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Amis-cellany Portrait: June Mendoza Edward Downes & Bread and Jam dward Downes (1924- Otello in Florence I he was smiling, put away the metronome, E 2009) was a young orchestral horn player when and one day when he was rehearsing and hugged Ted. He rescued lots of good repertoire – for example, Korngold’s masterly I engaged him to play first they got to the last Symphony in F sharp, of which he made a fine horn in Anatole Fistoul- act. He told the CD. ari’s pick-up orchestra. He orchestra ‘As Des- As time went on, Ted’s sight became min- was master of his inst- demona cannot be imal and he could conduct only those operas rument and already a fine here this morning that he knew by heart. His hearing went, too. musician, personally a bit we’ll skip the Ave The quality of life was dismal – unable to hear, quirky – like most horn Maria and the unable to read – he was passionately keen on players. Round cheeked, Willow Song.’ One reading. Then Joan got cancer. The rest you thick goldfish-bowl spect- of a group of nuns know: a dignified suicide with the two holding acles, tall, but somehow he attending the re- hands. did not stand out in a hearsal rushed up Ted Downes was good news for music. We group. We found we to Ted: ‘Signor, we mourn. ■ shared a birthday and were are here solely delighted to find it was the because of the Ave same day as Stravinsky’s. A Maria.’ Ted then Bread and Jam Brummie lad, he had created laughter at the got the orchestra to play the Ave Maria, and he ossini once exclaimed how wonderful Royal Academy when he spoke once at a student discussion because of his thick accent. turned to the sisters and sang the soprano part to them in falsetto; a typical gesture. His R opera would be if there were no singers, a thought that came to me forcibly His response was to enrol for an English course manner could sometimes be brusque and when sitting through Tristan, maybe for the for foreigners at a language school, yet he never business-like but he was really a kind and last time. When Wagner writes melodically quite lost his Midlands sound. friendly person – and by then he had be
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