In memoriam Philip Ledger (1937-2012)

Sad news came this morning of the death of Philip Ledger at the age of 74. He preceded Stephen Cleobury as Director of Music at King’s College, Cambridge, a post he held from 1974 to 1982, and his carols and arrangements are still sung every year both at King’s and much further afield. I went to evensong at King’s this evening, and he was remembered in the service. A Ledger introit was sung by King’s Voices, and I suspect the beautiful final responses may have been his too.

It’s doubly sad to lose both Ledger and his frequent recital partner Robert Tear in the space of barely a year and a half. I have written before, I think, of my love for Tear and Ledger’s recordings of Harold Fraser-Simson’s settings of the hums of Winnie-the-Pooh. Our LP of Three Cheers for Pooh! got worn out in my childhood. Tear and Ledger are a delightful double-act in these songs, warm and witty. The recordings aren’t out on CD at the moment, I think, but you can sample them here, and there is even a link to a zip file of the whole album on that page, not of course that I condone bootlegs. You can more easily get hold of their performances of the songs of e.g. Benjamin Britten and Madeleine Dring, which are really quite as memorable.

Goodbye, and thank you.


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