The Ifor Tapes

Feb 24, 2021

Prof. Dr. Ifor James was one of the most revered UK horn players, famous not only as the jocular character in the original Philip Jones Brass Ensemble, but also as one of the most valued and proficient horn soloists of his day. He was also an excellent teacher.

The wikipedia entry can be seen here

and it summarises pretty much everything.

Ifor was a very dear friend of mine. I was subjected to his regal status already in 1974 as a lad trying to get into a London music college when he turned me down for a place at the Royal Academy, probably correctly, so I went to Trinity College instead.

Many many years later I got to know the real Ifor more closely through some friends who had mentioned he was living also in Germany. We spoke for many hours weekly on the telephone and he expressed the wish to record a series of teaching videos. In the absence of any other volunteers I offered to help out and he visited me at my studio at Schloss Kranzbach near Garmisch many times from 2002-2004. He knew at this time that he had cancer and the prognosis was not looking too good. It was important to us both to do something rather than nothing.

In between the mayhem caused by my day-job I managed to spend time with Ifor and his wife Helen and we taped a few hours of his carefully prepared teaching antics. It was at times, typically, hilarious.

Now then! A disclaimer: Although pretty good at most things media related, I was in the audio business making equipment and not using it. This also involved video and we didn't have a video making setup at all. I did however knock up a makeshift green-screen, badly lit (I learnt about all this the hard way). Also, Ifor would move around yanking the microphone off of his tie and firmly up his sleeve and, as I was listening to him and not the output from the microphone, some of the audio is just a little bit "noisy".

However, having thrown a few excerpts up on youtube in the hope of something, I am not sure what, time just passed after Ifor's departure and there was no time to really attend to anything. I will try now to get everything sorted and here for posterity.

Today we have a pandemic and there is a little more time to try and get these things together. I could do it all for free but, actually I can't. In defence of now putting a small charge in the way of seeing all of what I can manage to tidy up, please imagine how much time this takes, how little we are earning at the moment and also the fact that I did pay for quite some extended stays for Ifor and Helen at the hotel at the Schloss, far more than I reckon I will get back.

In any case. Here (in the additional posts) are a few examples of what is coming, as soon as I edit the materials and remove the green as best I can and also tidy the audio somewhat.

For the others, as and when they become available (I'll list them below), please just buy me a coffee or better still, become a member to see everything else.

Ifor, I miss you mate.

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