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Oxford and Cambridge Musical Club

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Christopher Bunting
(Cellist, teacher and composer, honorary club member for more than three decades,
born August 8 1924; died July 28 2005)

Memories from John Nelder

I was lucky to meet Christopher at Cambridge after the war. He was, I thought, the best instrumentalist of his year and I was not at all surprised that he went off after graduation to study with Casals. (I didn't find out till long after that he was a better pianist than I was too).

I remember one outing when we were part of a group taking a concert to Oxford. We were to play in the Holywell Music Room, which we were told was the oldest music room in Europe. It turned out to be also the worst music room in Europe; I have never felt so disoriented in trying to relate to the other players. Getting there meant making the notorious rail journey from Cambridge to Oxford -- change at Bletchley Junction. I was reminded of a Cambridge expedition to the Himalayas, who had given The Times rights to their despatches. The first one arrived and it said 'Have reached Bletchley Junction; thank God the worst part of the journey is over'. After the change of train the string quartet got out their instruments and played Wolf's Italian Serenade for the second leg of the journey.

I felt honoured to play with him, and the sonata, Beethoven's in A major, which I played with Tim Handel at the Club's memorial Concert for him, was one that Christopher and I played several times together. It is the middle sonata of five, and has one of Beethoven's extended ABABA scherzos, followed by a short slow movement which serves simply as an introduction to the finale. I was glad to be able to contribute to his Memorial Concert and retain many delightful memories of him.

John Nelder.

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Page last updated: 28 January 2014