Monday, October 09, 2006

Meeting and recording Isaac Stern ...In Gaylordsville Conn. 12/14/2000

Isaac Stern wrote this for me after we had made the recordings. We recorded on wax cylinders and it was the only type of recording that he had never made in his life. Hence the statement on all possible systems.

This is one of those photographs you wish you could take again. My eyes were closed...His health was not good and he died the next year.

This event was set up for me by Jerome Hines. I will always remember the phone conversation between them. Jerry called and said "Hello Isaac, this is Jerry Hines" and I heard on the other side through the ear piece "How the Hell are you Jerry?"

Jerry introduced me to him and I had a nice conversation with Isaac Stern. We decided that December would be a good time to make the recording. He was having heart surgery and needed a while to recover he said...

Funny, as I wrote before when I had met Peter Jennings I told him about Isaac Stern, and Peter said to me..."He's a friend of mine and you will never get him to stop talking!"

On the appointed day December 14, 2000 I first off called Jerry Hines to say hello and thanks.
Then I looked outside and it was snowing. I was wondering if we could do it. I thought that if we did not we might not get another chance. So off we went.

Finally we got into Gaylordville, Conn. in the early afternoon. It was all snow and mud outside and the Sterns had just put in new carpeting...IT WAS SNOW WHITE!

So very carefully we went into the house and brought in the recording equipment.

It took about 30 minutes to set up and warm the wax and set up the recording horn. Isaac was watching this as I worked and we had a pleasant conversation as I did.

As soon as we started talking I said to him...."As a music lover and historian, I want to thank you for saving Carnegie Hall." He replied " Thank you for mentioning that, and you are welcome."
Many people today do not know that it was through the tireless work of Isaac Stern that Carnegie Hall still survives today. In fact the main hall at Carnegie today is called Isaac Stern Hall.

We talked about him doing the Jack Benny show, and many concerts around the world that he had done. WE talked about young violinists and the current strength of classical music today.

Finally, I had the equipment ready and it was time to teach him how to make a acoustic recording.
I told him that he had two minutes...He laughed and said "I can't say hello in two minutes", and we all laughed.

He said "I am going to use the Diaphamo, as Danny Kaye taught me", and we all laughed again.
We made the recordings and chatted more and posed for pictures and He asked me questions about history and recording...

He asked "What is that stuff that flies off the cylinder when we recorded?"

I told him "that is swarf that flies around." I joked with him "may the swarf be with you", and we all laughed again.

I told him also "You have recorded on every known system in the world save for you can honestly say you have recorded on every known type and system of recording."

He said "I never thought of that ...Thank you, thank you very much, that is so wonderful."

So we listened to the recordings and then it was getting late and he was tired.

He said to me before I left.."I want to give you something"...and then he wrote this lovely little note to me. What is fun is he ended it with "hail swarf".

It would be the last recording on record he would ever make. In September of 2001 Isaac Stern left us....But the memory of our recording and friendly meeting just 10 months earlier will always be with me. Thank you Isaac Stern....HAIL SWARF!!!

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