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A special night

BILL NEWMAN wishes Colin Bradbury
Many Happy Returns on the occasion
of the clarinettist's seventieth birthday


When I informed a musical colleague about this celebratory event at London's Wigmore Hall, he immediately reminded me of Colin Bradbury's immaculate ease and professional aplomb during the cadenza half way through Sir Henry Wood's Fantasia on British Sea Songs at the Last Night of The Proms.

It was one of those special nights when a warm glow surrounded the whole auditorium, and fellow wind players were there in force to add their personal plaudits to the proceedings. Behind me was clarinettist Janet Hilton, then in the next row bassoonist William Waterhouse, almost 'a next door neighbour' in the BBC Symphony Orchestra after departing from the LSO. Did I, by chance, espy Gervase de Peyer at the back of the hall? Needless to say, the audience too was mainly of my own age group -- totally respecting and respectful in manners and musical appreciations. In fact, completely the reverse of the young college fraternity who last week gave noisy support to piano player Warren Mailley-Smith, currently the favourite Chopin interpreter of HRH The Prince of Wales.

Colin Bradbury - leaflet for the 27 March 2004 70th Birthday Concert
Colin Bradbury - leaflet for the 27 March 2004 70th Birthday Concert

Alongside the dapper and smilingly dignified Bradbury, also a long-serving member of the Irish Guards Band and the Sadler's Wells Opera Orchestra, was his close piano partner since 1980, Oliver Davies who specializes in surveying the musical histories of great British houses including their concert set-ups. Silent film scores -- I am reminded of Arthur Dulay -- melodramas and period balls have also occupied much of his time. One further artist deserves honourable mention, and that is Deborah Miles-Johnson, distinguished mezzo soprano appearing at short notice in place of Eirian James. Deborah sings almost everything between Mozart and Maxwell Davies, and has a lovely voice!

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Copyright © 15 April 2004 Bill Newman, Edgware UK


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