Video: Julian Bream Meets Stravinsky



Julian Bream is one of the 20th Century’s great classical guitarists. Born in England, he’s spent most of his life concertizing around the world and producing recording after recording—a testament to his artistry and popularity.

Bream is also a champion of the Renaissance lute, an instrument which he helped to popularize.

The video below is an excerpt from a documentary on Igor Stravinsky, produced in 1965, a few years before his death.

It begins in the middle of a recording session (or perhaps a break), at the point that Bream is introduced to Stravinsky. After an exchange of pleasantries, Bream segues in to what must have been his real intention in meeting Stravinsky–to play the lute for him.

It is to Bream’s credit that he manages a contemplative performance of John Dowland’s Lachrimae pavane in spite of the chaos going on around them. Stravinsky looks captivated by the music, too (a good sign). Once Bream finishes, a producer interrupts to remind everyone why they’re there in the first place.

More pleasantries between the two, they part company, and the recording session resumes.

After watching the video a couple of times, I have nothing but admiration for Julian Bream. Not just for his playing, but for the utter courage it took to turn an incidental meeting with a famous (supposedly hard-to-get-ahold-of) composer and make a brief connection while remaining professional and gentlemanly. It’s a lesson to us all.

Learn More: Julian Bream Biography

Buy: Stravinsky (DVD)

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