Thursday, February 21, 2019

E10 Six Low Solos

Six Low Solos

Eric Hughes 1924 - 2000

Eric Hughes was an electrical engineer, who worked at GEC in Wembley during the 1950s at the time when transistors were first being developed. He was a talented jazz pianist and composer, and used to write a musical show each year for the members of the company to perform. I first met him when I was invited to play in the orchestra for one of their productions.
He decided to study composition more seriously, and enrolled for classes at Hendon Technical College. We sat next to each other for the theory and harmony classes and generally caused a lot of trouble - he was such a joker. Through our friendship he started writing shows for the Ballards Lane Methodist Church in Finchley, North London, which had a thriving dramatic group. Everything was fun. I still have copies of his songs 'I've got a Toothbrush in Kensington' and 'Knitting Sandwiches for Jim' - created for some comedy sketch.

Trying out some songs for a show - please note paper snakes coming out of the recorders.
Left to right: June Emerson, Laurie Hetherington, Eric Hughes, Jean Gunderson,
Ken Gunderson, Sidney the choirmaster.

The composer Alan Bush came to Hendon Tech. to teach the more advanced students and Spike (everyone called Hughes ended up being called 'Spike' of course) developed his style to a much more advanced level. Several of his works have been since been published.
It was at my request, and detailed information about which notes were learned first on the bassoon, that he composed Six Low Solos, which have been a godsend to beginner bassoonists ever since.
He always signed himself E. S. C. O. Hughes, which stood for Eric Spike Consecutive Octaves Hughes.
June Emerson

E6 Six Low Solos - Eric Hughes Grade I/2

Thursday, February 7, 2019

Gordon Jacob and his pigs...


Whenever we visited Gordon Jacob the first thing my children wanted to do was to sit on the big leather pig in his sitting-room. Gordon loved pigs and had an enormous collection: china, wooden, plastic - even a marzipan one that he couldn't bring himself to eat.
He was helping us to build our catalogue of pieces for young wind players, and it was the pigs that reminded him to introduce us to Alan Ridout, one of his ex-students at the Royal College of Music. Alan had written a piece for four bassoons called 'Pigs' as a gift to Gordon to add to his collection. Alan soon became one of our favourite composers.

Pigs eventually became Emerson Edition No.9. With a cover illustration by the legendary Bill Tidy it has remained a favourite since 1973