02. June 2008 · Comments Off on Nelson Riddle · Categories: Ramble

Yesterday was Nelson Riddle’s birthday. (For some reason I’m a day late with birthdays much of the time.) He died in 1985, which is just so hard for me to believe, since it doesn’t seem like that much time has passed. He seemed like he was ancient when he was here — now I see that he was only 64 when he died. But when you are in your twenties 64 looks much older than it does when you are in your fifties!

Riddle came to San Jose for a concert and I played in the thing. I can’t remember what it was for … I have in my head an image of an outdoor concert at Stanford, so maybe it was that. Who knows? But I do remember him getting furious at me for playing a wrong note. He even said something out loud during the concert. I was sight reading that piece in the concert, as we didn’t get through all the music. (I do remember that much!) And there it was … a blaring, ugly, horrendous and obvious wrong note. In a solo.

Only trouble was that the error was printed in my part. I was just reading what was there.

Now sometimes I correct a mistake without even realizing it. (And sometimes, yes, I do play wrong notes too!) I remember coming across a work I had already played several times with the San Jose Symphony (RIP) and finding a mistake that I’d never played as written; the brain sometimes just corrects something and there you go.

But, sadly, I didn’t do that for Mr. Riddle. And boy was he angry. I think he died shortly after that. I hope it wasn’t my fault.

Anyway, I used to love the Linda Rondstadt set of his arrangements. So here you go:

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