Gerald Moore CBE (30 July 1899 – 13 March 1987) was an English pianist best known for his career as one of the most in-demand accompanists of his day, accompanying many of the world's most famous musicians. Moore was born in Watford but received most of his musical education in Toronto, Canada, to which country his family emigrated when he was a child, and where he was an organist at St Thomas' Church, Huron Street, in Toronto.
He accompanied notable instrumentalists such as Pablo Casals and the child prodigy Josef Hassid, but is perhaps best remembered for his work with singers, with notable partnerships including Elisabeth Schwarzkopf, Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau, Victoria de los Ángeles, Elisabeth Schumann, Maggie Teyte and Kathleen Ferrier. He had a particular affinity for the art song (lieder) repertoire; the BBC has featured a number of his recordings in its Building a Library recommendations, including his 1961 recording of Schubert's Die Schöne Müllerin with Fischer-Dieskau and the 1958 Salzburg Festival recording of Wolf lieder with Schwarzkopf. He also gave lectures on stage and radio and wrote about music, publishing his much-admired memoir Am I Too Loud?: Memoirs of An Accompanist in 1962. He published two other volumes of autobiography: Farewell Recital: Further Memoirs (1978) and Furthermoore (1983), where he "looks back on great musicians he has known and admired".
Moore credited much of his early success as an accompanist to a five-year partnership with the tenor John Coates, who, Moore says, turned him from an indifferent accompanist into one who was sensitive to the music and the soloist, and an equal partner in performance. Moore, then aged 25, was engaged by Coates almost by chance when his usual accompanist Berkeley Mason was unavailable. Another influence who figures largely in Moore's memoirs is the great pianist Solomon, whose technique Moore admired and studied.
As an accompanist, Gerald Moore is credited with doing much to raise the status of accompanist from a subservient role to that of an equal artistic partner, in part through his influential 1943 book The Unashamed Accompanist. Fischer-Dieskau wrote in his introduction to the German edition of The Unashamed Accompanist that "there is no more of that pale shadow at the keyboard, he is always an equal with his partner" and "it is quite apparent how new and unique the type of accompanist is which he represents," and Moore jealously protected this status of his art, complaining when accompanists he admired were not given billing in concert.
Moore retired from public performances in 1967, with a farewell concert in which he accompanied three of the singers with whom he was long associated: Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau, Victoria de los Ángeles and Elisabeth Schwarzkopf. This famed concert at London's Royal Festival Hall concluded with Moore playing alone—he chose Schubert's An die Musik. He made his last studio recording in 1975.
In his memoirs Moore wrote that his services were not needed at Benjamin Britten's Aldeburgh Festival, 'as the presiding genius there is the greatest accompanist in the world.' Moore would therefore have been interested that, when in 2006 Gramophone magazine invited eminent present-day accompanists to name their 'professional's professional', the joint winners were Britten and Moore himself.
Moore was appointed a Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) in 1954. He died in Penn, Buckinghamshire in 1987.
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“Rich and rare were the gems she wore,
And a bright gold ring on her hand she bore.”
—Thomas Moore (17791852)