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Remembering Jane and Tony



Big thanks to Gillian Moore and Southbank Centre, who hosted an extensive remembrance of Jane Manning and Anthony Payne at the weekend. A sizeable throng attended an afternoon discussion (with fascinating contributions from Mary King and Matthew King, no relation) followed by a superb performance from Jane's Minstrels, directed by Roger Montgomery. Many people contributed their own recollections in the detailed programme booklet, and my own is attached below. In the previous week, I was also honoured to join a cross-continent chat about these dear people presented by Adelaide-based oboist Celia Craig, herself a founding member of Jane's Minstrels. That can be viewed here.


"I first met Jane and Tony on the stairs backstage at this very venue (the Purcell Room) in 1976, after a not-very-important young composers'concert. They immediately treated me as a colleague, and soon also as a friend. It amazed me, and still does, that these two, whose lives were already full of music - performing, writing, touring and teaching - could find so much time for students and unknown, emerging artists. They were always available at the end of a phone, affable and generous, like ideal family members.


I learned so much from them, about a huge range of music, and about the business of writing and performing it. They were such good company, but also very serious about the almost moral importance of great music. In my head when composing (especially for orchestra) I often hear Tony's wry and self-effacing remarks about his own working processes. And I still find myself quoting some of Jane's trenchant observations about right and wrong in music, and in the world more generally. They were unusual, original people, and I continue to feel their influence."


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JUDITH WEIR

Composer

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