Sunday, 12 June 2011

A muse about music at the museum

I was gently chided recently by Budleigh Festival supremo Roger Bowen for failing to mention on my blog the Reception for Friends of the Festival which took place in the town's Public Hall on 28 April.

So to make amends here's a photo of the Tourist Information Centre banner showing the splendid line-up of performers for the 2011 Festival. And here's the Festival website link at

One of the beauties of blogging is that it can be a spasmodic business, ideal for amateurs and eccentrics, with no obligation to meet the deadlines that rule the world of the professional media.

I do try to keep this little Budleigh archive in cyberspace up to date, and I'm usually keen to promote music events in the area and I see that I totally failed to mention last Wednesday's Emma Johnson concert, part of the St Peter's Music concert series.

Talking of archives, I've been very busy with work for Fairlynch Museum - more about that in my next post. That's my excuse for my failure anyway.

Emma Johnson is a world-class clarinettist who was one of the stars of the 2008 Budleigh Festival so I'm sure that the St Peter's event would have been well attended.

But thinking about music and museums, while researching the history of Fairlynch I was intrigued to learn that the Ukrainian-born pianist, Benno Moseiwitsch, pictured here, had performed in Budleigh Salterton.

It seems that before it became a museum, the house was owned by a Mr Bull, a keen musician. Benno Moseiwitsch was one of the promising young musicians whom he used to invite to stay and to play at Fairlynch. Budleigh residents would apparently gather in the street outside to hear him perform.

One of them, Joyce Evans, otherwise known as the artist and author Joyce Dennys, remembers him as he sat on the beach throwing pebbles but being afraid that one of them might ricochet and hurt his hands.

Could Fairlynch one day become a concert venue as it used to be? The Museum staged a 2007 exhibition showing ladies in 19th century costume listening to what was described in Fairlynch publicity as "their new (and very fashionable) Broadwood square piano."

A nice idea, but I'm told that the piano, made by what's claimed to be one of the oldest and most prestigious companies in the world, is in need of some attention.

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