Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Edwin Paling

Edwin Paling was the leader of the RSNO who, it seems, has gone to live down under (for non-English speakers that does not mean he has died, but that he has gone to live in Australia [or 'Oz']).

I remember him well, having seen him first when he was a mere stripling of a lad (though older than me), sitting beside the then leader of the RSNO, Michael Davies. That would have been in the season of 1975/76 when I had a season ticket for every single concert; and a great season it was, too - it included what must have been Arthur Rubinstein's last concert in Scotland; there was also a young Ralph Kirshbaum (who was 60 last year), and John Lill, Ida Haendel, Menuhin (in the proms preceeding the season)....

A good few years later, when I could again afford concert tickets, I found him sitting, buddhaesque, in the leader's seat - which, it seems, he occupied for over 20 years. Michael Tumelty, the Glasgow Herald Critic, also forever, says that according to Paling the orchestra was totally leaderless after the death of Sir Alexander Gibson, since many of the conductors who worked with the orchestra were not also music directors - and there was no music director to plan the concert programming. Leaving it on guess who's shoulders?

This seems to be a bit of a non-story given that for the last three years the orchestra has again had a music director and conductor, Stephane Deneve, who seems to be doing very well. I hope they will produce as many recordings as they did under Neeme Järvi, who seems to have recorded everything he ever performed - only a few days ago I bought their recording of Shostakovich Ballet Suites.

I wonder if Mr Paling is going to continue working in Oz? Let's see what I find out when I get there in June.