In 1964 The London Symphony asked me if I would go on a three month world tour with them. I thought long and loud about it because I did not want to lose the good freelance connection I had.
By way of bait they told me that everything would be first class, plus there would be a few extras by way of broadcasts on the way and also there would be many lucrative recordings with them upon our return; Aaron Copland was going to conduct some of his own works and also Leopold Stokowski would be conducting.
At that time I was very busy on the London scene; it was nothing to have to work for periods of three months at a time without a day off. I was very fatigued and wondered to myself that as I already had some contacts around the world I could maybe use the tour as a fishing expedition to see if I could land myself with an easier job. As it happened I was offered a teaching job in Japan but turned it down, knowing that my wife would not want to move there with our kids, and also that when a suitable Japanese came along I would probably be finished. I was pleased that I had accepted the tour because there were one or two other bites.
There were several conductors including Sir Malcolm Sargent, Colin Davis, Sir Arthur Bliss and Istvan Kertesz. Kertesz was young, very able as a conductor and full of testosterone.
We arrived in Tokyo where Kertesz conducted and from thereon had our own chartered plane to take us on the remainder of our long journey. The pilot, “Lofty”, and the crew became very friendly and joined in all the celebrations that were happening. We all noticed that Kertesz and a pretty stewardess were becoming very close so that one day after we checked into our hotel rooms it was noticed that he and the girl had gone to the same room.
A practical joker waited until fairly late in the evening and then phoned the room and told the girl that Lofty wanted to see her in the foyer to discuss details of tomorrow’s flight. A rather dishevelled girl came downstairs, but of course, Lofty wasn’t there.
Next day, after our plane took off, both Kertesz and the girl appeared to be very withdrawn. As one wag remarked, perhaps it was a case of coitus interruptus.
On a tragic note, not long afterwards Kertesz was drowned whilst swimming off the coast of Israel.