MUSICTEACHERS.CO.UK VOLUME 2 ISSUE 1, JULY 2000  
Online Journal

Coming back to Karel and their parents, they moved to London in the 1960s and Karel ran an antique business in the Kensington Hypermarket. This family involvement in the arts was very important for Stan. His flat in Freiburg was full of valuable instruments and antique furniture, from the Renaissance to the 17th and 18th centuries, gathered over the years. By the early 1970s, Stan's parents were old and unwell, and Karel was also very unwell. Stan, with the complete generosity and self giving which was always one of his main characteristics, took them all into his flat in Zasiusstraße for the last few years of their lives. I remember what that meant in terms of the curtailment of Stan's own life, but he was, as always, big enough to sail through it.

Going back to Stan's early days, he studied at the Prague Conservatoire in the mid 1940s, piano with Wilem Kurz, and organ with Bedric Wiederman. Kurz was one of the great piano teachers of his day, a leading pupil of Leschetitsky, and author of one of the standard books on Leschetitsky's technical principles. One of the great benefits of studying with Stan was the rigorous technical training he put all his students through. It was a revelation to me, and set me up for everything I've done since.

In 1947, Stan moved to London, and eventually became a British subject. These were struggling days. The person who showed him the way to the future, as he did to so many others, was Tom Goff. Goff was in the great tradition of eccentric English aristocrats. He had had legal and army careers, during which he claimed to be the first person to have made a clavichord in Africa, and he used to travel with it strapped on to the back of a camel. Goff had one of the big, redbrick houses in Pont street, off Cadogan Square, where he lived in state with a butler and so on. He also made the harpsichords that most people played in London in the 1950s, notably George Malcolm and Thurston Dart, so his house was a centre for early keyboard activity. He was the soul of generosity and fostered the careers of several who later became very significant contributors, such as Stan and his friend Julian Bream.

After having some lessons with Aimée van der Wiele and Ralph Kirkpatrick, Stan established himself in the 1950s as a brilliant harpsichordist, who brought to the harpsichord the standards of a first-rate concert pianist. He was always devoted to the French repertory, but in those days he also played a lot of 20th-century harpsichord music, and I remember broadcasts on the then Third Programme of Frank Merrill, Stephen Dodgson, and so on. In this field, his main achievement was in 1956 when he persuaded Bohuslav Martinu to revise and eventually publish the harpsichord concerto he had originally written in 1935. Stan played this in many European centres with Rafael Kubelik. At the same time, he began tours of Europe and South America, where he was one of the first to introduce the harpsichord as a concert instrument.



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