Date of this Version
The George Eliot Review 16 (1985)
Take a mixture of gentle humour, superb professionalism, excellent timing and a love of music of many a Music' programme has been a much loved public figure for many years, but if his audience at the Arts Centre were expecting the same pleasant, relaxed man on stage, they were probably delighted to discover that he is even more pleasant and more relaxed than they had anticipated. From the moment he arrived on stage until he left it, he had his audience in the palm of his hand. They reacted instantly to him, and the pleasure this gave to him probably made the evening even more successful.
We heard anecdotes about his life in music, his friends inside and outside the BBC (those of 'My Music' were particularly hilarious and one can imagine what fun these programmes must be to do!) and we heard passages of recorded music as varied as his own tastes. From the majesty of Cockaigne by EIgar which had bowled him over as a music student of 16, to the jazz of Duke Ellington, from the beauty of Mozart to a synthesized Mussorgsky, from a song from 'Charlie Brown' to the exquisite song of the nightingale and the attractively raucous cry of the herring gull. He even played us some Stockhausen - although that was not among his favourite music, nor that of his audience. He played rock music with a heavy beat and, after assuring us that this could not be heard in classical music, could it, he then played some Brahms which was full of the same rhythmical beat: I t seems that there is really nothing new in the world of music. His foot (and our feet) tapped to Greek music and to Vaughan Williams, and, somewhere in between, we heard the incomparable Ella Fitzgerald.