Sir Neville Marriner obituary (written by John Amis) | Music | The Guardian 

Sir Neville Marriner at his home in London in 2008. Photograph: Sarah Lee for the Guardian

 

It is with great sadness The Tait Trust announces the death of Sir Neville Marriner last night. He was a personal friend of John Amis and his first wife Diana and his second wife Molly and their son Clarinetist Andrew Marriner.

Sir Neville Marriner CH, CBE

“It was a life of music making of the highest quality that gave pleasure to many. And if he excelled in the lighter classic on the whole, he could on the occasion dig deep ; he recorded a thrilling Eroica symphony , his Metamorphoses challenges  Klemperer and Karajan in his emotional depth, and his set of the Handel Concerto Grossos is still the most satisfying in the catalogue” John Amis  2013 We send our deepest condolences to the Marriner family at the loss of such a great man.

We send our deepest condolences to the Marriner family at the loss of such a great man.

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Isla Baring

John Amis writes: Not exactly the Algonquin, but a pleasant, cheap and not nasty eating place next door to the old Mercury theatre in Notting Hill Gate, west London, was where a handful of musos met most days for lunch in the 40s and 50s. Neville was there with his first wife, Diana, the broadcaster Antony Hopkins and the soprano Alison Purves, the violinists Alan Loveday (soloist and leader of the Academy), Olive Zorian (the quartet leader, the leader of Benjamin Britten’s orchestra, and my wife), and sometimes Neville’s teacher and guru, the great Albert Sammons. Talk at lunch was funny and gossipy. Neville was sharp-edged, a good driver, a handyman, nifty at tennis, always lucky and good at cards. With the horn player Barry Tuckwell and clarinettist Gervase de Peyer, Neville (as principal second violin) was one of the new generation of players in the London Symphony Orchestra. They were too brilliant and reliable to get the sack, but they must have got near dismissal at times because they dared to challenge conductors.

During the war the Martin String Quartet, led by David Martin with Neville as its second violinist, had gigged for the Council for the Encouragement of Music and the Arts, playing in some places that had never had concerts.It was a great moment for the quartet to be invited to play in the Aldeburgh Festival. Britten requested them to play a favourite quartet of his, the Verdi. This quartet has a finale that begins with a fugue, led by the second violin. Just before going on stage David said: “Now Neville, for God’s sake, don’t start off the fugue too fast.” Neville responded by beginning the fugue too slowly by half. Britten was not best pleased. On marrying Diana, who became a bookseller specialising in incunabula, Neville found himself living in the G&T belt, sometimes finding that he was the only one not wearing an old school tie. Then came the request from his friend John Churchill to give a recital at St Martin in the Fields. He found that several of his string-playing friends had received a similar request. They all had to refuse because, straight our of college, they had not enough repertoire. Then Neville had the bright idea of them combining to make a tiny orchestra, where they would concentrate on

Then Neville had the bright idea of them combining to make a tiny orchestra, where they would concentrate on not-too-demanding music of the 18th century – ice-cream composers, Neville called them: Corelli, Torelli, Albicastro, Vivaldi. Thus the Academy was born. Fast forward to the new century. Neville’s hair had at last gone white, still playing a good game of tennis in his 80s in the garden court of the cottage on the Dorset-Devon border where he lived with his second wife, Molly.

A good cook, a quick packer and a voracious reader, she shaped his career, managed his life and was good at social affairs. Neville no longer directed the Academy but had dates as a conductor, sometimes in three continents in as many weeks. It was a life of music-making of the highest quality that gave pleasure to many. And if he excelled in the lighter classics on the whole, he could on occasion dig deep: he recorded a thrilling Eroica symphony, his Metamorphosen challenges Klemperer and Karajan in its emotional depth; and his set of the Handel Concerto Grossos is still the most satisfying in the catalogue.

•Neville Marriner, conductor and violinist, born 15 April 1924; died 2 October 2016

•John Amis died in 2013

Source: Sir Neville Marriner obituary | Music | The Guardian

John Amis Award at Dartington International Summer School

We are delighted to announce The Tait Memorial Trust, ‘John Amis Award’ at the Dartington International Summer School. The Award, valued at £1,700, will fund the studies of a young Australian for two weeks intensive work at next year’s School. This will be an annual award available to an Australian citizen who wishes to further their musical studies in the UK. Please apply directly to Dartington  to register your interest.

Melbourne born Tenor Matthew Thomson was the John Amis Award’s first recipient at the 2016 Dartington International Summer School and Festival. Speaking of Matthew as the first recipient of the award, Isla Baring says,

“John loved singing, he loved Australia, and he loved Dartington – these three elements have come together perfectly in Matthew receiving the first of these annual awards in celebration of John’s legacy at Dartington.”

John Amis
Writer, broadcaster, narrator, mimic, wit, raconteur, visionary, bon vivant, and an excellent organizer, John Amis’ life was a remarkable one, through which music, and the joy of it, ran as a rich golden vein.

John Amis at Dartington International Summer School
John Amis at Dartington International Summer School

When John Amis died in 2014, Isla Baring, the “Indian Summer” of his life, and Chair of the Tait Memorial Trust, of which John too had been an active patron, invited gifts from those who loved and appreciated him to create a ‘John Amis Award.

In celebration of John Amis’ defining role in its history, The Dartington International Summer School and Festival, and the Tait Memorial Trust have now joined to offer this award to an Australian Student applying to attend the Summer School each year.

John’s role in the Summer School goes back to 1948, when as William Glock’s right hand man, he helped set up the Summer School at Bryanston, a relationship that continued when the Summer School moved to Dartington in 1951, where John was closely involved in both its artistic direction and administration. Through the close friendships John built with notable musicians, composers, and conductors, he ensured that many of them featured at Dartington, where he worked to develop the special musical atmosphere that pervades to this day. (John was also in charge of the “trogs”; the unpaid volunteers who keep the show on the road – christened “troglodytes” by George Malcolm one summer.)

Matthew Thomson, Tenor

Matthew specialises in Baroque to Classical solo and chamber repertoire, this year bringing the characters of ‘Pyramus’ and ‘Sailor’ to colourful dramatic and vocal life at Dartington in Richard Williams’ quirky, demanding ‘back to back’ productions of ‘Pyramus & Thisbe’ and ‘Dido and Aeneas’, and excelling in his solo performances in the Monteverdi Vespers and Handel’s ‘Alexander’s Feast’.

Matthew Thomson, Tenor. Recipient of the John Amis Award at Dartington International Summer School
Matthew Thomson

Matthew says of his experience on the Advanced Opera Course at this year’s Dartington International Summer School and Festival

“These two weeks at Dartington provided one of the most intensive and rewarding learning and performance experiences of my career. I am thrilled too to be the first recipient of this award.”

 

 

Matthew’s course diary

“Week 1: Emma Kirkby was amazing to work with and learn from – as well as having the opportunity to have a lesson with Jessica Cash who was fantastic!! Having so many baroque and early music instruments there and working with all the lutenists really made the experience special. Also, I think it is important to give students the opportunity to sing some solos in the major concert alongside some of the more established professionals as I did in the Monteverdi Vespers with Stile Antico. Emma said some things that really assisted me regarding vowels and how I come on to notes when I sing. This will definitely change the way I approach songs in the future. Also, I feel like Jessica Cash helped me to overcome a mental block that I have been experiencing for years regarding listening to my sound and not singing freely – a bit of a revelation really!

Week 2: It is hard to pick a highlight of this week when it was opera for every session, but I have to say, I enjoyed it so much! Working with Maggie Faultless was probably the most valuable experience for me. Also, a shout out to the staff, particularly Georgie who was very helpful and understanding. Also – I loved the music shop. So many wonderful scores and so much money I probably shouldn’t have spent but did!! I have never really considered myself as someone who was good at performing staged opera – it isn’t something I have had confidence in. Performing in Pyramus and Thisbe, the comic opera, threw me in the deep end. I had to perform lines, a death scene, learn stage movements, memorise a tonne of music and on top of all of that, it had to be funny. A massive challenge that I really feel like I rose to. My confidence in this area has increased significantly to a point where opera is something I am seriously considering pursuing further.”

Artists seeking to apply for the award should please apply to the Tait Memorial Trust info@taitmemorialtrust.org

To learn more about the Dartington International Summer School click here

To learn more about Matthew Thomson please click here

To learn more about Tait Awards please click here

 

John Amis Award | JustGiving

John Amis by Hoffnung 1958 edited
John Amis by Hoffnung 1958 edited

As we look back at  John Amis’ funeral on Tuesday 20th August the idea of a legacy, a tangible way to remember John has been at the forefront of our thoughts. A life, such as his is a rare occurrence and deserves our very best efforts to remember and celebrate.

For the last six years of his incredible life John Amis was a Patron and an active supporter of the Tait Memorial Trust. The Chairman, Isla Baring OAM, wishes to create an Award in his name to be called the ‘John Amis Award’.

We have created a JustGiving page in the name of John Amis which is attached to the main TMT JustGiving page. Any money donated via John’s page will go directly to fund this new award. We are delighted to report that the fund has got off to a good start with the donations made at John’s funeral and committal.

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Please donate to this award using the button below.

Donate with JustGiving

 

John Amis

The funeral is over and he is laid to rest in Aldeburgh, not far from Benjamin Britten, Peter Pears and Imogen Holst. The last few days have been a wonderful celebration of the life of John Amis, due to the love and support of his many friends the services were very special and … unforgettable.

Thank you so much to you all for the touching messages of love and support. John was a remarkable man, an irreplaceable man who I will never forget. I was blessed to have eight happy years with him. Over the coming months the Trust will celebrate his life with the John Amis – A Concert in Celebration and the Tait Winter Prom on November 26th and a new award, the John Amis Award., more below.

John Amis
John Amis

The funeral for John was held at St Sepulchre-without-Newgate in London on Tuesday 20th August led by John’s old friend, The Reverend John Wates. A witty eulogy from John’s long time friend, and former BBC colleague, Humphrey Burton and memories from another dear friend, Michael Rose were a welcome respite from the grief most of us have been experiencing these past few weeks.

Joanna McCallum; daughter of founding Tait Trust Patrons, Googie Withers and John McCallum, and now a member of the TMT committee, read:

Reading – Ecclesiastes 3: 1-8

Joanna McCallum

To everything there is a season, a time for every purpose under heaven:
A time to be born, and a time to die;
A time to plant, and a time to pluck what is planted;
A time to kill, and a time to heal;
A time to break down, and a time to build up;
A time to weep, and a time to laugh;
A time to mourn, and a time to dance;
A time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones;
A time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing;
A time to gain, and a time to lose;
A time to keep, and a time to throw away;
A time to tear, and a time to sew;
A time to keep silence, and a time to speak;
A time to love, and a time to hate;
A time of war, and a time of peace.

Dame Felicity Lott sang a song which was very dear to John, ‘Beim Schlafengehen‘, one of Strauss’ four last songs, accompanied beautifully by Graham Johnson. This was a particularly poignant moment as Dame Felicity visited John near to his death and sang some songs quietly into his ear. Her singing of the Strauss was an unforgettable moment in the service. If John was writing this I am sure he would find a way to better express the joy that she shared with the congregation and most especially to John’s partner, Isla Baring.

John Amis at home
John Amis at home

A lovely recording of John singing, Bilbo’s Song by Donald Swann, was played with his dear friend, Donald Swann singing in harmony and accompanying and a hauntingly beautiful 1927 recording of, The Power of Love by Percy Grainger with the pure tones of Anita Atwater, soprano and Percy Grainger accompanying on the harmonium and Ralph Leopold piano.

The service ended with Steal Away, the famous Negro spiritual arranged by Michael Tippett from ‘A Child Of Our Time’ sung beautifully by, The Choir of St Sepulchre-without-Newgate led by Andrew Earis, Director of Music .

On Wednesday at St Peter and St Paul Church, Aldeburgh a short service was held with a reflection on John’s life by conductor, Steuart Bedford and Humphrey Burton again provided the Eulogy before the committal. This service was marked by the recordings of John whistling and being back in his spiritual home the service had an added colour.

To read the order of service of John’s funeral please download it here

John Amis Memorial Concert, October 8th 2013, St Paul’s Knightsbridge

We all hope you can come to the Memorial Concert on 8th October at St Paul’s Knightsbridge. The concert is being developed with the assistance of Michael Rose and will be a fitting celebration of his life and work. Please watch this space. Artists and the concert repertoire is being confirmed and the theme will most definitely be as broad as the tastes for which John Amis was justly famous. Flanders and Swann to Mahler, Percy Grainger, Wagner and of course Britten and Tippett….plus?

John Amis Award

As we look back at John Amis’ funeral on Tuesday 20th August the idea of a legacy, a tangible way to remember John, has been at the forefront of our thoughts. He was a man of rare talent, and was an inspiration to so many and his life deserves to be fully celebrated.
John Amis by Hoffnung 1958 edited

For the last six years of his life John was a Patron and an active supporter of the Tait Memorial Trust, arranging many successful and popular events and working tirelessly to further the Trust’s work. In recognition of his substantial contribution, Isla Baring OAM, Chairman of the Trust, wishes to create an Award in his honour to be called the John Amis Award.

We have created a JustGiving page in the name of John Amis which is attached to the main TMT JustGiving page. Any money donated via John’s page will go directly to fund this new award. We are delighted to report that the fund has got off to a good start with the generous donations made at John’s funeral and at his committal in Aldeburgh.

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GiftaidlogotransparentPlease donate to this award using the button below.

Donate with JustGiving

Save the Date – Tait Winter Prom 2013

We look forward to hearing Dame Gillian Weir, Primavera Shima, Travis Baker and the lovely Valda Wilson again at the 2013 Winter Prom at Holy Trinity, Sloane Square, Chelsea 26 November 2013.

This concert was completely arranged by John Amis. The notes, the artists and the concept was all John’s work. It will be dedicated to his memory.

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Tait Winter Prom 2013

Below are some photos of John Amis from 2013

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John Amis with Sir Andrew Davis after Elgar Concert at Cadogan Hall, London
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John Amis with Sir Willard White
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Leon Berger, Alison Swann, John Amis and Stephanie Flanders
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John Amis in the Flanders and Swann evening at 49 Queens Gate Terrace, March 2013
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John Amis

Tait Memorial Trust website

©2013 Tait Memorial Trust • Registered charity 1042797

John Amis Award

As we prepare for John Amis’ funeral on Tuesday 20th August the idea of a legacy, a tangible way to remember John has been at the forefront of our thoughts. A life, such as his is a rare occurrence and deserves our very best efforts to remember and celebrate.
John Amis by Hoffnung 1958 edited

For the last six years of his incredible life John Amis was a Patron and an active supporter of the Tait Memorial Trust. The Chairman, Isla Baring OAM, wishes to create an Award in his name to be called the ‘John Amis Award’.

We have created a JustGiving page in the name of John Amis which is attached to the main TMT page. Any money donated via John’s page will go directly to fund this new award.

Donate with JustGiving

John Amis

Six weeks in a bank was enough for him to decide to live by and with music. Selling records and writing about them for a high-class gramophone shop, working with London Philharmonic, Symphony and Royal Philharmonic, organising concerts for Myra Hess at the National Gallery and for Michael Tippett whose secretary-dogsbody and friend he was, concert manager for Beecham, music critic for The Scotsman, organiser of the Summer School of Music with William Glock at Bryanston and Dartington for 34 years, broadcaster on radio and TV for 40, during which time he interviewed some 500 of the most famous and interesting musicians, Hindemith to Bernstein, Cage to Swann, Stravinsky to Stockhausen. He has narrated parts in Façade, Peter and the Wolf, Enoch Arden and Babar the Elephant.

John Amis speaking at the Malcolm Arnold Festival 2011

For his 70th birthday made a CD with friends Leslie Howard, Steve Race, Malcolm Arnold, Donald Swann, Jeffrey Tate and Ian Wallace. His books include an autobiography,Amiscellany, an anthology Words about Music and My Life in Music 1945 – 2000, A Photographer at the Aldeburgh Festival (Nigel Luckhurst) and Musicians on Camera(Lelia Goehr).

John Amis
John Amis

John was a very active blogger. His site John Amis online has a selection of his reviews going back to 2001. http://johnamismusic.blogspot.co.uk

The Archive of over 500 priceless interviews with the leaders of Western music and the Arts is being collected. Watch this space.

A Farewell to John Amis

Dear Friends, I really appreciate all the warm, caring and loving messages I have received in the past week. Many of you have asked for details of the funeral and memorial services.

I really appreciate all the warm, caring and loving messages I have received in the past week. Many of you have asked for details of the funeral and memorial services.

The funeral will take place on Tuesday 20 August 2013 at 11am at St Sepulchre-without-Newgate Church, Holborn Viaduct, London EC1A 2DQ (directions below), followed by a short service and burial in Aldeburgh on Wednesday 21 August at 12pm, at St Peter & St Paul’s Parish Church. All welcome.

A memorial service will be held on Tuesday 8 October at St Paul’s Knightsbridge.

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Love, Isla

Isla Baring OAM
Chairman
Tait Memorial Trust

John Amis. A portrait by June Mendoza
John Amis. A portrait by June Mendoza

Directions: St Sepulchre without Newgate is located at the junction of Holborn Viaduct and Giltspur Street. Nearest tube stations are St Paul’s (Central line) and Farringdon (Circle, Hammersmith & City and Metropolitan lines). The church is located almost exactly opposite City Thameslink overground station.

John Amis Award
For the last six years of his incredible life John Amis was a Patron and an active supporter of the Tait Memorial Trust. The Chairman, Isla Baring OAM, wishes to create an Award in his name to be called the ‘John Amis Award’. Any money donated via this page will go directly to fund this new award.

Donate with JustGiving

John Preston Amis (17 June 1922 – 1 August 2013)

Dear Friends

Darling John died peacefully last night at the Chelsea and Westminster – I was with him at the time.

His last two months have been a struggle – Scotland for a month, then in London for 5 weeks. The doctors and nurses gave him wonderful care and support.

I will miss him enormously, but shall remember all the wonderful times we shared together with so many of our dear friends, and so grateful for the music which brought us together. As Humphrey Burton says, “the very spirit of music…unforgettable and irreplaceable”.

John Preston Amis ( 17 June 1922 - 01 August 2013)
John Preston Amis ( 17 June 1922 – 01 August 2013)

Love, Isla
Isla Baring OAM
Chairman
Tait Memorial Trust
4/80 Elm Park Gardens
London SW10 9PD
T 020 7351 0561
F 020 7349 0531
E islabaring@gmail.com
W www.taitmemorialtrust.org

Jayson Gillham to play for Tait Performing Arts Association

Jayson Gillham is to play in concert in Melbourne at the Savage Club on the 12th September 2013 for our sister organisation in Australia, the Tait Performing Arts Association After reading the review below by eminent critic and Tait Patron, John Amis, how could you miss it?

Concert details info here

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Jayson Gillham by John Amis

One of the pleasures of being a critic is that you sometimes spot a tremendous talent before it becomes known to the public at large: in my sixty years writing about artists I was able to come across some young muzos that I recognised as being star quality. I was able to appreciate when he was only seventeen the conductor Simon Rattle, and the guitarist Julian Bream when he was in his mid-teens. And now I am happy to salute the young Australian pianist Jayson Gillham. I am not alone in saluting his talent: he has a following already, he has success with orchestras in various countries and has won important prizes such as the Gold Medal of the Royal Overseas League. At the 2012 Leeds Piano competition he was a semi-finalist and won warm praise from Sir Mark Elder; likewise in the Warsaw Competition he won praise from the great Marta Argarich.

Recently, I heard Jayson again at one of the Bob Boas Concerts in Mansfield Street when he played a recital programme of Bach, Beethoven, Schumann, Debussy and two Liszt transcriptions. Each composer was done justice and the performances could not have been bettered. Gillham has virtuosity to spare but uses his technique as a springboard to making deeply satisfying and freshness of Bach (the G major Toccata), the wit and strength of Beethoven (opus 78, the ardent passion of Schumann (the Etudes symphoniques), the voluptuous poetry of Debussy (3Etudes) and the passion of Wagner (the Liebestod and the coruscating wit of the Rigoletto Paraphrase). It was a recital to cherish and remember. Jayson Gillham will surely have a big and important career.

This article was published by John Amis in his wonderful blog

http://johnamismusic.blogspot.co.uk/2013/02/jayson-gillham.html?m=1

 

Jayson Gillham’s website

©2013 Tait Memorial Trust •

Registered charity 1042797

John Amis – Critic, Broadcaster and Patron of the TMT

John Amis has lived a life surrounded by the greats of modern British music. At Dulwich College, South London he was close friends with the satirical/ witty composer, Donald Swann. In his professional life Britten, Tippett and Walton, to name a few, were his friends and contemporaries. He followed and nurtured their careers, wrote about their work, broadcast about them on BBC radio and on BBC television, the justly famous, ‘Music Now’ brought his wit and comprehensive knowledge into the nation’s living rooms.

John Amis. A portrait by June Mendoza
John Amis. A portrait by June Mendoza

John is now 91 and is very ill. Thankfully he is being visited by many of his old friends and colleagues, his reaction to them is lovely to witness. Isla and all of the members of the Tait Memorial Trust pray for a swift recovery and ask that you join us in asking for John’s health to be restored to him so he can continue the active life for which he is so famous.

This is a recent portrait of John Amis by the celebrated Australian artist, June Mendoza. This is the John that many of us have come to know and love. We so want him to return.

 

If you would like to send a personal message to John or wish to pay him a visit please use the contact form attached

A clip of John from the May 1971 BBC broadcast of ‘Music Now’. A special programme made about the premiere of the new Benjamin Britten opera made for Television and commissioned by the BBC, Owen Wingrave.








©2013 Tait Memorial Trust •
Registered charity 1042797