'Dean Dixon - Negro at Home, Maestro Abroad'

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Wallingford
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'Dean Dixon - Negro at Home, Maestro Abroad'

Post by Wallingford » Sat Apr 17, 2021 3:50 pm

I don't know how I could have missed this book's publication (2015), but immediately forked over $35 and am glad for the investment. Dr. Rufus Jones' book is peculiarly an important work as well as a slightly trivial one. It's a breakthrough in terms of unearthing new information on a neglected conductor, but the whole thing reads like a mainstream novel; it's a slickly made story.

It's astounding how far Dixon came in his own country early on in his career--he got to guest-conduct all of the Big Five with the exception of Chicago. He didn't quite get to lead the BSO, as so many previous biographical sketches have said; rather, it was a Boston Pops program, a one-off affair devoted to the classical contributions of African-American musicians, with a few guests as well. This was largely the idea of Arthur Fiedler, who recognized way before the others Dixon's worth as a maestro.

Nevertheless, Dixon made the right decision in moving to Europe to establish himself (though author Jones doesn't entirely let us overlook the existence of prejudice as well there). But the reader should be heartened at the support and warmth with which Gothenburg, Sweden embraced him. His big breakthrough was conducting a broadcast concert of Sibelius' Fifth, receiving the composer's highest approval. Many major orchestras on the continent were knocking on his door. He didn't return to the States until the early seventies. His return was highly successful, with a pair of triumphant NYP concerts.

The book also details Dixon's three marriages and two children, as well as his health issues.
Good music is that which falls upon the ear with ease, and quits the memory with difficulty.
--Sir Thomas Beecham

jserraglio
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Re: 'Dean Dixon - Negro at Home, Maestro Abroad'

Post by jserraglio » Thu Apr 22, 2021 2:54 pm

Wallingford wrote:
Sat Apr 17, 2021 3:50 pm
I don't know how I could have missed this book's publication (2015)
Thanks. I am a longtime fan with many of his recordings. Will scare up a copy of this book.

Lance
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Re: 'Dean Dixon - Negro at Home, Maestro Abroad'

Post by Lance » Sat May 01, 2021 2:04 pm

I, too, have ordered a copy of this book. I'm surprised it slipped by me. I have long admired Dean Dixon's work as a conductor. There doesn't seem to be too much of his work conveyed to CD yet. His time will come, I'm sure.
Lance G. Hill
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When she started to play, Mr. Steinway came down and personally
rubbed his name off the piano. [Speaking about pianist &*$#@+#]

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Wallingford
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Re: 'Dean Dixon - Negro at Home, Maestro Abroad'

Post by Wallingford » Sat May 01, 2021 10:58 pm

I will offer one caveat regarding this book--NO DISCOGRAPHY. Granted, Dixon's complete released performances are more than a tangled web, but there's no info at all even about his US releases, which can be counted on the fingers of 3 2/5 hands....and the lion's share of those releases were done on the American Recording Society label, whose heads were able to hire the Wiener Symphoniker to play for super-cheap under the pseudonym of their own label (they were revealed as the correct name in the 60s Desto reissues).

But there are also his numerous foreign releases unavailable here--his 60s Supraphon issues with the Prague Symphony, in some meat-and-potatoes standard repertoire. I had four of these releases while still in Seattle, and I'll forever regret leaving those behind.

I also left behind a tape of the Dvorak Ninth that one of my friendly underground taping services gave me; Frankfurt Radio archives got rid of it and many more of their live recordings about three decades ago.

Author Jones had in his foreward a site devoted to listing/cataloguing the recordings, maestroabroad.com, but it was nowhere to be found.
Good music is that which falls upon the ear with ease, and quits the memory with difficulty.
--Sir Thomas Beecham

Lance
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Re: 'Dean Dixon - Negro at Home, Maestro Abroad'

Post by Lance » Tue May 04, 2021 3:41 pm

Well now, THERE is a project for you, creating his complete discography for everybody. Good idea???
Wallingford wrote:
Sat May 01, 2021 10:58 pm
I will offer one caveat regarding this book--NO DISCOGRAPHY. Granted, Dixon's complete released performances are more than a tangled web, but there's no info at all even about his US releases, which can be counted on the fingers of 3 2/5 hands....and the lion's share of those releases were done on the American Recording Society label, whose heads were able to hire the Wiener Symphoniker to play for super-cheap under the pseudonym of their own label (they were revealed as the correct name in the 60s Desto reissues).

But there are also his numerous foreign releases unavailable here--his 60s Supraphon issues with the Prague Symphony, in some meat-and-potatoes standard repertoire. I had four of these releases while still in Seattle, and I'll forever regret leaving those behind.

I also left behind a tape of the Dvorak Ninth that one of my friendly underground taping services gave me; Frankfurt Radio archives got rid of it and many more of their live recordings about three decades ago.

Author Jones had in his foreward a site devoted to listing/cataloguing the recordings, maestroabroad.com, but it was nowhere to be found.
Lance G. Hill
Editor-in-Chief
______________________________________________________

When she started to play, Mr. Steinway came down and personally
rubbed his name off the piano. [Speaking about pianist &*$#@+#]

Image

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