Thursday, October 6, 2016

Schulenberg's Page: New York, Part LXXX

Text and Illustrations by ©Bob Schulenberg

New York, 1966.
It was planned that we'd be flying to England to show our movie, THE SECRET CINEMA, on Thanksgiving at The London Film Festival.

A couple of weeks before we left, Charlie Farrell and John Hawkins hosted a party.
I was also invited to attend a concert of Vladimir Horowitz' in New Haven, Connecticut. My cousin Adrienne Albert was a singer and had appeared on Columbia Records with Igor Stravinsky conducting.
Adrienne Albert and Igor Stravinsky.
She had met and married John McClure, Stravinsky's producer and John, being the head of Columbia Masterworks, was also Horowitz' producer.
John McClure with Leonard Bernstein whose recordings John also produced.
Horowitz had been absent from the concert stage for a while and many rumors had circulated about him. People had questioned his health, physically and mentally. I'd even heard that he was thinking his fingers were made of glass and were in danger of shattering! Fantastic rumors!

Therefore, his upcoming return concert at Carnegie Hall was sure to be a major event! The New Haven concert was a smaller occasion — a sort of out-of-town tryout.
I was excited to be invited.
On the way to Connecticut I had told John that although as a pianist I'd found Horowitz' technique and facility to be amazing to the point of supernatural, I thought that he lacked a certain poetic warmth and tended to lean toward the spectacular, crowd pleasing works, pieces that showcased this once-in-a-lifetime brilliance.
The concert was as spectacular as ever and Horowitz was back as brilliant as he'd ever been. But then there was an encore, Debussy's Des pas sur la neige ("Footprints in the Snow"), a favored piece I had once played, a piece so difficult because of its simplicity. It's all about stillness and a thick, snowy atmosphere with only footprints delineating the cold white landscape.

Horowitz played it and to my surprise showed as much restraint and sensitivity as I'd ever heard. It was overwhelming and perfect and I noticed John studying my reaction.
I wiped my eyes and he winked.
The next day, back in the city, I went to The School of Visual Arts for a talk on Animation.
Animation was changing with new methods, the beginnings of computers being used and there was an impressive demonstration. Up until this point, animation was in a sort of decline and this had the promise of opening new opportunities for it.
Back uptown by taxi.
The next night, Peter Shaffer had me invite friends to dinner with him at Elaine's. He wanted to meet some younger people.
So it was Carole Gister (Starkes) ...
Harald "Howdy" Hoeffding ...
... and Paul Bartel. It was an interesting evening of conversation about theater and of course the excitement Paul and I felt about going to London in a week to show our film.
The next night it was back to Elaine's for dinner with Adrienne, John, and John Berg, the art director for Columbia Records with whom I was now doing record covers.
John decided to add a few cigarettes to my drawing of him ...
... and then did a drawing of me.
Andy Warhol had dropped by earlier so John decided to "become" Warhol for another version.
Somehow in the course of the evening, it appears to have become necessary to include Konrad Adenauer!
But the next day, a Saturday, it was time to get things done to get ready for London.
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