Thursday, July 26, 2018


Jack Brymer (1915 - 2003)

In the winter in the United States there is a problem in concert halls which become so dry with the excessive heating.  In my bassoon case I would put a humidifier,  a sort of rubber tube soaked in water. 'A London Symphony’ of Vaughan Williams has some very pianissimo sections.  In one of these, with Previn conducting on an LSO tour, one of the double basses literally exploded.  It was an amazing noise, followed by the Mancunian voice of Stuart Knussen (father of Oliver, the composer and solo double bass), ‘git off the platform, Robin!’, to Robin McGee, the owner of the ruined instrument.  Previn really enjoyed that.

Once in the Royal Festival Hall we had just finished the first movement of a symphony when Jack Brymer, sitting next to me,  got up and walked off the platform through the violins.  I think Previn must have suspected what was the trouble for he just stood on the podium and waited.  Sure enough, after probably not more than two minutes, back comes Jack, who says in his marvellous, sonorous voice ‘Sorry, AndrĂ©!’ and goes back to his seat to complete the performance of the symphony.

Roger Birnstingl

No comments:

Post a Comment