Yes, I heartily agree with John France the total number of recorded performances of Peter Racine Fricker is "pathetic" - however the constituents of that total are gems. I first became aware of Fricker through a performance of a String Quartet (the second?) by the Amadeus within the university at York in 1967. A highly distinctive and absorbing musical language, and quite unlike anything else I'd heard. (I don't think I ever saw the Amadeus playing with such rapt concentration as on that occasion, and the music made the deepest impact on the audience privileged to hear it). I resolved there and then to hear as much Fricker as I possibly could. Alas, in the 41 years since I have never encountered it in the concert hall, and as John France says, there is precious little beyond the 2 violin sonatas and the concerto on record. How I should love to hear that quartet again! And my despondency increases when I read the two articles by David Wright and Francis Routh available on the site, and realise the full extent of Fricker's compositions. (Do concert organisers and record companies not attend to MusicWeb? Dutton Epoch are currently doing wonders for Richard Arnell - could they not take on some of Fricker's orchestral music? And the Maggini on Naxos for the [two?] quartets? And, come on Chandos, how about some of the choral music? I detain my fancies, for it begins to hurt!)
What a thing it was to be a student in those days! We had the Amadeus resident for two whole years, and I recall paying 1s&6p to attend each of their fortnightly concerts. Then Janet Baker, Gerald Moore, Alfred Brendel, Elizabeth Schwarzkopf and many others also dropped in. Best of all was a Britten and Pears performance of Winterreise in the newly built Lyons concert hall. Many of the 40 or so who heard it were commenting frequently in the following months that its intensity surpassed the legendary Decca recording. What an environment in which to be a student (and not, in my case, of music)! It saddens me greatly that, for obvious enough reasons, contemporary students have little conception of what they might be missing. I ended the first part of my career in 2006 when I departed from a dump of a university somewhere north of Birmingham and south of Manchester that put all its energies into designing gimmicky courses in an attempt to bump up student numbers at the expense of properly expanding the minds of students and enriching their lives. But that is another story. In the meantime, please please some Fricker! It is quite dreadful that his rich and broad legacy goes unperformed and unrecorded.
« Back to index | View thread »
Thank you for using the MusicWeb Message Board.
Len Mullenger - Founder of MusicWeb