28 October 1931
6 December 2005
and Dick Myers, Edgewood Symphony
Marsden, SPO Trumpeter
From Maggie Cotton, CBSO Principal
Percussionist (retired), writer, critic
I knew Adrian only
for the last 12 years, but it did not
take long for me to realise that here
was someone who would change my life.
In 1993 Adrian had acquired a reference
book which I had compiled – useful for
conductors among other people. This
initially unremarkable incident spawned
clumsy e-mails on my part, and sparky
encouragement for further writing from
Adrian. Our eventual friendship was
a curious meeting of musical minds,
as we had very little else in common - I
soon learnt to keep off the subjects
of religion, politics, current attitudes,
organ music and certain well-disliked
(by me) English composers.
We met in due course,
when I visited my family in my home
town of Huddersfield, and this was when
Adrian asked me to write something for
his Philharmonic magazine. The
Slaithwaite Phil. was one of the very
first orchestras I played in as a young
girl, so when he suggested that I might
like to come north to take part in a
concert, I found the closing of this
particular circle totally irresistible.
As our sometimes gritty
exchanges grew, more magazine articles
landed on his desk. I was flattered
to find that he resisted any heavy editing
of what must often have been, to him,
a frivolous approach. He was intrigued
to delve into the vagaries of my professional
orchestra, and no doubt observed the
City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra
with new eyes and ears from that time.
Our telephone conversations ranged from,
"Are you listening to Radio 3?
. . . what are they doing?"
to watching TV with open phone lines
and comments flying back and forth.
His rusty laugh was ever welcome as
we exchanged ideas, and I learnt a lot
about our rich language and how to write
without losing my own personality.
"When are you
going to write that book?" The
nettle was eventually grasped and with
massive support from Adrian I decided
to do just that. To my astonishment
he asked to be allowed to edit my efforts - oh,
what a relief! Battle commenced and
continued for over two years. Learning
curves were steep and at times painful,
but Adrian was my ever-present safety
net: caring, careful, patient, maddening,
generous, critical – but always supportive
and there for me.
Having spent endless
months trying, with his help, to find
a publisher, I am slowly coming round
to the fact that he had the right idea
in the first place. Yes, Adrian, I will
grit my teeth and have a crack at self-publishing.
I am only too sad that you will never
hold the finished article in your hand,
but the first-page dedication will be
solely for you, as I am determined to
do you proud.
I already miss you,
dear friend, and know that I am not
alone in this.