Norman Lebrecht on shifting sound worlds
Julian Bream, who was born in south London and played the guitar like a Spaniard, is celebrating a discreet 80th today.
wonderful, Norman. Thanks for posting this…..at last the guitar as a “musical” instrument.. what poise and poetry, and glorious natural sense of rubato!
Although I never met him, I feel like I know him a bit because of a story told to a group of us in 2006 by Lady Susana Walton at her home on the island of Ischia, Bay of Naples, Italy (Giardini La Mortella: http://www.lamortella.org/en/ ).
Sir William (Walton) had written Bagatelles for solo guitar for Julian Bream. The premier was scheduled for a summer night in the La Mortella Garden. Apparently the frog population did not take well to the guitar and starting croaking along quite loudly. The bucolic premier had to be moved indoors to avoid these calls of nature according to the always vivacious and loquacious Lady Walton whose mother-tongue was Spanish because of her Argentinian origin. Here’s a video of one of the Bagatelles with a comment from Sir William at the end. The video appears to have been done at La Mortella. Happy B-day, Julian Bream.
I’d heard he always insisted on being paid cash until he was mugged one night in Italy, his pockets stuffed and jangling with trillions of lira. Don’t know whether it’s true, though. It’s funny, but I’ve often thought of him recently; didn’t realise he was heading towards a round number. Happy Birthday to a great artist.
A truly great artist. Happy birthday Mr. Bream!
Indeed, Happy Birthday to one of the greats. Had the opportunity to hear him live some years back and I was entranced! never knew (then) the guitar could sound like that! Never thought of it till then as much more than a folk instrument. Many others have disabused me of that notion but Mr. Bream was the first. Thank you, Sir!
SO beautiful! Happy birthday, Julian Bream, ¡Feliz cumpleaños! As a teenager, I was taken to hear Julian Bream and had a huge crush on him –and on the guitar!– for quite some time. So wonderful to know that he is still among us.
Felicitations to one of the greatest musicians of our times on attaining his four score.His playing was of the utmost elegance and refinement on the one hand as well as full of fiery temperament on the other.I have never forgotten a master class in which he demonstrated what the music required with the utmost refinement & poise. His comments on the student’s interpretation as being somewhat ill considered remains with me as an indelible example of critical understatement as I have ever heard. I salute you,maestro Bream.
I attended a memorable recital by Julian Bream at Hayleybury School, Hertfordshire in the late sixties. I wish him a very happy eightieth birthday.
It is a travesty that the great man has still not been knighted. I cannot think of a more deserving person. Happy Birthday!
I have never been so swept away as I was with one man and a guitar sitting on a lone stool on stage at
UC Santa Barbara. So many hours of joy listening to your music! Happy Birthday Julian.
Happy Birthday Mr. Bream. Many More I wish he was still recording. My one regret is never seeing him in concert.
Author, novelist, broadcaster, cultural commentator.
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