Felix Aprahamian self-taught music critic
Felix Aprahamian, music critic who championed French music: Honorary Secretary, Organ Music Society 1935-70; Concerts Manager, London Philharmonic Orchestra 1940-46; Deputy Music Critic, Sunday Times 1948-89; contributor to Gramophone 1964-89; born London 5 June 1914; died London 15 January 2005.
My link above is to the full text of Lewis Foreman's compendious obituary in The Independent, which makes fascinating reading. I knew Felix, who has just died at 90, as a friendly acquaintance - he always greeted us by name and initiated lively conversation about what we were doing - and I suspect that everyone involved howsoever in London's music life over many decades felt the same about him.
More remarkable (at a time when South of the Thames was still beyond limits for most Londoners) he travelled all the way from Muswell Hill to Blackheath expressly to listen to home tapes of my young son Simon's singing (he had appeared as boy soloist with Joan Sutherland, Janet Baker and Fischer-Dieskau) and then advised us urgently and unequivocally; stop writing around to record companies and, before his voice breaks, put your money (there was none to spare) into recording his unique repertoire professionally without delay.
We went ahead with Steuart Bedford (then a young audition accompanist with Decca), laid down enough material for two LPs and eventually had them released by Turnabout and Unicorn, to rave reviews in Gramophone, Records & Recording and Hi-Fi News & Record Review. They were, of course, duly deleted (as were Steuart Bedford's Britten recordings with Collins Classics later) and so the whole routine of approaching CD companies for re-release of these unique recordings of rare repertoire began again, in a more difficult current commercial climate for recordings which are not DDD nor - yet - old enough to be truly 'historic'.
Those song recordings, by Simon Woolf, Steuart Bedford and myself, can now be accessed on Musical Pointers and, for us, they will always be associated with the practical advocacy of Felix Aprahamian. In a later generation Felix, who "failed Matriculation because I discovered music" might have become one of our fraternity of colleagues whose devotion to the more esoteric corners of the world of music has led into the internet and the founding of music review websites; we have stories to tell equally interesting as the biographies of current performing celebrities?
© Peter Grahame Woolf