excerpt from 'Southbank Centre Archive' (222 words)

excerpt from 'Southbank Centre Archive' (222 words)

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Southbank Centre Archive

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I  attended every night of the opening week of the RFH.   Denis Matthews was prominent on the programme;  his piano concerto music is still the measure for me of any other performances.   One evening Toscanini was the conductor.   I was a povertystricken teenager and did not attempt to buy a ticket.   However, I took my transistor radio and stood happily on the outside steps and listened to the music being played so very nearby.   In the interval everyone flowed out, and at the end, I found myself flowing back with them.   In those days there was standing room at the sides of the concert hall.   Thus it was that I saw Toscanini conduct (for half a concert!).  The whole London music scene had gathered there in the audience.   One saw all the well-known performers, and their agents (Emmy Tillet in a Box above the podium). Until then the Royal Albert Hall had been the only concert scene.   With its majestic echo and curiously intimate atmosphere, it remained a fitting partner to the new Festival Hall, so open, generous and beautifully tuned.   The RHS [RFH?]became a real Club House for music lovers.  One always found people there whom one knew - both among the performers and the audience. I do hope the new RFH will retain the best of the original one.

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