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- Moura Lympany - Pouishnoff -
- Louis Kentner - Eileen Joyce -


   LINKS to other pages in this site and to other sites in the Travelling Days series:

Autographs Home Page:      Bedford 1939 onwards:      BBC in Bedford:
BBC Symphony Orchestra Personalities:      Bedford Miscellany:       Bedford School (1940s):
Composers:      Conductors:       David Gentleman:      Glenn Miller:       Instrumentalists:
Personalities of the 1940s:       Pianists Part 1:       Pianists Part 3:       The RAEC in Cornwall:
Religion and Drama:       Singers:       BBC in Cornwall 1949:      Colin Day's List-O-Links:
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MOURA LYMPANY was born Mary Johnstone at Saltash, Cornwall, on August 18 1916. She made her first public appearance at the age of twelve, performing Mendelssohn's G minor Concerto in Harrogate with Basil Cameron conducting. He advised her to glamorise her name so she changed Mary into Moura and her mother's maiden name of Limpenny was adapted to Lympany. In 1932 she performed at the Queen's Hall playing the Grieg Piano Concerto under Sir Henry Wood. She played at her first Promenade Concert in 1937; over following years she made more than 50 appearances in the Promenade series of concerts.

    Moura Lympany became intimately associated with the Khachaturian Piano Concerto, giving its first performance outside Russia in 1940 and later performing it at the Royal Albert Hall with the composer as conductor.

    During the Second World War, she became a national figure, playing at the National Gallery lunchtime concerts and performing concertos with orchestras throughout Britain. With Eileen Joyce, Myra Hess, Pouishnoff, Solomon and Moiseiwitsch, she became part of wartime musical life when piano concertos were all the rage. In 1940 she gave the British premiere of Khachaturyan's concerto, with which she became identified.She was the first pianist to record the complete Rachmaninov Preludes (on nine 78's).

    A recording for EMI of the Mendelssohn Concerto in G minor and the Litolff Scherzo was supervised by Walter Legge, an exciting but rather frightening experience because of Legge’s exacting demands. The latter recording, now reissued on CD, became extremely popular, being requested on the BBC programme, ‘Family Favourites’ for many years.MouraLympany2.jpg - 34732 Bytes

    After the war she made her American debut in 1948. She gave concerts and recitals throughout Europe and in Canada, South America, Australia, New Zealand and India. Around 1970 her career went through a stormy period. She said, "I was playing more wrong notes than I should have done." When she spoke about this to conductor Herbert von Karajan, he replied, "No, today you must play the right notes. In the age of recording, people expect it. You can't get away with it any more." "He was right," she said. She was appointed CBE in 1979. In 1980, Belgium made her a Commander of the Order of the Crown and in 1992 France made her Chevalier de l'Ordre des Arts et des Lettres. In 1992 Moura Lympany was made a Dame Commander of the British Empire in recognition of her services to music. She also became a Fellow of the Royal College of Music. Two of her more recent recordings for EMI of ‘best-loved classics’ have sold over 150,000 copies. She died on 28 March 2005 at Menton, in France.


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LEFF POUISHNOFF, born in 1891 in the Ukraine, became a pianist of merit in the 1920s and retained his outstanding position throughout WWII and beyond. Many of his highly regarded recordings are still available. Pouishnoff died in 1959.

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LOUIS KENTNER was born in Karwin, Silesia (now Karviná, Czechoslovakia) on 19 July 1905. At the age of eleven he was commended for his playing of Chopin in a concert at the Budapest Academy of Music and made his official public début at the age of 15. and went on to tour Europe and later the USA. At that time he was particularly admired for his delicacy and grandeur in Chopin and Liszt though after

    In 1933 he gave the first Hungarian performance of Bartok's Second Concerto and he later made a speciality of that composer's music. In 1935 Kentner settled in London where he won special acclaim as an interpreter of Mozart, Beethoven, Liszt and Chopin. The music critic, William Mann, wrote, ‘…his glittering bravura, powerful technique, refined artistry and vivid temperament (combined) to make him a particularly comprehensive interpreter of Liszt's music.

    In 1946 he gave the first European performance in London of Bartok's Third Concerto. He also championed the music of contemporary British composers, notably Rawsthorne, Tippett, and Walton, whose Violin Sonata was composed for Kentner and his brother-in-law Yehudi Menuhin. He was made a CBE in 1978.  He died in 1987.

    He is recorded as having performed in Sir Henry Wood’s 50th and last Promenade Concert Season in 1944 – many of the concerts were performed in Bedford and not in the Royal Albert Hall due to the danger from flying bombs. The autograph was obtained one of those concerts. (See the BBC in Bedford page)


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EILEEN JOYCE. The autograph was obtained in the mid 1940s when Eileen Joyce was reaching the peak of her popularity. I remember vividly a very attractive, smartly dressed woman but most particularly her perfume which surrounded her like an aura!

    While it has usually been stated that Eileen Joyce was born to Joe and Alice Joyce Zeehan, Tasmania in 1912 it now seems that she made her first appearance on the world stage on New Year’s Day 1908!  (It is said that Eileen perpetuated, for reasons known only to herself, this and various other errors regarding her early years throughout her life.)

    At the age of two she moved with her family to Kununoppin in Western Australia and later to Boulder where her father worked as a timberman in the Golden Horseshoe gold mine. Eileen first took piano lessons in Boulder and later at boarding school, the Loreto Convent, in Perth. Eileen played for Percy Grainger and Wilhelm Backhaus when they visited Joyce1.jpg - 16004 BytesPerth and both were impressed with her performances.

    With money raised by the local people, Eileen Joyce travelled to Germany (1927) and became a student under Robert Teichmuller at the Leipzig Conservatorium. Returning to Britain in 1930, she approached Myra Hess, president of the Tobias Matthay School of Music, and was accepted for study there. Also in 1930, with a letter of introduction from Teichmuller, she approached the conductor, Albert Coates. His influence led to her London debut in a performance of the Prokofiev concerto with Sir Henry Wood and the London Philharmonic Orchestra at a Promenade Concert on 6 September 1930. She soon became one of the BBC’s most regular broadcasting artists and was in demand for concert tours in the provinces. She also made a recording with the Parlophone company which was so successful that a seven year contract was offered to her.

    Eileen married Douglas Barrett in London in 1937 and had a son, John in 1939. Her husband, who joined the Royal Navy Volunteer Reserve in 1940 was killed on active service off the coast of Norway in 1942. She subsequently met and later lived with Christopher Mann, who in the 1930s had set up what eventually became a prestigious film and theatrical agency.

    During the war Eileen performed regularly as a solo recitalist and with the BBC Symphony, the London Philharmonic and Halle Orchestras under such conductors as Sir Adrian Boult, Malcolm Sargent, Sir Henry Wood, Basil Cameron, Clarence Raybould, Leslie Heward, Constant Lambert and Albert Coates. She appeared regularly at the famous National Gallery concerts organised by Myra Hess and became widely known through her performances around the country in Jack Hylton's ‘Blitz Tours'.

    In 1943, in conjunction with various conductors and fellow pianist Benno Moiseiwitsch, she made a film with the London Philharmonic Orchestra entitled 'Battle for Music'. She also participated in Sydney Box’s film 'The Seventh Veil' starring James Mason and Ann Todd and with the London Symphony Orchestra under Arnold Goldsborough and Muir Mathieson.

    It was David Lean’s film 'Brief Encounter' (1945) that brought her fame in this field by her playing of the C minor Rachmaninov concerto with the National Symphony Orchestra under Muir Matheison ‘coursing unforgettably through the shadows and smoke of Noël Coward's screenplay’ (Richard Davis). She also appeared in 'Girl in a Million' and the (allegedly) biographical 'Wherever She Goes' She performed with all principal UK orchestras as well as those of Berlin, France, Italy and New York. She visited Australia in 1936 and 1948, the USA in 1950, South Africa also in 1950, the Netherlands and Scandinavia in 1951, Finland and South America in 1952, New Zealand and Russia in 1958.

    In 1960 Eileen Joyce decided to give up the arduous life of a concert pianist which was beginning seriously to affect her health. Apart from some isolated appearances in the UK and Australia she didn't perform again in public for the rest of her life. Her partner, Christopher Mann, died in 1978. Eileen Joyce received honorary Doctorates of Music from Cambridge University in 1971 and the University of Western Australia in 1979.
    In her early professional years she lived in London, moving to Oxfordshire and later to Chartwell Farm in Sussex where she became a neighbour of Winston and Clementine Churchill. When her health began to decline she moved to Limpsfield in Surrey. She died in March 1991.

    Throughout the 1970s and ‘80s she gave generously to charitable organisations and individuals. She gave money to establish a foundation to help keyboard graduates at School of Music at the University of Western Australia and to provide for the construction of an intimate venue for recitals and chamber music. The latter was built in 1981 and named the Eileen Joyce Studio. The nearby Callaway International Resource Centre (named after the late Sir Frank Callaway) houses Eileen Joyce’s extensive and comprehensive personal archives which she presented to the centre in 1989. Eileen Joyce also leaves the legacy of her recordings many of which have been re-released over recent years.

Main sources:
    ‘Eileen Joyce – a Portrait’ by Richard Davis. Published in Fremantle, Western Australia by the Fremantle Arts Centre Press in 2001.
    The late I.W. (Bill) Wood formerly of Zeehan, Tasmania.


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