Further to my recent post, it has not been possible to establish the exact details of Sergei Rachmaninov’s recital in Glasgow. However, I do know that the date was 4th March 1935. Let us hope that some reader can provide me with more details. In 1943, the music critic at the Glasgow Herald reprises Herman Finck’s anecdote from a slightly different perspective. It is worth repeating.
‘When Rachmaninov played here…another well known musician, in the lighter field of music, was also in Glasgow. He was Herman Finck then conducting the orchestra of a production of Edward German’s Merrie England visiting the King’s Theatre. Finck told us that when walking along the corridor of his hotel, heard the sound of a piano coming from one of the rooms. After listening for a time, and thinking the playing was very fine, he asked a passing maid if she knew who the pianist was. She replied that she couldn’t remember his name exactly, but it was something like ‘Rakky’, and he was a foreigner.
“Well, tell him from me that he certainly can play,” said Finck, who admitted later that he felt pretty sick at sending such a message when he discovered who the pianist really was.”
It is surely strange how stories can morph in the telling and the retelling.
The Glasgow Herald 30 March 1943 (with minor edits)