Archive for March, 2009

Bess, you is my woman now

Anyone remember who sang Bess in George Gershwin’s original 1935 production of Porgy and Bess?

Her name was Anne Brown and she died last week, aged 96, in Norway, where she lived since her marriage 60 years ago. What she did with the rest of her life is known chiefly to Norwegians, but a friend in Oslo describes her as a driving force in musical life, teacher of many of the country’s best singers and actors – including Liv Ullmann – and, to the very last, ‘the most beautiful creature in the whole world’.

Anne Brown attended the opening of the new opera house last year and rose from her wheelchair to receive a standing ovation.

Someone ought to tell President Obama. A moment’s homage would be appropriate for one of the first women to show the world the real life of Black Americans. May she rest in peace.

You can hear her teaching and interviewed on Norman Lebrecht’s Slipped Disc at

Anne Brown as Bess

Anne Brown as Bess


Lebrecht March 2009 Newsletter

This month’s newsletter is all about Music Pictures at Lebrecht:

Lebrecht is proud to announce that it now represents the unique musical instrument collection created at the Boston Museum of Fine Arts. We have online over 1000 images from this collection and new photos are being continually added. This invaluable resource joins our existing collections of every kind of musical instrument, ranging from ocarinas, which were first invented thousands of years ago to over 200 different types of electric guitar – including the famous cornflakes packet guitar.

Working through all these images we were continually struck by how different they looked and were endlessly amazed at the materials, such as lead and feathers and bones, that were used to make them.


The Museum began its collection in 1917 with the donation of 560 instruments amassed by musical scholar Francis W. Galpin. This includes many classic European American musical instruments. The core collection expanded to include an entire Javanese gamelan orchestra made in 1840 and an unusual ensemble of Thai and Burmese instruments. We are delighted to be able to display these images as they are a truly comprehensive collection ranging from bagpipes, piccolos and fifes to harps and zithers, psalteries and dulcimers, pianos and violins, the Chinese erhu to the Zimbabwean Mbir (Lamellaphone ) and the Japanese hora (shell trumpet).

Anniversaries for March

J M Synge, Irish playwright ‘s 100th death anniversary on 24th March
Raymond Chandler, American crime writer ‘s 50th death anniversary 26 March

Contact for help with searches and more information about images in this newsletter.

Lebrecht Music and Arts
3 Bolton Road

Tel: 020 7625 5341
Fax: 020 7625 5341