Saturday, February 10, 2007

To Lenny from Solti

A note from David K Israel alerts me to, where he's joined the blogging team. David was Leonard Bernstein's editor and is a fellow novelist, but most significantly he nearly named his cat Solti, then chose Lenny instead. In case you missed my intentionally-very-silly two-part story for Classical Music Magazine around Xmas & New Year, it's called LENNY: THE CAT THAT SHOOK AN ORCHESTRA and you can read part 1 here and part 2 here. As for transatlantic Lenny and my resident Sir Georg 'Ginger Stripes' Solti, they send each other colleagial greetings and compare the mice they've recently killed with their built-in batons.

We named Solti Solti because in a former life he was Tom's favourite conductor. Most orchestral musicians jump out of their skins when we tell them this - one cellist who used to live nearby famously threatened to run our cat over every time he came round - but Tom, being from one of those indomitable central-European pre-War families, is used to larger-than-life personalities and knows how to stand up to them. In one legendary LPO rehearsal, Solti turned to the first fiddles and said "You must play this better, I pay you money if you play this better!" Tom put up his hand and demanded "How much?" Solti exclaimed: "Ah, we discuss it later..."