Frederic Lamond

Picture of Frederic Lamond

Frederic Lamond, the Glasgow pianist, who lived for many years in Germany was regarded by the Germans as being their outstanding Beethoven interpreter - no mean achievement for a Scot or, indeed, for any non-German.

When the Active Society became inactive, I revived the defunct Dunedin Association (founded in 1911 for the promotion and development of Scottish music) and at one of it’s earliest concerts, Frederic Lamond played his own piano trio. Lamond made a goodly number of records: the later ones of poor quality, overpedalled, and muddled, so I am not going to play any of these. Lamond was a pupil of Liszt, around 1882, along with another Glasgow born pianist and composer - actually a much greater figure than Lamond - Eugene d'Albert, composer of the popular opera "Tiefland" and twenty others. D’Albert was undistinguished for stability in wedlock - he was married six times and according to Lamond, his great friend and admirer, was the greatest pianist of his generation, until about the age of 30 when he became bored with concert work and was rather forced into finding greater financial pursuits, if only to pay off alimony to five ex-wives! Lamond said that every time d'Albert met a really pretty woman he wanted to marry her, there was no question of having an affair with her - he must go through the long, dreary, painful, expensive legal process to get a divorce - make adequate provision for ex Madame d'Albert 1, or 2, or 3, 4 - as the case might be and then embrace his new bride in holy wedlock! He probably made a lot of money out of "Tiefland" which helped with the alimony problem.

D’Albert’s father was a French dancing master and composer of such one-time favourites as "Sweethearts’ Waltz", "Sultan's Polka" and the "Edinburgh Quadrille".

He was a tiny little man, with a wild stock of then white - it had been carrot-red hair; his playing was up to professional standard, nothing more, and he looked bored. You can judge him both as composer and pianist, for here he is playing his Scherzo in F sharp Major, Op. 16 no. 2. This record was made in the early years of the century (1916).

D’Albert’s father was a French dancing master and composer of such one-time favourites as "Sweethearts’ Waltz", "Sultan's Polka" and the "Edinburgh Quadrilles". When I was registering the birth of my eldest daughter at Prospecthill Road Registry Office, Glasgow, in 1933, the clerk handed me a form to fill in, one query being "Father’s occupation?” I wrote “Professional musician” and handed it back to the clerk, who looked at it a trifle suspiciously "Whit kin' o’ musician would ye be, anyway, mister? he asked me "Ye dinna, look as if ye played a cornet in the streets" "Indeed no" I replied laughingly, "I teach and play the piano - but leave it at Professional musician." "Weel", said the clerk, "Ye're nothing like no perticular as a wee red-heeded fella who kept comin' back here; he had a kinda queer name - whit was it noo? Albert something? Dalbert, that’s it Dalbert – You-gene Dalbert. He was a pee-anist, too, and every time he wis playing in Glesca he came up here tae see if we would change his birth certificate so that his fether's profession was-ny jest "Dancin" but "Maitre de Ballet."