Wednesday 2 January 2013

John Carol Case

The baritone John Carol Case, who died on 29 December 2012 at the age of 89, was one of the voices which was strongly present in my musical life when I first started exploring classical music. Amazingly, he retired from public performing in 1976 and though, in theory, I could have seen him perform life during my student days in Manchester neither memory nor my scrapbooks confirm this. But of course, it wasn't his physical presence that created the dominant effect, it was his recordings.

Though he had a wide repertoire, it was his recordings of English music which made the strongest impression. His recording of RVW's Dona Nobis Pacem under Sir Adrian Boult with soprano Sheila Armstrong, and with the same performers on Boult's 1968 recording of RVW's A Sea Symphony, and perhaps supremely, his role as the Evangelist in Boult's recording of RVW's Pilgrim's Progress (and I don't think his performance in the role has been bettered). As can be seen, Carol Case's voice was intimately bound up with my discovery of RVW's music. He also made notable recordings of Gerlad Finzi's song cycles on Lyrita and it was his recordings (along with those of Wilfred Brown) which helped me to get to know that under-rated composer.

John Carol Case retired from the concert platform in order to concentrate on teaching, but he wrote music too; his carols are published by Banks Music Publications. (see the listing at

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