Stereo Review's George Jellinek: 1919-2010

"I was born in Budapest in 1919 into a music-loving family."

So begins George Jellinek's own account of his musical life, as it appeared in the January 1976 issue of our predecessor, Stereo Review - a magazine for which he wrote from 1958 to 1999.

As we noted in "Feedback" in our June/July/August 2010 issue, we are indeed sad to report the death in January of a man who covered classical music for this magazine for 41 years.

George's very first appearance in these pages was in our 11th issue - the December 1958 edition of what was then called, simply, HiFi Review. He came out swinging with 11 mono LP reviews, including the Magelone Songs of Brahms as sung by Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau on Decca (an "excellent" recording of "major Brahms") and a program of Britten and Arnold from Robert Irving and the Philharmonia Orchestra on Capitol ("Musical Interest: Exhilarating. Performance: Exuberant. Recording: Exemplary").

His final appearance here was in January 1999 - also the final issue of Stereo Review before our changeover to Sound+Vision. He took on three vocal CDs: a collection of arias sung by Hei-Kyung Hong (RCA Victor), a program of Mozart arias and Strauss songs from Christine Schafer, with Claudio Abbado conducting the Berlin Philharmonic (Deutsche Grammophon), and Ben Heppner's all-German Dedication (RCA Victor), an "uncommonly fine recital, an imaginative program executed with care and insight."

But let's return to 1919 by way of January 1976. In that issue, it was George's turn to contribute to "Introducing the Staff," a back-page column explained as follows by editor William Anderson:

"Since readers from time to time understandably display a natural human curiosity about the backgrounds of the writers and editors who bend their ears each month, we are offering a series of capsule biographies and autobiographies designed to satisfy that expressed need and, at the same time, to circumvent some of the hazards of mere speculation."