Clifford Michael Siegenberg. Beethoven 111, with Kenny.

I have written or recounted many anecdotal stories about certain musicians whom I have met or with whom I’ve performed.

Clifford Michael Siegenberg was born in  London  to Michael and Constance Mary Siegenberg (née Young). The family soon afterwards changed their name to Curzon. (for many,he was one of the finest pianists of his generation)
For me, I remember the recording he made with Szell and the Cleveland Orchestra of the Brahms D minor Piano Concerto as being exquisite.
Unlike the recording made of the same work by Glenn Gould with Leonard Bernstein and the New York Philhrmonic, there was simply little  controversy. The Gould perfomance is quite slow, slower than standard tempi and in general, not a great performance, the Szell recording with Curzon can be called definitive.
Curson, imself ,also related anecdotes. He mentioned having played the first movement of one of the 5 Beethoven concerti for piano, and momentarily forgetting whch second movement was to follow. He said, it gave him pause, a moment of panic.

Here is the true story of Kenny (M.K. Wolf,MD,  having recently recently joined the majority) my dear friend and accompanist.

Sir Clifford was to play a concert at Fontainbleau, and there was also to be a Master Class on Beethoven Opus 111.

Kenny and his wife Emily, were touring the summer piano festivals, entering as many as they could.(I think he won a prize at Bolzano, which they hung up in their smallest bathroom).

Upon hearing of the Curzon Master Class, they rushed to Fontainebleau to participate.

Kenny ran up to Mlle. Boulanger, and in his high voice, asked to play for them.
She admonished him for running up to her, which she considered some kind of affront, but allowed him to play.

Here is the scene which happened in the concert hall, “Le jeu de Paume”, (yes the former royal tennis court).
Curzon sat at one end of the piano and boulanger at the other, both shaking thier heads in a negative manner, (as if they were judging Til Eulenspiegel, one could imagine) Of course, Kenny used no music. After each comment, he would reply, “well Schnabel said to play it this way”.

Kenny had studied the work with Arthur Schnabel who had also taught Sir Clifford Curzon.

It did not go well. This was a particular “way” that Kenny had with people. He was quick and brash and had a very high voice.

While he had a rich career in both music and medicine, he was never good at promoting his musical side. People like me were there to help.I wish he were here now.

stay well.

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