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Monday, September 29, 2008


Conductor David Tidboald releases book of recollections.

David Tidboald, now retired, is a household name among lovers of classical music – particularly in the Western Cape and in KwaZulu-Natal. He is intimately associated with three South African orchestras: the Cape Town Municipal Orchestra (later to become the CTSO) of which he was resident conductor from 1960 to 1965; and the Capab Orchestra and the Natal Philharmonic (now the KwaZulu-Natal Philharmonic), both of which he was invited to help form.

People I Made Music With, appropriately subtitled “candid memoirs”, is a book of recollections of many of the fascinating people he encountered during a long and distinguished career in music. It also provides interesting insights into the international music scene in several cities – Berlin, London, Cape Town and Durban – at the time they played a role in his life.

As pianist and conductor, Tidboald worked with many of the greatest artists – conductors, pianists, composers, singers and dancers – of his time, among them: John Barbirolli; Victoria de los Ángeles; Marita Napier; Igor Stravinski; Adrian Boult; Kathleen Ferrier; Birgit Nilsson; Cecilia Wessels; Mimi Coertse; Margot Fonteyn; Anna Russell and Narcisco Yepes.

Readers are given a refreshingly frank glimpse, clad in droll and elegant prose, of his collaboration with these artists and the many other individuals recalled in this book (and listed in a comprehensive index). Although this is not an autobiography, his life in music was one of enviable variety.

Hannah Morris’s delightful drawings at the opening of each short chapter, together with the 12-page photo section, add visual appeal to a book that will be of special interest to music lovers everywhere. As the author rightly says in his introduction, “When one has been privileged to have had a career in one of the arts, which involved working with, and in many cases getting to know, some of the leading artists of the last half century, it does seem something of a waste to make one’s departure from this planet without recording impressions of these remarkable people.”

Born in England in 1926 in the historic naval port of Plymouth, David Tidboald now enjoys his retirement in Simon’s Town, South Africa’s equivalent. Oddly enough, it was while doing national service in the Royal Navy at the end of World War II that he was sent to Berlin, where he was presented with opportunities that led to his career in music.

Published by Umuzi, South African imprint of Random House, People I Made Music With is published in paperback and the recommended retail price is R150. ISBN 978-1-4152-0055-1

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