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August 1, 2009

Remembering the definitive accompanist, Gerald Moore

Maybe it was that list the other day of most-searched stuff on a classical music download site that got me thinking about art songs again -- it was encouraging to see that solo vocal music would register on one of those lists. Then, I noticed that Thursday was the 110th anniversary of the birth of Gerald Moore, the most revered of accompanists.

So, naturally, I started digging around YouTube for some Gerald Moore clips. I could have gone on clicking for hours and hours, but I settled on two that I wanted to share.

First up is the wonderful tenor

Nicolai Gedda singing a song I never knew he sang, "Down By the Salley Gardens," one of my all-time favorite folk songs, in the spare Britten arrangement. Then, elegant and eloquent soprano Victoria de los Angeles sings Schubert's sublime An die Musik, the perfect summation of any musical artist's life. Both of these videos find Gerald Moore revealing, with his usual, calm authority, the art of accompaniment.




Posted by Tim Smith at 7:21 AM | | Comments (2)


I once read that Moore wrote a book about his career working with different artists, but I've never been able to find it. Do you know its title or have you ever read it? (Perhaps other readers could post about it.)

He wrote a few, the most famous being the 1962 'Am I Too Loud?', which turns up in used book stores (Amazon has links to some). TIM

Hello Tim,
Thank you for your tireless efforts to raise awareness of these great artists of the past. Such remembrance should make us appreciate and feel privileged to have a rich musical heritage that has laid the foundation for today's artists. As our mass media are entirely focused on pop culture, it is quite possible -- and frightening -- that the classical art form will fade within a few generations. You deserve extra credit for being a one-person crusade to make the public aware of the rich musical culture available to us.

You're much too kind. But thanks. TIM

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About Tim Smith
Born and raised in Washington, D.C., I couldn't help but develop a keen interest in politics, but music, theater and visual art also proved great attractions. Music became my main focus after high school. I thought about being a cocktail pianist, but I hated taking requests, so I studied music history instead, earning a B.A. in that field from Eisenhower College (Seneca Falls, N.Y.) and an M.A. from Occidental College (Los Angeles). I then landed in journalism. After freelancing for the Washington Post and others, I was classical music critic for the Sun-Sentinel in South Florida, where I also contributed to NPR. I've written for the New York Times, BBC Music Magazine and other publications, and I'm a longtime contributor to Opera News. My book, The NPR Curious Listener's Guide to Classical Music (Perigee, 2002), can be found on the most discerning remainder racks.

I joined the Baltimore Sun as classical music critic in 2000 and, in 2009, also became theater critic, giving me the opportunity to annoy a whole new audience. In 2010, my original Clef Notes blog expanded to encompass a theatrical component -- how could I resist calling it Drama Queens? I hope you'll find both sides of this blog coin worth exploring and reacting to; your own comments are always welcome and valued (well, most of them, at least).

Think of this as your open-all-hours, cyber green room, where there's always a performer or performance to discuss, some news to digest, or maybe just a little good gossip to share.
Note: Tim Smith now writes about the fine arts at This blog will be kept in place as an archive for an indefinite period. Please visit the new location to get the latest Mid-Atlantic arts coverage.
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