Robert Greenberg

Historian, Composer, Pianist, Speaker, Author

Archive for Myra Hess

Music History Monday: Myra Hess

On February 25, 1890 – 129 years ago today – the pianist Julia Myra Hess was born in Hampstead in North West London. In a “Dr. Bob Prescribes” post, I rather energetically took the pianist Keith Jarrett to task for behaving like a brat – for haranguing and cursing at his audiences and often just walking off the stage in mid-set – if, heaven forbid, an audience member should have the unmitigated gall to cough during one of his performances. Expectorate in my presence?! The nerve!  In the course of that “Dr. Bob Prescribes” post, I referenced the pianist Myra Hess, who produced and performed in concerts in London for the duration of World War Two, on occasion performing during bombing raids. Her courage mirrored the indomitable spirit of the British people during the second world war. Coughing? Coughing? Dame Julia Myra Hess, CBE (Commander of the British Empire, 1936), DBE (Dame of the British Empire, 1941) was not just a great artist but a certifiable hero in the truest sense of the word. Coughing? Mr. Jarrett, you couldn’t hold Ms. Hess’ panties.  (For our information, Hess herself had a tangential connection to American jazz: in the 1920s, she numbered […]

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