PATRICK HADLEY 1899-1973
by Andrew Seivewright
No doubt many people remember their University, or College, class
as being of vintage quality. Certainly hindsight suggests that the Cambridge
Music Faculty around 1950 was an instance for special mention. Sitting
along the row from me at Music School lectures would be Raymond Leppard,
David Lumsden;and Peter le Huray (alas now late and lamented);and also
very much in evidence the composer David Barlow, together with Bernard
Keeffe, Kenneth Mobbs, John Clegg, whose specialisation in mathematics
did not prevent him from playing the piano in a way that put music students
to shame; and of course, George Guest, just beginning to carve a name
out for himself at St.Johns. Space forbids the mention of others.
Among the senior members of the Faculty too there were those with
real gifts to offer to undergraduates, some of whom had been to some
extent starved of musical activities in Service life. For my part I
had returned to Kings after four years in the RAF, opting to change
from Classics to Music. Curiously enough my own interest in the arts
had been fuelled in the RAF where I was lucky enough to meet many kindred
spirits, including a group in Winnipeg that centred around the unbelievably
talented Richard Burton. But he was in a class apart!
To return to the Cambridge musical scene, there were two members of
the Faculty to whom I shall always be especially grateful - Robin Orr,
later Professor, who it seemed to me brought sanity and humour to the
Department, as well as his distinguished musical acoomplishments, and
Patrick Hadley who figures later as the principal subject of this memoir.
But for Robins intervention I doubt if I should have survived
longer than the Preliminary examination, for I arrived in the St. Johns
organ-loft minus one of the three prescribed performing requirement
pieces. Brushing aside the protestations of his co-examiner, the professor-to-be
unearthed Parrys "Rockingham" from a nearby pile of organ music.
"How about that?" It was fine, and I retain a great affection for that
particular piece! A typical example of Robins kindness from which
in later years I, like many others, was to benefit. After Cambridge
there was always a prompt and generous Reference to support job applications.
A broadcast of the Short Service from Carlisle Cathedral would evoke
a similarly generous response, whatever the imperfections may have been.
After this rather lengthy preamble I should like to turn to the central
figure of this discursive memoir, the then Professor of Music, Patrick
Hadley, whose composition student I became. First-name relationships
between undergraduates and dons seemed common at the time (a welcome
change from the sir of & School and Service), and the
Professor quickly became Paddy (indeed it was hard to think
of him in any other way). He was the most lovable of characters; and
the Supervisions that I had in his room at Caius, which went on and
on, are among my most cherished University memories.
Although discussions could be, and were far-ranging over the contemporary
musical scene, Paddy could also be spot-on about a particular musical
process - "I say, why not alternate E minor with an A Flat six-four?"
Helpful advice indeed! But to a raw undergraduate it was his easy familiarity
with the world of British music that was so fascinating: Ralph and Willie
and what they had said and done, not to mention Moeran and Constant
Lambert, and, looking further back, Delius.
I still chuckle at the passage in chapter 10 of Delius as I
knew him where Eric Fenby describes how Paddy arrives at Grez,
appropriately enough just in time for the wine-bottling. This went swimmingly;
but a subsequent escapade in a boat results in fellow-composer Balfour
Gardiner heading down river towards the weir minus an oar, with Paddy
and Fenby trying (all too late!) to drop the missing implement over
the village bridge. Somehow this sort of episode, together with Paddys
other anecdotes really brought the English 20th century musical
scene to life: and he was so much a part of it. * As Neil Tierney writes
in relation to a 1941 Walton concert in Cambridge: "Immediately after
the performance we sat in Paddy Hadleys room at Caius College,
laughing and arguing about life and music with Constant Lambert, Alan
Rawsthorne, Hadley and Bliss" etc. "La Bohème" vividly came to
life in Cambridge! (And going back to Delius, it is nice to recall with
Fenby that it was thanks to Hadleys efforts that the score and
parts of the lost opera "Koanga" were recovered).
Paddy loved conviviality and this took in Supervisions as well as
post-concert parties. In our then ignorance about the perils of smoking
he would begin each session by opening a rather grand cigarette case
but find to his oontinual surprise that it was empty. After I had come
to the rescue he would offer a neat gin to which one might add a little
water. (Tonic and the British barmans reluctant With ice
and lemon? were not then standard.) After looking at my own work,
we would then discuss composers in general and their expertise (Milhaud,
I remember scored 100%), and the Professors forthcoming activities.
As Charles Cudworth, the then University Music Librarian pointed out
to me, Paddy regarded many of his academic duties as an affront to hedonistic
propensities. "Ive got to examine some students to-morrow", he
would say plaintively, "Im not looking forward to that". There
seemed a desperate hope that someone, however humble, might turn into
a deus ex machina, and help him to avoid the chore in question.
Certainly his attendance at lectures could not be guaranteed. When
they did take place he had a refreshing approach. "You and I would have
set this for male voices", he said of Lord is it I? from
the Bach St. Matthew Passion, and then he took off in his own individual
Like other University characters such as Sir John Sheppard, Provost
of Kings, Paddy had many imitators, most of whom succeeded in
sounding like the received impersonation, and not much like Paddy himself.
Charisma he possessed in abundance, much I suspect to the annoyance
of at least one of his more conscientious and ambitious colleagues;
but more distinguished pens than mine will tell of his standing in the
- William Walton - His Life and Music (Robert Hall)
These are the random reflections of one who was fortunate enough to
have such a contact as an undergraduate, and to renew it from time to
time afterwards. Like Robin Orr, Paddy was both efficient and generous
over references. Similar encouragement came after broadcast performances:
"Thank you for the "Spook" ran the note from Shallcross following a
BBC Choral Evensong from Carlisle Cathedral that featured "My Beloved
Spake" as the anthem. ("My Beloved Spook" it was known as at Kings,
and eventually, just "The Spook".) What an exquisite miniaturist Hadley
was: "I sing of a maiden" remains for me the most inspired setting of
these words. Lovely too is the soaring "The babe in Bethlehems
manger laid" - my slow waltz! Well, a carol is meant to
be a dance anyway.
Mention of Carlisle Cathedral reminds me of an early performance of
the Lenten Cantata, with Wilfred (Bill) Brown singing, beautifully as
ever, the Love unknown section. Elsewhere in the piece I
recall Paddy commenting on the hanging down notes in the
organ part: "Oh no 16-foot pedal?" I volunteered. "I leave that to you,
Andrew", he replied with characteristic Olympian detachment from the
mechanics of organ registration. The performance, part of one of the
St. Bees Festivals, was given from manuscript in my recollection.
To my request that he might consider writing some Evening Canticles
for the Cathedral, Paddy replied that Boris Ord had asked him for the
same thing many years earlier. He declined, adding as an aside, "I say
- that Magnificat - its very RED, isnt it?"
1998 and 1999 will mark 25 years since the death, and 100 years since
the birth of Patrick Hadley. Hopefully these years will see some fitting
performances, and more detailed comment than this present memoir: it
was good to read Eric Wetherells article.
I still have Philip Ledgers LP of The Hills and look
forward to a CD of The Trees so High, and at least a chance to
assess Connemara. To my delight I learned fram BMS that there
is already a recording of The Lenten Cantata: it will be fascinating
to hear it again after a long interval.
I have several times been asked for personal recollections of Paddy
fram those connected with the British Music Society and elsewhere. My
putting pen to paper has in this instance been prompted by an enquiry
fram a postgraduate Musicology student researching into the life and
tunes of P.A.S.H. I find it a matter for rejoicing that he has been
drawn to writing of this wonderful late flowering of Romanticism, and
of a composer whose output, though not prolific, forms an essential
part of it.
© Andrew Seivewright Master
of the Music Emeritus, Carlisle Cathedral
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