Miracle in Manchester – the Life of Sir John Barbirolli

Miracle in Manchester was our first autumn afternoon talk. Geoff Scargill gave us interesting insights into the life and career of Sir John Barbirolli and his work with the world renowned Halle orchestra at Belle Vue and the Free Trade Hall. jb-002Despite trials and tribulations his personality and skill as a conductor ensured that his concerts were sold out and at times people were turned away. It was said of him that he “walked with kings yet kept the common touch”. He fought a skillful battle with his employers to improve the lot of the musicians but didn’t ask for anything himself. His wife who played in the Halle, wrote a book entitled ‘Glorious John”, I imagine that would be a ‘good read’. Geoff also spoke of Sir John’s link to a popular ‘lancashire lass’ Kathleen Ferrier and he entertained us with some original and poignant recordings. Requests were made for a return visit regarding another favourite subject of Geoff’s regarding Edward Watkin.