Francis Baines Remembered April 11 Cadogan Hall

4 Apr 2017

FRANCIS BAINES REMEMBERED WITH A MUSICAL EXTRAVAGANZA AT CADOGAN HALL

A musical extravaganza celebrating the life and work of Francis Baines and featuring many of his distinguished musical friends will be given at Cadogan Hall on Tuesday, 11 April at 7pm.

Dame Emma Kirkby, Fretwork, Sir Nicholas Kenyon, Andrew Parrott, Roy Goodman, The Hanover Band, Pavlo Beznosiuk, Alison Bury, Stephen Preston, Lisa Beznosiuk, Chi-chi Nwanoku and Michael Chance will be amongst the musicians performing during the evening. The programme includes music composed by Baines himself, including the Hoffnung Festival Fanfare, his Grounds for double-bass and a Fantasy for six recorders. The programme is made up by music especially dear to Francis and his beloved wife, June: William Lawes’s Consort a 6 in F (nicknamed by Francis, ‘The Sunrise’), Purcell’s Suite from King Arthur, madrigals by Orlando Gibbons, Haydn’s Symphony 82 in C, ‘The Bear’, and J.S. Bach’s Cantata 118, ‘O Jesu Christ, meins Lebens Licht’.

Francis Baines, described as: “an extraordinary and eccentric musician of many parts” is best remembered for his charismatic double-bass playing, exploited by Benjamin Britten in The Turn of the Screw (1954) and a highlight of the 75thbirthday performance of Stravinsky’s The Soldier’s Tale at Dartington and on the BBC in 1957. He took part in a performance of Schubert’s ‘Trout’ quintet with Britten and the Amadeus Quartet and worked with several leading London chamber orchestras before deciding to concentrate on early music, mainly at first with the Jaye Consort, which he founded in 1960 to explore the marvellous repertory of music for viols.  At Aldeburgh in the 1950s and 1960s he was a frequent performer at the festival displaying his versatility on the viol and violone, the French bagpipes (musette), pipe and tabor, shawm and hurdy-gurdy.

At the Royal College of Music, where he had studied double-bass and composition with Herbert Howells in the 1930s, and at informal sessions at his home in Barnes, he coached many leading players of the early music revival of the 1970s and 1980s, several of whom are taking part in this concert. Francis had a long-standing commitment to encouraging young musicians, though he was characteristically dismissive of his abilities as a teacher. For many years he had supplemented his income as a lecturer and demonstrator in schools, and at one time was ensemble coach to the Oxford University Music Club. He also founded the Chamber Music Club of the Mary Ward Settlement in London when he was a Lecturer there from 1948 to 1950. He loved to compose and at one time was highly regarded, though increasingly composition took a back seat as he became more in demand as a specialist bass-player in baroque and classical. Commenting on the evening, organizer and close friend Annette Isserlis, said: “It is a great honour to stage this very special evening in Francis’ memory. It will be a grand reunion for all those that knew and loved him and have had the pleasure to work with him over many years. As well as having so many brilliant musicians performing during the evening, there will also be a book for sale about Francis, in which former students, musical colleagues, friends and family members contribute to a lively and touching portrait of a fine musician loved by everyone who encountered him.”

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