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People David Tidboald Made Music With

People I Made Music WithDavid 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, both of which he was invited to help form.

His 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. 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.

Tidboald gives us a refreshingly frank glimpse, clad in droll and elegant prose, of his collaboration with the many artists other individuals recalled in his book (and listed in a comprehensive index). Although this is not a strict 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 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.”

Read an excerpt

Joyce Barker 1931-1992

It has not proved easy to come up with a pen-picture either of Joyce the singer or of Joyce the woman. I was extremely fond of both, but it is hard to convey the fact when one goes into the details of her progressively problematic life. First and foremost: no one who listens to the CD of a performance of Turandot she sang way back in 1965, made from a tape that had lain unheard for more than thirty years, can doubt that she had a superb voice (one critic in the United States felt it was the most sheerly beautiful Turandot on record). And what a joy to a conductor she was.

About the author

Born in England in 1926 in the historic naval port of Plymouth, David Tidboald now enjoys his retirement in Simonstown, 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.

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
Narcisco Yepes

Book Details


Recent comments:

  • <a href="" rel="nofollow">Liesl</a>
    September 4th, 2008 @17:22 #

    I do not see my name there, but I have a picture to prove it (or once had) that I played as a soloist under the baton of David Tidboald. Must have been in about 1988, the NAPAC Young Artists' Concerto Festival. I played a very wobbly Weber Bassoon Concerto.

    Just last week I dreamed that I was listening to a recording of the work, noting the diabolical intonation, sharp all the way through. The terrible awareness eventually dawned that I was listening to a 20-year-old recording. Why did nobody tell me how out of tune I was? Why could I not hear?


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