Monthly Archives: February 2009

Neville Cardus (ed.), Kathleen Ferrier 1912-1953: A Memoir

I think this book must have sold in large numbers (the proceeds from sales went towards the Kathleen Ferrier memorial scholarships), because it is often to be found in second-hand shops. My copy was the 9th impression (published in July 1955), the first having appeared in September 1954.

It consists of memoirs of this great singer by Neville Cardus, Roy Henderson and Gerald Moore, with rather shorter contributions from Benjamin Britten, John Barbirolli and Bruno Walter, followed by an account of how she was awarded the Royal Philharmonic Society’s Gold Medal at the end of her life, and a discography. The tone is very much one of personal reminiscence throughout, rather than systematic biography.

Kathleen Ferrier showed the same face to everyone – a good quality in itself, but one which makes the various accounts of her character somewhat repetitious. The most interesting contribution is that by Britten, because it sheds light also on his own working practices. If you have a bootleg recording of Kathleen Ferrier singing music by Britten, or the Angel in Gerontius, then various record companies would be interested in hearing from you.

  • Publisher: Hamish Hamilton (1954)
  • ASIN: B000O8R5NI
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