Thursday, June 01, 2006

Centenary of a legendary record producer

Walter Legge was born on 1st June 1906, and worked for EMI from 1927 to 1964. He was a legendary record producer, talent spotter, and entrepreneur. The great artists he worked with included Wilhelm Furtwängler, Arturo Toscanini, Herbert von Karajan, Maria Callas, Thomas Beecham, Otto Klemperer, and Dinu Lipatti. Elisabeth Schwarzkopf was both one of his artistes and his wife. The photograph above shows me discussing Legge's legacy with Schwarzkopf a month after his death in 1979, the occasion was an exhibition I created in his honour at the Royal Festival Hall in conjunction with the Philharmonia Orchestra. Legge founded the orchestra as a vehicle for his recordings, and later capriciously abandoned it. Today there are many record company executives that can rival him for ruthlessness, but none that come within a million miles of his artistic vision.

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1 comment:

Guthry Trojan said...

Dear Pliable;
I recently wrote an article for Tokafi.com asking why contemporary classical music record producers seem unable to inovate and develop the recording process in the way that Legge, Culshaw and their contemporaries did in the past. You'll find the article in three parts here, here and here.