Wednesday, July 10, 2019

Remembering Aaron Rosand

Rarely does a day go by when I don't do some Bach. And when I do it it's never the way I did it the time before.
Aaron Rosand (1927-2019)

I never got to meet Aaron Rosand, but I feel like I have known him for most of my life through his recordings and through stories told to me by his friends and colleagues. The Strad has an excellent collection of video links to performances and interviews, as well as links to articles about him and by him. I'm hoping that my friend Daniel Morganstern, who knew Aaron Rosand very well, will write a blog post about him.

My friend Bernard Zaslav, who died a few years ago, tells a story about a time Aaron Rosand visited him in Milwaukee in his memoir The Viola in My Life. I know that Bernie would want me to share this story here, so I will.
My good friend, the violinist Aaron Rosand, stayed with us when he came to town to play an outdoor concert with the Milwaukee Symphony in one of the city's parks. Nomi [Zaslav] and I attended the afternoon rehearsal, which was conducted by Alfredo Antonini. Aaron (his close friends usually called him Archie) stood holding his famous ex-Kochanski Guarneri del Jesu violin of 1741 in hand (perhaps the finest del Jesu of them all) on a platform with two enormous, eight-foot-high loudspeakers on either side of him. Before Archie played a note, the midwest summer breeze sharpened stiffly, and toppled one of the speakers, striking both Archie and Antonini. I ran to help Archie, and was able to grab the fiddle from him before he fell.

We followed the ambulance that carried the barely-conscious Archie with the slightly-injured Antonini to the hospital. When Archie opened his eyes, the first thing he asked was, "How's my fiddle?" (It was fine.) One the way back to our house, we passed a Kentucky Fried Chicken, and Archie had to stop and order a whole bucket after his ordeal.

Then there's another story that isn't in the book which Bernie, Danny, Berl Senofsky, or another friend who knew him in New York told me. In order to have the resources to have a solo career in Europe, Rosand did a lot of commercial work in New York. He did so much commercial work that he would often arrive at recording sessions at the very last minute. When asked how he could do all this his response was, "I made all the lights."

I'm going over explore the article in The Strad I linked to in the first paragraph now. I hope you will too.

And here's his YouTube channel.

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