I have been in touch with him a few times. I'll drop him a note.
Originally Posted by kernelbogey
Btw, the interview from which I quoted above was published in full in the latest issue of Musical Opinion, to mark his 90th birthday.
Thank you, ff: I hope he'll be pleased to learn of this.
Originally Posted by french frank
I grew up learning from his radio programmes and his books.
Gosh! A coincidence - I was searching for this thread and it's reappeared ...
I've had a very nice phone conversation with Antony Hopkins this morning. He said he was very touched to read all the comments (I copied them from here). He had a very good birthday - while he was shaving, Beatrix, his partner opened the window and outside there was a dawn chorus of the local WI singing Jerusalem - he goes to their meetings once a month and plays it for them on the piano (they apparently weren't quite up to performing the Siegfried Idyll).
Apparently, there was quite a long article in The Times - have just tried to access it but can only get as far as:
Anyway, he was reminding me that all the programmes were live and that he had to adjust what he was saying with an eye on the clock: if the person working the 'grams' played a longer extract than intended he had to cut a paragraph or two from what he was saying (now there's real broadcasting skills!). He only once had a live orchestra (à la Discovering Music) though he did a talk on a Reizenstein piano concerto, with Reizenstein himself playing the piano part and AH playing the orchestral part on a second piano ...
(He thinks Howard Goodall is very good on television, but resents the size of the budget which can send him to Brazil just to stand in the bedroom of Villa Lobos ...)
On one occasion he was on all three radio stations (Light, Home and Third) at the same time (unique?).
One other thing he said, and I asked him whether I should mention it, and he said, firmly, yes. In January Beatrix wrote to Radio 3 to point out that his 90th was approaching and that, as well as his talks which lasted for over thirty years, he had had three nominations for the Italia Prize (two for composing, one for his talks) and that perhaps a tribute could be arranged. She received no answer.
Finally, his physical health is not splendid but he appears to be very robust and alert mentally. He sends everyone who remembers him his thanks.
from The Times -
Happy Birthday Antony Hopkins, 90
The composer and conductor Antony Hopkins starts his birthday celebrations today when the ladies from the local Women’s Institute gather on his lawn to surprise him by singing Jerusalem. His radio series Talking About Music ran for more than 30 years. He wrote scores for several films including The Pickwick Papers and Decameron Nights. He says: “The really good thing about getting old is having a partner, Beatrix, who is half my age.” Tonight the Luton Music Club is honouring him and playing two pieces he composed.
Not a long article, then? (I may have made that up). I think he said there was a photograph which had been taken the day before (or have I made that up too? )
vinteuil's quote was the Happy Birthday slot at the bottom of the Times Letters page on 21/3/11. AH was the 'featured' person, with a small photo and paragraph about two inches square.
(Nothing else comes up in a search of the online Times.)
Thanks for the clarification. We talked for about 25-30 minutes and I was remembering as much as I could.
Originally Posted by Don Petter
Oh! Just had another phone call . For the benefit of decantor - AH unearthed the script on the Ceremony of Carols and read out exactly what he'd said about This Little Babe. He felt it hadn't been too harsh on Britten ...
A bit spooky hearing that voice reading the words from so long ago . But what a voice!
He also said some of his books were being reprinted by Travis & Emery, and the first*** has already appeared to mark the 90th birthday.
***It's The Concertgoer's Companion, Vol 1 - Bach to Haydn
I am shocked to hear the BBC's response that "they wanted someone more in tune with a younger audience". When I was a teenager and my father was introducing me to classical music I used to look forward to Mr Hopkins' broadcasts each week. His simply explained analysis of a work to be played on R3 that week opened my ears to so much and I owe him a huge debt for setting the groundwork of my musical education. At that stage I was learning the piano at school and the first five minutes or so of each lesson was given over to discussing the work that had been the most recent subject of Talking About Music.
Originally Posted by french frank
I have just been reading his lovely article in Musical Opinion. What a wonderful life!