Shropshire Star

Tribute wartime conductor after his unfinished autobiographer was found unpublished

A former music librarian has completed an autobiography of a New Zealand conductor who helped major orchestras in this country survive both during and after the Second World War.

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SHREWS COPYRIGHT SHROPSHIRE STAR JAMIE RICKETTS 01/03/2023 - Roger Flury from Cruckton near Shrewsbury has had a book published which he hopes will highlight the work of a forgotten conductor, Warwick Braithwaite - The Golden Shore.

Roger Flury, aged, 73, from Cruckton, Shrewsbury, hopes that the book, entitled The Golden Shore: An Autobiography By Warwick Braithwaite, which he has edited and annotated, will help highlight the career of the man whose memory has largely been forgotten.

The New Zealand-born conductor was an important figure in the musical life of Britain for more than 50 years and worked with all the major British orchestras and many of the greatest artists of his day.

Roger, a former curator of music at the Alexander Turnbull Library in Wellington, New Zealand, who came to live in Shrewsbury five years ago, said: "I found that the autobiography had been just sitting in the collection in the library and was unpublished.

"Braithwaite had written the autobiography but had never finished it and a lot of the information was confused.

"I wrote an introductory chapter and filled in twelve pages that were missing and carried on the final chapter of his career and the last part of his life.

"Through talks with the family I completed the family history and details of work he had completed as well as discography and a list of compositions he had done in his spare time.

"I tried to keep to his style and managed to reduce it by one third.

"Braithwaite was associated with important musical institutions at key moments in their development, becoming the first musical director of the Welsh National Orchestra, and guiding the Scottish Orchestra through the difficult years of the Second World War.

"Much of his career was spent conducting opera for Sadler's Wells, Welsh National Opera, Carl Rosa and Covent Garden.

"He also worked with the Royal Ballet in London.

"This will be the first time his autobiography has been published and I believe that Braithwaite really was an unsung hero in the history of music-making in the 20th century.

"The reason I felt it was important to have the book published was because Braithwaite has largely been forgotten as he was a fairly modest man and was not from the same strata of society with influential supporters like Adrian Bolt and Malcolm Sargent.

"It annoys me that when people write their histories there is little mention of Braithwaite"

The book has been published by Matador Press and is available as a paperback through Amazon and bookshops for £18.

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