Parry Society Mr Richard Osborne, ‘Music and Musicians of Eton’

The Parry Society hosted Richard Osborne, a music critic and writer, author of the recent book ‘Music and Musicians of Eton’. Elaborating on the contents of ‘Music and Musicians of Eton’, he took the audience on a tour of some of the most interesting times in Eton’s musical history, speaking about the Choirbook, the demise of the Choir School in 1968, Arne and his role in the national songs of this country, Roger Quilter and his Shakespeare settings, Lord Berners, Butterworth, Humphrey Lyttleton and the LP club in the back of Dyson’s jewellers on the high street listening to Louis Armstrong, and more recently Slade and his musical Salad Days, through to current international soloist Charlie Siem. Throughout the talk Mr Osborne was able to produce the ideal recording of the ideal musical example, all of which delighted the audience. Two outstanding examples were the only recording ever made in the choir school era, made on the day of that choir’s last ever service; and a recording of ‘O mistress mine’ sung by Mark Raphael accompanied by Quilter himself. He also could be relied upon for the ideal anecdote to illustrate the character of the composers discussed. The talk was immensely enjoyable, and all those who came will have learnt a great deal about the musical tradition in which the boys currently at the school live and work. If nothing else, it was an excellent introduction to some less well-known music, but music certainly worth remembering.

John Clark-Maxwell OS MS (GRP)