Tuesday, August 3, 2010
Postcard from Hollywood
I have not been writing because I have been writing. What I mean is, I have been working on my book. I am doing another big push and I am getting it into shape! Do not worry, I will get back to my normal schedule before too long.
Today however something happened that was too cool not to put on the Web log.
I got a postcard from Joan Fontaine!
That is it up above. See, now, if I were writing a book about Leon Fleisher or Vladimir Ashkenazy or, I don't know, whoever, I would not be corresponding with Joan Fontaine. But because I am writing about Leonard Pennario, I am! They are only the best pianists who can play beautiful Schumann and still be close friends with movie stars.
Pennario worked with beautiful Joan Fontaine in the romantic classic "September Affair," He coached her to make it look as if she were really playing the piano. Someone has posted part of the movie on YouTube and here is a good clip from that. It is Pennario you hear on the soundtrack.
The end of that clip -- the end of the movie -- is incredible. Pennario told me how great it was, how you see her playing the concerto, and Joseph Cotten watching from the wings with longing in his eyes. Pennario was such a romantic. I just wish he were around for all this. I wish I could call him and tell him about my postcard from Joan Fontaine.
I am watching the clip now. That is such a thrilling concerto and no one played it the way Pennario did! The ending, there is nothing like it. I always think of a toboggan with these Rachmaninoff concertos. At the end it as if they tip out of control and you are just hurtling forward. All you can do is hang on and enjoy it.
Last week I sent out a few letters to people who had slipped through my fingers before now. Joan Fontaine was one of them. I was thrilled to get her reply even though her secretary seems to have vaporized my letter. What a gracious little note she wrote me.
I love the signature, "Joan."
Now I have to run and continue this correspondence.