- 5 Apr 1981, 7:30 p.m.
- Grange Arts Centre, Rochdale Road, Oldham OL9 6EA
- James Morrison
Martin Milner, who has died aged 72, was an outstanding musician and a brilliant leader of the Hallé Orchestra, whose contribution to the musical life of Manchester, and the many other towns and cities in which he performed, is unlikely to be equalled.
Born in Bolton in 1928, he began to study violin at the age of seven. He studied with Henry Holst in Manchester for eight years, and later in Denmark with Emil Telmanyi. In 1946 he became a member of Sir Thomas Beecham's Royal Philharmonic Orchestra first-violin section. Subsequently, he joined the staff of the Royal Manchester College of Music and taught there for ten years. He joined the Hallé as leader in October 1958, having been chosen by Sir John Barbirolli to succeed Laurance Turner. Since then he had been in the first desk for literally thousands of concerts both in the United Kingdom and abroad. In October 1978 he was presented with the Halle gold medal for 20 years' service. He appeared as soloist on many occasions, and as a conductor he directed many of the Halle Orchestra's Manchester Schools concerts. His recording of Massenet's Meditation (from Thais) on CFP's best selling LPHalle Encorehas been acclaimed.
He continued to hold the position with great distinction under Sir John's successors, James Loughran and Stanislav Skrowaczewski, until he retired in the summer of 1987 after 29 years, a significantly longer period than any other leader in the orchestra's 140-year history.
When time permitted, he enjoyed watching all sport, and was a keen snooker player.
Romeo and Juliet, TH 42, ČW 39, is an orchestral work composed by Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky. It is styled an Overture-Fantasy, and is based on Shakespeare's play of the same name. Like other composers such as Berlioz and Prokofiev, Tchaikovsky was deeply inspired by Shakespeare and wrote works based on The Tempest and Hamlet as well.
Unlike Tchaikovsky's other major compositions, Romeo and Juliet does not have an opus number. It has been given the alternative catalogue designations TH 42 and ČW 39.