Richard Hickox: Three Years Gone.
Richard Hickox died three years ago today: by an odd coincidence, I find myself listening to his recording of V-W's Pilgrim's Progress. RH was a great advocate of often out of the way British music, though his repertoire was much wider than his recorded legacy suggests. I saw him conduct many times when I lived in London and he always delivered the goods....by all accounts, he was a very endearing man and greatly loved by those who worked with him (the unfortunate experiences that seem to have blighted his career in Australia notwithstanding).
It's still very hard to believe he's gone, as he was no age at all and was only in mid-career in conductor terms.
I will not forget his Vaughan Williams with the Philharmonia at the RFH on 6th November 2008, only a short time before his untimely death. Marvellous performances of the 3rd and 4th symphonies with Dona Nobis Pacem. Alan Opie was the soloist.
As for his Australian tenure, I was lucky enough to see a delightful performance of the Magic Flute at the Sidney Opera House in 2006, perfectly paced and a lovely production.
People like him enrich everything they touch.
Indeed, it is hard to believe. He was our (Bristol Choral Society's) President at the time, and were deeply saddened to learn the news at rehearsal (and as it happens, our conductor Adrian Partington was with him on that fateful day).
His repertoire was very much wider than his recorded legacy - in fact I get the feeling it was a source of slight frustration to him that he was most widely known as a British music champion than as a great musician in his own right (which of course he was).
Certainly the works that we had the privilege to perform under him (under invitation to join the BBC National Orchestra and Chorus of Wales) bear that out to us: Janacek Glagolitic Mass (which was released as a BBC Music Magazine cover CD as a tribute to him), Brahms German Requiem and Dvorak Stabat Mater at the proms.
The performance that will live most in the memories of those who were there, though, I am sure will be a fantastic Mahler Symphony 8 at St David's Hall on St David's Day 2003. That (along with most of his other BBCNoW concerts I'm sure) was broadcast on Radio 3, so there must be a treasure trove of Richard Hickox live recordings in the BBC archive. Would love to see those come to light some day!
Yes, you are right, he was a charming man to work with - very warm and a definite people person. He is very sadly missed.
He is much missed as Music Director of the St Endellion Music Festival in Cornwall, where he loved mixing music making with surfing! As I came (as an audience member) to the Festival only in the year of his death I hope others who knew his work there will contribute here. He is commemorated in the church with a small carving high in the roof of the nave.