There is a fourth conductor that David would have added to this list, that of Sir Henry J. Wood. In his teens and until he was called up to serve in the British Army David joined the audience at London’s Queens Hall for the Henry Wood Promenade concerts each summer. It was a musical education for David (as it was to be for me 30 years later when “Flash” wielded the baton at the Proms, by then moved to the Royal Albert Hall). Wood’s clear beat from a long stick he held and his fearsome eyes produced astonishing performances from under rehearsed orchestras.Adrian Boult another long stick conductor was also held in high regard by David except for Tchaikovsky, a favourite composer for Boult, but certainly not with David!
One day I drove David to meet a record collector friend in Dulwich. Sat in my friend’s lounge completely dominated by an EMG gramophone with a 3ft diameter horn, David listened to early acoustic recordings made by Wood. My friend then produced the full orchestral score of Sibelius En Saga and David eyes lit up when he found it contained the blue pencil marks of Sir Henry for it was Sir Henry’s conducting copy. Thereafter David asked me on many occasions if my friend was minded to part with the score. It was a score he would have loved to own. Holding the score was only second best, but an experience David never forgot.
Written by Barry Coward.