O. Frank Rydeen
The AMICA, July 1964
The AMICA, August 1964
The AMICA, September 1969
There are at least two versions of the historic occasion when Rachmaninov audited his first recording for Ampico, during World War I. One claims he said, "Gentlemen, I have just heard myself play!", and that the Ampico stock went up five points the next day. The other version is reported by AMICA Honorary O. Fred Rydeen, who was there. "We had difficulty in getting Rachmaninov to make a recording because he did not realize we could reenact his playing. The first time he played the Prelude in C Sharp Minor, he listened to it with his head buried in his hands. When it finished he did not say a word; but called some of his friends to listen to it. One of the artists said, 'This is perfect", and Rachmaninov said, 'This is even better than I can play on the stage, because when an artist plays on the stage sometimes there are blue notes put in that the audience cannot detect'." Suskind was also there, but doesn't recall the exact words. However, he agrees that the latter account is more likely, as the composer was an extremely taciturn, almost dour man, and given more to grunts than dramatic pronouncements. Although he praised Suskind behind his back, the most enthusiastic praise addressed directly to him was usually limited to "pretty good", and "not bad". So keen was his interest in accurate reproduction, however, that he frequently invited Suskind to his summer home in the Atlantic Highlands to work on the editing. The American Piano Company provided him with an Ampico piano (although Suskind himself never owned one).
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