Wilfrid Mellers, music critic for grown-ups: RIP

I was saddened to read this week of the death of composer/writer/academic Wilfrid Mellers, latterly Professor Of Music at York University.

 

Uniquely among the music academics I’ve encountered, Mellers was passionately interested all musics, not just the European art variety.  He wrote accessibly – for those beyond, as well as within, the conservatoire.  And he contextualised his musician subjects by explaining the times and societies from which they sprang.

 

The best known of his 20-odd books are celebrations of Bach and Beethoven, but A Darker Shade Of Pale: A Backdrop To Bob Dylan (Faber, 1984, 255pp) is the Mellers book with which I’m most familiar.

 

Mellers was a skilful early advocate of grown-ups crossing genre boundaries.  May he rest in peace.

 

 

 

Gerry Smith   

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