Next Meeting, 21 February …
A New Yorker abroad. Andrew Litton, Principal Conductor of the Bergen Philharmonic Orchestra, Director of the Minnesota Orchestra’s annual Sommerfest and Music Director Emeritus of the Dallas Symphony Orchestra, talks to Andrew Keener.
Last meeting … Remembering John AmisMany memories of John Amis were evoked by Robert Ponsonby, Denis Moriaty and David Cairns in person and by Michael Rose, Humphrey Burton, Piers Burton-Page and many others in audio recordings. We were also treated to recordings of John himself, talking, singing and whistling. A talented man who will be missed by many, but after last night’s meeting still seems very present.
Items played during the meeting were:
1) Talking about Music: signature tune (Lincolnshire Posey, arr. Grainger). Followed by excerpt from interview by JA with Dame Myra Hess (latter available on BBC Legends CD).
2) Live presentation: Robert Ponsonby reading Michael Rose’s encomium, given at JA’s memorial concert at St Paul’s, Knightsbridge on 8 October 2013.
3) JA talking of working at the record shop EMG Handmade Gramophones, London.
4) JA talking of the National Gallery Concerts during the Second World War.
5) Punkt Contrapunkt. Spoof Musicological discussion between JA and Gerard Hoffnung (from the Hoffnung Interplanetary Music Festival, Royal Festival Hall, 1958) (EMI Records and various sources)
6) JA talking of Bryanston, the Amadeus Quartet and Rawsthorne.
7) JA talking of Bryanston, Dartington and William Glock.
8) Live presentation: Robert Ponsonby reading from JA’s collection of recollections, reviews and essays, My Music in London, 1945-2000 (Amiscellany Books).
9) JA talking of Michael Tippett, in jail during the Second World War, turning pages for Peter Pears and Benjamin Britten in recital.
10) JA talking of early Aldeburgh Festival years.
11) JA talking of Britten ‘corpses’.
12) JA recalling Peter Pears’ description of JA’s singing voice.
13) Gardener’s Song, from A Lambeth Garland by Penelope Thwaites. John Amis (tenor)/Penelope Thwaites (piano). (Nimbus Records).
14) Frankie Howerd singing Sir Joseph Porter’s song (When I was a lad...) from Gilbert and Sullivan’s HMS Pinafore, followed by JA interview with Howerd.
15) Piers Burton-Page remembering JA as a snappy dresser.
16) Opening credits by Steve Race from BBC Radio series My Music, followed by JA reminiscing about the show and an extract from the programme.
17) Live presentation: Robert Ponsonby relating three anecdotes apropos JA.
18) Violin Test. Extract from JA BBC Radio programme featuring ‘blind’ test of four violins played by Manoug Parikian in front of panel consisting of Itzhak Perlman, Pinchas Zukerman and Charles Beer.
19) JA talking of the music which consoles him when he’s down: not necessarily the ‘profound’ classics, but maybe a piece of Dowland or Faure.
20) Live presentation: David Cairns reading from his encomium of JA, given at the Memorial Concert mentioned in 2).
21) Bilbo’s Last Song by Donald Swann (words by Tolkien). Sung as a duet with Donald Swann (piano). (Nimbus Records).
22) JA singing ‘Ausgerechtnet Bananen’ (Yes, we have no bananas), arr Steve Race (piano). From BBC Radio programme, My Music.