<< -- 2 -- Bill Newman EPISODES FROM A MEMORY BANK
That precious bassoon vanished after his home was burgled in 1979. After
this, he decided to stop playing -- 'Well, that is what I told
people, but I just lost it...' He started to walk away from me,
but quickly returned with a partly ashamed expression.
I mentioned his composer-father, Joseph Holbrooke, whose music I have
loved since my National Service days, 1951-3, and the discovery of those
precious Paxton 78rpm records. 'God, all those score hieroglyphics,
the sheer profusion of notes. I could not make head or tail of it!'
I expressed admiration for The Children of Don, Dylan and the Piano
He grabbed his despatch case and started undoing the straps. From inside
he removed two CDs -- one, the chamber works of Holbrooke: The Clarinet
Quintet in G major, Piano Quintet in G minor, and some settings of traditional
melodies of England, Scotland and Ireland; the other, performances of concertos
by the English Bach and Mozart -- the 'Violin' Concerto in
G major, together with Devienne's Quartet in C and Reicha's Sonata
in B flat. The soloist on all four was Gwydion himself. 'As you are
a real music enthusiast, I would ask you to accept these'. I promised
to listen closely and write about our meeting.
Keeping Sir Thomas Beecham aside, we spoke of the 1947 Weber Concerto
recording with Sir Malcolm Sargent and the then Liverpool Philharmonic.
'Can you picture me late at night sitting upright in bed in my new
gold silk pyjamas listening to the radio? I switch on BBC Radio 3,
then when I've had enough transfer over to Classic FM. There
was this young woman spouting about the Liverpool Phil, without realising
that it is the oldest of our Philharmonic orchestras; she then stops and
I hear music....wait a minute, I know this, and by God that's me
playing! Imagine the state of complete silence as you listen to yourself
pulsing the phrasework! Eerie!'
After I had stopped laughing, I turned to Sir Thomas 'and his Royal Family'
-- the famous wind foursome in the Royal Philharmonic -- Gerald
Jackson, Terence MacDonagh, Jack Brymer, Gwydion Brooke -- bald heads
glistening, fingers performing conjuring tricks, lip pressure and breath
control producing marvels in purity and breathing of sound phrasing during
those marvellous London concerts.
Copyright © 5 April 2002
Bill Newman, Edgware, UK
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