Gold and Fizdale

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Arthur Gold
Arthur Gold and Robert Fizdale, 1952
BornFebruary 6, 1917
DiedJanuary 3, 1990 (aged 72)
Resting placeOakland Cemetery (Sag Harbor, New York)[1]
EducationJuilliard School
Robert Fizdale
BornApril 12, 1920
DiedDecember 6, 1995 (aged 75)
Resting placeOakland Cemetery (Sag Harbor, New York)
EducationJuilliard School

Arthur Gold (6 February 1917 – 3 January 1990) and Robert Fizdale (12 April 1920 – 6 December 1995)[2] were an American two-piano ensemble; they were also authors and television cooking show hosts.

Gold and Fizdale met during their student years at the Juilliard School; where Gold was a pupil of Rosina Lhévinne and her husband Josef and Fizdale was a pupil of Ernest Hutcheson.[2][3] They formed a lifelong gay partnership and shared interests in music (forming one of the most important piano duos of the 20th century),[4] travel, and cooking.

Two-piano ensemble[edit]

Gold and Fizdale made their professional debut in 1944 at the New School for Social Research performing a program of 20th century music that included the world premieres of John Cage’s A Book of Music (one of Cage's earliest experiments in using the prepared Piano) and Cage's Three Dances (first version) for two prepared pianos, both composed for them.[2][5] This was the first of several commissions from American and French composers premièred by the piano duo in the second half of the 20th century. Some of the other composers from whom they commissioned works include Georges Auric, Samuel Barber, Howard Brubeck, Paul Bowles, Darius Milhaud, Francis Poulenc, Vittorio Rieti, Henri Sauguet, Germaine Tailleferre, Virgil Thomson, and Ned Rorem.[2] In the field of jazz they have collaborated with Dave Brubeck.

Among their friends were American literary and cultural figures such as Truman Capote, James Schuyler, George Balanchine, Jerome Robbins, among others.[citation needed]

In 1948, they were part of the wave of American artists, musicians and writers who took advantage of the first possibility since the end of World War II to freely travel in Europe. They arrived in Paris with a letter of introduction from Marcelle de Manziarly to Germaine Tailleferre of Les six who invited them to a lunch with Francis Poulenc and Georges Auric. This lunch ended with Auric and Tailleferre taking the score of Thomson's "The Mother of Us All", which Thomson had given as a gift, turning it upside down on the piano and having Poulenc singing all of the roles (including Susan B. Anthony) in nonsense English syllables which were supposedly an imitation of Gertrude Stein's Libretto while Tailleferre and Auric improvised a four-hands version of Thomson's score.[6]

Tailleferre invited the couple to her home in Grasse to spend two months while she was writing her ballet Paris-Magie and her opera Il était Un Petit Navire. She wrote two-piano versions of both works and gave them to the duo as a gift. These manuscripts were later donated to the Library of Congress after the death of Robert Fizdale. Tailleferre later dedicated two other works to Gold and Fizdale: her Toccata for Two Pianos and her Sonata for Two Pianos.[7] Francis Poulenc also wrote his own Sonata for Two Pianos for "the Boyz" (as he called them), a commission which was paid by their mutual friend the American Soprano and arts patron Alice Swanson Esty, according to Poulenc's correspondence.[citation needed]

The duo also recorded a number of recordings featuring works by Les six, Vittorio Rieti, and other composers, as well as a series of Concerto recordings with Leonard Bernstein and The New York Philharmonic, including the Poulenc Concerto for Two Pianos, The Mozart Two Piano Concerto and Saint-Saëns's "Carnival of the Animals".

Bobby Fizdale was born Robert Fish, the son of John and Rose Fish of Chicago. Had a brother Walter.

Both Gold and Fizdale were of Russian Jewish descent.[8]

Literary and culinary careers[edit]

In the late 1970s, Arthur Gold began to have problems with his hands which made it difficult for him to perform, so the duo began to write biographical works, including "Misia: the Life of Misia Sert" (Knopf; 1st edition January 12, 1980), and "The Divine Sarah: a Biography of Sarah Bernhardt" (Knopf 1991).

The duo also began writing food articles for Vogue magazine and began a television cooking show. In 1984 they published "The Gold and Fizdale Cookbook" (Random House 1984), which is dedicated to their friend George Balanchine, "In whose kitchen we spent many happy hours..."

In 1996, after the death of Fizdale, his estate donated the personal papers, recordings and other memorabilia to the Juilliard School, where they are kept in the school's Peter Jay Sharp Special Collections Room in the Juilliard Library [3] Gold and Fizdale are buried alongside each other at Oakland Cemetery in Sag Harbor, New York.

Works written for Gold and Fizdale[edit]



  1. ^ Permanent Residents of Oakland Cemetery. Sag Harbor Partnership.
  2. ^ a b c d Michael Steinberg, revised by Ruth B. Hilton (2001). "Fizdale, Robert". Grove Music Online (8th ed.). Oxford University Press. doi:10.1093/gmo/9781561592630.article.09767. ISBN 978-1-56159-263-0.
  3. ^ a b accessed August 25, 2006
  4. ^ Jean-Pierre Thiollet, 88 notes pour piano solo, « Solo de duo », Neva Editions, 2015, pages 97-98. ISBN 978-2-3505-5192-0
  5. ^ "accessed August 26, 2006". Archived from the original on October 10, 2006. Retrieved August 25, 2006.
  6. ^ Gold and Fitzdale (sic), Misia, the Life of Misia Sert, William Morrow 1981, cited in Georges Hacquard, "Germaine Tailleferre: la Dame des Six" (L'Harmattan 1997) pages 143-144
  7. ^ Clinton-Narboni Duo Germaine Tailleferre: Music for Two Pianos and Piano Four-hands Elan recordings 1997 - liner notes
  8. ^\Index%20U-F-P&HitCount=3&hits=3a8+3a9+3aa+&SearchForm=C%3a\inetpub\wwwroot\Fulton_New_form.html&.pdf [bare URL PDF]
  9. ^ Franck Ferraty, La musique pour piano de Francis Poulenc, ou, Le temps de l'ambivalence, Harmattan, Paris, 2009, 313 pages, page 262.

External links[edit]