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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars What a life!
As a very elderly and self-admitted disabled man it's wonderful that Mr Greenfield can look back on a most fulfilled life. This is not a memoir in the continuous chronological sense, but an absorbing collection of vignettes about the most important musical figures he has interviewed, achieved friendship with, or whose work he has simply followed and reviewed over many...
Published 6 months ago by pippin6

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not "Warts and all"
Like others, I feel an enormous debt to Mr Greenfield and remain grateful for his erudition and enthusiasms, which have, for fifty years, encouraged my own investigations of the recording industry's efforts..

He has clearly had a fascinating life. The holder of senior positions with The Guardian newspaper, it is not surprising that he loathed Mrs Thatcher...
Published 3 months ago by Mr. C. P. Rouse


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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not "Warts and all", 24 Aug 2014
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This review is from: Portrait Gallery (Hardcover)
Like others, I feel an enormous debt to Mr Greenfield and remain grateful for his erudition and enthusiasms, which have, for fifty years, encouraged my own investigations of the recording industry's efforts..

He has clearly had a fascinating life. The holder of senior positions with The Guardian newspaper, it is not surprising that he loathed Mrs Thatcher. What is surprising is that he enjoyed a warm friendship with Edward Heath. A little more detail of this fascinating relationship would have been welcome.

Mr Greenfield enjoyed a love affair with the Salzburg Festival, which may explain his enthusiasm, in the Penguin Guides, for recordings such as Karajan's dreadful Carmen and Aida (both with Carreras) that started life at the Festival. Apart from some unflattering, negative comments about Jessye Norman, Mr Greenfield sprays little acid and the "portraits" he paints are uniformly uncritical. I feel that Mr Greenfield must have had a bagful of beans to spill and I'm only sorry that his Gallery is really rather anodyne. It would have been fascinating to learn more about the discussions under-pinning the Penguin Guide's classifications.

There are some silly mistakes that should have been caught with more rigorous proof reading. In re-telling an anecdote of his own from "On and off the Record" by Elisabeth Schwarzkopf and Walter Legge, the author describes soprano Geraldine Farrar as a Contralto and Aunt of the composer Samuel Barber. These descriptions belong to Louise Homer, hardly a role model for Mrs.Legge. The other is identifying Cosi fan Tutte (conducted by Bohm) as the breakthrough recording debut of Arlene Auger. I believe this should be Bohm's recording of Die Entfuhrung auf dem Serail.

I'm afraid the book feels like an opportunity that has been missed, but one cannot ask a very nice man to be nasty, even if a little more seasoning would have been welcome.

It is sad to read that Mr Greenfield suffers from an (unidentified) disability and one wishes him all the very best.

Chris Rouse
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars a disappointment, 1 May 2014
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This review is from: Portrait Gallery (Hardcover)
I owe a great deal to Edward Greenfield for the development of my musical taste and my musical collection. I had hopes of this book but have been very disappointed. The literary style is pretty flat, the anecdotes mundane, and I'm afraid I was pretty bored by what came across as bit of a pot-boiler. I nearly gave it a two star rating but out of respect for Greenfield came up to a three.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars What a life!, 4 May 2014
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This review is from: Portrait Gallery (Hardcover)
As a very elderly and self-admitted disabled man it's wonderful that Mr Greenfield can look back on a most fulfilled life. This is not a memoir in the continuous chronological sense, but an absorbing collection of vignettes about the most important musical figures he has interviewed, achieved friendship with, or whose work he has simply followed and reviewed over many years.
I have followed his reviews and articles since the 1950s and have usually trusted his opinions.
It is also informative about the great musical occasions he has attended, and I am sure that as he compiled these memories they must have given him great satisfaction and often brought a smile to his face.
I thought, after the catastrophic last gasp of the Penguin Guides, ("The Finest 1000 classical recordings", deeply flawed,), that he might have included his own choice of, let's say, his 200 favourite recordings of the great classics, which might have made some amends, but it wasn't to be, and that accounts for a withheld star.
Never mind, it's great bedtime reading, written in shortish chunks, with 'interludes' of fascinating autobiography thrown in. It sounds a valedictory piece to me, and eventually we shall miss his perceptive and sometimes witty reviews.
But his insistence on saying a recording was 'more than ALMOST any other to be the top recommendation' used to drive me potty.
He seemed seldom to commit to a definite 'best buy'.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Making classical music come alive, 15 Oct 2014
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Adrian Clark (London, England) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Portrait Gallery (Hardcover)
As a long-time subscriber to "Gramophone" magazine, I had already read some of the pieces by the author featured in this book which, nonetheless, revealed some interesting and, to me, unknown facts and anecdotes about him and the many musicians and other celebrities he has met over a long life-time. An easy and fascinating book.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Ted about all his big name friends, 31 Aug 2014
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This review is from: Portrait Gallery (Hardcover)
A bit too self centered. But that's of course to be expected by a renowned British critic!
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5.0 out of 5 stars A Musical Odyssey, 6 Sep 2014
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It's a splendid book featuring Ted Greenfield's encounters with top conductors, critics, instrumentalists, singers etc. I found it a fascinating read. His enthusiasm for music shines through.
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Portrait Gallery
Portrait Gallery by Edward Greenfield (Hardcover - 23 Jan 2014)
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