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Laurie Johnson, still lives in London, doesn’t he?
I’ve sort of lost touch a bit, we keep sending us our love, living down here it’s hard to see everybody.
Oh yes he loved Howard Blake before everybody loved Howard Blake.
David Raksin, they used to row all the time. They were buddies but they rowed…
They wanted [Herrmann] to do Laura. You know Dave Raksin did Laura. And Benny said: “Don’t have me. Don’t do it. Laura would listen to Debussy. I’ll help you how to put the Debussy [in]. Laura has to have Debussy.” So they said “Goodbye Herrmann” and then they got Dave Raksin who got the biggest hit of all time. And that was mentioned every time they ever met! And Herrmann said: “Yeah, yeah I was wrong, I was wrong, Okay.”
Elmer Bernstein he was lovely to me when Benny died. I came back here and he wrote to me and he was so kind and lovely.
Malcolm Arnold, Andre Previn, etc.
Malcolm Arnold, he was a good friend of Benny's. But he must be ancient now. He hid himself down in the country somewhere in some cottage [in Cornwall]. Benny used to go down and see him. They used to correspond. But you know when Benny died we never found any letters. There are a few about his opera Wuthering Heights… Benny used to be a very prolific letter writer and used to write people like Malcolm Arnold, write to California, twice a week to his first wife. But where are the letters? Where can they be? I got some that were in an envelope from Charles Ives.
He was fond of [Andrzej] Panufnik… and didn’t like Quincy Jones and didn’t like Andre Previn. Poor Previn had never done anything wrong. I think Herrmann might have been a bit jealous, getting that orchestra … he thought Previn hadn’t the talent other than the political and public relation’s talent.
He used to be guest conductor of orchestras here. Only they didn’t like him because he was dogmatic and dictatorial. He always said: “That’s what they are there for.” He would respect Toscanini but he wouldn’t respect Andre Previn. As Andre Previn would say “Oh Gentlemen we are all equal… and I am so sorry I said that earlier.” Benny wouldn’t do that. He did a couple of conducting jobs earlier in our marriage but not a lot.
Norma Herrmann, 2011