Neville Marriner

Marriner in 2010
Marriner in 1982
Marriner conducting in the 1980s

Sir Neville Marriner, CH, CBE (15 April 1924 – 2 October 2016) was an English violinist and "one of the world's greatest conductors". Gramophone lists Marriner as one of the 50 greatest conductors and another compilation ranks Marriner #14 of the 18 "Greatest and Most Famous Conductors of All Time". He founded the Academy of St Martin in the Fields, and his partnership with them is the most recorded of any orchestra and conductor.

Early life

Marriner was born in Lincoln, England, the son of Herbert Marriner, a carpenter, and his wife Ethel (née Roberts). He was educated at Lincoln School (then a grammar school), where he played in a jazz band with the composer Steve Race. He initially learned the violin as well as the piano from his father, and later studied the violin with Frederick Mountney.

In 1939, he went to the Royal College of Music in London, getting the opportunity to play among the second violins of the London Symphony Orchestra, then conducted by Henry Wood, because many of its members had joined up after the outbreak of the Second World War. He joined up himself in 1941, serving in a reconnaissance role in the British Army, but was invalided out in 1943 with kidney problems. He returned to the Royal College, where he continued his studies with the violinist Billy Reed. He then attended the Paris Conservatoire, where he studied with the violinist René Benedetti.

Career

Marriner was briefly a music teacher at Eton College. In 1948, he became a professor of the Royal College of Music. In 1948 or 1949, he took up the position of second violinist of the Martin String Quartet, continuing to play with the quartet for 13 years. He had met the harpsichordist Thurston Dart while recuperating from kidney damage during the war, and they formed a duo together, which expanded to the Virtuoso String Trio with Peter Gibbs. These were the precursors to Dart's Jacobean Ensemble, in which Marriner played from 1951. He played the violin in two London orchestras: the Philharmonia Orchestra in the early 1950s, and the London Symphony Orchestra (LSO) as principal second violin (1954–69). He also played with the chamber orchestras of Reginald Jacques and Boyd Neel, as well as the London Mozart Players.

In 1958, he founded the Academy of St Martin in the Fields; initially a twelve-member chamber ensemble, it soon expanded to a chamber orchestra, and attracted musicians of a high calibre including Dart, Iona Brown, Christopher Hogwood and Alan Loveday. Marriner recorded prolifically with the Academy. The first recordings in the early 1960s, with Marriner both conducting and playing lead violin, were successful, leading Pierre Monteux, then the LSO's conductor, to encourage Marriner to shift his focus to conducting. Marriner had studied the subject with Monteux at his school in Hancock, Maine, in the United States, from around 1950.

Marriner was the founder and first music director of the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra, from 1969 to 1978. From 1979 to 1986, he was music director of the Minnesota Orchestra. He was principal conductor of the Stuttgart Radio Symphony Orchestra from 1986 to 1989. Except for 1974 to 1980 during which Iona Brown was the director, he remained the musical director of the Academy of St Martin in the Fields until 2011, when he was succeeded by Joshua Bell, continuing to hold the title of Life President until his death. He also conducted many other orchestras, including the New York Chamber Orchestra, Gulbenkian Orchestra, Israel Chamber Orchestra, Australian Chamber Orchestra and Vienna Philharmonic. He continued to conduct into his nineties, becoming the oldest conductor of a Proms concert in 2014, aged 90.

His obituary in The Telegraph praises the Academy of St Martin in the Fields' interpretations of baroque and classical music as "fresh, technically brilliant", and describes them as a "revelation". Marriner preferred modern instruments and effects, and his work came under criticism by Hogwood, among others, for not striving for an authentic sound. He later expanded the Academy's repertoire to include Romantic and early-modern music.

Marriner made over 600 recordings covering 2,000 different works – more than any conductor except Herbert von Karajan. He recorded for various labels, including Argo, L'Oiseau Lyre, Philips and EMI Classics. His recorded repertoire ranges from the baroque era to 20th-century British music, as well as opera. He supervised the Mozart selections for the soundtrack of the Oscar-winning 1984 film Amadeus; it became one of the most popular classical music recordings of all time, selling over 6.5 million copies.

Personal life and death

Marriner was married twice. His first wife was cellist (and later, antiquarian bookseller) Diana Carbutt, whom he married in 1949. They had two children - Susie, a writer and Andrew, a clarinettist who often worked with his father and who is now principal clarinet of the London Symphony Orchestra. The first marriage was dissolved. His second wife was Elizabeth Mary Sims, whom he married in 1957.

He lived in London and in later life had a second home near Chardstock in Devon. Asked for an epitaph for his gravestone, he replied simply: "Follow the beat." Marriner died on 2 October 2016, at the age of 92.

Honours

Marriner was appointed a Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) in 1979. He was created a Knight Bachelor in 1985. In the 2015 Queen's Birthday Honours, he was appointed a Member of the Order of the Companions of Honour (CH). He was appointed an officer of the French Ordre des Arts et des Lettres. His recordings of Mozart were honoured with two Gemeinde Awards from the Austrian Music Academy.

Discography

Composer Title Other Artists (Marriner as conductor) Year Label
Handel Concerti grossi, Op. 3 Academy of St. Martin in the Fields 1964 Argo
Various Recital for Strings Academy of St. Martin in the Fields 1965 Argo
Various Italian Concertos Roger Lord (clarinet), Barry Tuckwell (horn), Kenneth Heath (cello), Academy of St. Martin in the Fields 1965 Argo
Various 18th Century Flute Concertos Claude Monteux (flute), Academy of St. Martin in the Fields 1965 L'Oiseau-Lyre
Handel Concertos for Oboe Roger Lord (clarinet), Academy of St. Martin in the Fields 1965 L'Oiseau-Lyre
Vivaldi / Pergolesi Gloria & Magnificat Elizabeth Vaughan (soprano), Janet Baker (contralto), Ian Bostridge (tenor), Christopher Keyte (bass), Choir of King's College, Cambridge, Academy of St. Martin in the Fields 1966 Argo
Various Concertos for Recorders and Strings Bernard Krainis (recorder), Academy of St. Martin in the Fields 1966 Mercury Living Presence
Bach Cantatas BWV 159 & 170 Janet Baker (contralto), Robert Tear (tenor), John Shirley-Quirk (bass), Academy of St. Martin in the Fields 1966 L'Oiseau-Lyre
Bach Cantatas BWV 56 & 82 John Shirley-Quirk (bass), St. Anthony Singers, Academy of St. Martin in the Fields 1966 L'Oiseau-Lyre
Mendelssohn String Symphonies Nos. 9, 10 & 12 Academy of St. Martin in the Fields 1966 Argo
Haydn Concertos for Horn Barry Tuckwell (horn), Academy of St. Martin in the Fields 1966 Argo
Rossini String Sonatas Academy of St. Martin in the Fields 1967 Argo
J. Haydn / M. Haydn Trumpet Concerto / Horn Concerto Alan Stringer (trumpet), Barry Tuckwell (horn), Academy of St. Martin in the Fields 1967 Argo
Handel Arias Forbes Robinson (bass), Academy of St. Martin in the Fields 1967 Argo
Stravinsky Pulcinella / Apollon Musagète Academy of St. Martin in the Fields 1968 Argo
Mozart / Haydn Piano Concerto No. 9 / Piano Concerto in D Igor Kipnis (harpsichord), Academy of St. Martin in the Fields 1968 Columbia Masterworks
Handel Concerti grossi, Op. 6 Academy of St. Martin in the Fields 1968 Decca
Gluck Don Juan Academy of St. Martin in the Fields 1968 Decca
Arne / C.P.E. Bach Concerto in C minor / Concerto in G minor George Malcolm (harpsichord), Academy of St. Martin in the Fields 1968 Argo
Mozart Three Divertimenti for Strings / Serenata Notturna Academy of St. Martin in the Fields 1968 Argo
Elgar Introduction and Allegro / Sospiri / Elegy / Dances from The Spanish Lady Academy of St. Martin in the Fields 1968 Argo
Various Baroque Trumpet Concertos John Wilbraham (trumpet), Academy of St. Martin in the Fields 1969 Argo
Strauss / Wagner Metamorphosen / Siegfried Idyll Academy of St. Martin in the Fields 1969 Argo
Rossini / Donizetti String Sonatas Nos. 2 & 4 / String Quartet in D Academy of St. Martin in the Fields 1969 Argo
Tchaikovsky Serenade for Strings / Souvenir de Florence Academy of St. Martin in the Fields 1969 Argo
Various Baroque Trumpet Anthology Don Smithers (trumpet), Michael Laird (trumpet), Academy of St. Martin in the Fields 1970 Philips
Haydn Symphonies Nos. 52 & 53 "L'Impériale" Academy of St. Martin in the Fields 1970 Philips
M. Haydn / J. Haydn Duo Concertante for Viola and Organ / Organ Concerto in C major Simon Preston (organ), Stephen Shingles (viola), Academy of St. Martin in the Fields 1970 Argo
Bartók Music for Strings, Percussion and Celesta / Divertimento Leslie Pearson (celesta), Academy of St. Martin in the Fields 1970 Argo
Britten Saint Nicolas Robert Tear (tenor), King's College Choir, Cambridge, Academy of St. Martin in the Fields 1970 EMI
Elgar The Lighter Elgar Northern Sinfonia 1970 EMI
J.C. Bach Six Symphonies, Op. 3 Academy of St. Martin in the Fields 1970 Philips
Various Strings & Brass John Wilbraham (trumpet), Philip Jones Brass Ensemble, Academy of St. Martin in the Fields 1970 Argo
Dvořák / Grieg Serenade for Strings / Holberg Suite Academy of St. Martin in the Fields 1970 Argo
Mendelssohn Piano Concertos Brenda Lucas (piano), Academy of St. Martin in the Fields 1970 Argo
Vivaldi The Four Seasons Alan Loveday (violin), Academy of St. Martin in the Fields 1970 Argo
Britten Serenade for Tenor, Horn and Strings • Les Illuminations Heather Harper (soprano), Robert Tear (tenor), Alan Civil (horn), Northern Sinfonia 1971 Angel Records
Mozart Symphonies Nos. 35 "Haffner" & 40 / March, K. 408, No. 2 Academy of St. Martin in the Fields 1971 Philips
Bach Brandenburg Concertos Thurston Dart (harpsichord and arranger), Academy of St. Martin in the Fields 1971 Philips
Various Living Baroque Don Smithers (trumpet), John Wilbraham (trumpet), Carmel Kaine (violin), Academy of St. Martin in the Fields 1971 Philips
Mozart Eine kleine Nachtmusik / Sinfonia Concertante Alan Loveday (violin), Stephen Shingles (viola), Academy of St. Martin in the Fields 1971 Argo
Bach Suites for Orchestra William Bennett (flute), Thurston Dart (harpsichord), Academy of St. Martin in the Fields 1971 Argo
Various Trumpet Concerti John Wilbraham (trumpet), Academy of St. Martin in the Fields 1971 Argo
Various Academy '72 Barry Tuckwell (horn), Josef Suk (violin), Academy of St. Martin in the Fields 1972 EMI
Mozart Exsultate Jubilate Erna Spoorenberg (soprano), Academy of St. Martin in the Fields 1972 Argo
Shostakovich / Stravinsky Concerto for Piano, Trumpet and Strings / Capriccio John Ogdon (piano), John Wilbraham (trumpet), Academy of St. Martin in the Fields 1972 Argo
Mozart Clarinet Concerto / Bassoon Concerto / Andante for Flute Jack Brymer (clarinet), Michael Chapman (bassoon), Claude Monteux (flute), Academy of St. Martin in the Fields 1972 Philips
Handel Ballet Music Academy of St. Martin in the Fields 1972 Argo
Mozart Concerto for Flute and Harp / Sinfonia Concertante, K. 297b Claude Monteux (flute), Osian Ellis (harp), Academy of St. Martin in the Fields 1972 Philips
Bach The Complete Harpsichord Concertos Igor Kipnis (harpsichord), Academy of St. Martin in the Fields 1972 CBS
Various English String Music Academy of St. Martin in the Fields 1972 EMI
Mozart Piano Concertos Nos. 19 & 23 Alfred Brendel (piano), Academy of St. Martin in the Fields 1972 Philips
Mozart Overtures and Ballet Music Academy of St. Martin in the Fields 1972 EMI
Mozart Coronation Mass / Litaniae Lauretanae BMV, K. 195 Ileana Cotrubaș (soprano), Helen Watts (contralto), Robert Tear (tenor), John Shirley-Quirk (bass), Schola Cantorum of Oxford, Academy of St. Martin in the Fields 1972 Argo
Mozart Piano Concertos Nos. 12 & 17 Alfred Brendel (piano), Academy of St. Martin in the Fields 1972 Philips
Mozart Symphonies Nos. 29 & 25 Academy of St. Martin in the Fields 1972 Argo
Vaughan Williams Fantasia on a Theme by Thomas Tallis / The Lark Ascending / Five Variants of Dives and Lazarus / Fantasia on Greensleeves Academy of St. Martin in the Fields 1972 Argo
Mozart Divertimento in D, K. 334 / Notturno for Four Orchestras Academy of St. Martin in the Fields 1972 Argo
Mozart The Horn Concertos Barry Tuckwell (horn), Academy of St. Martin in the Fields 1972 EMI
Mozart The 4 Horn Concertos Alan Civil (horn), Academy of St. Martin in the Fields 1972 Philips
Tippett Little Music for String Orchestra / Concerto for Double String Orchestra / Fantasia Concertante on a Theme of Corelli Academy of St. Martin in the Fields 1972 Argo
Handel Music for the Royal Fireworks / Water Music Academy of St. Martin in the Fields 1972 Argo
Mozart The Symphonies, Vol. 1 Academy of St. Martin in the Fields 1972 Decca
Handel / Mozart / Rossini Meister der Musik Academy of St. Martin in the Fields 1972 Decca
Mahler / Britten Lieder Eines Fahrenden Gesellen / Nocturne Robert Tear (tenor), Academy of St. Martin in the Fields 1973 Argo
Mozart Violin Concerto in G, K. 216 / Concertone for 2 Violins, K. 190 Alan Loveday (violin), Carmel Kaine (violin), Iona Brown (violin), Kenneth Heath (cello), Tess Miller (oboe), Academy of St. Martin in the Fields 1973 Decca
Bizet / Prokofiev Symphony in C / Classical Symphony Academy of St. Martin in the Fields 1973 Argo
Bach Cantatas BWV 202 & 209 Elly Ameling (soprano), Academy of St. Martin in the Fields 1973 EMI
Walton / Prokofiev Sonata for Strings / Visions Fugitives Academy of St. Martin in the Fields 1973 Argo
Mozart Flute Concerto, K. 313 / Oboe Concerto, K. 314 Claude Monteux (flute), Neil Black (oboe), Academy of St. Martin in the Fields 1973 Philips
Mozart The Early Symphonies Academy of St. Martin in the Fields 1973 Philips
Vivaldi L'estro armonico Alan Loveday (violin), Carmel Kaine (violin), Iona Brown (violin), Academy of St. Martin in the Fields 1973 Argo
Tchaikovsky / Dvořák Serenades for Strings Academy of St. Martin in the Fields 1973 Argo
Rossini Famous Overtures Academy of St. Martin in the Fields 1974 Philips
Various Munrow & Marriner David Munrow (treble recorder), Academy of St. Martin in the Fields 1974 EMI
Schoenberg / Webern / Hindemith Verklärte Nacht, Op. 4 / Fünf Sätze, Op. 4 / Fünf Stücke, Op. 44, No. 4 Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra 1974 Argo
Mozart Piano Concertos Nos. 20 & 23 Alfred Brendel (piano), Academy of St. Martin in the Fields 1974 Philips
Corelli Concerti grossi, Op. 6 Academy of St. Martin in the Fields 1974 Argo
Various The Academy in Concert Academy of St. Martin in the Fields 1974 EMI
Various Six Concertos for Trumpet Maurice André (trumpet), Academy of St. Martin in the Fields 1974 Erato
Corelli Christmas Concerto Academy of St. Martin in the Fields 1974 Argo
Suk / Strauss / Janáček Serenade for Strings / Sextet from "Capriccio" / Suite for String Orchestra Academy of St. Martin in the Fields 1975 Argo
J.C. Bach / Haydn Harpsichord Concerto in A / Harpsichord Concerto in D / Overture in D George Malcolm (harpsichord), Academy of St. Martin in the Fields 1975 (recorded in 1969 Decca
Rodrigo Concierto Madrigal / Fantasía Para un Gentilhombre Pepe Romero (guitar), Ángel Romero (guitar), Academy of St. Martin in the Fields 1975 Philips
Mozart Piano Concertos Nos. 27 & 18 Alfred Brendel (piano), Academy of St. Martin in the Fields 1975 Philips
Bach Concerto for Three Violins / Concerto for Violin and Oboe / Concerto for Flute William Bennett (flute), Tess Miller (oboe), Carmel Kaine (violin), Richard Studt (violin), Ronald Thomas (violin), Academy of St. Martin in the Fields 1975 Argo
Stravinsky Concerto in D / Danses Concertantes / Dumbarton Oaks Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra 1975 EMI
Vivaldi La Stravaganza, Op. 4 Carmel Kaine (violin), Alan Loveday (violin), Academy of St. Martin in the Fields 1975 Argo
Bach The Art of Fugue Academy of St. Martin in the Fields 1975 Philips
Mendelssohn Piano Concertos Nos. 1 & 2 Murray Perahia (piano), Academy of St. Martin in the Fields 1975 Columbia Masterworks
Beethoven Symphony No. 4 / Grosse Fuge Academy of St. Martin in the Fields 1975 Philips
Haydn 12 Name Symphonies Academy of St. Martin in the Fields 1976 Philips
Various A Festival of English Music Academy of St. Martin in the Fields 1976 Argo
Haydn Symphonies Nos. 48 "Maria Theresa" & 85 "La Reine" Academy of St. Martin in the Fields 1976 Philips
Various Music for Double Bass Rodney Slatford (double bass), Academy of St. Martin in the Fields 1976 EMI
Handel Complete Organ Concertos George Malcolm (organ), Academy of St. Martin in the Fields 1976 Argo
Haydn Symphonies Nos. 43 "Mercury" & 59 "Fire" Academy of St. Martin in the Fields 1976 Philips
Handel Messiah Elly Ameling (soprano), Anna Reynolds (contralto), Philip Langridge (tenor), Gwynne Howell (bass), Academy and Chorus of St. Martin in the Fields 1976 Argo
Telemann Don Quichotte / Viola Concerto / Overture in D Stephen Shingles (viola), Academy of St. Martin in the Fields 1976 Argo
Barber / Ives / Copland Adagio for Strings / Symphony No. 3 / Quite City Academy of St. Martin in the Fields 1976 Argo
Haydn Symphonies Nos. 44 "Mourning" & 49 "La Passione" Academy of St. Martin in the Fields 1976 Philips
Handel Two Double Concertos ("A Due Cori") Academy of St. Martin in the Fields 1976 EMI
Respighi Ancient Airs and Dances Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra 1976 Angel Records
Bach Arias from Cantatas and Oratorios Janet Baker (contralto), Academy of St. Martin in the Fields 1976 EMI
Mozart Piano Concerto No. 22 / Concert Rondos K. 382 & 386 Alfred Brendel (piano), Academy of St. Martin in the Fields 1976 Philips
Bach Violin Concertos Henryk Szeryng (violin), Academy of St. Martin in the Fields 1976 Philips
Butterworth / Britten A Shropshire Lad / Two English Idylls / The Banks of Green Willow / Variations on a Theme of Frank Bridge Academy of St. Martin in the Fields 1976 Argo
Haydn Symphonies Nos. 100 "Military" & 103 "Drum Roll" Academy of St. Martin in the Fields 1976 Philips
Vivaldi Concerti for Wind and Strings, Vol. 1 Academy of St. Martin in the Fields 1977 Argo
Vivaldi Concerti for Wind and Strings, Vol. 2 Academy of St. Martin in the Fields 1977 Argo

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