Brewer, Herbert A: Memories of Choirs and Cloisters
Edited by John Morehen
Organist of Gloucester Cathedral from 1896 till his death in 1928, as well as composer, choir-trainer, adjudicator and teacher, Sir Herbert Brewer was involved for over three decades with the Three Choirs Festival, and his Memories of Choirs and Cloisters offers a vivid account of the planning and execution of the festivals in that time, those at Gloucester in particular.
Though his professional life was spent exclusively in the provinces, his championing of contemporary music brought him into wide contact with composers and other artistic figures both from Britain and the continent, including Robert Bridges, Elgar, Glazunov, Rider Haggard, Parry, Quiller-Couch, Ravel, Saint-Saëns and Sibelius (whose Luonnotar he premiered). John Morehen’s fine new edition places Brewer’s lively and insightful recollections of these and other encounters and connections in context for the modern reader, making the book an important addition to our fuller understanding of a remarkable period in British music.
Neither a conventional autobiography nor a diary, but a collection of reminiscences compiled towards the end of his life, Brewer’s Memories reveals a scrupulous and astute musician of great integrity, warm-hearted with a devotion to social justice and civic duty, and with a mischievous sense of humour.