimentary on the whole, listening to a "Piano Concerto" and a programmatic piece "Pirates" whilst consulting both scores and watch at the same time. He expressed a concern that sometimes he had a fear of sounding too much like Beethoven - where upon Greg pronounced, "I wouldn't worry about that Lenny, you'll never sound like Beethoven." Bernstein felt like the true caped crusader he'd arrived as, probably relieved that E.L.P. hadn't "fu***ed" with "Somewhere" in protest to the British Labour Parties exorbitant Income Tax rates.
Not really sure if Bernstein like Emerson's piece or not.