Musical Notes - Neil Heywood

  • Posted on: 21 November 2020
  • By: huw

RCS Bass and regular provider of the programme notes for our concerts Neil Heywood writes.....

My earliest memory of music - cold nights at Christmas, when the village silver band would play carols outside the house. Magic for a little boy. Soon after I learned to play all the twiddly bits of Jesu Joy of Man’s Desiring on a mouth organ (fortunately not recorded? - ed). The peak of my instrumental career, I’m sorry to say.

First musical performance - at our school’s annual carol concerts. Me and my mate Chris sang I Know that My Redeemer Liveth together as a kind of joint solo when we were 11 or 12.

My favourite composer is any composer beginning with a B. Bach, Brahms, Britten and Bernstein especially. But maybe not Bax or Boulez, and Beethoven just for the late quartets.

To brighten a friend's day, I would prescribe Percy Grainger’s rollicking arrangement of the folk song Seventeen Come Sunday for SATB [soprano, alto, tenor, bass] and brass. Guaranteed to make you smile.

Not one, but two musical quotations - both from Richard Strauss:
Never look at the trombones. It just encourages them.
(To the string players before the rising phrase at the beginning of Don Juan) Gentlemen, I would ask those of you who are married to play this phrase as if you were engaged